Small Bites: MG Road presents a Christmas Miracle

CHRISTMAS SPIRITS: Miracle is “a fun opportunity for my staff to come together,” MG Road general manager Lexy Durst says. The staff, pictured from left, are Kris Hartrum, Savannah Adams, Lexy Durst, Zach Durst, Freddy Watkins and Zane Buchholz. Photo courtesy of MG Road

MG Road on Wall Street downtown is playing up the holidays with special drinks and events from Friday, Nov. 23, until New Year’s Eve.

The festivities are part of Miracle, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar concept that began in New York City in 2014 and now takes place at more than 80 locations around the world. Participating for the second year in a row, MG Road is one of two such locations in North Carolina.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than through parties every night,” says Lexy Durst, MG Road’s general manager. Miracle at MG Road is “a joyous, over-the-top Christmas extravaganza,” she says. “Everyone is just so happy. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had bartending.”

Every place participating in the Sippin’ Santa event will offer the 12 Miracle cocktails along with their usual drinks. Among the cocktails served will be the Snowball Old Fashioned (gingerbread bourbon, wormwood bitters, lemon zest), the Christmas Carol Barrel (aged rum, aquavit, amaro, pumpkin pie demerara syrup, lime, vanilla, angostura bitters) and the Partridge in a Pear Tree (Reposado Tequila, pear brandy, mezcal, spiced demerara syrup, lime, egg white, club soda, angostura bitters, cinnamon).

MG Road participated in the event last year, having heard about it through a former employee. Miracle’s social media team loved MG Road’s photos on Instagram so much that Miracle asked the bar to apply to participate again this year. “We thought we should be doing it since we’re already halfway there with all our Christmas lights up all year ’round,” Durst says.

MG Road Bar & Lounge is at 19 Wall St.

Home cooking class looks at acids

Living Web Farms is putting on ACID, the fourth class in its Essentials of Cooking series, on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The class will survey acids such as citrus, vinegars and cultured products to help home cooks take their work to new heights. Leading the discussion on the science of acids in food, their sources and practical applications (as well as recipes) will be Patryk Battle, a cook and farmer, and Meredith Leigh, an author and cook.

Essentials of Cooking: ACID will be 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Living Web Farms, 176 Kimzey Road, Mills River. Suggested donation is $10. Register at livingwebfarms.org.

Villagers is set to close

Villagers, the urban homesteading shop in West Asheville, is closing at the end of the year. The shop, which sells tools and supplies and offers workshops “for self-empowered living,” according to its website, has stocked up on Christmas items in the hopes that patrons will “support this swan song of a season,” the store states in an email announcing its closing. Villagers is also offering classes through the end of the year, including carving wooden spoons (Dec. 2 and Dec. 5), making culinary and holiday spiced ghee (Dec. 9), making fire cider blends (Dec. 12) and making herbal chocolates (Dec. 16).

Villagers is at 278 Haywood Road. To register for classes, visit forvillagers.com.

Grant supports food entrepreneurship

Aspiring food entrepreneurs will soon have use of a value-added food business innovation center at the WNC Farmers Market on Brevard Road. The 5,000-square-foot commercial kitchen complex will be used as a training and business incubation center. The center is made possible by a $1.25 million Appalachian Regional Commission grant, as well as by local and state funds that will be used to upgrade the WNC Farmers Market. Combined, the investment is expected to improve 64 businesses, create 36 businesses and add 50 new jobs. Construction is expected to begin in summer and be completed by September 2020. The center will be managed by the Center for Agricultural and Food Entrepreneurship, or CAFÉ, a nonprofit organization that supports individuals and businesses engaged in value-added production and sale of food, cosmetics and natural products. CAFÉ is the parent organization for Blue Ridge Food Ventures, the Southeast’s largest shared-use food processing center, located on the Enka campus of A-B Tech.

eTown honors Bounty & Soul founder

The nationally syndicated radio broadcast/podcast production company eTown has given  an eChievement Award to Ali Casparian, the nutritionist and food industry veteran who founded the Black Mountain nonprofit Bounty & Soul. Bounty & Soul provides cooking, health and nutrition classes, as well as free fruit and vegetables, to underserved residents of Buncombe and McDowell counties. The organization also offers five weekly free food markets that are supplied by local gardens, markets and nonprofit agencies.

To see eTown’s interview with Casparian, visit avl.mx/5fc.

High school students win culinary awards

Students from two local high schools won the Y.E.S. Chef! youth culinary competition at A-B Tech on Nov. 3, the Joseph Initiative has announced. Winning the Judges’ Award was the Clyde A. Erwin High School/Biltmore team. The Youth’s Choice Award went to the North Buncombe High School/Blue Ridge at The Omni Grove Park team. Each team had to create a menu prior to the competition. The public had the opportunity to taste the dishes at the event, held at A-B Tech’s Magnolia Building. Three chef judges graded each dish’s execution, appearance, taste and verbal description. The Erwin High School/Biltmore team won for its roasted butternut squash and apple soup with braised beef short rib. The team from North Buncombe High School and the Blue Ridge at The Omni Grove Park won for its braised and sorghum-glazed pork belly. Judges were Bruce Brown from Bruce’s Fabulous Food and WLOS’ Carolina Kitchen; Patrick O’Cain, owner of Asheville’s Gàn Shān Station; and Douglas P. Walls from the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.

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About Paul Clark
Based in Asheville, NC, Paul Clark has been writing for newspapers, magazines and websites for more than 40 years. He is an award-winning journalist, writer and photographer. Some of his photography can be seen at paulgclark.smugmug.com. Google his name to find stories and photos that have appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the Southeast.

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