Makin’ whoopies, cooking the Tupelo way and more

A decade on the books

It's been a good run. After serving hundreds of thousands of customers — enough to warrant the opening of a second location — Tupelo Honey Café is coming out with its first cookbook to commemorate its first decade of success. The book, Tupelo Honey Café: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen, features 240 glossy pages with more than 125 recipes from executive chef Brian Sonoskus' repertoire.

The style of fare at Tupelo Honey is best described as “Southern cuisine with a fresh take on tradition.” Recipes like creamy tomato soup, Tupelo honey wings and the restaurant's famous “ginormous" biscuits reflect this sensibility. Many of the main dishes also come with suggestions for beer and wine pairings.     

Written by local food writer Elizabeth Sims, former president of the Southern Foodways Alliance, in collaboration with chef Sonoskus, the book goes beyond recipes to offer a look at the unique community Asheville has become. “I’m honored to be part of this project,” says Sims. “Asheville needed a book about its vibrant food scene and how it reflects the creativity and energy of our community. In many ways, Tupelo Honey Café, with its independent spirit, is a microcosm of our town.”

The book contains over 75 full-color photos of the recipes, local farms and produce, as well as Asheville landmarks. Owner Steve Frabitore says he wants people to read the cookbook and be compelled to come see for themselves what a wonderful city Asheville is.

The book will be released in the spring of 2011, and as is often their M.O., Tupelo plans to use the opportunity to give back to the community. When the cookbook is pre-ordered directly from the café (online or at either of the restaurant's locations), one dollar of the proceeds from each sale will go to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and another to MANNA FoodBank.

Visit tupelohoneycafe.com for more information.
— Warren Wilson student Melody Grace Miller contributed to this report

Makin’ Whoopie

We were especially thrilled by our decision to highlight more local food products in these pages when My Whoopie Pies decided to send us a ribbon-festooned box of their baked goods.

What's a whoopie pie? If you have to ask, you may be a true-blood Southerner. Whoopies are a traditionally New England confection — basically two cake "buns" sandwiching a sweet filling. The classic whoopie consists of chocolate cake with a sweet vanilla filling.

Once I got the boys to stop giggling and making inappropriate cream-filled whoopie-pie jokes, we got down to the business at hand. The sampling part of our local food profile mission is rarely hard, but check it: these cakes are darn good.

Inside the pretty little box, we found chocolate whoopies, carrot cake and red velvet whoopies, all filled with a sweet — but not too sweet — cream-cheese filling. We were particularly fond of the carrot-cake whoopies, and who really can argue with carrot-cream cheese? Revealing my Yankee roots here for a moment, I'll admit to not being a huge fan of red-velvet cake in general, but the born-and-raised Southerner in our office declared them delicious. 

My Whoopie Pies are made with all-natural ingredients and come in all sorts of flavors, like pumpkin with crystallized ginger cream, raspberry-chocolate and strawberries and cream.

All of the fillings are cream-cheese based, which makes for a not-too-sweet dessert. They're available in regular and mini sizes. For more information on pricing and ordering, visit mywhoopiepies.com.

My Whoopie Pies are made at Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Candler. To learn more about BRFV, visit advantagewest.com.

Quick Bites

The Asheville Chili Cook-off will take place on Sunday, Nov. 7 at the Asheville Brewing Company at 77 Coxe Avenue. The entry fee for competitors is $20, while a $5 ticket allows for unlimited sampling. All proceeds from the event will go to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Apparently, there is also a race that requires participants to eat two bowls of chili while running. That alone sounds worth the ticket. For more information, call 545-0308, or visit the Asheville Chili Cook-off Facebook page.

Former Lobster Trap chef Tres Hundertmark, moved back to New England this year. Since then, he’s launched oystergeek.com, a website devoted to all things oyster. The site is based in Wellfleet, Mass. on Cape Cod, and features shuckers, events, oyster bars the whole country over and — of course — the bivalves themselves.

“I started this website and blog in hopes that other oyster enthusiasts like myself will provide me with content to add to it,” Hundertmark says. “Photos, stories, recipes, your favorite oyster haunt and oyster info of all kinds are all welcome submissions that will be posted on the site.”

Visitors to the site can also learn how eating Wellfleet oysters can lend a helping hand to oyster industry workers on the gulf affected by this spring’s BP oil spill.

Neo Burrito — a fresh, quick Mexican restaurant first opened in West Asheville in January of 2009 — is opening another location at 2 Town Square Blvd. in Biltmore Park Town Square. The new eatery is set to open in the spring of 2011, and will focus on sustainability and a menu centered around healthy options.

As good as that all is, Neo Burrito is also home to the 10-cent beer special on Friday nights, as well as the $1 breakfast burrito. For more information, visit neoburrito.com.

Posana Café in downtown Asheville has extended some mighty fine drink specials “indefinitely.” Wednesdays, Posana serves up $6 artisan martinis. On Tuesdays, bottles of wine are half price, and on weekends, get a Bloody Mary or mimosa for $5.50. For more information, visit posanacafe.com

And finally, Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian offers half-priced bottles of wine on Mondays, $5 martinis on Fridays, a 10 percent discount on food to students and faculty at UNC Asheville and every Sunday night is Family Night — kids 10 and under eat for free from the “Bambino menu.” For more information, visit vinniesitalian.com.

— Send your food news to Mackensy Lunsford at food@mountainx.comFormer

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