Asheville Weekend – Takeout Trip
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great Christmas week! For this special edition of Foodie Adventures, we’re showing you what we’re calling our “Takeout Trip” – the best places (in our humble opinion) to get takeout and do socially-distancing friendly activities for a weekend in Asheville, NC.
Weekend Goals & Challenges
When our friend Chris from iOnGreenville asked us to create another travel guide to one of our great local cities nearby, Asheville, NC, we knew we wanted to put a unique twist on it. With the holidays and visiting our families fast approaching, we took this trip with the goal to be as safe and socially distant as possible. The rules we challenged ourselves to included:
- Anywhere we went for food or drinks had to be to-go or delivery, no dine in or sitting at the bar.
- All the places we visited had to be less than a 30 minute radius away from our AirBnB, to minimize drive time and maximize the best warmth and food quality (we ate everything in our home away from home).
- All activities had to be socially-distancing friendly, so things we could do to keep six feet away from other people or in our cars at all times.
We love Asheville and will create another comprehensive list of our favorite downtown locations, or places we love to travel, in better weather, later on. However, this was a really fun challenge and we loved being able to experience Asheville from the coziness of our AirBnB this weekend.
Friday Night – Beer & Apps
Mills River, NC
Jamie’s favorite brewery is Sierra Nevada, for sure! This year marks their 40th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of one of his all-time favorites, the Torpedo IPA.
For the 10 year anniversary, they released a brand new, barrel aged version of their classic Torpedo beer, in a 25.4 fl. oz bottle. This equals out to about a pint plus 9.6 fl. oz extra! When I saw these online, I knew I had to get them for Jamie as an early Christmas present.
Sierra Nevada, while closed for tours and inside dining due to COVID-19 restrictions, has kept its gift shop and Taproom restaurant up and running with take out and online orders for beer, gifts, and food! I figured with us driving up Friday night, this would be the perfect opportunity to check out their menu and sneakily snag Jamie’s gifts in one go.
Unfortunately, we got there a little too late and the gift shop was closed by the time we made it to grab our appetizer. However, the sweet people at Sierra Nevada were able to get my gifts from the gift shop in the meantime. They had them ready for me with our meal once we got there! I was so grateful for them getting those for us and thanked them profusely in the curbside pickup line.
Their Duck Fat Fries were amazing – Hand-cut fries topped with duck confit, aged cheddar, hot sauce aioli, Pale Ale raspberry mustard, scallions, and cascade hop salt.
These were super savory, salty, and we loved the shredded duck on top. We topped these with some the new Torpedo hot sauce I bought for Jamie, which added the perfect spicy note to balance out the dish.
Would definitely recommend going back to Sierra Nevada once they reopen! The inside of their facilities is like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but for beer lovers instead. See the slideshow below (and our Instagram post here) for some of our pictures from our first trip as a couple there last year.
Saturday Breakfast 🥞
We slept in for the first time in a while, and enjoyed making coffee in our AirBnB before deciding where to go to breakfast in the morning.
We had come up with a list on the drive up of possible options to check out. Cornerstone Restaurant had a lot of variety with menu options and was a 10 minute drive away, so that became our top pick!
We ordered over the phone and went to the bar to pick up our takeout. Absolutely loved the live-edged wood look to the bar, and the fireplace gave the inside a really cozy feel. I can see Jamie and I coming back to sit at the bar here to enjoy watching the comings and goings from the kitchen, and sports on their two big TVs for lunch or dinnertime.
Our Corner Stone Special – 2 buttermilk pancakes, 2 eggs (over easy for us), and bacon. We also snagged a biscuit and gravy (first picture in this restaurant section), since Jamie had a hankering for biscuits that morning. This was the perfect classic diner-style breakfast and really hit the spot. We loved everything we had here and would definitely go back again to try more of the menu!
We were so excited about the Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack that they’re building about 10 minutes from us in Greenville, we had to stop by the original while we were in Asheville!
We’ve definitely been on a hot chicken kick lately, trying everything from hot chicken tacos, to sandwiches from various locations around the Upstate, and more!
I loved the tin and red look to the building, which gave it a weathered feel, and the sign is so iconic. They had both curbside pickup, eating in on the patio, and takeout, but we got takeout in keeping with this weekend’s challenge.
Jamie got the “Rocky’s Royale with Cheese” – a fried boneless chicken breast (“Hot” spice level) with cheese, pickles, and spicy ranch on a toasted ciabatta roll – w/carrot & celery sticks and their Woo Cheese (SPICY! Blue Cheese) dipping sauce. He loved how hot it was, but it was still manageable for someone who loves adding hot sauce to almost everything.
I got the chicken tenders (“Honey mild” spice level), which had just enough heat that it had flavor spice, but not too much heat spice. I paired mine with green beans (loved these), and carrot & celery sticks w/ranch. Mine also came with a dipping sauce, and I chose to kick it up with their Mango Habanero Aioli, which was delish. I was really feeling the sweet and spicy vibes for lunch on Saturday.
I think this was probably one of our top two favorite hot chicken spots we’ve been to so far, with Flock Shop in Spartanburg as a close second. Super excited to have our own Rocky’s so close by in January next year. 🙌😁 We’ll make sure to bring you all pictures from the grand opening when it happens!
Dessert/Bakery 🧁 🍫
One of the places on my Asheville food bucket list for the longest time has been French Broad Chocolate Lounge. My old roommate Max grew up around Asheville and had brought me back a piece of chocolate cake from here once that was amazing! Ever since that first bite, I knew I had to see the place for myself.
The afternoon we visited, it was ridiculously busy, with a long line inside and a socially distant one forming behind me. But, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait, and I was determined to get my chocolate goodies!
