Small Bites

More about Mo's

In last week's Small Bites, we told you part of the story about Mauricio Abreu but left out some details that should be added and clarified.

Pack on the Park: The newly renovated Pack's Tavern still has an old-fashioned feel to it. A 1932 Ford Model B truck emblazoned with the Tavern's name sits in front of the restaurant. Special to the Xpress, courtesy of Pack's Tavern

To begin with, Abreu's establishment is no longer called Chef in Motion — the new name is Chef Mo's Restaurant and Bar. It is located 900 Hendersonville Road, Suite 201, and here are the hours: open for dinner from Monday through Friday from 5 to 9:30 p.m., and until 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch is served only on weekdays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We're also happy to report that the eatery offers a full bar, and a private room that can be rented for parties.

Gluten-free Fair is coming

The third annual Gluten-free Fair is coming to Asheville on Saturday, April 24. Local grocery giant Ingles is sponsoring the event, and Ingles dietitian Leah McGrath, in conjunction with local gluten-free support-group leaders, is in charge of organizing the fair.

McGrath is happy to offer sufferers of celiac disease, and others with intolerance to gluten (the protein in wheat), an opportunity to sample gluten-free fare without fear — and without having to empty their wallets in order to purchase something they might not like in the long run. "It gets rather expensive when you buy things that end up tasting terrible," says McGrath, "which is a big problem with a lot of the gluten-free products."

This year, Carolina Day School has graciously offered use of its gymnasium for the fair, which has doubled in attendance each year, says McGrath. She expects that attendance will likely top 400 this time, and reports that the fair will boast more vendors than ever before, including a slew of local restaurants and food producers. 

"We have lots of things for people to taste," says McGrath. "The fair gives people the opportunity to try things or become aware of products that they might not have known were gluten-free.

"Asheville's become known as an area that has a very supportive gluten-free community, with restaurants like Posana and many others venues that offer gluten-free options — Laurey's Catering, for example," she says. Other local vendors include World's Best Carrot Cake and the Urban Baker. National vendors will include Burt's Bees products, Bob's Red Mill and Seeds of Change.

McGrath adds that, as well as being fun for people with gluten intolerance, having so many options is a welcome relief. Many sufferers of celiac disease, she says, are simply not aware that a vast array of products is available to them. McGrath reports that numerous people have approached her with tears in their eyes to thank her for hosting the fair.

"They don't have to worry, they don't have to check labels," she says of their relief. "Imagine a life where eating a meal out is like walking through a minefield. Depending on your level of sensitivity, you could become violently ill or sick to your stomach for days. They're so relieved, so appreciative of the experience. It's a win-win for everybody."

There are many misconceptions about the gluten-free diet, says McGrath, the first of which is that it's a fad diet. "When you attach the word 'diet' to things, it automatically registers as a fad to some." In some cases, that may be the case, says McGrath, but seldom. "The majority of the people that follow a gluten-free diet are not doing so because they want to lose weight, they're doing it because it's a medical necessity," she says. "It's the difference between being able to function and feeling good, and feeling miserable and awful."

McGrath advises people that suspect that they have a gluten intolerance to have themselves checked out by a professional. "One of the worst things you can do is to take yourself off of gluten or wheat products to see if it makes you feel better, she says. "That will make it hard for the test results to show up accurately. Get accurately diagnosed first with someone who is knowledgeable about celiac disease."

The Asheville Gluten-free Fair will take place on Saturday, April 24, at the Carolina Day School lower gym at 1345 Hendersonville Road from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Laurie Steenwyk will host a free talk at 10 a.m. about raising a child on a gluten-free diet. A preliminary event, the Gluten-free Beer Bash at Bruisin' Ales at 66 Broadway in downtown Asheville, will take place on Thursday, April 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. To reserve your spot, e-mail Sheila Horine at spwh1@bellsouth.net, or Laurie Steenwyk at Laura.steenwyk@pardeehospital.org. For more information about the Gluten-free Fair, contact McGrath at lmcgrath@ingles-markets.com. 

Packing it in

Pack's Tavern will open its doors for business on Monday, April 19. The historic renovation of the more than 100-year-old Hayes and Hopson building into a gastro-tavern overlooking Pack Square Park started just last August. Partners/founders Stewart Coleman, Tom Israel and Ross Franklin describe their project as a bar, restaurant, sports-viewing pub and special-events venue.

The Tavern will offer 32 beer taps and at least 39 bottled beers, with an emphasis on craft beers. The 45-foot long full bar also includes wine, specialty cocktails and martinis. Lots of house-made items and fresh foods, including salads, seafood, steaks and bar snacks, round out the eclectic menu. Israel suggests that everyone try the "fantastic" trout cakes made from Nantahala River trout and his own creation, the Mount Mitchell burger, an eight-ouncer topped with bacon, cheddar, Swiss, a fried green tomato, a fried egg and jalapeños.

Pack's Tavern is located at 20 S. Spruce St. in downtown Asheville. Hours are 11 a.m. until close.

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