Tuesday, August 4, 2009


if you're like me you like eating out, but sometimes it cramps your style budgeting-wise. Anyways, I've discovered a few cool things that help take the sting out of eating out and I'm here to pass them on to you:

restaurant.com - gets you gift certificates for local restaurants for pennies on the dollar. if you find a coupon code, sometimes you can grab a $25 gift certificate for as little as $2!!

- you've probably heard about this on the radio already, but maybe you only listen to NPR, so here it is. Same deal as the other one: pay less than face value for a gift certificate.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Five Points Restaurant 07/03/09

I love a good omelet. I have been kicking around this town trying to find a good one. You know the ones at Waffle House and Huddle House are filling and pretty decent, but sometimes, they don't know what "old fashioned" means and they give me one of those whipped up jobs.
Sometimes the coffee is burnt tasting. And I like my omelet with a good cup o' joe. Sometimes (at Waffle House) they have Tabasco instead of Texas Pete! Yuck. That stuff tastes like nothing but spicy vinegar. If I go to Mayfel's, I wind up with some hoity-toity vegetable in my omelet.
I'm really a ham & cheese man. Anyways, I suppose I've been on a quest for the perfect omelet breakfast.

The quest has ended with the Five Points Restaurant. I had the best omelet experience in Asheville and they had good coffee and Texas Pete. I won't bore you too much with details, but they serve up a hefty 3 egg omelet with biscuit or toast and grits or potatoes for around $6. And I must tell you about the potatoes... These aren't hash browns or even their lackluster cousin, home fries. I'm talking refried mashed potatoes. Just like my grandma used to make. Delicious!

If you're in the Monford area before 11:00 AM, you owe it to yourself to try out the Five Points Restaurant.

***** Five Asterisks

Five Points Restaurant
258 Broadway St Asheville, NC (828) 252-8030

Five Points Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sadie's Seafood Pub 06/30/09

This place sort of popped up all in the sudden and I had been meaning to try it for a few weeks before I finally did. I went in there again today for lunch. First a few words on atmosphere: they have a huge TV on the wall. I hate that. I feel that TVs in restaurants are a hindrance to polite dinner conversation. Also, they have a weird mix of tasteful decor and digitally printed banners featuring seafood dishes and pics of the family dog - Sadie, perhaps? I dunno, but don't put up fine art and trashy digital prints of food on the same wall.

OK, so about the food...it's a good value. You can get in & out for around $10! They have beer on tap! The portions are a little smaller than the Kmart shopping center buffet places, but they aren't bad. More like the FDA recommended daily allowance type portions. I've had the scallop & cod platter there and it was plenty filling. They also fill you up with hush puppies. Today I had a crab cake sandwich. They bake the bread fresh, which is nice, but I guess I'm used to Baltimore crab cakes, so this seemed a little bland. Still, it was cheap.

*** three asterisks

Sadie's Seafood Pub
54 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC - (828) 505-3364

Mayfel's 06/28/09

I've actually eaten at Mayfel's many a time, I'm just now getting around to writing it up. I somewhat jokingly refer to it as the "Tupelo Honey Overflow Room" because on Sundays you can get into Mayfel's within 15 minutes of getting in line, but Tupelo Honey has a 45 minute wait. I still haven't tried Tupelo Honey for that reason. I don't got 45 minutes to listen to my tummy grumble.

So the downside to Mayfel's is that the only Omelet you're gonna get is the one that is on special and it almost always has something crazy in it - kale, avacado, endive...something I consider not very wholesome for a filling breakfast. On this particular Sunday morning, it was an onion, bacon & avocado omelet, which I decided I could live with. I suppose if I'd wanted ham & cheese, I'd have been at the Huddle House anyways. It turned out to be a tasty omelet. The home fries are a bit on the dry side and could use a little seasoning, but overall it was worth the money: around $9, I guess. You can people watch uptown, too, so I suppose you're also paying for scenery.

Last week I had lunch there and ordered a catfish po-boy, which left me a po-boy afterwards.

I like Mayfel's and will eat there again but they could perhaps come down a bit on the prices or go up a bit on the tastiness of their cuisine.

