- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.TapQ9hQj.dpuf gap creek gourmet: A little bit of Asheville Small Plate Crawling

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A little bit of Asheville Small Plate Crawling

I've been so buried in Greenville Small Plate Crawl and some of my other projects that I'm just now getting around to telling you guys about the AMAZING food I had at Asheville Small Plate Crawl last month! Shame on me!  I tried so many new restaurants, a couple of which, I cannot wait to get back to for the full meal experience.  I'm just going to run down my passport and give you a wrap up with some of my favorite stops and dishes. Here we go.

I totally have a strategy when it comes to crawling, being that this was my third Small Plate Crawl.  I print out my passport and then list the places I want to go to.  The crawl website has a nifty tool that lets you put in the addresses of the places you want to visit and then plots your best path. I number my stops. Print out the menus, pick out the dishes I want to try ahead of time, and I'm ready to go.

Red Stag Grill at Grand Bohemian
If you haven't been in the Grand Bohemian smack dab in the middle of Biltmore Village shopping, you are missing out.  It's like a mini-Grove Park Inn.  Seriously.  It's small, but grandiose inside.  I swear they spent millions on just the furniture.  But we're here for the food, right?  After sitting down in the dining area we had to wait forever before ordering.  This is not optimal when crawling, but the food was amazing. I can't pick a favorite, so here's both.

We ordered the Elk Carpaccio with Blackberry powder, Celtic sea salt, Theros olive oil, farm fresh ventures micro arugula, and lavash.  It was quite the gastronomic experience!

Our second dish here was the Brioche Doughnut with Black truffle cream, caramelized white chocolate mousse, zinfandel gastrique. This was (insert expletive) fantastic.  


A commercial break: 
If you're headed to the Greenville Small Plate Crawl (< click) March 24-26, here are some crawl tips to remember: 

1) Pay with cash because it's faster.  
2) Order your drinks and food together and ask for your check when the food comes.  
3) Tip well. Remember your servers are working twice as hard so let them know they are appreciated and please tip them well.
4) Don't sit down with a group of 15 and order two plates.  Now, that's just rude.  Sharing is encouraged, but don't take up valuable real estate with a large party for only a few dishes. 
5)  I think the optimal crawl number is 2-8.  If you're traveling in packs larger than that, you might want to split up so you can crawl faster.
6) Ask about drink specials! Many of the crawl restaurants are running drink specials during the crawl.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge
I absolutely love this place.  There was a lady working on her computer at one of the tables and I told her I would gain a thousand pounds if I sat in a chocolate shop and worked!  I guess I really would be a kid in a candy store. (She laughs.)  We ordered the Chocolate and Wine offering: two half-pours of wine, each paired with a truffle and a caramel.

A glass full of chocolate fluffiness caught my eye in the case so we ordered the chocolate moose, too. Mercy! The candy bar (see picture above) was not included, but they are heaven, too and available at Kitchen Arts and Pottery at McBee Station in Downtown Greenville!  (I just temporarily borrowed it for special effects.)

Gnudi della Casa, the house made ricotta dumplings in Sherry Tomato Cream sauce was silky and savory and magnificent. My favorite dish of the entire crawl. We also ordered the Tuscan Stuffed Figs with Basil Whipped Goat Cheese and Prosciutto, which completely convinced me that I absolutely must get back there as soon as possible to tour the whole menu.

Blue Kudzu Sake Co
Blue Kudzu Sake was our last stop of the morning.  We ordered several items off their crawl menu including the Chinese Deviled Tea Eggs, but the Mini Fukuoka style Tonkatsu Ramen with pork broth, slow roast pork, fresh Ramen Noodles, pickled ginger, roasted sesame seeds and poached quail egg stole the show.  Blue Kudzu is in the process of making their own Sake!  It should be ready some time next month.  A must visit for Sake lovers.  They also have Sake Education classes here and have three Certified Sake Professionals on staff.  They know their stuff.

My friend Nina accompanied me for the first part of the day.  We hit 5 restaurants before 3pm.  And we were stuffed.  I came back down the mountain, switched friends and cars and headed back up for round two with my bff Kim in tow to hit five more restaurants.

Carmel's Kitchen and Bar
I was disappointed when the waiter said they were out of the Apple Tart at Carmel's (what?!), but he totally redeemed himself quickly by telling me that I COULD still have a scoop of the Vanilla ice cream from Asheville's Ultimate Ice Cream that was supposed to top off that dish.  YUM! I love their ice cream.  And being that we were already sipping on Biltmore Estate Wine's Chardonnay, we found out that Vanilla ice cream and Chardonnay go quite well together!

I was really there for the Mini Chicken and Waffle with Sriracha syrup with a side of greens.  Eye rolling good. I am so recreating this at home one day.

Isa's Bistro
I was not over the moon about any of the dishes at Isa's but it's totally worth a mention because they have Charles Krug Cab by the glass on their wine list.  No one ever has my favorite red by the glass.  I was so excited. They had some pretty good risotto on their menu, too.

The Lobster Trap

I finally made it to The Lobster Trap. I've been wanting to go for a while.  Kim ordered the Oysters and Pear Mignonette. I'm not a fan of raw oysters, but they were really pretty and paired with Biltmore Estate Chateau Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2010. I ordered the Jumbo Sea Scallop with Lime Caviar, Duck Confit, and Blood Orange paired with Biltmore Estate Riesling 2013 NC. Lovely.The Butter Poached Lobster Claw with Citrus, Gnocchi and Beach Mushrooms was pretty fantastic, too. This was one of our last stops and I was already stuffed and a little tipsy on the three glasses of Biltmore Wines I'd had that day.  I want to go back for a tour of the menu. (And better pictures.)

Greenville Small Plate Crawl is coming March 24-26.  I hope you'll get out there and crawl. Check out the menus on the website, print out your passport, plan your path and crawl!  So much fun.  I'll see you out there.

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