Small Bites: Free community tastings at MetroWines

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS: MetroWines co-owner Gina Trippi, pictured above with business partner John Kerr, loves bringing people together at her shop. "Most [of our] events take place while the store remains open to shoppers, and this is where the real magic happens! Upon seeing the gathering, neighbors find out about opportunities and organizations they didn't even know about that interest them," she says. Xpress file photo

MetroWines’ upcoming events

“Our philosophy is that wine is about food, family, friends and community.” says MetroWines co-owner Gina Trippi. “It was our vision to have our shop be a part of the community.”

In two years, MetroWines has hosted myriad gatherings — from movie nights to fundraisers, comedy clubs to storytellings, French language lessons to birthdays and everything in between. Many of the events are free to attend, including two upcoming affairs.

Bill Green, national sales manager for Wilson Artisan Wines of Healdsburg, Calif., visits Asheville for a free tasting on Thursday, April 9, from 5-7 p.m. He’ll present six wines from Wilson Artisan Wines’ collection, including Wilson’s zinfandel and petite sirah, De Lormier Winery’s chardonnay and cabernet and Jaxon Keys Winery’s red blend and white blend.

“This is particularly exciting for us, as Diane Wilson is the winemaker, and we try to highlight women winemakers when we can,” says Trippi, adding that Wilson wines are “consistently awarded 90 points or higher by respected critics.”

On Saturday, April 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, April 12, from noon until 4 p.m., MetroWines transforms into a living estate-sale venue, housing the goods of a “well-traveled Miami couple,” says Trippi. Sheila Billeter, owner of Sweet Earth Mountain Resale thrift shop in Saluda, will host the pop-up thrift store as “Tipsy Gypsy.”

“To complement The Tipsy Gypsy’s eclectic collection, we will be tasting Txakolina — a sparkling rosé from the Basque region of Spain that goes with anything,” says Trippi. “Where else can you buy a bottle of wine, teal-colored wine glasses and a teak table?”

Visit metrowinesasheville.com or call 575-9525 for more information. MetroWines, 169 Charlotte St.

Appalachian Ramps and Preserves at The Market Place

An old Appalachian saying — “Tax day is ramp day” — alludes to the wild, garliclike onions’ early harvest at the onset of spring. The foraged food, along with a host of preserves, pickles, ferments and canned veggies from the last year, will share the spotlight at The Market Place’s upcoming fundraiser, Appalachian Ramps and Preserves, which honors the arrival of spring in the mountains.

The five-course, Appalachian-inspired dinner, a joint effort by chefs William Dissen of The Market Place and Travis Milton of Comfort Restaurant in Richmond, Va., costs $55 per person plus tax and gratuity with proceeds benefiting the Appalachian Food Summit.

Wednesday, April 15, 6:30 p.m. at The Market Place, 20 Wall St. Visit marketplace-restaurant.com for details or call 252-4162 for reservations.

Crest Mountain Dinner performances

“Located only 10 minutes from downtown Asheville, [The Crest Mountain Dinner Show] is bringing midweek entertainment and mountaintop concerts to locals and visitors throughout the year,” says the venue’s executive producer Katie Kasben. Boasting a full bar and 300-seat “windowed pavilion” with panoramic Blue Ridge backdrops, the space will host several preview events before debuting a full-length show in August.

The Legacy Motown Revue, Friday, April 10, revisits “rhythm and blues, beach, and soul music that will have you dancing in the aisles” as a six-piece horn band accompanies the featured singing and dancing quartet, according to organizers.

The Crest Mountain Canteen USO Tribute pairs the sounds of Betty Grable, The Andrews Sisters and other ‘40s artists with song-and-dance numbers.

Tickets are $25 for show only or $44 for show and buffet catered by M7 (discounts available for military, seniors, children and groups).

Wednesday, April 15, 5:30 p.m. doors, 6:30 buffet, 7 p.m. show at Crest Mountain Dinner Show, 6 Celebration Place. Visit
crestmountaindinnershow.com for information and tickets.

Cajun- and Creole-inspired restaurant Lafayette to open downtown

Restaurateur Michel Baudouin, chef and owner of Bouchon and Crêperie Bouchon, is at it again. His next upscale eatery, Lafayette Cajun Creole Cuisine, will take over The Local Taco’s former space at 68 N. Lexington Ave. this summer.

The new restaurant, whose name pays tribute to the Marquis de Lafayette, the Frenchman who provided military aid to the American colonies during the American Revolution, will undergo some “updating and restoring of the structure with attention to saving as much of the original as possible,” according to Baudouin.

Baudouin has already begun hiring for 40 Living Wage positions and hopes to hold the grand opening on Friday, May 1.

“Expect Cajun and Creole classics such as red beans and rice and shrimp etouffée to be on the menu, along with some more unusual offerings. Chaudin (a stuffed pig’s stomach — so much better than it sounds) and fried boudin (balls made of Arcadian pork and rice sausages rolled in bread crumbs then fried) are two of those dishes,” says the chef.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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