24 hours in Asheville

Hey there, campers.  I meant to get this post done earlier but a nasty migraine hit me like a linebacker after lunch today.

Oh well.  I guess I didn’t want to keep that lunch anyway.

Anyway.  I’m feeling better now and chomping on potato chips and strawberries to make up for the lost calories.  So here’s a quick (I promise!) recap of my mini-holiday-weekend mountain getaway!

It included:

Eight hours of driving on I-40, playing “Is that a cop or old people?” and managing to avoid getting pulled over for speeding.  (Seriously.  Guess who did NOT have the holiday weekend off of work?  North Carolina’s Highway Patrol, that’s who.)

Two hikes.  We rolled in to Asheville on Sunday afternoon and decided to stretch our legs with a jaunt on the Mountain-to-Sea trail, which runs alongside the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.

Evening was upon us so we stuck close to town.  It was nice to work up a little sweat, but there wasn’t much to see.  Except trees.  Lots of trees.  And about a million daddy long-legs creepin’ on the path.

The next morning, we went for our second hike and got a little more adventurous, driving about 30 minutes south on the parkway to Mt. Pisgah.

The view from the top was nice!  I mean, it’s not Colorado or California, but 6,000 feet is pretty high for the East Coast.

Hiking = perfect vacation activity in my book.  I didn’t feel a single ounce of guilt over not running on Monday!

– One fantastic meal at Curate, a Spanish/tapas restaurant that just opened in Asheville in March!

Incoming: crappy drunk iPhone pictures of food.  You’ve been warned.

Yes, I was that person.  But the meal was that good.  Seriously, one of the best I’ve had in a looooong time; certainly since moving to NC.  Chef Katie Button and manager Felix Meana are both alumni of the soon-to-be-retired El Bulli in Spain, a three-Michelin-star restaurant that has consistently made “Best in the World” lists over the last few years.  (Cuteness bonus: Katie and Felix are engaged.  Aww!  You can read their story here!)

Anyway.  Our Curate night started off with a pitcher of Cava Sangria, muddled tableside by our charming server, Brian.

There was gin in that sangria.  Danger.

We then noshed on a trio of jamon.  Made from acorn-fed pigs.  Who knew that pigs were fond of acorns?

Served on a cheery pig cutting board.  How adorable!  Pigs are delicious.

After that, rather than navigating Curate’s extensive Spanish menu ourselves, we pretty much told Brian to bring us whatever he thought was best.  This was a good move, as a dish that I never would have selected myself ended up being the evening’s home run.

That is eggplant.  Piping hot, pan-seared eggplant.  With a honey sauce and fresh rosemary.  There are no words to describe how delicious this was.  It had a crispy crust which melted away so wonderfully on my tongue…um, okay, I have to stop talking about this.  Sorry.

Other favorites included sweet grilled red peppers stuffed with goat cheese:

Lamb kebobs with “moorish spices.”  These could’ve been Filet Mignon kebabs for how tender they were:

Garlicky shrimp, a tapas-bar staple:

And no tapas spread is complete without patatas bravas:

(It’s not ketchup, it’s some sort of paprika sauce.  It was delicious.)

At the end of the day, this decadent meal was very reasonably priced!  Our check came in at two digits, even with too much amazing food for two people to possibly eat and multiple rounds of drinks (you didn’t think we’d stop at one pitcher of sangria, did you?)

Excellent work, Curate.  I don’t know when I’ll be back in Asheville again, but when I am, I’m heading straight for a plate of the Best Eggplant in the World.  Mark my words.

– Zero regrets about spending several hours in the car for just one night away.  This trip was totally planned at the last minute (Priceline FTW!) and sometimes it’s just nice to get out of town, even if only for 24 hours.  It was a stroke of luck that I had this weekend off of work and I’m glad I took advantage of it!

Off to tackle the pile of work that I didn’t get done today because I was too busy moaning on my bed and hugging the toilet.  Argh.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend, too!

25 responses to “24 hours in Asheville

  1. Hahahah I love looking for undercover cops!

  2. That area of NC is gorgeous. Years ago I ran a race at App State…apparently that’s the only track on the East coast with an elevation adjustment.

