Small bites: Pottery, cuisine and philanthropy

JOINING FORCES: East Fork Pottery's One Bowl Dinner series pairs handmade pottery with fare from neighborhood chefs and restaurants for a monthly dinner that benefits local nonprofits. The inaugural event happens Thursday, July 20, with chef Sarah Cousler of Buxton Hall Barbecue. Photo by Anne Symons

East Fork Pottery began in 2010 with the opening of its studio in Marshall. But with the addition last year of its Lexington Avenue storefront, the business is looking to expand not only its Asheville presence but its social impact within the community. With its new One Bowl Dinner series, East Fork will pair its handmade stoneware pottery with cuisine from neighborhood chefs and restaurants for a monthly gathering that benefits local nonprofits.

The series launches Thursday, July 20, with chef Sarah Cousler of Buxton Hall Barbecue presenting what East Fork Pottery event director Erin Hawley describes as a “traditional, celebratory Filipino meal.” All proceeds will go to the Campaign for Southern Equality, which advocates across the South to promote LGBTQ equality.

While all the details weren’t available at press time, the three-course menu is tentatively set to begin with siniganag, a sour tamarind pork soup, followed by kinilaw, a coconut shrimp ceviche. The dinner will conclude with a traditional Philippine boodle fight — a shared dish presented over banana leaves and eaten by hand. Cousler’s version will feature rice steamed in bamboo, topped with a pig head marinated in fish sauce and lemongrass, pinakbet (stewed vegetables with shrimp paste), smoked eggplant, dried squid skewers and a whole fried fish.

In addition to the meal, the evening’s ticket will include a welcome cocktail and take-home ceramic bowl courtesy of East Fork Pottery. The gathering will also feature brief remarks by East Fork Pottery founders Alex and Connie Matisse. Campaign for Southern Equality Director Jasmine Beach-Ferrara will also speak about the work being done by the nonprofit.

“Our hope is that a shared meal, lovingly and intentionally prepared, serves as the platform for an open conversation about how we all can affect positive change in our community in ways large and small,” says Connie Matisse. “We hope to learn from and celebrate the work being done by area nonprofits like the Campaign for Southern Equality, who advocate on behalf of our community’s most vulnerable populations. And as business owners with a sizable public presence, we hope to encourage others to use their platforms to take strong stances on issues that businesses have historically avoided weighing in on.”

The inaugural One Bowl Dinner series event will run 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 20, in The Remingtin Room at Buxton Hall Barbecue, 32 Banks Ave. Tickets are $110 and include tax and gratuity. Tickets are available at Chefs and restaurants interested in participating in future events should contact Erin Hawley at

FED Talk: The Cream of the Crop

The Hop Ice Cream, Ultimate Ice Cream Co. and French Broad Chocolates will participate in the latest FED Talk, put on by Edible Asheville and co-hosted with Rhubarb. The two-hour event will include an ice cream tasting as well as a discussion and Q&A. Topics will include the challenges faced by ice cream makers, how these operations incorporate local products into their goods and favorite flavor combinations. Snacks will be provided by Rhubarb’s kitchen. Beer and wine will be for sale. This is a kid-friendly event suitable for children ages 8 and older.

FED Talk: The Cream of the Crop runs 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20, at Rhubarb’s event space, 7 S. Pack Square. Tickets are $20 ($10 for kids 12 and younger). For tickets, visit

Meat in the Street

Luella’s Bar-B-Que will celebrate its 10-year anniversary Saturday, July 22, in the parking lot of its North Asheville location. Owner Jeff Miller says in a press release that the gathering will include “never-seen-before smoky creations.” The festivities will also feature Hi-Wire Brewing’s Pig on a Wire Anniversary Ale, a collaboration beer honoring the restaurant’s 10th year. Highland Brewing Co. beers will also be on tap, and local acts Sanctum Sully, Whiskey Grins Reunion, Phuncle Sam and the Saylor Brothers will perform at the event. The celebration will also feature arts and crafts by LEAF’s Easel Rider, as well as a dunk tank, hula-hoops and cornhole. Proceeds from the celebration will benefit LEAF Community Arts.

Meat in the Street runs noon-8 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, at Luella’s Bar-B-Que, 501 Merrimon Ave. For more information, visit

Whole-hog butchery class

Butcher Elliott Orwick of Hickory Nut Gap Farm will host a whole-hog butchery class Thursday, July 27, at the farm. The two-hour workshop will cover the process of breaking down an entire hog from tail to snout.

The whole hog butchery class runs 6-8 p.m. Thursday, July 27, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road. Tickets are $55 per person. For details and tickets, visit

Virgola Italian wine and oyster bar

Virgola, an Italian wine and oyster bar, opened in early July in Biltmore Village. The business, which also has locations in Florida, New York, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, focuses on wine, beer, cold seafood and charcuterie. Seafood and caviar plates run $9-$25, while seafood and oyster tasting platters go for $50-$100. Individual oysters are $1.75-$2.50, and meats, cheeses and salads range from $8-$36. Glasses of wine average $7-$14, with bottles available both for drinking in-house and for retail purchase.

Virgola is at 2 Hendersonville Road. Hours are Sunday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight. For more information, 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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