Food news to go: News of the Asheville food scene in small bites

As usual, there’s plenty going on in the Asheville food world.

Third new restaurant in one year to occupy 27 Broadway building
Never Blue, a tapas restaurant that got its start in Hendersonville, is opening another location at 27 Broadway St. (where the here-today, gone-tomorrow Zoe Rose used to be). You may (or may not — blink and you probably missed it) remember Zoe Rose as the restaurant that replaced Tingles Cafe.

Yes, that makes three tapas joints in one town, along with Zambra and Cúrate. Yes, they are all within blocks of each other. But Never Blue seems like it will fill a different niche. Sure, all three serve small plates, but there are fundamental differences in each restaurant’s style.

Cúrate is a traditional Spanish tapas bar, serving such dishes as pan con tomate and brandada de bacalao. Zambra is a little more “off the beaten path” with its tapas; the menu is market-driven and a little edgy, what with chef Adam Bannasch’s fascination with, shall we say, interesting proteins — this is where to go for heart tacos, for example.

The sample menu posted on the nascent restaurant’s window on Broadway reveals rather fun, primarily snack-based fare by chef Jesse Roque, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Edson. Items like a Mexican-style shrimp cocktail, shrimp-and-grits and Thai-style wings are pushing the definition of tapas, but a few dishes that fit the bill are offered too (olives, beets with marcona almonds). Larger menu items are available as well, including the cowboy ribeye. Vegetarians take note: there’s a rather large selection for you as well. The prices seem reasonable; menu items look widely accessible. 

To get a clearer idea of what to expect from Never Blue, visit the restaurant’s website here. The menus will stay similar, though the Asheville location will have a few unique items to suit what will likely be a different clientele. The Never Blue owners are opening a third location in Saluda, to be called the Blue Gypsy, according to a report by Carolina Epicurean here.

Special dinners abound
There are quite a few special dinners going on around town recently, including a host of benefit dinners, many of which you’ll read about in greater detail in this and next week’s Xpress.

There’s Feasting for FEAST, a benefit for a Slow Food Asheville program that teaches children life skills through hands-on, group cooking experiences.

We also like Dinner in the Garden, a benefit for Asheville’s ArtSpace Charter School student garden. This event takes place on Friday, Sept 23, from 6 until 8 p.m. Participating in the event will be Plant, Tomato Jam, Laurey’s Catering and others. The menu will include vegetables that the students grew themselves. Some of the offerings: Wood-fired potato pastry with stone ground amaranth crust from Farm and Sparrow, Caesar salad with heirloom watermelon and poblano dressing by Plant, tomato jam and basil crostinis by Tomato Jam Café.

The event will include a raffle and live music and takes place in the actual garden at the school, located at 2030 US Highway 70 in Swannanoa.

And although it’s not a dinner, it’s still a great, charitable event, and it was brought to our attention by the good folks at The Hop Ice Cream Cafe. The Hop is sponsoring the Autism Society’s annual Run/Walk for Autism taking place on Saturday, Sept. 24. This year, The Hop has a team in the event, and you can sign up to join it here. The goal is to get 50 people to join Team Hop to raise at least $1250 for the Autism Society. Online registration closes next Monday, Sept. 19 at noon. You can register in person on Friday, Sept. 23 from 11:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Autism Society of NC office, located at 30 Garfield Street, Ste. F, Asheville. Registration will be available on the day of the race beginning at 7:30 a.m. Visit the event website for more details.

More dinners:
The Market Place hosts a multicourse dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 14, featuring food and drink from local producers. Here’s the menu:

Tomato and Spinning Spider chevre tart with local mixed greens and Troy and Sons moonshine vinaigrette — Moonshine cocktail
Pan-roasted Sunburst Farms trout with fire-roasted corn-and-pepper succotash, corn ice cream, chili oil and corn coulis — Belgian Wheat Beer
Bacon-wrapped Hickory Nut Gap Pork Loin, celeriac puree, braised celery and foraged-mushroom demi — Brown Ale
Spinning Spider chevre cheesecake, almond tuile, local raspberry coulis — raspberry moonshine cocktail

Lush Life Productions, a local production and promotions company, is filming a pilot for a television show called “Local Love” during the event. The show’s aim is to highlight communities and restaurants that embrace the local food movement and features local restaurants, farms, distilleries, breweries and farmers markets. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., cost is $45. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.

The Grand Bohemian’s Red Stag has its own dinner on Friday, Sept 16, from 6 until 9 p.m. The dinner features a meet and greet with Thomas Arvid, a visual artist whose work includes still-life paintings that often focus on the pleasure of wine consumption. His work is featured at all boutique Kessler properties (the Red Stag Included). The dinner will begin with a champagne toast and welcome in the Grand Bohemian Gallery. A four-course dinner with Arvid will follow, boasting art-worthy wine-pairings from Far Niente, Cakebread Cellers, Au Bon Climat and Dow’s Port. Cost is $99. For more information, call 398-5555.

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