For our Saturday evening supper in Asheville, I turned to the regulars at roadfood.com for a little help. I knew that we wanted either barbecue or a classic southern meal, but also that the former was going to be a little difficult. Here’s one more teeny thing on the “con” list about the city: if there are any proper eastern North Carolina barbecue restaurants anywhere near Asheville, they have yet to make themselves known to us.
Now, there are several Tennessee-style barbecue joints in town. There is a quite good place called Fiddlin’ Pig on Tunnel Road, and I could happily spend many nights there kicked back and listening to live bluegrass. I’ve also heard good things about Luella’s, just north of downtown, and now that I’m back home, I see that Ed Boudreaux’s, which has a place downtown and another in nearby Brevard, looks to be worth a visit when we return in July. Sadly, I just can’t find a whole hog-styled place with a house vinegar sauce, yet.
That left a good Southern meat-n-two supper, and a regular on the forum recommended Moose Cafe to us. This is a pretty big place with a gift shop located in front of the WNC Farmer’s Market, and they do a great job and served us up right. There’s a second Moose Cafe a couple of hours east in Colfax as well.
I had the country fried steak with pepper gravy and it was quite good. Marie had the fried chicken, which she likes better than I do and said it was really nice, too, but the real winner here were those pickled beets. I’m not kidding. You might think it odd to plan a meal around a side dish, but if they’re anywhere close to as good as those beets, you’d be playing it smart. Marie says they’re as good as the beets she gets in the Netherlands.
I am perfectly prepared to swing by the Moose Cafe for a snack of pickled beets any time we’re in the area. Should fortune and circumstances allow us to move up here in a couple of years, we’re certain to do some of our grocery shopping from the farmers market, allowing us the chance to bring some home almost weekly. I’m certain we’d be spending a lot of time at the North Carolina Arboteum and the Moose Cafe’s not far from there. Heck, somebody could even open an eastern Carolina-styled barbecue joint nearby. It could happen.
Heck, we’ll probably smuggle some into the movie theatres with us. It’s better than popcorn. I suppose we might get some funny looks before the previews start, though.