Stu Helm: Food Fan
Stu Helm: Food Fan
Episode 122: Good Vibes & Good Byes

Episode 122: Good Vibes & Good Byes

Pizza, Pizza, Panzanella, BBQ & Bye Bye

Podcast Contents

Talkin' about feeling good in the space around us with Lisa Wagoner, with Of Wand & Earth and Two Brooms Teahouse, in Marshall, NC. She is also a co-host of the Mystic Tea Podcast, and the author of a book called Positive Pagan. Lisa and I groove on several topics, including favorite restaurant spaces, and, bonus: She recommended a specific crystal to improve one’s relationship with food. I love it!

  1. 00:00 - 8:00 INTRO: Bye Bye City Bakery Downtown

  2. 8:00 - 16:24 The Pizza Guy is Here!

  3. 16:35 - 44:00 INTERVIEW: Lisa Wagoner, The Positive Pagan!

  4. 44:15 - 53:55 OUTRO w/ review of Contrada & Bear’s BBQ

BYE BYE CITY BAKERY DOWNTOWN: Sad news, Y’all… City Bakery is closing their downtown location. Next Saturday will be their last day of operations. The Charlotte Street location will remain open as will their baking facility. The owners sited a slower than normal Summer, and high overhead as the primary reasons for closing the Biltmore Ave shop. I went this morning and got a cup of Dynamite Roasting Company coffee and a super delicious raspberry vanilla cream croissant.

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I’ll miss the downtown location of City Bakery! It's been one of my fave spots for most of the time that I’ve lived in Asheville! 🙏❤️😢

THE PIZZA GUY IS HERE! Chef Drew Peterson from Asheville Pizza South brought me his pizza of the month for August yesterday, and it was awesome, as always. It’s a super-flavorful middle eastern influenced pie, and Dawn & I both loved it.

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Here’s Drew’s description: “It’s called Baba Ganoosh Manoosh. It’s a Lebanese inspired pizza with a baba ganoush and roasted red pepper base. Spinach, feta and fresh Mozzarella. After the oven it gets a tabbouleh flavored greek yogurt swirl and crispy deep fried garbonzo beans tossed in smoked paprika!” I’m telling you what. It’s delicious!!!”

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I recommend this pizza 100%, but if it’s gone by the time you see this, don’t despair, there will be another one every month!

CONTRADA: Dawn & I took my nephew to Contrada (2 doors down from Cucina 24 on Wall Street, downtown Asheville) for his birthday, where we had two excellent pizzas and a really great panzanella.

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The neph had never had panzanella before, and a few days later he said, “I like hanging out with you guys because I get to try new foods that I never would have tried on my own.” That’s sweet music to these old ears!

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Thanks, Contrada, for the kick-ass pizza, super pro service, and an all around wonderful experience! ❤️❤️❤️

BEARS BBQ: Paddy & I went on an Asheville Food Tours lunch junket the other day to Bear's Smokehouse BBQ and STUFFED ourselves.

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We ate pulled pork, ribs, mac n cheese, pimento cheese, and my favorite, the Impossible meatloaf sandwich with queso & slaw! We. Ate. Until. We. Popped!

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I went home and fell asleep for an hour and didn’t need to eat again until the next day. Thanks, Bears! 🙂❤️🔥

CONSULTATIONS AVAILABLE: I've decided to offer restaurant consultation, not because I’m an expert at running restaurants, but because I’m an expert at eating in them!

As a fairly well-known, and generally well-regarded professional eater, I’m sometimes asked for my opinions and advice by owners and managers of new or struggling restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and other food & beverage venues.

On average, I eat at 150+ different restaurants annually.

I see them come, and I see them go, and when they go, I hate it, but I’m usually not surprised. In a lot of cases, the writing was already on the wall.

The restaurant that served me the worst meal I had in 2022? Gone.

The restaurant that I said was “never gonna make it?” Didn’t make it.

If you’re interested in a free 1/2 hour online consultation, you can email me at

You can read the details about what I offer by going to my web site.

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Stu Helm: Food Fan
Stu Helm: Food Fan
This podcast is mostly about food