*** three asterisks

22 College St Asheville, NC 28801-2803 - (828) 252-8840

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Papa's & Beer 05/05/09

People have been lauding Papa's & Beer since I first moved to Asheville as the best Mexican in town. I started to go to the one over by the K-Mart last Summer, but there was a line out the door and I'm usually not keen on waiting around when someplace else has no line. Anyways, with that attitude, of all nights, I choose Cinco De Mayo to finally try the place. I went to the newer one over on Tunnel Road because a bunch of co-workers wanted to try it. We waited maybe 45 minutes, so not too bad considering...and they did give out free baby bottles of Corona, not that I'll drink the stuff.

We finally got seated and they brought us our chips and complimentary bean dip. They also have a salsa bar with several types of salsa. I ordered a Negro Modelo and a sweet tea to drink. By the time my food came, I was pretty much already full on chips and salsa, but as I had ordered chili verde, a dish best eaten fresh, I figured I'd gorge myself. The pork was tender and the sauce was delicious. All told, I think I might have spent around $25, so the place is a little pricey for a Mexican place, but the food is high quality. I'd like to try it again on a less crowded evening.

**** four asterisks

Papa's & Beer

17 Tunnel Rd, Asheville, NC - (828) 255-2204

1000 Brevard Rd, Asheville, NC - (828) 665-9070

Sunday, May 10, 2009

El Charro 05/04/09

If you read my review of La Carreta, you already know what I require in a Mexican Restaurant. This place is pretty much the same thing as La Carreta, but everything is a little bit cheaper and not quite as good. I had the trusty #11, which is pretty much the same thing at any Mexican place in the Southeast: one enchilada, one burrito, one taco. It was fine.

I don't have much to say about this place. It's not spectacular. If it's not just convenient for you, there's no good reason to cross town for it. It's OK for what it is. They sometimes run a 2 for 1 coupon in one of the mailings I get at home, so there's that. If you have a coupon or are just in the neighborhood, I guess it's an OK place to eat.

*** three asterisks

El Charro
1788 Hendersonville Rd Asheville, NC 28803 (828)277-2248

Saturday, May 2, 2009

But I digress...

Just wanted to apologize for abandoning the blog for the last month. Part of it was that I didn't eat out as much and the other part was just laziness.

I want to pose a few questions to my fellow Ashevillains (sic):

1)WTF happened to the Iron Sculpture in Battery Park? It seems to have disappeared overnight.

2)When did Dripolator just roll up? And Why? Bad Economy? The place was always packed.

The Soda Fountain @ Woolworth Walk 05/02/09

I have been in the Woolworth Walk several times on Saturdays past to look at art, and I always smell the intoxicating aroma of bacon and wish I hadn't just ate elsewhere. Today I specifically went straight there to eat.

If you aren't familiar, the Woolworth Walk is in the old Woolworth building on Haywood Street across from Battery Park. It has been renovated into an indoor art flea market. Anyways, the diner is the old lunch counter and it is basically a short-order type operation. I was expecting they'd have some breakfast food, but no dice. It didn't really matter, though, since it was a quarter to noon already. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and vegetarian chili. They don't have fries. You get a side of chips, potato salad, or cole slaw - none of which I was into today, which is why I got the bowl of chili. The chili was great. More piquant than I had expected, which is a plus. The grilled cheese was cheddar on wheat and was just perfect.

It doesn't hurt that the staff is all a bunch of 20-something cute girls. The atmosphere is 1950's diner without the racism. I got out of there for $8, so I can't complain.

**** four asterisks

Soda Fountain at Woolworth Walk
25 Haywood St Asheville, NC 28801 (828)254-9234

Modesto Trattoria 05/01/09

I was in a mood for something new last night, so I decided to head over to the Battery Park/Grove Arcade area. I go there on Saturdays sometimes, but forget there are restaurants over there. It was a Friday night, so every place was packed, but I saw room at the bar in Modesto, so I walked in and sat down. I like the atmosphere: dark, cozy with dim lighting in colored globes. There is a Plexiglas wall behind the bar that back lights the bottles nicely. I would go so far as to call the mood romantic.

