SPEAKING OUT: A Hall Fletcher student named Lydia aired her concerns at the March 18 meeting of the Nutrition Committee. "I don’t think all that sugar is good for all my friends and all the other kids in this school," she said. Photo by Micah Wilkins

And good nutrition for all

It all started with a letter from an 8-year-old to his school principal. “I wish the cafeteria were healthier,” wrote Liam Miller to Gordon Grant, Hall Fletcher Elementary’s principal. As a third-grader, Liam struggles with reading and writing, and his mother, Misty Miller, who knew that “every sentence of that letter was a struggle for […]

ON THE RISE: Pictured is City Bakery’s former head baker, Jesse Bardyn, at a previous Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers Festival. The festival, which started as a small event at Greenlife grocery, is now backed by the Breadbakers Guild of America. Photo by Suzannah Gebhart

Baked

What originally started as a married couple’s ploy to meet baking superstar Peter Reinhart has since turned into the Southeast’s largest baking and bread festival, drawing local and international world-class bakers and bread-lovers alike on Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13.

GROUP EFFORT: With funding from the Rotary Club’s Rotarians Against Hunger project, volunteers at a recent event at the Reuter Family YMCA were able to package 215,000 meals for local people in need. Photo by Micah Wilkins

Helping hands

Every few minutes, a mallet struck a gong in the gymnasium, followed by cheers and applause. Each sounding of the gong, on loan from the Asheville Symphony, indicated that 5,000 meals had been assembled and packaged for hungry families in Western North Carolina. The sound rang down the halls of the Reuter Family YMCA in […]

FROM GREECE WITH LOVE: Pete Apostolopoulos, pictured right with his friend, Chris Leris, immigrated to New York from Greece in 1967 on a boat named the Queen Anna Maria. He made his way to Asheville, where his uncle owned Athens Restaurant on Merrimon Avenue. Photo courtesy of Pete Apostolopoulos

All Greek to me

Some of Asheville’s best but least expensive eateries have a history steeped in Greek flavors. Name a longtime diner or recall one that’s no longer around, and it’s quite likely it was owned and run by Greek immigrants to the area. Athens Restaurant and Three Brothers come to mind, though both are gone. But (to […]

SYNERGY: Eagle Street Coffee Emporium owner Teresa Johnson, right, says she hopes her business will become an integral part of a community on the rise. EMSDC’s Stephanie Swepon-Twitty, left, says a primary goal for The Block is to preserve the past and prosper in the future. Photo by Elizabeth Reynolds McGuire

The fika files: The art of community

Look down Eagle Street from Biltmore Avenue, and you’ll see the historic YMI Cultural Center and on the corner, a little coffee shop. Eagle Street Coffee Emporium moved into the neighborhood last November, pulling up roots from its Wall Street location to join a neighborhood with a rich, African-American history. Owner Teresa Johnson says her […]

20/20 VISION: Leah Wong Ashburn, daughter of Highland Brewery founder Oscar Wong, Leah Wong Ashburn shows off Highland's new packaging, which is hitting stores now for the company's 20th anniversary. The brewery will also celebrate by offering 20 special beers, including brand-new recipes by Highland brewers. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

BEER SCOUT: Highland turns 20

Raise a glass to the father of Asheville craft beer. When Highland Brewing Co. opened in 1994, North Carolina had all of 10 breweries; now there are more than 100. And when Gov. Pat McCrory signed the proclamation for North Carolina Beer Month, which begins April 1, we’d just cracked the list of the top […]

GET ON THE BUS: Tara Whitsitt, founder of Fermentation on Wheels, will bring her mobile cultured-food education project to Asheville in April. Photo courtesy of Tara Whitsitt

SMALL BITES

Fermentation on Wheels Traveling food-preservation-education project Fermentation on Wheels will bring its mobile classroom and fermentation lab — a converted 1986 International Harvester school bus — to Asheville for a donation-based food starter-culture exchange, workshop and community potluck the weekend of April 5-6. The visit is one stop on a joint tour with the nonprofit […]

SHORT ORDER: Ella Triber, 8, serves Sunday brunch at her parents’ restaurant, The Junction, to customer Mary Pollock. Photos by Alicia Funderburk

Very young professionals

Each Sunday, Ella Triber readies herself for another shift of waiting tables at The Junction. Notepad in hand, she approaches her customers, takes orders and delivers piping hot plates of pretzel French toast and sweet potato hash. Meanwhile, miles away at Adelbert Farm, Joshua Kirstein is tending to his chickens and calculating how many trades […]

CHILD’S PLAY: Visitors to Lookout Brewing Co. can relax and enjoy some of its many kid-friendly events and games. Here, Asher Garcia plays chess on Lookout’s handcrafted chess table. Photo courtesy of Lookout Brewing Co.

