Mar 13 • 55M

Episode 103: Cuban Coffee, Filipino Crab Cake, Chinese Chicken, Eggs Benny and a Taco

Also: Talkin' Radishes w/ Chef Joe & an AVL Favorite Announces They're closing.

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Appears in this episode

Stu Helm
This podcast is mostly about food
Episode details


TODAY’S POCAST was originally broadcast by WPVM 103.7fm on Friday, Feb 24, 2023, and features conversations with my original podcast co-host Chef Joe Scully from Chestnut & Corner Kitchen, who talks about radishes!

There’s an interview with Chef James Sutherland of Blue Dream Curry House about his recent decisions to go take-out only, and then close down altogether.

There’s also a remote broadcast from Sweet Plantains, and some reviews of food, all also featured in the newsletter below.

SWEET PLANTAIN: Now, Y’all are gonna think I’m crazy… but I went to a truck that serves the best Cuban sandwiches in WNC according to some people, and I didn’t buy a Cuban sandwich. That’s right, I went to Sweet Plantain Grill with Lucho from Asheville Multicultural who is himself on an epic Cuban sandwich journey, but it was so early in the day, I just got breakfast, and I loved it! I got a guava pastry, a side of plantains, some Cuban toast, and cafe con leche, and enjoyed all of it very much!

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I’ve eaten a lot of guava pastries in my day, and this was one of the best I’ve ever had. And while the Cuban toast might not look like much in the picture, and it is essentially just toast, it was great, I loved it! The plantains were cooked just right, they were caramelized on the edges, sweet, and piping hot inside. I purchased a little cup of dipping sauce, that was great and added just a slight amount of sourness.

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Lucho raved about his Cuban, and made guttural animal sounds while eating it next to me! LOL. We met two of the owners, Daniel and Michelle, and they were super nice! They told us that they will soon be getting tables and chairs, but yesterday we just stood on the porch and ate our food at the railing. It was a really nice day, the food was awesome, I always enjoy spending time with my friend Lucho, and meeting new people, especially if those new people make awesome food! 🙂🙏🔥

NENG JR’S: Dawn & I went to Neng Jr’s for a second time recently, and had another great experience.

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More pictures available on Facebook

Dawn’s cocktail & my NA beverage were both excellent, the garlic peanuts were fun & tasty, the oysters with quail eggs were amazing, the endive salad with apples& fish sauce dressing was fresh, crisp and unique, and the massive crab cake with mushrooms & veg was just insanely delicious.

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More pictures available on Facebook

The decor, the music, the art, the open kitchen, and all the people who work there are the pieces of this new restaurant that have already earned it two Stoobie awards & a James Beard nomination! If you can get in, get in! We love it. ❤️

GAN SHAN WEST: Last week I saw a picture of the half chicken dinner in Gan Shan West’s newsletter, and my eyes nearly bugged right out my eye-holes! It looked so dang good, I immediately ordered one, added some sides and soup, and good lort, I’m tellin’ you what, this is one of the yummiest dinners I’ve had so far in 2023. It’s just called ”half chicken dinner” on the menu, and Gan Shan is located at Beacham’s Curve on Haywood Ave in West Asheville.

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More pictures available on Facebook

MAYFEL’S: I went to a soft opening party at Mayfel’s in the very center of downtown Asheville, and even though it was 7:30pm, I ordered brunch, because I’ve been getting super-brunchy lately, and eggs Benny at night sounded kinda sophisticated for some reason. They were great. The eggs were cooked perfectly, the hollandaise sauce was neither too loose nor too stiff, and the substitution of the famous Leidenheimer’s bread for the traditional English muffin was a clever nod to NOLA. I ate it all! For dessert they served everybody a fusion of a beignet with a king cake. So it was basically a beignet that was stuffed with a pretty lean cream, and then topped with frosting and colorful sugar. And while there was no baby inside, it was quite tasty!

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More pictures available on Facebook

The best part of this experience for me was sitting outside on the corner of Haywood and College Street, in the evening air, with the lights all strung up, and some nice music playing, while I enjoyed some food, and enjoyed the lively atmosphere around me. It truly felt like old-school Asheville to me, when I first moved here, and I used to love to come and sit downtown at night. Thank you, Mayfel’s for inviting me! I’ll be in to try more food soon. Check their hours online, because I’m not sure when they’re going to be open, but if you get in there, please let me know what you think! And as always, tell them that Stu sent ya!

TACO MENU MOW DOWN: Next on my march through the entire menu at White Duck Taco Shop came the shrimp ‘n’ grits taco, and it was freakin’ great! Kinda looks like a mess, but the flavors and textures were 100% on point! Another home run, White Duck! 🔥🌮👍

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KGC: That sounds amazing! Is it a permanent menu item or a special?

ME: It’s seasonal, and about to go away, so jump on it if you still can!

FOOD TRUCK FACEBOOK GROUP: Last week I created a Facebook group called Asheville & WNC Food Trucks, and it already has 1,300+ members! There is a tremendous interest among the eaters to know where and when the food trucks, trailer and push carts will be parked! If you’re a food truck fan, please join the group, and share your food truck experiences there! If you operate a food truck, trailer or pushcart, we especially want you to join the group! WNC ❤️’s food trucks!

Visit The Group

“I’ve never been more grateful to be in a group than this one bc all my time spent driving around to see who’s where and also trying to google or fb the answers have led me to very little other than knowing Los Tacotes is always at The Root Bar lol. This will make it so much easier to support our local food trucks.” - Cat R.

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