Sep 5, 2022 • 53M

Good Morning, Friends!

Miracles, Smash Burgers & Tomato Pie

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This podcast is mostly about food
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Today’s Podcast is another full-length episode of the Food Fans Radio Show, which airs every Friday and Saturday on WPVM 103.7fm, Asheville’s Progressive Voice of the Mountains! This week features a review of the brand new, amazing Neng Jr’s restaurant in West Asheville, as well as an interview with Chef Tom LaFauci from Twisted Laurel Asheville, a tasting at La Rumba Latin restaurant, and a preview of the upcoming Food Storytellers dinner, which is part of Chow Chow, and I am involved in!

Chef Tom

Today’s Newsletter contains words and pictures of and about my successful subscription drive, a miracle on Battery Park Ave, a tomato pie to die for, the people in my world, a recap of the Food Storytellers dinner, and some big $$$ opportunities from the city for festival planners. Please scroll down to look and read, I hope that you will enjoy!


I had set some humble goals and we met them folks! We even went over by a li’l bit, so thank you, thank you, thank you! The goal was to have 750 total subscribers. I now have 762! The goal was to to reach 50 paid subscribes. 52 of you have stepped up to pay for your free subscriptions, which makes you a stone-cold boss!

I promised you 9 free coloring pages if we got our goals, and 3 “bonus besties” if we exceeded it, so go ahead and click HERE to visit the page where they are stored, to download, print out, and enjoy! Restaurants, please feel free to print out as many as you want to for your customers!

Thank you to all of the new subscribers, and thank you to everyone who subscribes! I hope that you enjoy it, and find it entertaining and informative!

My new goals are 800 total subscribers and 75 paid subscribers! If I reach that goal by December 31st, 2022, I will release more coloring pages, including the highly sought-after “forbidden love” pineapple bacon pizza page! :)


A week or so ago, I was not only a witness to, but was a participant in a small miracle onBattery Park Ave: The was no line at Chai Pani, so I ate lunch! Angels sang, timpani sounded, the heavens opened up, and a divine light shone upon my plate in the form of a super delicious crispy masala fish roll. And my friend Dave got kheer. Things I learned that day: It is more likely for there to be no line at Chai Pani at, like, 2:30 in the afternoon on a Monday, AND I still love their food! If you haven’t been able to get into this Asheville favorite since James Beard gave them an award, take my advice, get down to Battery Park Ave at an odd hour of the day, and maybe you too can be part of a miracle.

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Last week, my friend Chef Mark Allen Schmitt from Session Cafe at Citizen Vinyl posted a picture of his tomato pie, and I think I wrote “Gah” in a comment, after which he DM’d me asking if he should save me a piece. Answer: YES PLEASE!

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The next day my mom & I went in, and wow! We shared a slice of the tomato pie, plus a pulled pork sandwich, a roast beef sandwich, a scone & an oatmeal cream pie. The tomato pie was incredible, creamy, rich, and delicious, and all of the other was was super tasty and satisfying too. Do not sleep on this wonderful cafe / bar, Y’all. Chef Mark & his kitchen, as well as the baristas & bartender are doing something truly special there, and the space itself is also awesome. Get in when you can, and as always, tell them I sent ya!


I’m always — ALWAYS — looking for a great burger, and this town does not disappoint! Lately I’m on a smash burger kick, meaning thin patties smashed into the grill with minimal toppings of a very traditional kind — lettuce pickles, American cheese, etc, so here’s three pictures of three great smash burgers I’ve had lately at Burgerworx, Twisted Laurel Asheville, and Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro, but also…

One day I was looking through my posts & pictures and I realized that there were very few people featured in them, as if I live in a world populated by amazing food, but completely devoid of human beings. LOL! Well, true story, there are people in my world! And to prove it, here are some of my favorites…

Above left: Dulce, who is a host and sever at Modesto, which is right next to Burgerworx in the Grove Arcade downtown came and sat with me long enough to be the best burger model ever! Then Vince, who is the manager at Twisted Laurel Downtown Asheville, came and sat with me while I devoured the burger in the foreground. And finally, Chef Jay Medford in the kitchen window of Storm, with Night Cook Chris looking on, shows off a food-tour-sized slider version of their brand new and amazing elk burger big mac! See? I live in the human world of people, and burgers, just like everyone else! Look for more human beings featured in my food pics from now on.


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I'm participating in this "Food Storytellers" event that's happening next Thursday as part of Chow Chow Asheville Culinary Event Series, and I'm pumped! I've been teamed-up with one of my favorite chefs and one of my most treasured friends in the food scene, Chef Paty Saens from Pupuseria Patty Asheville! Yay! This is a multiple course meal, with several chefs teamed up with several storytellers. I attended last year and it was excellent! This year, I'll be on stage with Chef Paty and my friend Lucho from Asheville Multicultural acting as interpreter, and food writer Johnathan Ammons as emcee. I’ll be telling my story, the best of part which is actually the stories of all the chefs like Paty that I have met along my amazing Asheville food journey! I think tickets are still available! Don't wait until last minute, get yours now!

"This is a Seated Dinner, with a cocktail hour followed by a five course meal with paired beverages, featuring 6 chefs and 5 craft beverage makers. Menu sneak peek! These talented chefs are cooking up an exciting selection of dishes! Menu options being discussed are: mini buttermilk biscuits with pimento cheese and dill pickles; smoked cheddar grits with braised collards, fried chicken, yard pepper hot sauce and savory sorghum; Momma's Honduran chicken--oven roasted chicken with Garifuna rice and Guanaca salad, bourbon caramel corn bread pudding with candied pecans and more to come!"


From the folks at Explore Asheville CVB


Festivals & Cultural Events Annual Grant Program Open
Explore Asheville’s annual Festivals and Cultural Events Annual Grant Program, funded through earned revenue from the Explore Asheville website, opened registration August 29 with an application deadline of September 27. Nonprofit partners are eligible to apply for event funding; $100,000 is available in this cycle and will be awarded in the amounts of $1,000 to $5,000 per event. Grant recipients will be announced October 26. Click HERE to learn more.


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