HAPPY 100 TO ME!
This is the 100th episode of my podcast, and in honor of that I have gone ahead and platformed myself on Apple Podcasts, as well as Stitcher, Pandora, and a half-dozen or more other podcasting apps! Thanks to all my guests and listeners, as well as WPVM 103.7fm, who broadcast my show every Friday at 5pm & Saturday at 11am.
Today’s podcast originally aired on Feb 2, 2023 and features conversations with Chef-owner Peyton Barrell & his partner, Katie Grabach from Gourmand, as well as with Ben Williamson from Buncombe Decides. I also review a breakfast or two.
Excited to share news of the forthcoming concept in the S&W Market -- Gourmand -- slated to open this March! During the day, Gourmand will operate as a cheese, charcuterie, and wine shop serving a variety of imported, domestic, and house-made products available a-la-carte. There will also be a rotating menu of baguette sandwiches (served on locally-made bread) as well as seasonal, vegetable-forward dishes and salads. In the evening, Gourmand will evolve into a small wine bar, offering small plates that reflect seasonal market ingredients and the current selection of cheese and charcuterie. The wine selection will be largely focused on natural wines and European wines – wines will be offered by the glass, and a larger bottle list will be available for guests to enjoy either at the S&W Market or to take home.
Examples from the menu include: Jambon Beurre: a classic sandwich that will always remain on the menu – served on locally-made baguettes.
Glazed Golden Beets & Citrus Vinaigrette
Raw Oysters & Mignonette
Gravlax Tartine with Fromage Blanc, Lemon, and Olive Oil
Terrine Maison: house-made pâté served with salad and cornichons
Rillettes de Tours: house-made confit pork seasoned with chenin-blanc
Pickled Egg: little gem and classic vinaigrette
Owners Katie Grabach and Peyton Barrell are coming to Asheville from New Orleans, where they founded their first iteration of Gourmand in 2020. Gourmand began as a charcuterie production company (selling to local wine shops, farmers markets, bakeries, and restaurants), private event company, and upscale caterer. In addition, in 2021, Katie and Peyton transformed their house into a supper club and speakeasy one weekend a month, where they served over 450 people out of their home kitchen – ultimately allowing them to experiment with dishes and dream of a brick-and-mortar where they could serve their offerings on a more regular basis. After spending quite a bit of time in the North Carolina mountains, Katie and Peyton decided to make a permanent move to Asheville and open their first brick-and-mortar at the S&W Market. Leading up to the opening in March, Gourmand will host pop-up events around Asheville.
AZALEA BAR & KITCHEN: Last week, I took a short ride to Azalea Bar & Kitchen with my friend Lucho from Asheville Multicultural for breakfast, and it was great! (They are open only for breakfast for now.) I got a pretty basic combo of eggs, sausage, grits and a giant pancake, and was quite full and happy! Lucho got the eggs Benedict, and LOVED IT! He hoovered down every molecule, and kept saying how much he was digging it.
The restaurant is run by Chef John & his wife Jennifer, and is part of The Residences At Biltmore hotel. It’s a little hard to find, but keep trying, and you will enjoy a delicious breakfast! All the flowers on the plates were edible, and I ate them!
SESSION CAFE: I went to Session Cafe at Citizen Vinyl to try some of their new breakfast offerings, and while I missed “Pancake Monday,” I was psyched to see this awesome dish listed as a special. I’d never heard of “Char Sui,” but it sounded great, and it was! Very savory, flavorful, filling, and unique!
THIS JUST IN from our good friends at Citizen Vinyl…
Citizen Vinyl / Session Cafe announces new hours, pancake mondays, all-day breakfast for immediate release.
Citizen Vinyl / Session Cafe, located in the heart of downtown Asheville, announces new hours beginning Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. For the first quarter of the new year, the multipurpose gathering space will be open daily 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
New hours are not the only change taking place at Citizen Vinyl. Session — the venue’s café and cocktail bar — is also introducing a new menu featuring dishes such as a chicken salad melt, French dip sliders, Bavarian-style roasted pork, a baby kale salad with roasted root vegetables, and a half grilled-cheese sandwich with a cup of soup as a daily lunch special.
Winter drinks include the Festivus Peppermint Mocha, the Aleppo Honey Cortado (with Spicewalla Aleppo pepper flakes), and a refreshing brunch cocktail composed of cucumber juice, lemon, mint, mezcal, tequila, and bitter Bianco. The Franciscan Negroni, from Session’s rotating Negroni program, is crafted with Appalachian Fernet, Pisco, and sweet vermouth.
By opening at 9 a.m., Session will be available to downtown workers and visitors for breakfast and coffee. In fact, breakfast will be served all day, every day, with pancake specials on Mondays. A vegan hot groat bowl with warm cinnamon apples, toasted pecans, pepitas, and local honey is also on offer. Look for exciting food pop-ups to take place on Tuesdays.
CHESTNUT: I was recently invited to a very special occurrence, along with a couple of other food writers at Chestnut last week: The “family meal” for the staff to try the new brunch menu. Chestnut has started serving brunch again, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and we tried every single item on the new menu. After everybody including the us writers, the wait staff, the kitchen, the managers, and the owners all tried every dish, they had a Feedback session about it, during which the wait staff talked about the ease, or difficulty, of serving & describing various dishes. As well as portion size and other details. There was a parade of food. They are offering a lot of dishes!
The chicken and waffles were particularly delicious, as were the eggs Benedict, and surprisingly, I really enjoyed the quinoa salad. The brunch burger was also excellent, as was the Chestnut breakfast sandwich. For a little lighter fair, there was a yogurt parfait that was very good , as well as a seared Aji tuna dish that was also excellent! For deep fried stuff, there were some amazing pimento fritters, as well as mini beignets, and lobster poutine.
Back in the day, my whole family used to really enjoy going to Chestnut for brunch, so I’m personally really happy that it’s back, and I can’t wait to start going on a regular basis! Get on in if you can, and try a few of these delicious brunchy offerings! Five stars. Super recommend.
MENU MOW DOWN: I’m still eating the entire taco menu at White Duck Taco Shop The latest are the jerk chicken taco, which might not be the prettiest taco, but it was frickin’ delicious! I grilled chicken tender with jerk sauce and spicy cabbage slaw.
I’ve only got three more tacos to eat before my journey through the White Duck Taco menu concludes, and so far, it’s been nothing but hits! Thank you, Nikki and the rest of the crew at WTD Downtown Asheville! You rüle.
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