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North Carolina: Smokies, Ashville & Northwestern Parts


Katie Meadow
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We will be driving up from Atlanta in early May, noodling around the hills, checking out Asheville, birding in Chimney Rock, then continuing north along the Blue Ridge P'way and possibly visiting a friend in Stokes County, near the Virginia border. We don't plan to go any further east than the Lexington/Winston-Salem area, then head back to Atlanta.

If there is anything to add to the Asheville threads that would be great, but I expect to spend only one or maybe two nights in the Asheville area. Looking for great roadside BBQ and farm to table foods, down home, not super pricey and with no extra attitude, thanks. We will be two weeks in NY before that, and then several days in Atlanta, so we will already have blown a lot of money on sushi and overpriced food, splurges, etc. I'll be ready for grits and farm eggs and greasy wooden tables. As for Asheville proper, Early Girl has been recommended and it sounds like fun for breakfast or lunch. I guess we will be in Asheville for one dinner, but the rest of our plans are flexible.

Also would really appreciate suggestions in the mountains or western parts generally for places to stay: old hotels, small modest b & b's, nothing too extravagant or frilly. If you know of any great farm stays, that might be interesting.You could pm me with that if you have suggestions. Thanks so much!

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For breakfast I reccomend Sunny Point over Early Girl, though Early Girl is really nice.

For BBQ it really has to be 12 Bones, this place is famous due to President Obama going there but the BBQ is the real deal and it is the besyt in the Asheville area.

We also loved the Whtie Duck taco shop which is in the center of the River Arts district

The best dinner we had in Asheville was at a place called The Magnetic Field. Sort of below the radar, but they also had great cocktails.

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  • 1 month later...

Turned out we had very little time in Asheville, so we needed to find something open mid-afternoon near downtown. We had a very good lunch at Tupelo Honey cafe. Unpretentions but very friendly. Very good biscuits, knockout grits w/feta (gettin' a bit sick of cheddar grits) good quick saute greens and excellent house made pickled beets.

Highlights of the trip have been at places we stayed. Fantastic meal at a B&B cooked by a French woman near the Blue Ridge Hway, and I mean like four stars provencal meal: salad with home made canned pickled beets, fresh spinach from her garden and chevre, local rabbit with shitakes grown on her own log, home grown radishes, roast potatoes. For dessert she served a pear almond tarte tatin, ice cream and espresso. Next morning for breakfast she baked orange glazed brioche, served fresh strawbs and granola with Greek yogurt, toasted nuts and a little topping of whipped cream. I'm not ordinarily a granola person, but this was outstanding; looked like an ice cream sunday. Then there were the best smoked salmon and local eggs I ever tasted, and I've had a lot of that. It was totally amazing. Oh, I don't know what white wine she served at dinner, but it was great too.

Next highlights were two days of farm food in a very remote area near the Appalachian border. We had dessert the first night, which was home grown rhubarb and strawberry tart. The next morning was an enormous spread of johnny cakes with warm sorghum and honey mixed,biscuits just out of the oven, a fabulous fruit salad made from their apples and other fruits, and of all things, roast asparagus from their farm. Asparagus appeared the next morning as well, along with cheesy heirloom grits and delicious baked apple slices. Dinner was local farmed trout and a delicious pasta dish with carrots and guess what, more asparagus. Best asparagus I ever tasted. Wow, stay on a farm!

We are working our way down to Atlanta, where I am guessing we will be mostly eating in restaurants. It seems that B&B's (been awhile since we did this kind of trip) that are in out of the way places routinely offer dinner, for an additional charge. At the farm we would have had to drive on gravel roads and windy dark paved roads for almost an hour to get to a restaurant, so who wants to do that? We got lost going to three of the places we have stayed, even with GPS, which is often wrong when it comes to country roads, so once we found these places I would have rather starved than get in the car again. But as you can see, starving was not in the cards.

We had some North Carolina BBQ at a well known place in Lexington, chunks of pork with a vinegar tang that needed hot sauce, which we spritzed on, and hush puppies and some not very distinctive sides. Never had hush puppies before, but these tasted like a corn dog without the dog, not that that is necessarily a bad thing. Jury is out, not enough info. We also stopped for lunch today at an old historic inn with a restaurant where I had country ham for the first time. It was good, strong flavored, but again nothing to compare it too. Best thing about it was that it was served with more baked apples. I've had warm applesauce, but the baked sliced apple thing that seems to be a common side in several parts of NC is really yummy (I can do that at home, right? Well not the ham.) You got your salt, you got your sugar. My husband and I have gotten into the habit of ordering one sweet tea and one unsweetened, then mixing them for a not so sweet drink. Good, but the waiters usually look at as funny when we do it.

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  • 2 years later...

I was just at Smileys this weekend - also on Sunday afternoon.  Had the coarse chopped plate with hush puppies and slaw.  I'm no expert and have decided that I generally prefer ribs over shoulder for my bbq, but it wasn't bad at all.  I love hush puppies and it is probably a good thing I can't get them up here in Delaware!

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I was just at Smileys this weekend - also on Sunday afternoon.  Had the coarse chopped plate with hush puppies and slaw.  I'm no expert and have decided that I generally prefer ribs over shoulder for my bbq, but it wasn't bad at all.  I love hush puppies and it is probably a good thing I can't get them up here in Delaware!

 

This place has hush puppies. Right over in New Castle.  http://www.noralees.com/dining-room-menu

 

No idea if its any good...

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I was just at Smileys this weekend - also on Sunday afternoon.  Had the coarse chopped plate with hush puppies and slaw.  I'm no expert and have decided that I generally prefer ribs over shoulder for my bbq, but it wasn't bad at all.  I love hush puppies and it is probably a good thing I can't get them up here in Delaware!

 

In addition to what gfweb suggested, you might consider looking for sorullos/sorullitos instead?  It looks like you can buy bags of frozen sorullos [Kikuet brand] from the ShopRite on S Walnut St in Wilmington...

Carmen's Kitchen on 4th & Dupont is Puerto Rican although they don't seem to have them on their menu - perhaps you might give them a call, though.   Maybe other similar-cuisine places in town?

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