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Archive for May, 2009

Goodbye Buddha Bagels

Posted by eemilla on May 31, 2009

With a heavy heart, I report that Buddha Bagels is closed.  Last week when I went in for my weekly bagel pick up, Mystic Journeys was closing so I guess it should’ve clued me to ask if the bagel shop would stay on, but alas it didn’t.  I was not the only surprised customer this morning to read the simple note: “Buddha Bagels is permanently closed.”  Now I have no choice but to follow Smitten Kitchen’s bagel lesson unless anyone knows of a local bagel shop.

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Brixx

Posted by eemilla on May 31, 2009

After two glowing recommendations for Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, we decided to wrap up our three days of take out pizza there.  The best part was their buy two get two special for Tuesday.  I sat at the bar while deciding which four pies to try, and I was impressed with their beer menu.  I believe they had twelve or so beers on tap (although their website lists over twenty).  Another shocking thing were the hours: 11a to 1a six days a week (closed at 11p on Sunday); finally South Asheville can eat out after 9pm without driving downtown.  In addition to the beer, they have liquor and plenty of wine, and frankly, both wine by the glass and bottle seemed overpriced ($6 for a glass of Redwood Creek, where a trip to Ingles gets you the whole bottle for about the same).  Like many local restaurants they have a half priced bottle night on Sunday.

While I was waiting I decided to try the house (or Brixx) salad; the greens were fine, and I was happy with the ratio of goat cheese to greens.  This salad also boasts pine nuts which seemed to be the only ingredient on the menu that was served with a heavy hand.  However, the croutons were straight from a box, and the balsamic vinaigrette was much too sweet (although not thick or dark like sweet, reduced balsamic vinegar).  I did not try the focaccia wedge due to timing, but it seemed odd since the croutons were used.  The service was over attentive as they seem to have overstaffed, or maybe the corporate training team is still in town.  I mean why else would they have two bartenders after 9:30pm on a rainy Tuesday night?

One of our recommendations had compared Brixx favorably to a much loved pizza place of years gone by, which was characterized by creative couplings and pies stacked high with toppings.  When I got the pies home, I was none too impressed with the toppings, especially on the margherita; I should have looked more closely at the menu as it shows an example of the pie with a smattering of basil, but our pie didn’t even get the entire leaf like the photo.  The menus promises house made mozzarella, but it tastes about as made from scratch as Subway’s hoagies (they arrive frozen but are baked fresh in the store).  The arugula on the wild mushroom was added as an afterthought over the cheese, presumably after the pie had come out of the oven.  At the aforementioned pizza place of yore, the arugula would have formed a thick layer on the bottom of the cheese so its spicy bite could have been a nice foil to the mushrooms.  The menu states “wood roasted shiitake, portobello, and button mushrooms”, but the entire ten inch pie may have had half of one shiitake.  Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting the shiitakes to make of the majority of the mix, but I did expect my pie to have a least one recognizable slice of one.  The meat pie (or the rustica) contained prosciutto, which my husband said was okay, but he was dismayed with the “kalamata” olives the menu promised.  They looked and tasted like black olives from a can that made me afraid to try other olives as a child, and again they appeared as an afterthought.  On first glance, the artichoke pie was the best with its heavier topping load than the other veg pies.  However, I had almost finished my first slice before I realized I was eating pesto.  All of the pies were made with the standard crust, as I failed to remember to order the whole wheat.  The crust is thin as one would expect from a wood fired pizza joint, but I was irked by the saltiness; the crust really doesn’t distinguish itself from any other place (aside from the salt).  

The interior design reminded me of the ill fated (thankfully) O’Naturals; the colors are bright, and the booths look too new to be comfortable.  The lighting was soft, and I cannot recall anything about the music.  The bar isn’t much in the size department, but the chairs and the bar itself are reasonable height.  The website and the menu mention a “great patio dining”, and some day in the future it may be nice to dine on the patio.  Currently it gives a wonderful view of chain link fenced construction zone a la Pack Square with condos rising above the disorder.

