Stu Helm: Food Fan
Stu Helm: Food Fan
Episode 134: Co-Host Tryouts Part 1

Episode 134: Co-Host Tryouts Part 1

Plus: Haters Gonna Hate, New Year's Firsts & Resolutions, and Stoobie Nominees

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The podcast above features my first “Co-Host Try-Out” with my friend Jeff Anderson, who’s a great guy, and has been part of our local food scene in one way or another ever since forever. I hope you enjoy Jeff’s contribution! I’ll be testing out some other possible co-hosts in the coming weeks, and hopefully I’ll find one or more people who can keep this show from being the sound of my voice for an hour! LOL

Podcast Contents

00:00 - 4:04 INTRO: I Made An Embarrassing Error
4:14 - 14:40 INTERVIEW: Co-Host Try Outs Part 1 Jeff Anderson
14:40 - 34:00 - WHERE’D YA EAT: Golden Hour, The Med, Laughing Seed, Farm Dog, Session Cafe, Bargello, Twisted Laurel, Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, Dilbar, Rhubarb
34:45 - 51:05 X-MAS FOOD TRADITIONS: Santa Heads, Gingerbread Houses, and Christmas Cake
51:15 - 57:26 REVIEW: Pizza Arrabbiata con Stracciatella e Pepperoni a Contrada

Folks, I hope you’re having a great 2024 so far! Around here we start celebrating the holidays around October 1st, getting more and more intense, and lasting until nearly the end of January, so with all that holiday cheer and activities and family fun etc etc, I am waaaay behind on publishing this here newsletter, and I do apologize! So let’s dive in…

HATERS GONNA HATE: Y’all, ever since I first got published by Ashvegas back in 2013, I’ve had haters. This week three doozies came at me with full force, one in a series of typo-laden DMs, one in the comments section of a post on a public forum, and one did a little of both. So, here’s a friendly reminder that I'm just a person who goes out to eat a lot, and writes about the food that I like. Aaand that's pretty much it. If I eat something and I like it, I might post about it. If I eat it, but don't like it, I won't post about it. If I haven’t even eaten it, I obviously can’t post about it. Please set your expectations of me right there, and don't get angry at me that I'm not something other than that. And please keep in mind that I don't get paid to blog about food. I get paid to lead food tours for Asheville Food Tours. I tried to get paid to write about food, and did get paid by a couple of local publications when I first started out, but I didn't like the restrictions involved with working for advertisement-based publications, so I decided to get a job as a food tour guide instead, and continue to blog about food for free. The only people who pay me to write about food are the 59 awesome friends, family, foodies, and eaters who have chosen to pay for this newsletter, which is FREE, but they opt to pay. That rules. They rule. Thank you! If you’re curious to learn more about me and what I do, I have a whole FAQ on my blog

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After reading the bizarrely hostile DMs and comments from last week, I realized that the people who hate on me with the most vitriol because I don't write negative reviews of restaurants, would be the exact same people to hate on me the absolute hardest if I did. That was a strangely satisfying realization. Anyhoo…

FIRST & LAST: I was scrolling through all of my food posts from last year, getting ready for the Stoobies, when I realized that, without intending to, I ate both my first and last restaurant meals of 2023 at Bear's Smokehouse BBQ. Not surprisingly I got the same thing both times: The impossible meatloaf sandwich with cheese sauce. I ate it throughout the year too. I'm frickin' addicted to it!

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Thanks for a year of great food, Bear's! I appreciate you! 🙏

PIZZAAA! Chef Drew Peterson from Asheville Pizza South dropped by recently with his first specialty pizza of the month of 2024! It's his take on the classic "chopped cheese" sandwich from New York City, which is like a cheeseburger meets a cheesesteak, and in this case, it also meets a pizza! I love a good chopped cheese sandwich, and I loved this pizza! It was everything I expected, and more! I'll leave the description up to Drew...

"It starts with a Everything Bagel Crust. Spicy Mayo and Ketchup for the base. Super Cheesy Beef and White Onions next with American Cheese and Mozzarella on top of that. After the oven it gets fresh Shredded Lettuce and Diced Tomato."

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It's only available in the month of January, so, if it sounds like something you would enjoy, call or go in and get it while you can. As always, I recommend it highly! Drew has brought me over a dozen different specialty pies in as many months, and some get pretty crazy, but he never disappoints, and I have enjoyed them all!

FIRST TACO OF 2024: My first taco of the new year was the super-delicious Shrimp & Grits taco from White Duck Taco Shop right downtown. Deep fried little shrimps, creamy grits, tangy sauce, and generous portion of bacon crumbles. I frickin' loved it!

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Last year I only ate tacos from three different places, but I ate every taco on all three menus! White Duck is one of those places, and that’s why they are one of the nominees, along with Andale Way and Ritmo Kultural Pop-up, for my Taco of the Year Stoobie Award for 2023…

Uh, I guess I kinda buried the lead, but…


There are over 90 nominees in 23 categories this year including three new categories: Small Plate of the Year, Tasting of the Year, and House Made Pasta of the Year! You can see the nominees in those three, as well as all the other categories like Smash Burger of the Year, Big Burger of the Year, Sandwich of the Year, Entree of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, and Chef of the Year, as well as many others! Just click HERE of the button below to read them all! THE WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON.


Thanks, Y'all! 2023 was a GREAT year of eating, and I'm looking forward to announcing the winners of my annual Food Fan Awards, aka the Stoobies for you soon!

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