Episode 102: Equity, Unity, Burgers, Cubans & Crazy Macarons
Ain't No Power Like the Power of the People
EQUITY, LOVE, FRIENDSHIP & WORKERS RIGHTS
Today’s Podcast was originally broadcast by WPVM 103.7fm on Friday, Feb 17, 2023, and features conversations with my good friend Aisha Adams, from Aisha Adams Media & Equity Over Everything as well as Jennifer Hampton from Asheville Food & Beverage United. Interspersed throughout the podcast are some outtakes from a workers’ rally that I attended in downtown Asheville.
There aren’t any food reviews in the podcast this week, but there are some food pics, recommends, and a little news below. Thanks for listening and reading!
FAQ: BEST BURGERS? One of theee most frequently asked questions I get all the time, again and again, is “Which restaurant has the best burger downtown?” These days, I direct people to my most recent award winners in both the “Smash Burger” and “Big Burger” categories: Twisted Laurel Downtown Asheville.
The smash burger is seared until crispy on the edges, while retaining every bit of juiciness you’d hope for, with American cheese, onion and pickle if you want ‘em, grilled brioche bun. And done. Twisted Laurel always has steak on the menu, usually 2 or 3 different cuts & preparations, and the “JC Burger” is made of the ground-up trim from those steak cuts, mixed with Worcestershire sauce, a la Julia Child, the "JC” in JC burger. Then it’s cooked to perfection and topped with caramelized onions, a mustard & tomato-based Sauce Robert, and Duke’s mayonnaise. It’s insanely delicious, and has been called the “best burger ever” by more than one of my food tour patrons!
So, go get them burgers, Yo!
OLD EUROPE: Me and Paddy are always trying not to eat too much, but he other day we failed, because I basically made him come into Old Europe Pastries where not even he couldn’t resist something I spied in the case called a vegetarian “chk ‘n’ waffles” macaron! 😳🤯 And, yes, no, I also could not resist buying myself a crème brûlée as well.
One of the macarons was actually “hot chicken,” and the other was “chk ‘n’ waffles.” They were both great! Not especially chickeny, but very sweeeeet, tasty & unique. The crème brûlée was to effing die for. I love the new Old Europe so dang much!!! I might try to eat my way through their case.
LUCHO’S EPIC CUBAN JOURNEY: You may have noticed that my friend Lucho and I have developed quite a friendship, partially based on a mutual love of FOOD! He is currently on a mission to eat at least ten Cuban sandwiches from 10 different vendors, and I’m tagging along as much as I can! We recently went to Sweet Plantain Grill, a food truck on Hendersonville road, and here’s what he had to say on his Asheville Multicultural Facebook page…
Searching for the BEST Cuban sandwich III (In Asheville) Featuring Sweet Plantain Grill 🇨🇺
Oh boy, get ready to experience something so unique, and OUTSTANDINGLY DELICIOUS, it is going to make you think of Hendersonville Rd, as the stairway to CUBAN SANDWICH HEAVEN!
SWEET PLANTAIN is a food truck located at 2317 Hendersonville Rd. And they are in my opinion taking the Cuban sandwich to an unknown level of awesomeness.
Now, with all due respect, I have had a few Cuban Sandwiches lately, and I have enjoyed them all, but I’m finding that Mishelle and Daniel (two of the owners) are doing something truly KICK ASS, and EXTRAORDINARY with their approach to el CUBANO.
These guys are calling themselves CHIEF FOOD ARTISANS and I agree, seriously, I want you to try all of the Cuban Sandwiches I’m sharing with you, and YOU CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE!
However, right now I can’t help to be impressed by this place.
The flavors in my Cubano were intense in the most positive way I can express, and to make things even more remarkable, this LATINO OWNED business is mastering the Cuban sandwich concept with 5 sandwich varieties!
To read more about this particular Cuban, and see more pictures, click here, to keep up with Lucho’s Epic Cuban Journey, follow him at @AshevilleMulticultural on all social media platforms!
THIS JUST IN FROM GUAJIRO FOOD TRUCK: Speaking of Cubans… Chef Christian Barroso’s Guarjiro food truck is bringing his family’s tradition of locally-sourced, fresh, and authentic Cuban food to Asheville!
Pronounced /gwa’hero/, a guajiro is a Cuban farmer, rural person, or agricultural worker. “We chose the name GUAJIRO to honor my great grandfather Serafin Morejón and my grandmother Rosa Montenegro,” says Barroso. Barroso’s great grandfather was a guajiro who grew and sold sugarcane, as well as a variety of native fruits like mango, pineapples, guanabana, and guayaba on his farm. “My family ate off the land and supported many neighbors who lived in poverty and could not afford to purchase food,” says Barroso.
In 1960, the Castro regime took over the sugarcane mills that were the guajiro’s primary source of income. “They would pay farmers like my grandfather $39 a month for his crop,” says Barroso. “He lived his entire life there until the Castro regime then confiscated his farm in 1961. I want to honor my Cuban roots and history but with a modern, second generation Cuban-American twist. Modern, clean, and crisp while staying authentic to the culture of my great grandfather and grandmother.” The kitchen is headed by Chris and his cousin Joel Morales, who has worked as a cook in Cuban restaurants for more than a decade.
GUAJIRO, of course, serves up an excellent cubano – the iconic sandwich made with layers tender, flavorful pork and ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and yellow mustard – but their menu will also go far beyond this to offer a full array of Cuban flavor experiences. Not to be missed are the long-simmered black beans made according to Nana’s traditional recipe; the sweet and salty media noche (a pressed, toasted sandwich made with sweet egg bread, léchon pork, ham, cheese, pickles, butter and mustard); and crunchy mariquitas, green plantain chips served with Chef’s creamy cilantro dipping sauce.
For breakfast, GUAJIRO brings sweet and savory Cuban pastries, the perfect marriage with a strong, dark cafe Cubano or lighter cafe con leche. The breakfast menu also includes a number of egg dishes including omelette sandwiches, steak and eggs, and a hearty cuban breakfast plate with eggs, rice, beans, and plantains. Affordability is a crucial component of the GUAJIRO philosophy – harkening back to the generous days of Barroso’s farming ancestors – so servings will be large and reasonably-priced.
OPENING HOURS. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a breakfast and lunch service. Customers can choose to take their food to-go for a picnic along the French Broad River Greenway or enjoy counter-service at the picnic tables on the lawn beside the Asheville Cotton Mill building.
To stay updated about daily specials, extended hours, and booking private events, visit guajiroasheville.com. ###
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