Where the toys are

We are lucky to live in one of the most family-friendly places on the planet, where fun (and often free) things to do with kids of all ages abound. So after your day hike to Graveyard Fields, afternoon at Splasheville or stroll through the Western North Carolina Nature Center, where should you and your family […]

THE BOYS FROM BRASILIA: Brasilia Churrasco owner Shutao Wang, right, is pictured with Joe Lipscomb, left, and Antonio Gonzales, center, who will be gaucho and head chef, respectively, of the restaurant’s new Asheville location. Photo by Toni Sherwood

Steaking a claim

Shutao Wang, owner of Brasilia Churrasco Steakhouse of Spartanburg, S.C., will open a second location in downtown Asheville any day now thanks to some word-of-mouth promotion from traveling Ashevilleans. “We were debating between Charleston, Charlotte and Asheville,” says Wang. “Asheville people would come into my Spartanburg restaurant talking about how great their city is.” Wang […]

SWEET COUPLE: Catawba Brewing and French Broad Chocolate Lounge will marry the flavors of chocolate and beer at a five-course tasting on Friday, March 21. Photo by Nathan Metcalf

BEER SCOUT

Highland announces major expansion While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new brewery openings, it’s also exciting to see that Asheville’s oldest craft brewery is not sitting still. According to Highland Brewing Vice President Leah Wong Ashburn, the company is gearing up for an expansion that could allow output to double […]

A HAND UP: Neal and Ava Morgan accept their WNC AgOptions grant from Bill Teague, chairman of the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. The Morgans plan to use the money to construct a building on their farm for selling frozen beef. Photo courtesy of WNC AgOptions

Funding growth

Many local farmers left their work behind on Thursday, Feb. 27, to attend the WNC AgOptions 2014 Award Ceremony at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. According to AgOptions Project Coordinator Jennifer Ferre, 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of grant-giving for the organization, which has awarded more than $1.7 million […]

SLOW AND EASY: Sara Freeman, right, a nutrition educator with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, shows her class how to prepare simple, healthy meals with a slow cooker. Attendees, including from left, Shirley Stiles, Delores Ownby, Delona Sewell, Liz Galloway, Georgia Henkhaus and Pauline Nicholson, received a new Crock-Pot slow cooker. Photo by Bill Harrah

Not so fast

The smell of healthy, home-cooked food wafts through Sharing House in Brevard. As meat simmers in the pot, the students taking Sharing House’s newest cooking class slowly add fresh produce, taking care not to boil away the nutrients. “I was just trying to think of ways to help people eat better — eat more nutritiously,” […]

BALANCING ACT: With the drinks menu at Rhubarb, bartender Hank Fuseler tries to maintain a healthy balance between cocktail geekery and the tried-and-true. Photo by Michael Franco

BEHIND THE BAR

In the new, regular interview series Behind the Bar, Michael Franco talks to some of the talented men and women who keep the beer, wine and spirits flowing at some of Asheville’s favorite watering holes. Many a bar has been blamed for luring students away from their studies. But in Hank Fuseler’s case, the call […]

LOCAL GOODNESS: If you don’t have time to make your own quiche, many local eateries offer the protein-packed finger food by the slice for a grab-and-go meal. Pictured is a piece of spinach-feta quiche from City Bakery. Photo by Nathan Metcalf

THE FAMILY KITCHEN

I once read a science fiction novel where quiche was the pizza of the future. I don't remember much else about the book, but the quiche idea stuck with me. The beauty of quiche, much like pizza, is that you can eat it with your hands. What differentiates it from pizza is the protein-and-veggie-to-carbohydrate ratio. […]

FOOD FIGHTERS: Mioki Chong and Don Lee of El Kimchi will be among the competitors battling it out at Asheville’s inaugural Food Truck Showdown on March 15. Photo by Nathan Metcalf

SMALL BITES

Food Truck Showdown This year's Asheville Tattoo and Arts Expo will host the inaugural Asheville Food Truck Showdown in the parking lot of the Masonic Temple on Saturday, March 15. Organizers say at least a dozen local trucks, including El Kimchi, Gypsy Queen Cuisine, Pho Ya Belly and Farm to Fender, will present their signature […]

FILL ‘ER UP: Alan Lowe opened Craft Room Growlers to give beer lovers on the south side of town a place to get fresh brews by the jug. Photo by Jayson Im

BEER SCOUT

Craft Room Opens in South Asheville If you live within 10 minutes of downtown or West Asheville, there’s no shortage of options for fresh growlers of beer. Bruisin’ Ales stocks an ever-changing selection, Asheville Growler and Appalachian Vintner both fill to order and, of course, there are all the breweries. But head down to Arden […]

COD-FREE: The focus of King James Public House, say Chef Steven Goff, left, and owner Peter Slamp, right, is to provide a meeting place that serves locally sourced fare. Guests, they say, will not find cod on the menu. Photo by Jayson Im

Packed to the (trout) gills

The highly anticipated King James Public House opened this winter on Charlotte Street to a jam-packed house, and the crowd didn’t die down for several weeks. The tiny, 45-seat restaurant and bar from Zambra owner Peter Slamp has seen lines out the door for considerably longer than the usual honeymoon period of a new restaurant. […]

POTENT POTABLE: Asheville Yacht Club bartender James Browne says the Painkiller is the bar’s best-selling cocktail.WAITING FOR A NEW PHOTO FROM CARRIE Photo by Michael Franco

Boat drinks

Ahhh tiki cocktails … those sunset-colored vacations in a glass. When done right, they warm your taste buds with exotic spices and unexpected flavors. When done wrong, they coat your tongue with sugary dreck and your head with one mother of a hangover the next morning. Fortunately, in Asheville, there are plenty of places making […]