I looked at the menu and quickly realized I had picked a place in a higher range than I really wanted on this particular evening. Had I a date or something, I'm sure this would be a nice place, but everything was more than I wanted to spend for a meal while solo. I settled on a brick oven pizza from their daily specials. It was a Salmon, walnut, and jalapeno pizza with mozzarella cheese. They didn't have any sweet tea, so I ordered an Italian mineral water.

The pizza was OK, but considering the price ($15 for a 12 inch pizza), it lacked for meat. It had perhaps 3 ounces of salmon on it, if that. Also, it turns out that mozzarella is too weak of a cheese for this particular pizza. Something with more bite, like a feta or goat cheese would have offset the walnuts and salmon better. The jalapenos had been seeded, so they hardly added anything to the flavor.

Another thing that bothered me was the clientele. It seems that most everyone in the place is the type of self-important asshole who just wants to hear themselves talk about how great they are. I guess these people actually do leave Biltmore Forest sometimes and I now know of another place to avoid if I don't want to deal with them. Overall, I'm not terribly impressed.

*** three asterisks

Modesto Trattoria
1 Page Ave Suite 138B Asheville, NC 28801 (828) 225-4133

Modesto on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 1, 2009

JK's Kitchen 04/25/09

I eat at JK's about once every other week. The place is within walking distance from my apartment, so it's just convenient and I like breakfast food. It's a nice little "Greek & three" place with pretty much your standard fare for a Southern diner on the menu. I think it's kind of cute that they have mismatched coffee cups on every table.

I always get an omelet - either ham & cheese or sausage & cheese, depending on my mood. It comes with a choice of grits or home fries and toast or biscuits. I always have home fries and toast. My son has had both the pancakes and the waffle while dining with me. I've never been to JK's for any meal but breakfast, but their lunch menu doesn't look like it would blow me away. I think they close after lunch.

Overall, JK's is not spectacular, but it's a nice family joint to go for breakfast if you're in South Asheville one morning. I think you can feed 3 people for under $25, so it's a good value.

**** four asterisks

JK's Kitchen
6 Long Shoals Rd Arden, NC 28704 (828) 505-1957

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cinebarre 03/28/2009

It was a dreary day and I could not get out to go hiking, so I thought I'd take my son to see a movie. Having lost almost an entire paycheck at the last movie I saw over at the new Biltmore Grande Stadium 15, I decided to try something different.

Cinnebarre is great. It's a restaurant in a cinema or vise versa. Anyways, they also have a great selection of beers. The entrees all have cute movie themed names. I had a Guinness Draught and ordered something called the "Blue Velvet Burger," which had blue cheese and buffalo sauce. My son had a bowl of popcorn and a chocolate shake. The total food bill came to under $25 which is not bad considering I had beer and what would be considered a gourmet burger like the ones you get at a ferns and brass restaurant. The popcorn was about the same as popcorn at any other theatre.

***Three asterisks


800 Brevard Rd Asheville, NC 28806 (828) 665-7776

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Urban Burrito 02/07/09

So sometimes I just want a quick bite to eat. I'm not in the mood for fine dining. I don't have a lot of money to spend, whatever. On this particular occasion, it was just hunger and a desire not to cook. I opted for that all-American fast food, the burrito. Say what you will, but burritos have become as much a staple of the American diet as pizza, hamburgers, or a ham & cheese omelet.

Anyways, Urban Burrito is on the second floor of this shopping pavilion over on Merrimon Ave. It's got kind of subdued lighting. I suppose you could take a date there if it was a casual type 3rd or 4th date. The thing is, the food is phenomenal. They have a great selection of fresh items for your burrito: meats, veggies, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, etc. They also have a salsa bar that features some interesting choices like pineapple salsa. My personal preference is salsa verde.

I got the chipotle chicken burrito on a whole wheat tortilla with guacamole, black beans & lettuce. I'd eat it again and again if I'd bought five or six of them, but alas, I only bought one.

****four asterisks

Urban Burrito

640 Merimon Ave #203 - (828) 251-1921

129 Bleachery Blvd #M - (828) 298-9802

1341 Parkwood Ave #106 - (828) 225-4101

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Black Forest Restaurant 01/11/09

Since friends were in town, I decided to go someplace reasonably fancy for supper. I was also trying to accommodate my friend's lack of adventure in dining, while entertaining his wife's enthusiasm for new experiences. I thought perhaps German food was the best of both worlds.

