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Archive for May, 2010

East versus West

Posted by eemilla on May 23, 2010

After Two Spoons and Ultimate Ice Cream ended their partnership, I was forced to drive with my honey to East Asheville to visit the flagship store to confirm that months of craving weren’t warping my memory of truly ultimate ice cream.  My memory was vindicated, but at what cost?  Two Spoons has the location that doesn’t seem completely out of the way (we can almost call it on the way home from downtown, or we can roll it into a trip to Orbit or The Lucky Otter); they have a cute, tiny patio out back, chalkboard paint on the main seating area’s walls, bigger and better waffle cones, and the hot mama (a split single in a waffle cone).  Ultimate has the eponymous product (oh KMA, rum raisin, ginger, chai!), but their location is way out on Tunnel Road in a strip mall behind Pomodoro’s where we have absolutely no reason to ever be.  Due to pure convenience, we’ll likely return to Two Spoons constantly hoping the hyperbole will return, but I will also probably start catching the 13 after yoga for some more Ultimate action.

Ultimate Ice Cream

Two Spoons

I’ve expressed my love for Nona Mia on numerous occasions to anyone who will hear about it so any restaurant would be hard pressed to defeat them in my heart, and Piazza did not compare.  However, Piazza was shocking in just how little it cost us to eat there.  We had an appetizer, a beer for him, and two entrees for less than forty (including a twenty percent tip), and the food was good.  The pasta to sauce ratio was much too high, and the sauce was too buttery rather than the perfect, light Italian trifecta of tomatoes, basil, and garlic I expected; however the dish which easily turned into two meals cost less than $7 (I opted for the small pasta with one sauce).  The pesto our server raved about and the 10″ pizza were not anything to get excited about especially in this city with its plethora of pizza and pesto.  The calamari appetizer would put any calamari you’ve ever eaten at a major chain like Carabba’s to shame (it wasn’t heavy and greasy); however when compared to Nona Mia’s, it was over breaded, and the “spicy” red sauce was laughable with its absence of heat.  I was stoked to see tiramisu on the dessert page (it’s also on their website), but our server informed us their desserts change frequently and it wasn’t available on the day of our visit; the menu should reflect this rather than tease me with hopes of finding tiramisu to replace the now defunct La Catterina’s paragon.  Piazza has a lovely site with plenty of room for large parties along with a nice covered wrap around patio dining area that screens the view of 74 with old mattress springs adorned with bottles and lights.

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Strive Not to Drive 2010

Posted by eemilla on May 17, 2010

Although I don’t recall if last year’s Strive Not to Drive challenge began on a Saturday, I was perplexed by the decision to begin on a Saturday considering Sunday is the one day of the week that Asheville Transit does not run.  Are the organizers trying to encourage participants to think about options other than transit, or is their goal to highlight the absurdity of thinking of our transit as a viable alternative to a vehicle when its coverage (both in time and territory) is severely limited?  Regardless, I joined the pledge.

Sadly, I repeated last year’s mistake by oversleeping (Sunday nights at the Hanger rock!)  My plans are to walk to work tomorrow and Thursday; for Wednesday, I’ll forgo the car for both the morning and evening commutes, and on both Friday and Saturday, we will both forgo the car.  Last’s year event pushed me into more morning bus commutes; even though I feel ridiculous riding the bus for all of a mile, it saves me much sweat and allows me enough time to change into work attire before the office opens.

Wednesday night is our main issue; the last run from downtown to our bus stop is at 5:30.   Route 36 runs much later, but it stops about five miles short of our stop (I think I may have mentioned a few times about the lack of sidewalks especially south of I40).  While it is true we could bike it, my fitness level would render me a bit unsafe.  I understand that bus fares do not provide a significant source of revenue, but our household would be more than happy to pay more money for evening rides to help fund expanding service.

Get on the bus!

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The LAB

Posted by eemilla on May 17, 2010

I visited the LAB a week or so after it opened, and I greatly enjoyed their beer sampler.  On my most recent visit I hit up the sampler again to hone in on my favorite brews, but I also enjoyed some food this go round.  The hummus plate appetizer was far superior to the portabella caprese sandwich; while the hummus and baba ghannouj may not have been the best I’ve ever had, their coupling with the cucumber spears and flatbread fit so well with the summer weather we’ve been experiencing.  Their awesome patio provided the perfect place to watch the afternoon downpour as well.  The portabello caprese sandwich seemed like a bit of an anachronism, and while the same might be said for the hummus plate, they spiced it up by offering garlic, scallion, and curry flavored spreads.

For an Asheville restaurant, it’s a bit of stretch to call their menu vegetarian friendly as they do, but they do brew good beer.  Their white is wonderfully refreshing, and even though I don’t really prefer IPAs, the LAB’s is nicely balanced.

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