Subject: Asheville Trip Report
Good Morning Ziners,

My husband and I just returned from a weekend trip to Asheville, NC and I thought I'd report. We went up with the intention to go snow tubing, which we did, but the focus of the trip ended up being on food (big surprise!)

We drove up from Atlanta on Saturday and just outside the city, it began to snow (yes, little southern snow flurries, but still snow to us). We parked in downtown Asheville and walked over to a place called The Tupelo Honey Cafe on College St. It was 2:00 on a cold, windy, snowy Saturday and there was still an hour wait! We took a little walk around outside while we waited and came across a chocolate shop called The Chocolate Fetish We, of course, bought a couple of truffles for dessert later. I now wish we had bought more as they were absolutely wonferful! We managed to get a table after only a 30 minute wait and lunch was great. I had the Pain Perdue and Darin had tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. It also came with homemade biscuits and blackberry jam. Quite yummy! Total was about $25 with tip.

Due to the very cold weather we stayed close to the hotel that evening. Next morning, we visited the Folk Art Center just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (the majority of the parkway was closed due to ice). This was a very nice (small) museum showcasing local folk art. There is also a large gift shop that sells local art. Most of the pieces were absolutely wonderful, just out of my price range! There are also some nice walking trails around the center.

That afternoon, we went to Tube World, just north of Asheville. While it was fun and the kids in our group seemed to enjoy it, it wasn't what we had expected. It was basically a small hill off the side of the interstate with fake snow (not exactly picturesque!). They would allow about 5-6 people down the slope at a time, then you'd ride the carpet back up and do it again. Priced at $20 per person for 3 was a little expensive considering the location and the fact that after about 45 minutes, you were ready to do something else. Oh well, live and learn! Darin says, the next time we do anything with snow, it will be "real snow...Colorado snow!"

Once we left there, we looked around for lunch. Came across a place in Biltmore Village called The Corner Kitchen that was serving brunch. What a great find! I had a cup of corn and crab chowder and a spinach salad - simple but very tasty. Darin had the chowder and a fried catfish dish. I'm not sure what kind of batter they used but it was unusual and very crunchy with sesame seeds in it. So good! This meal came with a biscuit too (seemed to be the theme for the weekend!). All for less than $25 with tip.

We then attempted to go to the winery at the Biltmore House but to get there they require you to purchase a full ticket! No options to just visit the winery and do the tasting. Seemed rather dumb to me that they don't offer that but they don't - so no winery!

After an afternoon nap, we headed over to The Grey Eagle Tavern to hear some music. This was an interesting place...a little bit of a "hole in the wall" but very comfortable. Inside is a bar and restaurant area and a separate music room - best of all - it's non- smoking! For a $6 cover charge we saw Dave Desmelik and The Believers Another reason for chosing this place was the's called the Twin Cousins Restaurant and it's run by two Louisiana natives, Frank and Arthur Douglass. Darin and I, being Louisiana natives ourselves, are always on the lookout for authentic home cooking. This place hit the spot! I had a shrimp stuffed mirliton with green beans & Darin had a bowl of gumbo and a bag of Zapp's chips (another Louisiana local item). The stuffed mirliton was just as good as what my Gramma and Darin's Mom make! We even had nice, thin pecan pralines for dessert! Of all places to find such great food. Again, total was under $25.

The next morning we stopped at Malfey's on College St. for another Louisiana favorite - beignets for breakfast. Not exactly like home, but not bad either. We ended our trip with a long drive home by way of a stretch of road called "The Tail of the Dragon" - 300+ curves in just 11 miles. By the time we drove up and back, we were both rather sick! So, if you're planning a trip to Asheville and looking for some good places to eat...check out some of these. We didn't have a bad meal all weekend!

Jennie in Atlanta