The Noodle Shop, Asheville NC

One of my worst traits is my stubbornness. I’m working on it, but basically, when I get a mind to do something, it takes an act of Congress to get me to reconsider. I don’t even consider reconsidering until it’s too late. I think this really worked against me on this trip to Asheville, and we had lunch on Saturday at a very good place that we would certainly have enjoyed more some other time.

When we were in town in early June, we were walking around the city in the evening and I noticed The Noodle Shop in Pack Square. “We should go there next time we’re in town,” I said, and by damn, that’s exactly what we were going to do. That the next time we would be in town it would be during Bele Chere, with the city boiling under record temperatures of nine hundred degrees was irrelevant to my insistence, we were going to have giant bowls of piping hot soup anyway!

So, yeah, feet aching, back aching, sweating buckets and generally as miserable physically as one can be while emotionally riding high on the wave of great music and thousands of happy people in a high-energy atmosphere, we were not, honestly, in the mood for bowls of hot soup, but it didn’t occur to me to try anything else and Marie was sweet enough to let me “follow my dream,” mad as it was. Luckily, the place is excellent, and made us feel very welcome, and didn’t mind that we drank about three pitchers of ice water, each.

I had given my son lunch money and told him to go have his own fun, but he found us after seeing an act called Heartdrive and buying both their CD and a great big walking stick with a mohawked skull on the top. I think that “lunch” might have actually consisted of a bottle of water for him. That might explain why he tracked us down and asked to try our soups, because they looked really good.

I don’t know that there’s anything that out of the ordinary at The Noodle Shop; they offer several varieties of noodles, including a glassy mung bean that I enjoyed. I picked a vegetarian selection and Marie added chicken to her spring bowl and we were very pleased with the quality of the meat. It was a fine little meal, but we certainly would have enjoyed it more had it been cool enough to sit outside. Well, I say that, but honestly, plenty of people were enjoying the outdoor seating. It’s just that we needed a break from the sun and wanted some air conditioning before we ventured back out to see The Mad Tea Party on the Haywood Street stage.

Outside on Pack Square, our favorite street performer, the Silver Drummer Girl, was playing. Behind her, there was some ugliness. Bele Chere attracts about two hundred thousand fun lovers, but it also brings in the Westboro wannabes, and four of them took up position behind the Silver Drummer Girl to shout through a megaphone about sinners and fornicators and whatever the heck else got in their underwear drawer that morning. I didn’t mind at all the sounds of the crowd and her snare drum making their way into the restaurant; it’s what we were in town for. Those jerks, however, really put me off my meal. They say there’s a place in hell for me for whatever I did wrong sometime, I say there’s a place in hell for them for distracting me from my mung bean soup. That’s just how it is.

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