While my first impression doesn’t leave me in a rush to get back, my three strike rule will make me give it another two chances.  Plus I like restaurants that offer discounts.  In addition to the buy two get two on Tuesday and Sunday half priced bottles of wine, there is a special for every night.  Monday has $1.95 domestics, and Wednesday is for the snobier beer drinkers with $2.50 microbrews.  Thursday has $5 margaritas and martinis (I assume gin but I’d rather drink cheap vodka than cheap gin).  Finally every night has 2 for 1 pizzas and apps after ten.

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Before and After

Posted by eemilla on May 29, 2009

 

 

rainy Hendersonville and Royal Pines bus stop

rainy Hendersonville and Royal Pines bus stop

sunny day with a sidewalk at Royal Pines and Hendo

sunny day with a sidewalk at Royal Pines and Hendo

 

 

 Although it is only a tiny section of the road, at least there is some progress (the before is November 08 and the after is last week).  The next few photos show the most dangerous part of my walking commute (between the 2nd and 3rd photos there is a muddy/straw covered/sparsely grassed lot that has plenty of room to walk away from the road).  The strip of shoulder is narrow and really overgrown with itchy, irksome interlopers; it is also a favorite spot for littering (mostly of the twenty-two ounce variety, although there are also some forty and twelve ounces too).  During Strive Not to Drive, I walked this stretch complaining to myself about how weedy it was only to encounter two women and a large stroller heading north along this very same foot path.  Recently some government agency or contractor dug up the pavement, but even though this stretch is within the city limits, it doesn’t look like the sidewalks are forthcoming.  It was my understanding that an ordinance a few years ago required any new construction or large enough renovations to install a sidewalk; hence all of the sidewalks to nowhere (e.g., the eight foot stretch near the new South Asheville Dunkin Donuts that promptly ends into a mess of overgrown weeds or any number of stretches of Merrimon Avenue).

 

 

North on Hendo

North on Hendo

 

 

south on the Hendo footpath

further south on the Hendo footpath

 

On the bright side, an entire street of my walk has a nice sidewalk.  The stupid and ironic thing about the sidewalk shown below is that it isn’t new; it is a reclamation of a long neglected sidewalk.  There is another stretch of the lost sidewalk along Royal Pines Drive, but as anyone familiar with the area can attest that walking (much less taking photos) along that road is scary especially during the high volume times of evening and morning.

 

sidewalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Twelve Bones seems to be open later

Posted by eemilla on May 20, 2009

I have seen the ads for 12 Bones South to be open for carry out til six; today I drove by at 7 and again at 9 and they were open with a fairly full parking lot at 7 (the parking lot was much thinner at 9).  Maybe these later hours mean our neighborhood might finally get a walkable beer drinking destination that (hopefully!) has a dog friendly patio.

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Delectable Veg Dinners

Posted by eemilla on May 16, 2009

Even though Strive Not to Drive is a great way to get one think about transportation, it was much easier for me to cut to meat out of my diet than it has been to cut the oil consumption.  While we do eat animal flesh (eew that sounds a bit gross) on special occasions, at home we are almost exclusively vegetarian (almost because my Alabama man has to bring home his Dad’s gumbo).  I don’t plan on cooking vegan, but I like it when it just happens that way (like with most of the stir fry meals).  Although I have moved from whole cow’s milk to soy back to organic skim or 1% cow’s milk on to almond milk, neither of us can dream of giving up cheese (or fish and seafood for that matter).

Our stand by veg dinner is stir fucking fry, so named because it is so easy that it used to get heavy rotation on the meal calendar.  This week has been my week to cook, and I had menu writer’s block so I had two nights of stir fry.  In my defense both were used to clean out the refrigerator of some forgotten provisions, which is the other big plus.  The third benefit is the you can cheaply pack in the protein; last night I made peanut butter stir fry with tempeh and lentils (rounded out with brown rice, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, ginger, and scallions), and between the two of us we can easily make three meals out of it.