The restaurant is well lit, but the decor is dark. I'm not complaining, though. It's typical Alpine motif let's you know what kind of place you're in. I decided to have a beer with dinner, even though I really don't care for German beer. I went with the pork wiener schnitzel. I thought the price was a bit steep, but when it arrived, there were two breaded pork cutlets that more than made up for the price. It was served with sauerkraut, German potato salad, spaetzle, and red cabbage.

My friend decided just to go with a New York Strip, which he claims he doesn't normally like, but he wound up enjoying. His wife had the schnitzel, same as me, so I can't comment on anything else. I'd come back, I suppose, but I wasn't as impressed as I thought I might be.

**** four asterisks

Black Forest Restaurant

2155 Hendersonville Rd - 828-687-7980

Green Sage Coffeehouse & Cafe 01/11/09

OK, so it took me a week or two to catch up on these. I ate out a lot the weekend of my birthday..

That being said, some friends of mine called up around 11:00AM to say they were coming into town and we should go grab a bite together. I agreed and pointed them to Patton & College, because I thought we'd hit up Mayfel's, who it turned out were closed for 2 weeks. Bummer.
We walked down to Tupelo Honey, but as usual, there would be a ridiculous wait.

After walking several blocks, we decided to duck into Green Sage. I recalled having a decent brunch there once before. I was leery, because the Green Sage caters to the gluten-free and organic crowd, but I think we made a decent choice.

My buddy from out of town is a finicky eater - a real meat and potatoes kinda guy, but he decided on a bacon & egg biscuit. He initially complained about the price, but decided based on the size and the quality and freshness of ingredients that this was, indeed, a $4 biscuit. I had the Farmer's Omelet but had requested it without kale or tomatoes. When it arrived, it had both. I was able to pick out the tomatoes and decided to eat the kale. The omelet was good, and so were the grits, but I'm not blown away by the sweet potato home fries. His wife had the quiche, which I sampled. It was excellent.

The atmosphere of the Green Sage is typical coffeehouse: some comfy chairs and some wobbly tables in a dark room. The cuisine is probably a godsend if you need a gluten-free diet, or if you just prefer vegan & organic meals, but I find the exotic take on regular breakfast staples to be kind of forced and I'd really rather just go to the Waffle House....or Mayfel's if they are open.

*** three asterisks

Green Sage Coffeehouse & Cafe

5 Broadway Street - 828-252-4450

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mela Indian Restaurant 01/10/09

I love Indian food. Mela offers a great dining experience if you love Indian food. They also offer a heckuva nice buffet if you hit them for lunch. I drop in every few Saturdays at lunch to eat way more than I should. They have a great selection of chutneys, salad, soup, rice, breads, and several entrees that are either vegetarian or chicken dishes.

I've been in at night before, also, and their entrees are also excellent. Most of their curries are flavorful without being over powering. The decor is pleasant and subdued. My only real complaint is that I am used to being served by either a Sikh in a turban or a Hindu lady wearing a sari when I go out for Indian. Here, they have pretty white girls in black dresses. I suppose what they lack in authenticity, they make up in aesthetics. It's a minor point. I've not had a bad meal at Mela and I find the prices reasonable, especially the buffet.

**** four asterisks

Mela Indian Restaurant

70 N Lexington St. - (828) 225-8880

Modesto on Urbanspoon

Asiana Grand Buffet 01/08/09

Back in the day, when I was 30 pounds heavier, I was a big fan of buffet restaurants. Back then, perhaps Asiana would have really been up my alley, as it is, I'm not a big fan. Atmosphere wise, the place is pretty swanky. They have nice decorating and it's well lit. The buffet is clean and well stocked. It's probably the biggest buffet around, offering a huge selection of different Asian dishes. Yet, I'm left feeling like it's missing something.

I certainly always get my fill here. They have sushi, egg rolls and other appetizers, chicken, seafood and beef dishes, soups, desserts, etc, but I have never left Asiana feeling like I had a spectacular meal. It's as though they are trying so hard to be the biggest and offer the most variety, that they forgot how to excel at any one dish. I'm certain I've had better meals at lesser buffets in town. And at the price of Asiana, I could eat twice at some of the other places.

