NEW MOON: Modern day distillers in WNC are bringing the region's most-storied spirit into the 21st century. Photo by George Etheredge.

Bottled lightning: Appalachia­n moonshinin­g in the 21st century

Western North Carolina is now home to a growing number of craft distillers making legal moonshine. Blending traditional recipes with new technology and methods, these pioneers are bringing Appalachia’s most fabled and misunderstood product into the 21st century, changing cultural perceptions even as they adapt to shifting economic realities.

TELLING THE STORY: Accented with reclaimed furniture, wood and stained glass, Cam MacQueen's new vegan bar and coffee shop, The Block off biltmore, is designed to pay tribute to the historic YMI Cultural Center and the neighborhood in which it is located. “This bar is about telling the story of this space," says MacQueen.

The Block off biltmore: New vegan bar celebrates diversity, history

Reminiscent of an Prohibition-era speakeasy with its cream and burgundy walls, vinyl club chairs, old church pews and dark brown circular tables, the bar and event center pays homage to the history of the building and its surrounding neighbors. “This is an event concept bar,” says owner Cam MacQueen. “This bar is about telling the story of this space, of this block, of bringing people together.”

AED: Breakfast and brunch

Asheville takes breakfast and brunch pretty seriously. Simple or elegant, urban or rustic, Asheville and environs offers options ranging from a heaping stack of pancakes with eggs and bacon to a breakfast salad — and just about everything in between. A walk through downtown on a weekend morning reveals a staggering number of choices. Eateries […]

AED: Hidden gems and unsung heroes

Every city has its hidden gems — eating and drinking establishments that locals treasure but that may not command the same attention as their higher-profile brethren. Asheville boasts an array of those unsung heroes in just about every corner of the city. Many are tucked away amid the bustling downtown, but there are also good […]

AED: Sweet stuff

When your sweet tooth starts making noise, it’s good to know that Asheville has myriad options offering swift and complete satisfaction. Consider these choice venues: The French Broad Chocolate Lounge downtown is one of Asheville’s standard-bearers for quality chocolates. When you visit, be sure to sample their sipping chocolates. Also notable is The Chocolate Fetish: […]

AED: Fast bites

The slow food movement is alive and thriving in Western North Carolina, but sometimes we all find ourselves in need of a quick, affordable bite on the run. An informal poll of Mountain Xpress staffers (a busy and budget-conscious bunch) revealed that, in Asheville, the need for speedy eats doesn’t have to mean a stop […]

AED: Kid-Friendly in WNC

Parenting is hard work, and let’s face it, sometimes at the end of a long day mom and dad just don’t feel like cooking. But despite the wealth of top-notch eateries in Asheville, the simple act of taking kids to a restaurant can present unique, stress-inducing challenges. Thankfully, plenty of local dining destinations warmly embrace […]

AED: Something stronger

Despite having so many great breweries in Asheville, sometimes you just need a hiatus from the hops. Those finding themselves in need of something a little stronger should consider trying a tipple from one of the city’s many creative craft-cocktail lounges and savvy wine bars. Even though it was illegal to sell alcohol by the […]

AED: Taste of the South

When in the South, eat Southern. And fortunately, whether it’s fine dining or homegrown barbecue, a number of Asheville-area chefs and restaurants are as rooted in the region as the local foods they source and serve. Hailing from Eastern North Carolina, Mike Moore has made his mark with the Blind Pig Supper Club, a recurring […]

AED: Neighborho­od notables

Despite Asheville’s compact size, its neighborhoods are as distinct and varied as can be — from downtown’s eclectic, urban vibe to West Asheville’s reinvented charm. And naturally, those areas’ neighborhood favorites also run the gamut: Downtown Limones offers classic Mexican dishes with a modern twist, plus a not-to-miss brunch. Primarily set up as a bar, […]

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