Monday, October 13, 2014

The Good News and the Bad News - T is For Tuesday

I met with fellow food writer, blogger and man about town Stu Helm for a cup and conversation at the Clingman Cafe this past week.
The Cafe is an enjoyable place to chat, eat, hang out, people watch, and aside from no where to put my tea bag, the tea selection is fairly good for a coffee shop and  there were lots of pastry options.
I decided to try the chocolate chunk muffin- far afield from my PP, and ended up taking it to an under the weather friend, and it cheered her  right up! It does look lovely on the plate.
There are lots of artisan mugs on the wall for sale, and many folks were drinking out of handmades. I like that.
Shout out to Stu for reminding me how enjoyable male friendship can be. Visit his FB page, he loves likes, and he has a blog too. Stu often makes me laugh out loud and I like that too!

The good news is, it's hard to get a bad meal in Asheville, even as a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist.
Possible, just hard.

Now for the bad news, and I wish, I didn't have to write this and I'll be thrilled to be proved wrong in the future.
It's hard to get a good meal in Black Mountain.
Possible, just hard.

More company, had me trying out the local places once again, due to hunger and convenience. The first thing you notice about Blue Ridge Biscuit Company, is the chicken.
Great Chicken!

Place your order at the counter and they bring you your food when it's ready. There are paper menus you can take to a table while you make your selections. That's nice.

The food is ok, if you like this kind of food.
Clearly not a Sysco free zone. Foil wrapped butter pats ruin my appetite .
The service is friendly and fast.
The plating and service areas need work.

Nothing wrong with the jam or drinks, just unattractive and messy.

Grits and sweet potato fries.
The fries were good, the grits fine, and it looked like the food was just thrown on the plate.
Biscuit with shitake gravy and veggie sausage.
My brother enjoyed it, and this is a very brown plate.
Needs, color and something to keep the food from sliding around, from the kitchen to the table.
SIL, an omnivore, got a trout spread biscuit. She said it was ok, and again the plate is messy.
At least it has a little color.
The food was eaten, we enjoyed ourselves, the bill was reasonable, I can't say it was great or even very good, and even tho I do send folks there, I don't choose to eat there myself.

Fresh Wood Fired Pizza opened a few years ago in Black Mountain, and I was really excited.
I love wood fired pizza, and the owner said he was going to use local ingredients, organic flours and slow rise bread baking  methods.
Maybe he does, and the food can often be good, tho never great, at least not lately, and there is no other way to say this,
the service is terrible.
I have gone there a lot, really, a lot, and even if it's empty the service can be bad.

Friday night we went , and it was so crowded, there was no where to stand inside. I had to corner a server to ask how long it might be to get a table, and she guessed 25 minutes, and from previous experience, that meant it could be over an hour till we might eat, and it was already almost 8pm.
Note, the server did not ask if I was interested in a table, and I saw other folks trying to figure out how to get their name on the list.
With two veggies in tow, there is really no where else to eat in Black Mountain, with more than one choice, so we went to Native Kitchen in Swannanoa and had a nice meal.
Brother ordered a tempeh ruben, that came with slaw instead of kraut- a surprise- maybe we didn't read the menu, and it came from the kitchen as catfish instead of tempeh.
I believe it was a kitchen mistake, and the server make it right, quickly.
I was tired, I just reviewed them the other day, so no photos. It was a good meal and we enjoyed it, aside from that mix-up.

Meanwhile, back at Fresh...
We returned again Sunday between football games, it was early, 5-ish, Fresh was half empty, and we did get menus quickly.
The server was friendly and attentive, tho she didn't seem to know, or offer  what the soup of the day was, or if there were any specials.
When I ordered vegan cheese on my pizza, she told me they might be out of that.

Brother order a beer off of the table menu, and they were out of it, then she read him the available brews. He gave them points for serving the beer at the right temp. It was a Highlands Pale, I think.
It went downhill from there.
SIL offered hot tea, that came in an over filled pot, on top of a box, that spilled hot water on her when the server put it on the table.
 We weren't sure at first what the box was, and it contained the teas.
All the little spaces were filled, tho there were only a few choices.
Arranging them gave us something to do while we waited for out food.
When SIL poured the water, the top fell off of the pot.
Again,no place to put the tea bag.
Remember, the place was half empty.
It took over a half hour to get our pizza's.

Wood fired crust is thin and crisp and requires the right balance of ingredients on top.
This pizza has too much of everything, including ricotta cheese, mushrooms and a red sauce, that have too much liquid in them, so the center of the crust was soggy, and the topping slid off.
To my eye, it's gloppy looking.
SIL was not impressed.