I do appreciate the free meal on my birthday, though. Thanks for the birthday present.

*** three asterisks

Asiana Grand Buffet

1968 Hendersonville Rd. - (828) 654-8879

153 Smokey Park Hwy - (828) 667-0410

Monday, January 5, 2009

Doc Chey's Noodle House 1/5/09

OK, so I frequent Doc Chey's. It was the first place I really tried when I first moved to Asheville, and I guess I liked it a lot because I eat there about once every 2 weeks at least. I typically order the same thing: Pad Thai with Chicken and Tofu (that's a little extra because you're supposed to pick one, but I like both). One time I did try the Tomato Ginger Noodle Bowl, but I guess it just wasn't the Pad Thai to me. It wasn't bad, though. Anyways, the staff are really friendly at Doc Chey's. I'm sure it could be considered a romantic atmosphere; it's dark with some subdued lighting. It's also very noisy, however, because it is a small room and they have a lot of people in there. Prepare to wait if you are eating in. I usually eat at the bar to expedite being served.

Oh, another thing: they have really interesting iced teas. Inquire about that. It's something different every time. Tonight I had a caramel apple tea. I also ordered a beer. They have a decent beer list that contains some of the local microbrews. I ordered a Highland Oatmeal Porter. I drank my beer, enjoyed my Pad Thai and my tea and I got out of there for ~$14 with a tip.

I feel compelled to mention that someone told me Doc Chey's is a chain. It is not a national chain, but it is also not exclusive to Asheville. I don't make it a habit to eat at chain restaurants, but regional chains can be excepted.

**** four Asterisks

Doc Chey's Noodle House

37 Biltmore Ave. Asheville, NC - (828)252-8220

Modesto on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kubo's Japanese Restaurant Sushi Bar and Hibachi‎ 1/2/09

I was going to hit up one of my regular haunts, but apparently a sprinkler malfunction closed the place I was going down for repairs. I decided to step in Kubo's because they happened to be remarkably empty for a Friday night. The atmosphere is very nice. It is a classy place with beautiful hard wood and fancy lighting fixtures. There are fiber optics in the ceiling that simulate twinkling stars in the night sky. This would be a great romantic date restaurant. I was sadly alone this evening.

I sat at the Sushi bar, although they also have hibachi tables in the back and regular seating in the front. I ordered tuna rolls, a baby octopus salad, and vegetable tempura. I thought the tuna rolls were great and also really liked the baby octopus salad, but I must say, their vegetable tempura was excellent. Just the right amount of crispy without being overdone or greasy. It was like each course of my meal got better. I decided after eating, I'd go ahead and get desert also. I ordered green tea ice cream (a personal favorite at Japanese places) and had it tempura style. It arrived wrapped in a fried crispy shell. It was terrific. I got out of there for around $26 with tip, so overall I can't complain considering this place was quality. Presentation on all of the dishes was also excellent.

***** Five Asterisks!

Kubo's Japanese Restaurant Sushi Bar and Hibachi‎

5 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC - (828) 251-1661

Friday, January 2, 2009

La Carreta Mexican Restaurant 1/1/09

I grew up eating Mexican food about once or twice a week. When I was in college, a local Mexican place used to offer a 2 for 1 coupon weekly, so Mexican food has become a staple of my diet. Upon moving to the Asheville area, I immediately set out to find a decent Mexican Restaurant. My requirements are simple; cheese is white and there is a soccer game on in the corner. I haven't actually seen a TV with a soccer match on it at La Carreta, but otherwise, the atmosphere is great. It is dimly lit, but not so much so that you couldn't see La Cucaracha on the wall if there were any. I've been here several times. The food is pretty much what I've come to expect from the typical Mexican restaurant in the Southeast. The Number 11 is one taco, one enchilada, & one burrito, just like every other place around here. You can get out of La Carreta feeding 2 people with a decent tip for around $20.

**** Four Asterisks

La Carreta Mexican Restaurant

100 Merrimon Ave, Asheville - (828) 225-4006

1916 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville - (828) 651-4462