ASAP: Good news for sustainability-minded carnivores: ASAP has made local meat its product of the month for December, meaning partner restaurants will feature Western North Carolina-grown meats on their menus. In the meantime, collaborating restaurants are busily making use of November's product, winter squash. Over at West End Bakery (pictured), for example, the vegetable is showing up in pumpkin pies, pumpkin bars, Long Island cheese squash soup and salads. For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit www.asapconnections.org.
Asheville Independent Restaurant Association: The Asheville Independent Restaurant has resurrected its Main Course Dining Program, doing away with a coupon book that featured various offers from member restaurants. While participating restaurants last year dreamt up an array of promotions ranging from "free coffee with breakfast" deals to gift certificate vouchers that could be claimed after eating a full-price meal, this year's deals are all the same: Buy one entrée, get one free. The package includes BOGO coupons for 18 locally owned eateries, including Mela, fig, Corner Kitchen, Savoy and Frankie Bones. "For only $50, diners can enjoy $600 worth of savings at some of the finest and most unique restaurants in our community," says AIR president Kevin Schwartz. To purchase a package, visit www.airasheville.org.
Fred's Speakeasy: After two months of renovations, Fred's Speakeasy, at 122 College St. in Asheville, has reopened with a new look and new offerings. There's now food on the menu, including small pizzas done in the style of Fiore's, the street-level restaurant above Fred's that's owned by the same family. Owner Anthony Cerrato, Fred's lineup of local entertainments and karaoke will be returning shortly. Call 281-0920 for more information.
Tupelo Honey: Tupelo Honey may be known to tourists as Rachael Ray's favorite place for a sweet-potato pancake, but it's gaining local notoriety for issuing one of the most massive cattle calls for food-and-beverage staff that the town's seen in some time. The restaurant is vowing to hire 70 people to open its new South Asheville location at 1829 Hendersonville Road.
"We take great pride in our employee community," owner Steve Frabitore is quoted as saying in a release announcing the three-day job fair (Nov. 30 through Dec. 2).
Available positions include manager, server, host, prep cook, line cook and dishwasher. For a job application and more information about the hiring event — including job requirements and interview times for specific positions — visit www.tupelohoneycafe.com.
Southern Highland Craft Guild: Having sold countless wooden serving spoons and ceramic trivets, the Southern Highland Craft Guild is now pitching a book of recipes submitted by member artists, staff and volunteers. According to spokeswoman April Nance, the cookbook, titled Artful Eating, includes 500 entrees, side dishes and desserts. The $18.95 book is available at the Folk Arts Center and Guild Craft; it can also be purchased online at www.craftguild.org. "The members and friends of the Southern Highland Craft Guild are a diverse group and you need look no further than Artful Eating to prove it," Nance writes.