    Anyway, yes…I really do need to come visit.

  3. Related to that comment ME ME ME ME ME ME. :)

  4. The hike looks like it has beautiful views.

    I want to try that eggplant. The sauce sounds delicious.

  5. totally agree that 1 day getaways are worth it! we loved asheville when we went – we’ve actually climbed mt mitchell twice (apparently 1000 more feet than pisgah -i just looked it up). both times (and this includes while in marathon-racing shape) we were so tired after reaching the top that we got rides back. ha!

    • The Mt. Pisgah trail was only 1.5 miles long but it was no joke! Straight up to the top! I was huffing and puffing. :)

  6. Sounds like a fab weekend, and those food pics just made me so hungry (and craving sangria….dammit). Asheville must be a great place for trail running as well!

    Not a holiday here in Deutschland, so no long weekend here…but it’s nice to live vicariously :)

  7. I love playing “is that a cop?” on roadtrips. It’s becoming a real challenge being as how they like to switch it up with every other kind of car imaginable. Not fair.

    • They seem to be fond of gray Dodge Chargers here. Not the easiest things to pick out, especially from behind. Sneaky!

  8. I love Asheville. It’s beautiful there and everything is so damn charming. I’ve only been once and am dying to go back.

  9. Hope you’re feeling better!

    I love Tapas. Boston has several great tapas restaurants. I always enjoy the garlicky shrimp and the chorizo.

  10. I love hiking, especially when you get a good workout from it too. Nothing clears your mind quite like a few ours out in the woods. Oh man I sound like a total hippy…maybe I am…or maybe I AM.
    Also I’m really hungry for tapas now.

    • Oh, I’m a total hippie when it comes to outdoorsy stuff too. Being in the mountains/woods is my favorite. :)

  11. My hubby is from Asheville and next time we go I will insist we go to this resteraunt! He always talks me into pizza at Barleys which is good but you are right-those pictures look delicious. We went hiking last summer along the parkway and I don’t know if you had the same experience as I but I was so sore the next day! I couldn’t beleive it-despite how much I run the up, up, up the moutain made my booty so sore!

  12. if hiking has the reward of a shmance meal like this at the end, sign me up. i need more nature in my life. looks like a fun getaway!

  13. I am so with you on the one day getaway being worth it. I feel like if I drive somewhere for over 2 hours I have been gone much longer. Some kind of time/space continuum equation…that I haven’t yet calculated :)

    That last picture is gorgeous! Sorry ’bout the migraine pukey time.

  14. I have yet to go to Asheville :( But I am going to make my husband take me and we are TOTALLY GOING to this restaurant. I’m obsessed.

  15. Sounds like the perfect getaway to me :)

  16. Ooh I haven’t gone hiking in so long, I love it though! And that sangria looks amazing..I would totally have ordered more than one pitcher!

  17. mmmm papas bravas!!! I’m so jealous, Lansing has ZERO tapas restaurants (well, one kinda sorta “American” one and I guess Houlihan’s has their Small Plate menu) but none of it compares to the good stuff! Sometime I daydream about one of the tapas I had in Barcelona – french fries with an egg with runny yolk on top (i don’t know what to call it) so amazing. Never would have ordered it if I knew what it was :)

  18. I’m so glad for this post! I’m flying into Asheville from Providence RI on Saturday to join my BF for a road trip. I’ve never visited this part of the country and choosing to fly into Asheville was just random, mostly because it was a cheap flight near-ish where he will already be. Serendipity! I’m def having the eggplant for lunch on Saturday. Yay!

  19. Pingback: The ghost of eggplant past | eat, drink, and run

  20. I want to go to Curate: NOW! Wowsa. BTW, pigs fed on acorns are considered the best there are (esp if they have black hooves; no kidding, there is a whole ranking system in Spain).

  21. I was looking for a chgnae to give me a fresh look for my new cutting edge tech job. I got a wild, wacky cut that got me tons of comments. Thank you, Ananda.