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!
– 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!