The Lion's Den sandwich shop recently opened inside the Grove Arcade, offering affordable light-lunch eats right next to the Fresh Quarter produce market. (The Fresh Quarter, by the way, is a great place for affordable light fare as well. The little market offers mostly produce, but also bags of spring mix, Greek yogurt, chips and juices.)
The Lion's Den offers sandwiches for $5.99 on a selection of breads. I had the chance to sample the turkey, salami and provolone with an olive-artichoke spread. The meat came thinly sliced, stacked on a soft, whole-wheat hoagie roll with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and pepperoncinis, offering a quality deal.
Other sandwiches include a ham and swiss with pesto mayo, roast beef with jack cheese and horseradish mayo and a hummus sandwich with that same olive spread.
Regardless, everything is good and the staff is friendly. The salad bar is a cheap option for downtown lunchers at $4.99 a pound. Besides the typical leaves and vegetables, the bar offers a decent potato salad, a grated carrot salad and a corn salad.
Soup is a hot deal, too, at $2.50 a cup. Soups are made fresh daily. The Lion's Den offers a vegetarian as well a as meat-based selection on the menu. Combos — soup/salad, soup/sandwich, sandwich/salad — are only $4.99.
For more information, call 505-2821.
Winter warmer savings and specials
From the (cold) mountains to the sea:
Maybe a taste of the coast is just what the doctor ordered to take your mind off of what is sure to be a crazy-cold winter season. The Lobster Trap's winter weekday specials run until spring, offering some pretty good seafood deals. On Mondays, with the purchase of an entree, diners get a half-priced appetizer or a free dessert. On Tuesdays, Gulf oysters by the dozen are 50 cents each, and all other types of oysters are 25 percent off (Don't forget that winter's the time for the best oysters). On Wednesdays, steamed gulf shrimp with butter and cocktail sauce is $9.99 a pound. On Thursdays, two lobster dinners — that's two lobsters, four sides — add up to $50, an almost 25 percent savings against the menu price. For more information about the Lobster Trap, visit thelobstertrap.biz
A nip of the (red) sauce:
Cold weather and Italian food just seem to go together. That and booze. Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian has you covered on both fronts. Vinnie’s offers 1/2-priced bottles and carafes of wine on Mondays, $2 local pint nights on Tuesdays and $5 martinis on Fridays. On Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant offers lamb shanks, a dish not offered during the week. On Sundays, kids under 10 eat for free. For more information about Vinnie's, visit vinniesitalian.com.
Ritrovo Pizzeria in West Asheville also offers $2 pint nights on Tuesdays. Ritrovo is not exactly your red-sauce Italian restaurant, offering primarily wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies and salads, as well as gelatos. They've expanded the menu to include a number of gratins and soups. Ritrovo also offers wine and beer flight specials on Wednesdays, which Xpress has previously mentioned. Visit ritrovopizzeria.com for more information.
Coming in from the cold:
Monday through Wednesday nights are all about mussels at Bouchon — all-you-can-eat mussels $14. The first order includes frites. Forget what you learned in kindergarten — no sharing, people. That's $14 per person.
Speaking of Bouchon, Xpress recently mentioned that Bouchon Street Food had changed their location for the winter. The eatery has moved from the alley to a small, quiet dining room in Bouchon's courtyard.
I had a chance to attend a wine dinner on a cold, early December evening, and was impressed by the coziness, as well as the value the small, casual eatery offers. As you may already know, Bouchon Street Food serves crepes, gourmet hot dogs and baguettes. They also offer great — and affordable — paté plates with artisan cheeses, desserts (including Nutella cheesecake) and a selection of sandwiches like croque monsieur and pastrami-and-apple with Lusty Monk. Through January 1, Bouchon Street Food offers a free sweet crepe between 3 and 6 p.m. with the purchase of a savory crepe, sandwich or paté and cheese plate. To learn more about Bouchon and Bouchon Street Food, visit ashevillebouchon.com.
Have some winter specials to report? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with “winter special” in the subject line.
— Send your food news to Mackensy Lunsford at email@example.com