Small bites: A taste of Black Mountain

DESSERT ON THE MOVE: Black Mountain Bakery is one of the stops on Creative Mountain Food Tours' Sweet Tooth Dessert Tour. Photo by Kathy Mundy
DESSERT ON THE MOVE: Black Mountain Bakery is one of the stops on Creative Mountain Food Tours' Sweet Tooth Dessert Tour. Photo by Kathy Mundy

A taste of Black Mountain

A new business is opening in Black Mountain that’s geared to foodies and history buffs of both the local and tourist variety: Creative Mountain Food Tours, owned by McDowell County residents Len and Sandi Eskew, will offer three themed tours that allow participants to do small-plate tastings at at least five restaurants, pubs and breweries while burning off those calories strolling through Black Mountain’s picturesque downtown.

A total of 13 carefully vetted, locally owned eateries and watering holes are participating, say the Eskews, who moved to a log home in McDowell County three years ago from West Virginia and have grown to love Black Mountain. At each stop, restaurant owners and chefs will greet and chat with tour participants behind the scenes about local culture, history and cuisine, they explain. Theme options are: Dessert Tour, Ultimate Food Tour and the Pub and Grub Crawl.

The Eskews came up with the business idea while on on a food tour in Asheville last year. “We saw this as something we can do together,” says Sandi Eskew. “Len always says that Western North Carolina draws creativity out of you that you never knew existed. … It’s all about creating experiences for people that they will remember for years to come.”

The tours launch on Friday, June 20, and are scheduled for 2-5 p.m. on select Fridays and Saturdays through November. Space is limited to 12 guests per tour. Cost ranges from $30 to $40 per person. Tours are open to all ages — except the Pub and Grub Crawl, which is only for ages 21 and older.

For details, a schedule or to register for a tour, visit

Hawaiian Elvis theme party

What better way to welcome summer than with tropical cocktails and a bar full of Hawaiian Elvises? Throw in some dueling pianos, and you’ve got yourself a party.

The Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar will roll out its summer drink menu and celebrate the beginning of the hot season with Hawaiian Elvis theme parties on Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21. Both nights will feature costume contests, and the cocktail menu promises some summery concoctions: The Blister in the Sun is a blend of Absolut Pear and Midori with pineapple, coconut and other tropical flavors, while the Summer Nights martini features the flavors of a campfire s’more with a graham cracker rim and mini-marshallow garnish.

On Friday, partygoers can throw caution to the wind with $2 off the bar’s 64-ounce fishbowl drinks (yes, that means cocktails served in actual fishbowls). The bar is for ages 21 and older, and is open 6 p.m.-2 a.m. The piano show starts at 9 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge.

Off the Wagon is at 22 N. Market St.

Medea’s Espresso & Juice Bar grand opening

Medea’s Espresso & Juice Bar will host a grand opening celebration 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, June 21. The event will feature samples of Medea’s cold-pressed, organic juices, information about its three-day detox program, raffles, chair massages, acupuncture demonstrations and organic wine and beer tastings. There will be live jazz music by Spontaneous Blueprint 8-9 p.m., and Peggy Ratusz will perform her brand of bluesy rock 9-11 p.m.

Medea’s is in The Overlook at Julian, 200 Julian Lane, Suite 220, Arden.

New Italian restaurant

Chef’s Apron Neighborhood Trattoria recently opened in Biltmore Park Town Square. The locally owned Italian eatery offers homemade sauces, soups, salads, dressings and dough — some made with ingredients sourced from local and regional farms. The New York-style pizza and calzones are baked in brick ovens, with white, wheat and gluten-free crust options available. Pizza is for sale by the slice (a deal at $2) as well as in 8-inch, 12-inch and 16-inch sizes. Entrees span the range of pastas and meats, some made with local products, such as Hickory Nut Gap Farms pork and Sunburst trout. Chef’s Apron also features a full wine list, handcrafted cocktails and an in-house pastry chef. The restaurant delivers in Town Square and the Biltmore Park neighborhood 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Chef’s Apron is at 33 Town Square Blvd., Suite 110, next to Barnes & Noble. View the menu at 676-3034

World Cup at the Bier Garden

The annual World Cup soccer frenzy is underway, and plenty of local businesses are celebrating with special events and offerings, including Hi-Wire Brewing and Wicked Weed (see this week’s Beer Scout). For soccer aficionados who love their swag, the die-hard fans at the Bier Garden are offering daily raffles for authentic World Cup team jerseys, balls, bags, gift cards and other items.

Every game will be broadcast live with sound on more than 20 50-inch televisions and 18- and 10-foot projection screens. In a nod to Hi-Wire’s well-known soccer enthusiasm, the Bier Garden is offering all Hi-Wire pints for only $3 throughout the tournament, which runs through July 13. The Bier Garden is the home base for the WNC chapter of the American Outlaws, the official fan group for the U.S. National Soccer Team, so members are expected to be out in force during all U.S. games with giveaways and party favors.

The Bier Garden is at 46 Haywood St. For a schedule of 2014 World Cup games, go to:





About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at

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