Carmel’s Restaurant And Bar: In a tourist town, diamonds are a restaurant’s best friend, and Carmel’s (pictured) now has three of them to flaunt. The relatively new Grove Arcade eatery was recently awarded three Diamonds by the AAA travel-rating service, an honor bestowed upon a mere 4 percent of the more than 60,000 restaurants and hotels annually reviewed through the program. AAA ranks restaurants on a five-Diamond scale; according to its standards, a three-Diamond property “appeals to the traveler with comprehensive needs.”
Modesto: Further up Grove Arcade’s thriving restaurant row, celebrated chef Hector Diaz is shaking up the menu at Modesto, his intimate addition to Asheville’s edible Italian scene. The restaurant’s new Cichetti menu features a collection of $3 small plates, including espresso pork with risotto, barbecued octopus and pickled wild mushrooms.
Haywood County Tailgate Market: The debut of a new tailgate market in Waynesville this month was marred by a dozen farmers’ refusal to move from the old market venue. The opening of the brand new Historic Waynesville Tailgate Market revealed a deep divide between those produce sellers who have been participating in the town’s only market for more than a decade and newcomers interested in selling previously banned value-added products such as baked goods, soap and cheese. According to The Mountaineer, many longtime vendors refused to follow the jelly and cookie crowd to the Haywood Arts Regional Theater parking lot on Sept. 3, the last day Badcock Furniture planned to allow farmers to use its lot. “We are the local market, and we don’t feel we should be pressed to go,” Steve West told the paper. The American Legion has since welcomed the disaffected farmers to its parking lot; both markets will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the remainder of the season.
The Market Place: Local-food giant The Market Place is virtually voyaging across the Atlantic for its next wine event. Cody Stokes of Fine Wine Trading will present a program of Spanish wines on Wednesday, Sept. 24, matching flights of his latest favorites to a light tasting menu. The $38 tickets cover food and drink only (meaning tax and gratuity are the participants’ responsibility). To reserve a seat, call 252-4162.
Best Dish In N.C.: Hendersonville has again had a superlative showing in the Best Dish in North Carolina competition, taking home three wins in the annual contest sponsored by the state’s Department of Agriculture. Blackwater Grille finished second in the casual-dining category on the strength of its blackberry summer salad, mountain rabbit and mountain-berry ice cream. La Riserva also claimed a second place prize with its five-course menu. The Inn on Church Street, which submitted a series of dishes including seafood chowder, heirloom-tomato bread salad and trout cakes, earned third-place honors.