Small bites: Everyone is Irish

WEARING OF THE GREEN: Pete’s Pies will roll out the green carpet for St. Patrick’s Day with beer specials, Irish lamb and potato stew and live Irish drinking music in the courtyard. Pictured, from left, are Pete’s Pies chef Eli Barnard, owner Peter Waissen and front-of-house manager Chelsea Zappel.
WEARING OF THE GREEN: Pete’s Pies will roll out the green carpet for St. Patrick’s Day with beer specials, Irish lamb and potato stew and live Irish drinking music in the courtyard. Pictured, from left, are Pete’s Pies chef Eli Barnard, owner Peter Waissen and front-of-house manager Chelsea Zappel. Photo by Gayle Tiller Photography

Come Friday, March 17, restaurants and bars throughout Asheville will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Irish-themed food and drink specials. But before you drop that shot of Irish cream and whiskey into that glass of stout, why not wow your fellow all-green revelers with a few St. Paddy’s Day facts?

Take the color green, for example. In St. Patrick’s time (which would have been in the late fourth and early fifth century), blue — not green — was all the rage, and evidently, the future saint adored the color. But what about his dislikes? Apparently, St. Patrick wasn’t a fan of snakes. According to legend, he drove every last one of them out of Ireland (despite the fact that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes — but let’s not get bogged down by facts here, folks).

By now your fellow revelers have surrounded you, eager for one last tale. You feel the pressure. Maybe you go with the fact that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish; that he was from Scotland or Wales (pesky historians can’t seem to agree on which location it was). Or maybe you talk about his years spent a slave, kidnapped by Irish raiders. The choice is yours.

Before any of this can happen, though, you must first choose where to celebrate.

On Wall Street, MG Road Bar & Lounge will serve Irish bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, and steak and Guinness stew pie, all prepared by chef Dan Silo. Plates will range from $6-$12. Drink specials will feature Guinness, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, Smithwick’s Irish Ale, O’Hara’s Irish Wheat, Irish car bombs, Irish flag shots, Irish coffee, green punch, pot-of-gold slushy and selections of fine Irish whiskey. Drink prices range from $4-$9 (avl.mx/3h0).

At Pete’s Pies on Lexington Avenue, imperial pints of Guinness stout will go for $4. The kitchen will offer a traditional lamb and potato Irish stew, and in the courtyard, Harry Harrison will perform Irish drinking music. The closing time will extend to 10 p.m. (avl.mx/3gy).

Down the street, The Southern will offer $5 Jameson and Jameson’s Caskmate shots. On Sunday, March 19, the bar will continue the revelry with $6 Irish coffees (avl.mx/3gz). On College Street, Claddagh Restaurant & Pub will have live music throughout lunch and dinner and into the night (avl.mx/prt2).

On Patton Avenue, Jack of the Wood will open at 10 a.m. with Irish session players all day. At 9 p.m., the Red Wellies will perform. Food specials will include corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie pasties, house-made bangers and mash, fish and chips, beef and Guinness stew, colcannon and Irish soda bread. At there bar, there will be specials on Guinness, Irish whiskey and whiskey cocktails (avl.mx/prt8).

Heading west, the Westville Pub will offer corned beef along with $4 specials on all Highland beers and $1 off on all Irish liquors (avl.mx/3h1). On the north side of town, if you wear green to Avenue M, you’ll receive 10 percent off all food items (avl.mx/3h2).

In Biltmore Village, the Village Wayside will have corned beef and cabbage for $11.99 and reuben meatloaf sandwich with a side for $10.99 at both lunch and dinner as long as supplies last.

Alpine Wine Dinner 

The wines of the Alpine region will be celebrated on Saturday, April 8, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. The wines will be paired with a meal created by the farm’s chef, Nate Sloan, and chef Aaron Schorsch of international food tour company Saveur the Journey. The five-course menu has not been finalized but will be styled especially for cheese and wine enthusiasts. Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery and Looking Glass Creamery will be among the local cheese providers. “The Alpine Wine Dinner will feature the beautiful wines of the Alps complemented by the local artisanal cheeses of our own majestic Blue Ridge,” says Kelsey Winterbottom, HNG’s director of advertising. A free shuttle will be provided by HNG from a downtown location to be announced.

The Alpine Wine Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview. Tickets are $68, not including tax and gratuity. For details and tickets, visit avl.mx/3gs.

Wine dinner at the N.C. Arboretum

MetroWines’ Asheville School of Wine will hold an International Wine Pairing Dinner at the N.C. Arboretum on Sunday, March 19. The event will begin with a Champagne reception at 3:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 4 p.m. According to a press release, the menu will feature “six internationally inspired courses representing Oregon, Spain, Italy, Argentina and France,” including house-smoked salmon, braised pork and clams, spinach, goat cheese and prosciutto ravioli, Argentine-style chicken, and blue cheese terrine with dried fruit. The Savory Thyme Café will prepare the meals. The evening will conclude with fair trade coffee and dessert.

The International Wine Pairing Dinner runs 3:30-6 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the N.C. Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way. Tickets are $50 plus tax and gratuity. For more information, visit avl.mx/3gu. To make reservations, call 828-665-2492, ext. 232.

Heart & Snake Biscuits breakfast pop-up

A recent press release from Spruce Pine restaurant Knife & Fork reads, “Heart & Snake is our answer to the community’s Monday blues.” On Monday and Tuesday mornings, Heart & Snake offers locally sourced, made-to-order breakfasts that include sandwiches on freshly baked biscuits, butternut squash pancakes and hot doughnuts, along with coffee and house-made rosemary lemonade.

Heart & Snake Biscuits is open 7-11 a.m. Monday-Tuesday at Knife & Fork, 61 Locust St., Spruce Pine. For more information, visit avl.mx/3gv.

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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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