Small Bites

P.F. Chang’s is coming! P.F. Chang’s is coming! In a release sure to excite devotees of the stylish Chinese restaurant chain, the developers behind Biltmore Park Town Square this month announced a commitment from the company to open its first Western North Carolina outlet. P.F. Chang’s will join previously announced tenants Barnes & Noble and REI in the south Asheville complex. Since its founding in 1993, P.F. Chang’s has become a phenomenon, with patrons waiting in hour-plus lines to sample its super-sweet take on Mandarin cuisine. Although its stock value has dropped precipitously since 2005, franchise fans still swear undying allegiance to the 100-plus outlet chain: apparently the chicken lettuce wraps have something to do with it.

Asheville is home to two of the state’s twelve AAA four-diamond winners: Gabrielle’s at Richmond Hill and Horizons at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa both received the prestigious ranking again last year. AAA annually evaluates restaurants according to strict criteria that cover food preparation, presentation, service, décor and ambiance. The Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro was the only restaurant statewide to claim a five-diamond award.

Ah, zee YouTube is a heck of an advertising tool, no? Bouchon owner and Asheville Independent Restaurant Association president Michel Baudouin thinks so: He recently posted a lushly illustrated minute-plus video detailing his food offerings and philosophies on the popular site. A link to the video, which tallied more than 100 views in its first week online, is available on the AIR web site at



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4 thoughts on “Small Bites

  1. Stewart David

    Congratulations to Gabrielle’s at Richmond Hill and Horizons at the Grove Park Inn for receiving AAA’s four-diamond restaurant award. As two of only a handful of local restaurants serving foie gras (French for “fatty liver”), they also deserve four-star cruelty awards.

    To make this product, workers shove metal pipes down the throats of ducks and geese and force-feed them enormous amounts of food several times daily, expanding their livers up to 10 times normal.

    Luckily, cruelty cannot stand the spotlight. That’s why, after viewing a video about foie gras, the Chicago City Council voted 48 to 1 to ban its sale. I don’t know how the lone Chicago alderman slept that night. His position represents a lack of empathy that I find incomprehensible. Watch a video at and see what you think, and why the state of California and many countries have also banned the sale of this product that a recent study reports can lead to disease in humans.

    Foie Gras purveyors and aficionados argue that it’s about choice. I hope these restaurants choose compassion over cruelty. Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

  2. Please keep all posts relevant to the blog post. Since the neither restaurant won this fantastic honor specifically for their foie gras, this seems to be somewhat irrelevant to the topic at hand. That said, it’s an interesting issue, and one worthy of further discussion in the proper venue.

    For further discussion of the topic of animal cruelty as it relates to the food industry, please visit the Mountain Xpress discussion forum topic on the subject here:

  3. Stewart David


    The award committee “evaluates restaurants according to strict criteria that cover food preparation, presentation, service, décor and ambiance.” Accordingly, it seems to me that menu options should be open to discussion. I’ve seen MANY other Mountain Xpress blogs that are way off topic and go on ad nauseam. Yet you are jumping on me for one comment. And mine was the only comment, so I clearly wasn’t monopolizing the conversation. You are probably the only person who read it!

    It’s ironic that you are practicing selective enforcement, or viewpoint discrimination, as the country celebrates Dr. King’s birthday. He had unpopular ideas, too. I really hope you can recognize your bias and try to treat everyone equally.

  4. [b]Stewart:[/b] You’re right, I should have been more clear. The larger reason I brought this to your attention in this particular post is because of the tone, provoked by phrases like [b]”they also deserve four-star cruelty awards.”[/b] That was over-the-top, and seemed to be attacking a minor element of the restaurant’s menu, and therefore largely irrelevant to the topic.

    After all, any restaurant that serves meat, fish or animal flesh of any kind can be accused of varying degrees of cruelty, as can the medical industry. Singling out one restaurant for a single dish seemed like an arbitrary and biased attack.

    After some consideration, however, it seems like there would be a number of people who would [i]love[/i] to talk about this subject. I encourage them to do so, and we have provided just such a place on our forums. Above, I provided a link to a discussion forum where such topics could be hashed over at length.

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