Small bites: Laura Theodore celebrates new vegan cookbook at Malaprop’s

JAZZING UP THE MENU: Laura Theodore, host of PBS television show “Jazzy Vegetarian,” visits Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe this week to talk about her latest vegan cookbook. She is also set to open a new vegan eatery in Hendersonville this spring. Photo by Joe Orrechio

“Let’s face it, most people who hear the word ‘vegan’ don’t think of the word ‘delicious,’” says cookbook author and award-winning PBS television host Laura Theodore. “They think of the word ‘bland’; they think of the word ‘twigs’ or ‘salad.’”

For years, Theodore has worked to eliminate those misconceptions about the diet and lifestyle. On Saturday, April 7, the author will be at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe to sign copies of her latest cookbook, Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan: Plant-Powered Recipes for the Modern, Mindful Kitchen. The collection includes 175 plant-based recipes, along with a series of top-10 lists that note essential ingredients, spices and substitutes available for a diverse set of vegan-friendly meals.

Theodore believes the range of options will surprise omnivores and carnivores alike. “Even if you’re not looking to become vegan, this is a perfect book if you’re just interested in adding one plant-based meal into your weekly menu,” she says. Highlights include teriyaki kebabs, sunny black bean burgers and gingered portobello steaks.

Along with her latest cookbook, Theodore also has a new restaurant coming to Hendersonville. The Jazzy Vegetarian Vegan Café is slated to open in May inside Sanctuary Brewing Co. Theodore considers the brewery, which works with a number of animal advocacy groups, an ideal fit. “We’ll have our Ultimate Jazzy Burger, fries, fantastic pizza — everything that you would expect to have in a brewery,” she says. “Of course, it’s all going to be dairy-free and animal-free.”

Currently based out of Spartanburg, S.C., Theodore says she’s excited to make her way to the mountains for the upcoming book signing. As with her past cookbooks, she hopes her latest work drives home the point that there’s more to the vegan diet than salads and twigs.

Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan cookbook signing starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, 55 Haywood St. The Vegetarian Vegan Café will open in May at Sanctuary Brewing Co., 147 First Ave. E., Hendersonville. For more information on the book signing, visit

Appalachian Friendship Dinner

Folkmoot, a nonprofit committed to honoring many cultures in one community, will partner with Elevated Mountain Distilling Co. in Maggie Valley for its next Friendship Dinner. This month’s event, Barbeque and Bluegrass, celebrates Appalachian culture and cuisine with a dinner of pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, rolls and dessert accompanied by a performance from Americana string band Ol’ Dirty Bathtub. Samples of moonshine by Elevated Mountain Distilling will be available for guests ages 21 and older, and Bearwaters Brewing Co. will have beer for sale.  “So many of us have a Scottish-Irish-British-German background around here and have personal knowledge of the traditions and customs from our own families,” says Angeline Schwab, Folkmoot’s executive director. “We will celebrate this at the distillery, but also take participants beyond the stereotypes in a fun way.”

Barbeque and Bluegrass runs 6-9 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Elevated Mountain Distilling Co., 3732 Soco Road, Maggie Valley. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students in advance; $30 at the door. Seating is limited. Visit or call 828-452-2997.

Outdoor tailgate markets in bloom

The Asheville City Market – South at Town Square Boulevard, Biltmore Town Square, will open for the season on Wednesday, April 4. The North Asheville Tailgate Market at 3300 University Heights on the UNC Asheville campus makes its season debut Saturday, April 7, and the Asheville City Market moves out of its winter quarters at the Masonic Temple to its warm-weather home at 52 N. Market St. on the same day. The West Asheville Tailgate Market at 718 Haywood Road reappears Tuesday, April 10.

Additional markets will open throughout April and May. For specific times and locations, visit

Second location for Rise Above Deli

Rise Above Deli, located inside Hillman Beer, has announced plans to expand. Its second venue, Rise Above Bakehouse, aims to open by summer at the former site of Ruth & Ranshaw at 1207 Charlotte Highway, Fairview, according to owner Brandon Murry. The Bakehouse will offer fresh breads, pastries, sweets, bagels and coffee, as well as light breakfast and lunch items. It will also supply the bread for Rise Above Deli.

Rise Above Deli is at 25 Sweeten Creek Road. Updates to follow.

New owners for Early Girl Eatery

On March 21, Early Girl Eatery’s founders John and Julie Stehling sold the restaurant to Jesson and Cristina Gil, owners of The Blackbird. The Stehlings opened Early Girl in 2001. “We are proud of what we accomplished,” writes Julie in an email exchange with Xpress. “We are grateful that we found new owners who value the staff and have the energy to move Early Girl forward.” The Stehlings still own their West Asheville restaurant, King Daddy’s Chicken & Waffle. The Gils first joined the Asheville restaurant scene in 2016, with their purchase of The Blackbird (see “Quick dish: Cristina and Jesson Gil of The Blackbird,” Sept. 12, 2016, Xpress). The couple, who relocated from Texas, also own Winter View Farm in Fairview. In a press release, Jesson says, “We plan to continue Early Girl’s tradition of warm hospitality and delicious food made with local ingredients.”

Early Girl Eatery is at 8 Wall St. For hours, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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