Small bites: Celebration time at Short Street Cakes

PARTY ON: Short Street Cakes will host a party to celebrate a  pair of anniversaries and Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 28.
PARTY ON: Short Street Cakes will host a party to celebrate a pair of anniversaries and Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Photo by Alice Oglesby

It’ll be a trifecta celebration at Short Street Cakes come Fat Tuesday. In addition to complimentary beads and samples of king cake to honor Mardi Gras, an eight-tier cake will mark the bakery’s eight-year anniversary. The dessert’s top tier will also represent the one-year anniversary for the shop’s new owner, Olga Perez.

“It has been a new experience for us,” says Tomas Aguilar, Perez’s husband and manager at Short Street. “We’re still learning a lot.”

Aguilar notes that the store’s former owner and Perez’s mentor, Jodi Rhoden, has assisted with the transition. Rhoden has also helped organize this year’s party. But on the day of, Aguilar says, he and Perez will be running the show.

In addition to sweets, guests can expect complimentary cocktails and music by DJ Abu Disarray. Additionally, a $1 raffle will be held with prizes that include T-shirts and aprons from Short Street Cakes, as well as gift certificates to a number of local businesses. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Family Resource Center at Emma, which works to improve the financial stability of families through a number of initiatives, including a food pantry, clothing closet and parenting classes.

Aguilar considers the celebration a fun way for the community to get together. “It’s open to the public, and we hope everyone can come,” he says. And with an eight-tier cake to consume, the bigger the sweet tooth, the better.

Celebrations run from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Short Street Cakes, 225 Haywood Road. The event is free. For more details, visit shortstreetcakes.com

Agave: Without Borders

While all tequilas are mezcals, not all mezcals are tequilas. Not sure how that works? Mountain Madre will help clarify the conundrum with its upcoming event, Agave: Without Borders, where Samir Osman will lead a tasting and talk. According to the event’s Facebook page, Osman has over 20 years’ experience tending and managing bars, as well as creating cocktail programs from “Los Dados, an agave bar in Manhattan, to the mother of all San Francisco speakeasies, Bourbon and Branch.” Following the event, Mountain Madre will have agave cocktails developed by Osman available for purchase.

Agave: Without Borders runs 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Mountain Madre, 13 Walnut St. Tickets are $25. For more information on the event, visit avl.mx/3e3.

Winter Beer Dinner at The Junction

For the fourth straight year, River Arts District neighbors The Junction and New Belgium Brewing will team up for their annual Winter Beer Dinner. Monkfish and daikon “scallops,” duck breast rubbed with grains of paradise, cider-brined Greenbrier Farms pork tenderloin and nutty baklava are among the dishes featured on the five-course menu. Featured New Belgium beers will include La Folie, Lips of Faith Anne Francoise, Voodoo 8 Hop IPA, Tartastic and Day Blazer Lager.

The Winter Beer Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, at The Junction, 348 Depot St. No. 190. Tickets are $65, not including tax or gratuity. For reservations, call 828-225-3497 or visit avl.mx/3e5.

Mardi Gras party with Salt & Smoke

Salt & Smoke, the permanent kitchen at Burial Beer Co., will cook up a three-day New Orleans feast to celebrate Mardi Gras (see Beer Scout in this issue for further details on the beer-related festivities). On Sunday, Feb. 26, a Creole-inspired brunch will kick off the event with dishes including eggs sardou along with grits and grilled items. The following day, Monday, Feb. 27, will feature a traditional crawfish boil with potatoes, corn and house-made andouille sausage. The menu for Fat Tuesday proper will focus on Cajun comfort food, including po’ boys, gumbo and a variety of appetizers. The a la carte menus range in price from $5-9 for appetizers to $10-14 for main dishes. Live music will also be featured each night in addition to special beer releases.

For more information on the specific times and performances, visit avl.mx/3e6.

2017 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists

The James Beard Foundation announced on Feb. 15 that two Asheville chefs have been named to its list of semifinalists for the 2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall Barbecue and John Fleer of Rhubarb are competing against each other in the category of Best Chef: Southeast. This marks the second nomination for Moss, who in 2016 released his first cookbook and had his restaurant listed among Bon Appétit‘s top 10 for America’s Best New Restaurants 2016. Fleer has been named one of the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Stars of the 21st Century and is a four-time finalist in the Best Chef Southeast category. The James Beard Foundation Awards are often described as the Oscars of the food world. The finalists will be announced March 15.

For details and the full list of nominees, visit jamesbeard.org. For the list of finalists on March 15, visit facebook.com/beardfoundation.

Taste of Local

Ingles Market at 1865 Hendersonville Road will host Taste of Local. The event will feature a number of vendors offering free samples. “We call it an indoor farmers market,” says Leah McGrath, Ingles’ dietitian. “These are all local farmers, suppliers [and] food entrepreneurs that sell to us.” Among the organizations participating are: Roots Hummus, Crooked Condiments, Ally’s Bar, Smiling Hara Tempeh and City Bakery.

Taste of Local runs 3-6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at 1865 Hendersonville Road.

Coffee with a Cop at PennyCup at the YMI

On Wednesday, March 1, PennyCup at the YMI will host Coffee with a Cop.  From 7:30-9:30 a.m., Asheville residents will have the opportunity to sit down and converse with members of the Asheville Police Department over a cup of coffee. “This year has seen strain between law enforcement and the community, but I have seen leadership that puts effort into positive change,” says Matthew Burd, co-owner of PennyCup at the YMI.  “A safe space to dialogue, free from the bureaucracy of a town hall event is important.”

Coffee with a Cop runs 7:30-9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 1, at PennyCup at the YMI, 39 S. Market St. For more information visit avl.mx/3ec

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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