Small bites: Follow your blintz

DANCE, FOOD AND FUN: HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival returns to Pack Square for its 14th year. Photo courtesy of Marty Gellin

“It’s the one day of the year that you can get real Jewish food in downtown Asheville,” says Marty Gillen, spokesperson for HardLox Jewish Food and Heritage Festival. “That’s our claim to fame.”

In its 14th year, the Oct. 16 event offers authentic ryes, challah bread, corned beef, pastrami, chopped liver, matzo balls, rugelach, almond horns and more. This year’s theme is the blintz — a thinly rolled pancake filled with cheese and then baked. “Every year we try and find some hook that ties the Jewish food into the festival,” says Gillen. “That’s how we came up with ‘Follow your Blintz.’”

Foods for the event come from far and near. The matzo balls, matzo ball soup, apple strudel and rugelach are made in-house by members of the Congregation Beth HaTephila. Many of the breads and baked goods are locally sourced from City Bakery and Geraldine’s Bakery. The festival’s fish and meats come primarily from the Northeast.

Dr. Brown’s — a popular Jewish soft drink created in 1869 — will be available for purchase at the festival as well. Gillen highlights some of the popular flavors that attendees can anticipate, including cream soda and black cherry. He adds that all six Dr. Brown’s flavors will be available, in addition to standard sodas and coffee.

Along with food and drink, the gathering offers plenty of entertainment. Billy Jonas and the Billy Jonas Band will perform, as will traditional klezmer musicians. Israeli dancers will also take the stage. Numerous inflatables, kids activities and face painting will be available at the craft station and Kids Zone. Ten prizes are also up for grabs at this year’s raffle, including three meals at Corner Kitchen, a weekend brunch for four at Chestnut, a feast for eight at Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian and more.

“The Jewish community has been involved in Asheville going back to the late 1800s,” says Gillen. “There was a time when most of the merchants downtown were all Jewish merchants who’d come into the mountains.”

Gillen hopes that, in addition to a good time and a full stomach, those in attendance will get a better sense of the historic and cultural role the Jewish community continues to play in the area. “There’s a real resurgence of the Jewish community in Asheville,” Gillen says. “We like to put ourselves out there so people can see how we’re growing and how dynamic a community we are and how involved we are in the greater Asheville community.”

HardLox takes place at Pack Square from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16. The event is open to the public. For additional information visit HardLox.com

Hickory Nut Gap Farm celebrates centennial

Hickory Nut Gap Farm is celebrating its 100th year. The farm was started by Elizabeth and Jim McClure in 1916, with the vision of a community where produce, education and resources were all shared. The 100 Years of Farming Celebration looks to honor that vision with a picnic at the Big Barn, where chili and cornbread will be served. The gathering will also include live music by Cane Creek Mud Dogs, as well as musical chairs and skits performed by third-generation family members.

100 Years of Farming Celebration runs 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview. Admission is $5; there is no charge for children under 4. Admission does not cover food price. For more information about the event, visit avl.mx/314

Dobrá Tea adds seasonal hot chocolates to its menu

Dobrá Tea is now offering a variety of hot chocolates at its West Asheville and Black Mountain tearooms. Owner Andrew Snavely notes that the beverages use low-glycemic coconut sugar, which he says is “a really healthy treat.” Dobrá teamed with Lulu’s Chocolate to create a menu that includes plain hot chocolate, mint hot chocolate, chaga mushroom and cinnamon, lapsang souchong and sea salt and more. Snavely adds that some of the hot chocolates are tea-infused.

Dobrá Tea will offer its hot chocolate menu through the fall and winter at the following locations: 707 Haywood Road and 120 Broadway Ave., Black Mountain. For more information, visit dobrateanc.com

The Byrish Haus and Pub opens on Patton

European comfort food with an Asheville flair is how The Byrish Haus and Pub describes its menu. The restaurant was once the home of the decades-old Barbecue Inn and most recently the site of The Patton Public House, which opened in June. The new pub will have its grand opening Saturday, Oct. 15. To celebrate, there will be live music from The Fun Famdamily, in addition to games, prizes and a number of food and drink specials.

The Byrish Haus and Pub is at 1341 Patton Ave. Its hours of operation are 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

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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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One thought on “Small bites: Follow your blintz

  1. Big Al

    I am frankly not surprised that Patton Public House closed. I was excited by their concept and loved the pictures of the crossed claymores on the wall. I hoped this would be my new celto-carnivore hang out.

    Instead, I found so-so food, no atmosphere, and slow service that began with the greeter (manager?) meeting me at the door with “Can I help you?”, which sounds a lot like “what are you doing here?” to me.

    Does this announcement mean new ownership, or just a re-branding by current owners wanting a second chance? (I hope not.)

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