TO A TEA: Barista Nathan Lily makes the chai at Tod's Tasties from scratch. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Chai love: Asheville embraces India’s ancient healing drink

When ordering a chai in the Western world, a customer may receive any number of concoctions. A simple black tea with spices is one possibility, but it is significantly more likely that the beverage will be prepared with a powdered mix of sugar and corn syrup solids, with tea nowhere to be seen on the ingredient list. Fortunately for Asheville residents, local businesses are taking the making of chai back to the basics.

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Driving sales: Mobile businesses roll into WNC

by Alli Marshall, Rich Rennicks and Gina Smith —

Food trucks are a known entity: Those mobile dispensaries of cheap, tasty meals drove into downtown Asheville (and our hearts) in 2011. And with revised city ordinances, a dedicated lot on Coxe Avenue and regular appearances at local festivals and music venues, food trucks have only increased in number. But sandwiches aren’t the only thing that can fit into a truck.

THE WILD SIDE:Carolina West RibFest organizers say the revamped festival will offer a more eclectic blend of entertainment than past events , including sideshow acts and cancan girls. Photo courtesy of AKA Entertainment & Media

Small bites: RibFest gets a makeover

As in summers past, WNC residents can expect a barbecue rib festival to happen this month at the WNC Agricultural Center. But this year there’s a new RibFest in town. What has been called since 2007 the Carolina Mountain RibFest will now be known as Carolina West RibFest and will sport an edgy new look aimed at appealing to a broader, more alternative audience.