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