Foodwire: Luella’s wins the tempeh challenge, Dobra banished gluten and more food news

Luella’s Bar-B-Que wins the challenge

Luella's Bar-B-Que went to the Epic Tempeh Reuben Challenge on Sept. 30 with a brand-new sandwich recipe, and left with both the first place and people's choice awards, beating 10 other restaurants, including vegetarian joints.

“It was surprising,” says co-owner Jeff Miller. “Tempeh's on the menu. We're not experts at handling protein alternatives, or at least we weren't until Sunday.”

Miller and kitchen manager Nate Whiting engineered the tempeh to taste and look like corned beef, and they sliced the protein thin, which diners appreciated. Miller says the sandwich will enter the specials rotation and one day become a menu item.

In lieu of trophies, award winners received paintings by local artist Adam Strange. “Talk about icing on the cake,” Miller says.

The judges awarded second place to Nine Mile and third place to One Stop Deli and Bar. The competition raised more than $2,000 for MANNA FoodBank, enough money to provide 6,000 meals.

Dobrá Tea now gluten-free

Downtown Asheville’s Dobrá Tea is saying goodbye to gluten. As of Friday, Oct. 5, the snack plates and baked goods that the shop sells do not include the protein composite that causes digestive irritation for some.

Dobra doesn't have a kitchen — they buy snacks from local bakers, vendors and small-batch producers — but they've replaced all their food-preparation equipment to avoid cross-contamination from past glutenous items.

The new food menu features flat bread from My Gluten-Free Bakery in Hendersonville that Dobrá serves with hummus, baba ghanoush and goat cheese. Baked items include Nutella tea biscuits with almonds from May Apple Bakery, cardamom Ganesh cookies from Leishka's Old World Bakery and pumpkin spice bread from Sugar Two Shoes.

“I'd say 80 percent of our customers seem to be gluten-free, or they want to be,” says Andrew Snavely, owner. “I myself am gluten-free.”

Dobrá Tea is located at 78 N. Lexington Ave. For more information, call 575-2424.

Asheville City Market will come inside for winter

The downtown Asheville City Market will hibernate no longer. The gathering of local vendors will sell their wares over the winter months in the atrium of the Haywood Park Hotel from January to March.

“One of the reasons to start a winter market is to help farmers be able to have a market when they can extend their season through greenhouse growing,” says Mike McCreary, program coordinator for Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.

With space for up to 35 vendors, the market will continue to offer produce, cheese, meats, eggs, baked goods, value-added food products and arts and crafts every Saturday from Jan. 12 through the end of March, when operations resume at the outdoor location on South Charlotte Street

ASAP is currently taking applications for winter vendors. They hope to offer half of the available winter spots to farms. Winter crops that McCreary hopes to see at the market over the winter include greens, squash and root vegetables.

The Asheville City Market operates every Saturday through Dec. 15 at 161 S. Charlotte St. It resumes in the atrium of the Haywood Park Hotel on Jan. 12. For vendor applications and more information, visit the market on Facebook or at

Growdown in Black Mountain

Black Mountain's Growdown Home Kitchen provides would-be entrepreneurs access to commercial kitchen equipment in a certified space, and it's taking applications for more vendors.

The former location of Sprout Garden Café and The Oak House restaurant in downtown Black Mountain now houses the endeavors of Imladris Farm jams and Green River Picklers, but there's opportunity for more entrepreneurs, says owner Jon Braden.

He envisions the kitchen as a resource for sauce-makers, picklers and small-scale caterers. Vendors share equipment and disperse costs through a payment system that's proportional to hours used. Braden is in the process of constructing a large, outdoor walk-in freezer and cooler.

To learn more about the kitchen, contact Braden at 828-337-6578.

Food book events this week

Malaprop's this week hosts two author events featuring food writers: signings for Chefs of the Mountains by John E. Batchelor and Food and Faith by Norman Wirzba.

Chefs of the Mountains tells the stories of 40 WNC chefs and records their recipes, including The Junction's sweet- tea brined fried chicken and Rezaz's tzatziki sauce.

Batchelor has written restaurant reviews in Greensboro since 1981. He's also involved in Asheville's food world. He served on the judging panel of the WNC Chef's Challenge. Batchelor will appear at Malaprop's, 55 Haywood St., on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. for an author talk and book signing with samples of local food.

As for the theological side of food, Wirzba, an eco-theologian and research professor of theology, ecology and rural life at Duke Divinity School, will deliver a lecture on the moral and spiritual aspects of producing and eating food. Wirzba and colleague Fred Bahnson will speak on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Oct. 13, Bahnson and Wirzba will host a seminar on the spirituality of eating at the First Baptist Church of Asheville, 5 Oak St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the Malaprop's events, visit or call 254-6734. To learn more about the seminar on the spirituality of eating, call Fred Bahnson, director of The Food and Faith Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, at 553-3564.


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Foodwire: Luella’s wins the tempeh challenge, Dobra banished gluten and more food news

  1. Stewart David

    Congratulations to Luella’s, but I hate that term “protein alternatives.” It perpetuates the myth that if you don’t eat animals you need to work hard to add protein in your diet. Americans get way too much protein, and most vegans get plenty without eating animal products or special foods. Protein is in most foods, you just need to eat a balanced diet. Cows and horses are vegans and they grow big and strong. :-)

    To learn more, please read “The Protein Myth” at

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.