 My honey, the chef, made a meal that is much more aesthetically pleasing.  butternut terrine of sorts  He created loose terrines with sauteed spinach and onions, baked butternut squash  rounds, goat cheese, and soysage slices.  They were delicious, and they looked so elegant.  I think soysage is the perfect vegetarian starter food because it looks,  tastes, and smells like sausage slices straight from the refrigerated food section.  Laughing Seed serves soysage at brunch every Sunday along with homemade  biscuits and vegetarian (possibly vegan) gravy.

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Strive Not to Drive results

Posted by eemilla on May 15, 2009

Overall I fared better than in previous years, but I only walked home three out of ten opportunities.  Today I blame the weather, but Thursday I no good reason other than the snooze button.  I also forgot to bring the camera so I could complain about the dearth of sidewalks, but I guess I will have ample opportunities as I hope to continue walking more.  My goal is to actually have both of us commute some way other driving at least one a week.  With gas prices on their annual summer up swing and swim suit season fast approaching, we should have plenty of reasons to leave the car parked.

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Strive Not to Drive Progress

Posted by eemilla on May 13, 2009

Monday: I failed.  The rain kept me from walking, and I didn’t get any bus tickets.  Although we are almost a mile from the bus stop so even cutting the trip in half leaves a good bit of walking in the elements.

Tuesday:  I had half success.  While I did not get out of bed early enough to drive to work on time much less walk, I did roll my slacks up and walk home.  The weather was great this afternoon, and I really enjoyed the sunshine.  With the rain reprieve, everyone seemed to be mowing their yards so I sneezed most of the way home.

Wednesday looks good, but the rest of week has rainy evening forecasts.

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French Broad River Festival

Posted by eemilla on May 9, 2009

We both mentioned packing the camera at separate times, but somehow it failed to get packed.  Maybe next time.  Last weekend it rained every day, and it wasn’t soft sprinkling rain.  Needless to say everything was wet and muddy caked in mud after three days of being exposed to those conditions.  However, the rain did little to dampen our spirits.  Whoo-hoo to the French Broad River Festival!  Town Mountain was smokin’, and Jen and the Juice were fun (surprised to see Debrissa from Laura Reed).  One of my biggest regrets is leaving The Trainwreks at the end of their set to see Acoustic Syndicate; Acoustic was too mellow, but The Trainwreks were hot and fun (plus the Flood Stage had one of those funky tents that I last saw at TriNum).  Brushfire Stankgrass started our Saturday right, and I also enjoyed Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys.  I had never heard Reverend Horton Heat, and I had plenty of fun, albeit in the rain, grooving (and balancing beer and umbrella) to them.  However, I think Larry Keel and Natural Bridge were my weekend favorites.  Larry was having a good time on stage, and the energy was just right.  The worst part of the festival was missing the Unifire Theatre; due the rain, their set was moved from the end of the night to some other time that we didn’t hear about.  I love fire; watching fire, especially after a good bit of alcohol, is one of my favorite things, and when the fire isn’t isolated to the fire pit and is dancing around on hula hoops and the ends of swinging chains I become entranced.

Not only is the Hot Springs Campground lovely and beside the river, the hot tubs are right across the street.  I wasn’t as energetic as I normally would have been watching Brushfire Stankgrass or Jen and the Juice as they were post soak.  My honey booked a tub early Saturday afternoon, and he took the advice of those in the know and picked the best tub available.  It had a wooden deck with plenty of room and two chairs and  a table as well as a fan and a heat lamp.  However, the best part is the infinity pool effect you get when sitting in the tub; this is compound by the fact that the water is on both sides of the tub.  While you are close enough to hear loud engines climbing a hill, one can easily drown those noises with the singing of the river.  If you have never been to Hot Springs, you will be shocked at the velvety softness the waters impart on your skin.  

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Strive Not to Drive!

Posted by eemilla on May 8, 2009

With the summer driving season quickly approaching (hello $2/gallon gasoline), Strive Not to Drive is next week.  Join me in taking a moment to think about you might be able to complete a few errands or a few commutes using the bus, walking, cycling, or carpooling.  With the weather clearing up, I plan on packing my lunch, clothes, and a book so that I can walk to and from work.  For our elected officials I will be photographing the most dangerous parts of my route (especially where road construction has recently occurred but no sidewalks have appeared).  Take that Big Oil!

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