My pizza, I asked for char, Daiya vegan cheese, olives, roasted garlic and mushrooms, was ok, tho the garlic wasn't roasted! It seemed like just whole cloves of raw garlic( more on this to come).
All of the pizza's came with basil sprinkled on top, which we didn't ask for.
It was only a little soggy.
For  eye appeal comparison visit here.
Brothers pizza didn't appear.
About five minutes later, the server said something about they got oil on his pizza and they were making him another one.????
Then she brought him another beer, that he didn't want.
Fifteen minutes later, his pizza came.
He had asked for roasted garlic, and they were out of it.
How can a pizza place run out of garlic?
Did the pizza guy not know the difference between roasted and raw?
Garlic and oregano would have been welcome condiments on the table.
It was ok, on the bland side and not soggy.

I fault the management for the poor service. All the servers I have had there are young and eager to please, they just need some training.
I have been, a server, cook, chef, owner of a catering company and have cooked and served more meals than I care to think about.
Go read your reviews Mark.

Part of the problem is also Black Mountain itself.
Perhaps it's too easy to go to Asheville.
Perhaps folks just aren't that interested in what they eat.
All I know is, as a whole foods, locovore vegetarian, I can eat in Asheville, or eat at home if I want a very good meal.

Next time, we will go to Asheville.

Link up with other beverages today at T is for Tuesday.

Comments and questions always welcomed.


  1. all I can say is wow-what disappointing experiences for sure!! I consider myself a very good cook and so when I go out I want good food and service. One of the reasons we don't go out much unless we're away. I believe you are doing a service to these establishments and hope they look at this post. Better luck at the next outing, and happy T day!

  2. What a sad experience you had!I guess people ignore the fact that food must be attractive. It has to bewitch our senses first.

  3. Sometimes it is just impossible to get good service AND good food at the same time. The jam jars look disgusting.
    Hope your back to your regular dinning places.....their food always looks good!
    Happy T-day

  4. what an amazing post!
    Happy T-Day!

  5. I've been to places that treated me like a queen, and places that treated me with much disrespect. The places where they were disrespectful were also places I would give low marks for the food. Could be my vision was clouded by being treated like a non-person, or maybe the food was just not worth the cost. To me, appearance is EVERYTHING. It starts with appearance and goes from there. Well, actually it starts with how you are treated when you walk through the door.

    I agree with Krisha. The jam jars really DID look disgusting. I wouldn't have eaten anything from those jars.

    I always love your honest reviews. At least you don't sugar coat anything and that is always important to me. Thanks for sharing these outing experiences with us for T this Tuesday.

  6. Robyn, I'm having trouble finding your poetry blog.

    1. I combined it with this blog. her is the current link to the post
      sorry for any confusion. it will be posted on or close to the first of each month right here.
      thanks so much for your interest and support!


  7. I am intrigued by the button bouquet in your first photo with the muffin...
    all looks very nice.
    Shame about your disappointing meal
    it's hard not to let that put a damper on things.
    Wishing you a Happy T Day Robyn...

  8. Ok now I'm starving!! I walked then biked already this morning with only a measly granola bar in my tummy. Love the chicken sculpture!
    Happy T Day!

  9. Hmmm....... Happy Tday!! Hugs! deb

  10. Robyn, sounds like Black Mountain would be a good place for you to have a good food outlet :) they obviously need one! When one goes out to eat and pays good money---you want good food done right :)
    I like that little bouquet with the buttons and looks like felted leaves---did you buy that there or do they just decorated their tables--very cute!
    Happy T day and thanks for stopping by my blog :)

  11. Sounds like a wonderful place we'd go to, food looks awesome
    Bridget #2

  12. I have always heard wonderful things about Asheville. I knew it was a fantastic artistic community and now I know they have good food, too. Happy T-Day! :)

  13. It was hard for me to read past that attention-getting rooster! I love that rooster!

    It's hard to understand how a restaurant can provide consistently poor service. :( Top that with wrong orders and soggy pizza and I wouldn't think they'd stay in business long. Such a shame.

    1. often, inspite of all, the food is quite good, and sadly, there is no where else to go in Black Mountain if you are vegetarian and want more than one decent choice. if you look at their on line reviews, many say the food was good and the service terrible.

  14. Wow that's disappointing. So pack your own food next time when visiting Black Mountain. I think Elizabeth is right, that if they people is nice and service is good, I think I can overlook the food a bit.
    Happy T-Day!


I love comments,constructive criticism, suggestions and RAK.