Brunch in Asheville: Tupelo Honey

18 Apr

At the center of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, is a great place for brunch – Tupelo Honey. There’s a nice enclosed patio area, but it was intensely heated, so we chose to eat inside.

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My husband built his own omelette – stuffed with roasted red peppers, asparagus, caramelized onions, and goat cheese.Tupelo Honey - omelette

This plate-sized sweet potato pancake with pecans is a signature dish. Definitely large enough to share!

Tupelo Honey - Signature Sweet Potato Pancake

I was a bit disappointed that the egg white frittata was no longer on the menu, so I ordered the Eggs Betty instead: two medium poached eggs on a buttermilk biscuit.  I really liked that Tupelo Honey let me choose asparagus instead of ham on the side, and sliced tomatoes instead of hash.

Tupelo Honey - Eggs Betty

The Final Word: Tupelo Honey serves up a solid breakfast with Southern flair.

Info: Tupelo Honey Cafe, 12 College Street Asheville, NC, 28801 USA,  and several other locations

Tupelo Honey Cafe on Urbanspoon

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

4 Apr DSC02105

It can still be nippy outside in the Spring….let’s keep making soup! A few weeks ago, I dined at a Nepalese restaurant and had a delicious yellow lentil soup. I was inspired to make my own. But I couldn’t find yellow lentils at the store, only red ones. What’s the difference anyway? It turns out that red lentils are really just a split and hulled version of yellow lentils, and they will turn golden once cooked. So I guess I’m making red-slash-yellow lentil soup. And then I had some trouble finding a Nepalese recipe, so let’s just go with a Moroccan recipe. (Adapted from culinate.com)

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cups dried red lentils, washed and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

 Directions

  1. Wash and rinse lentils until the water runs clear. Unlike larger beans, lentils do not have to be soaked prior to cooking – they cook quite quickly. However, you can soak them for about 1 hour if you wish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onions until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, coriander, salt, cumin, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, and cinnamon. Cook for another minute.
  4. Add vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.red lentil soup
  5. Pour the mixture into a slow cooker (5- or 6-quart). Add lentils and celery. Cook 4-5 hours on HIGH or 8-10 hours on LOW. If you do not have a slow cooker, finish cooking this soup on the stovetop – it will only take an hour or so. This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks! 
  6. Add in lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks!

DSC02117I like this lentil soup served with crusty bread and garnished with a bit of parsley.

Fantastic Beer, Misleading Food: Heist Brewery

28 Mar

In the middle of Black Friday, at a random time between meals (3 pm in the afternoon), my husband and I wandered into Heist Brewery for some drinks and to grab a snack. The place was fairly quiet and empty, and we sat in the main space.

He ordered the pint on the right – Wheat Me Baby, an easy drinking wheat beer.DSC01343

For Black Friday, Heist offered a flight of small batch beers with a coffee theme, like Nova’s Bakery Chocolate Caramel Truffle, a Russian Imperial stout (9.1% ABV) and the Central Coffee Ethiopian Guji, an American IPA (6.4% ABV).  Yum. Heist has some pretty fantastic and beers.

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Now here’s the misleading food: Rosemary Parmesan tater tots

DSC01346As a side dish for $4, I expected enough tater tots to share. But there were only four to an order. Though they are delicate and flavourful, with made-from scratch shredded potatoes, they still felt like a rip off. A heist indeed.

We came back to Heist Brewery on a Saturday night. It was busy and incredibly loud due to a football game on the screens. The noise was on the verge of being annoying due to the repeated chanting and screaming of the fans. If you’re not a football fan, don’t go to Heist on game day.

Fantastic beer: I ordered another beer flight and discovered one of my favorite Heist beers: Cross-Pollen Nation, an American stout brewed with Belgian yeast. It’s smooth, with hints of chocolate and in my opinion, coffee, even though the flavours are supposed to be fig and plum.

DSC01364“Burger Burger Burger”

Misleading food: For our entrees (or so we thought), we each ordered “the Burger.” (priced like an entree). The server did not indicate that we would not be getting regular-sized burgers, but three sliders. I’m not sure if I was supposed to understand that from the name of the entree (“Burger Burger Burger”), but the description made no indication of mini burgers!

Still, these sliders were delish. I ordered the “burger” medium-well and my husband ordered his medium. Both our plates came out perfectly. The jalapeno jelly, creamy goat cheese, spinach, and little brioche buns made for some pretty gourmet sliders. Too bad they didn’t come with fries.

 DSC01357Salmon tacos on “sticky bun” shells beat my expectations:  Excellent marinated sashimi tuna on crispy Asian-style buns

The Final Word: Definitely come for the beer. The food is good but a bit pricey for the portion size.

Info: Heist Brewery, 2909 N. Davidson Street #200, Charlotte, NC 28205 USA

Heist Brewery on Urbanspoon

Two Beer Gardens in SRQ

21 Mar

During my last trip to Florida, we swung by two beer gardens, one big and one small. Here’s the down-lo.

JDubs Brewing Company, Sarasota

Here’s the front of JDub’s – it’s nothing fancy.

JDubs

The other side is where the action is. Being at JDub’s is like being in your buddy’s backyard, with a couple of cornhole games to make up for the slightly rickety picnic tables. He’s also your coolest friend because he brews awesome beers.

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Inside, the bar is pretty small – enough space to fit about 3 people. Just squeeze in at either end to order your pint. Aside from the bar there is also one long table over looking windows to the brewery.

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Motorworks Brewery, Bradenton

On the other end of the beer garden spectrum is Florida’s largest patio at Motorworks Brewery in Bradenton. There’s a stage for a band, a large projection screen (great place to watch a game), a raised deck area around a huge tree, a small mini golf area, and about ten setups for corn hole. Near the corn hole games there is space for a food truck – which is where all the food is made if you order anything other than beer from the menu. My portobello salad was great, with two huge mushroom caps, but it came on a styrofoam plate.

Motorworks: cornhole

A large deck surrounds an old tree. This is the place to be.DSC01690

The brewery hosts some pretty cool events too – I saw posters for pilates (followed by a pint of course) and a chili cook off.

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Inside there is plenty of seating, a long bar, another stage and projection screen, darts, and a popcorn machine where you can scoop your own. A window at one end of the bar lets you see the tanks where the beer magic happens.

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I ordered a beer flight:

The Nitro is award winning. It has a unique taste with hints of coffee. I liked the taster but I don’t think I could drink a full pint. The coffee porter on the other hand is easy drinking. Probably my favourite out of the bunch. The India brown ale has a herbally finish. I couldn’t taste the melon in the Melon Kolsch. My husband found it too bitter for his taste. Lastly, the Session is easy drinking but not particularly remarkable.

Motorworks: flightAside from Motorworks’ own beers, the long drink menu includes bottles from other craft breweries, as well as wines, if beer isn’t your thing. When in Bradenton, no matter your preferred drink, the Motorworks beer garden is the place to enjoy it!

Info: Motorworks Brewing, 1014 9th Street West, Bradenton, FL 

Motorworks Brewing on Urbanspoon

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