As you wait in line, various chocolate bars and bon-bons tempt you as you decide what to order. It was here I discovered to my delight that French Broad offered non-dairy chocolates!
These are from their Buddha Collection (vegan bonbons), and are made with coconut cream instead of cow’s milk cream. The flavors that came in my half dozen included: Strawberry Balsamic; Almond Praline; Grapefruit, Olive Oil, & Fennel; Chocolate Caramel; Buddha (dark chocolate); and Mint Meltaway. In the second picture above, you can see more details on what goes into each flavor and where they got the ingredients.
When it came to favorites, I think the Strawberry balsamic and chocolate caramel were the best. I would have loved to add the Grapefruit to my favorites as well. However, if you asked me to identify which citrus I thought I was tasting, I would have said lemon, orange, or maybe blood orange before grapefruit. There simply wasn’t enough of that super tartness present for me, which I believe would have complimented well with the dark chocolate and fennel.
The rest of the goodies at French Broad were on full display here in the cases, from gelato and pastries to more of those lucious little bon-bons. We decided to get the last two pieces of chocolate cake they had that day, along with a salted caramel brownie and some dark chocolate covered mangoes (I gave my sister those for her birthday, pictured with bon-bons above this sideshow).
This cake was definitely one for sharing, it was super rich and decadent. 😋 My only complaint is that I wish there was more cake!! While I loved the frosting, the cake was super duper moist and I would’ve been happy if there was a higher cake to frosting ratio.
Overall, I was really happy with our addition of this great chocolate shop to our list of takeout treasures, and are looking forward to going back to try more of their goodies! 🍫
Dinner 🍖 🐖
Our dinner spot came recommended as a personal favorite from my personal trainer, Megan! She used to go to college up here and this was one of her favorite places to go for BBQ in the area.
Luella’s offered online ordering and pickup, so we ordered from the road and drove to Biltmore Park to grab it. The area of Biltmore Park almost reminded me of Birkdale Village near Charlotte, great outdoor sitting areas and really pretty shops, mixed with hotels and apartments above.
We had a late lunch, so we split a “2 Meat Combo Tray” (10 oz. Meat), which included their St. Louis style ribs and wings with “Hot Mama” sauce. We ate the ribs with their Lusty Mustard and Carolina Chipotle BBQ sauces, which were delish. If you like mustard, this sauce is the one for you. With such a kick of mustard, I was pleasantly surprised with how mustard-y it truly was!
This dish was served with Hush Puppies, their house made Sweet Potato Chips (loved loved these), and a seasonal side, pineapple casserole! It kind of tasted like if you mixed pineapple with Ritz crackers and a couple other things, was more along the lines (texture wise) of a bread pudding.
Absolutely loved everything we had, would definitely go back again!!
We couldn’t finish this blog without including something festive to do! There were a ton of holiday light shows in and around Asheville, as we found via this great list from Romantic Asheville in doing our research. Luella’s was about 10 minutes away from this great little light show from the list above called Lake Julian Park Festival of Lights, so we chose to go here before heading to dinner. They’re closed for the season now (we went to one of the last showings), but check out the list above for more!
My family, over the last couple years, really enjoyed taking part in the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s “Speedway Christmas”, where they light up the entire NASCAR stadium with lights and let you drive on the infield and track! I was excited to see what these lights looked like, as a smaller, localized version, put on by the local Buncombe County Recreation Services department.
We were playing our favorite Pentatonix Christmas album as we drove through the lights, and loved it when the songs would sync up to the lights. They had music to go along with it, but we wanted to mix it up for the fun of it. See the slideshow above and the pics below for some of our favorites from the drive!
Sunday Brunch 🍳
Last but not least, brunch time! This one was Jamie’s request, as he loves this restaurant and doesn’t get to eat here all the time. Tucked away on one of Asheville’s one-way side streets is Early Girl Eatery (which does open pretty darn early in the morning I might add).
I didn’t get a whole lot of inside pictures as they were quite strict on their COVID-19 restrictions on how many people could be in the restaurant at one time. They did bring us out our food to the car as we live parked, which was very sweet of them. Loved the black and red color scheme, super classic too.
We ordered the “Bow to the King” – chicken and waffles – but Early Girl style. Southern fried chicken tenders were paired with cinnamon-battered, scratch made buttermilk biscuits, topped with seasonal cinnamon sugar glazed apples (and maybe raisins too?). It was served with butter and Coombs Family Farms 100% Vermont organic maple syrup (best place to get syrup from!!). I loved how this wasn’t overly sweet, and the fried chicken had a great seasoning that really complimented and didn’t overpower the dish. Love the idea for using biscuits as the base!
Made sure to get a side of their Heirloom organic molasses glazed cornbread too, which was absolutely delish. This inspired me to want to go home and make molasses cookies over the holidays. I have a mean recipe for a molasses crinkle cookie! 🍪 Would definitely go back again and check out more of their great menu or other locations.
*Bonus* Coffee Break
We also made sure to grab some great coffee to go with our brunch from Trade & Lore right across the street! While closed to walk in or dine in traffic, ordering online was super simple. As I was standing out front, I placed my order, and in less than 10 minutes, I had two hot coffees in my hands!
Jamie wanted a mocha this morning, so I got him a drip coffee with chocolate syrup and a splash of creamer (I realize that’s not a true mocha, but they didn’t have one on the menu at the time). Mine was a little more seasonally flavored, with their drip coffee, a splash of oat milk, and their Scarlet Vanilla syrup (cranberry, apple, & cinnamon infused).
These were the perfect thing to round out our meal, and will definitely have to go back in the future to try their SPSL (Sweet Potato Spice Latte), Trade & Lore’s take on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. ☕
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? What did you think of our Takeout Trip blog, should we do another like this in a different city? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of what dishes to make or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