Small bites: Taco Throwdown at The Grey Eagle Taqueria

TACO TIME: Gaby Santoyo showcases some of the tacos The Grey Eagle Taqueria may bring to its inaugural taco competition. Photo by Thomas Calder

Speciality tacos will take center stage at The Grey Eagle Taqueria’s inaugural Let’s Taco‘bout It Taco Throwdown and Tequila Tasting on Saturday, Oct. 8. The competition and fundraiser — 50 percent of ticket sales will benefit RiverLink — brings together Asheville restaurants including Belly Up Food Truck, Asheville Taco & Taps, Mamacita’s Taco Temple, The Salvage Station, Chupacabra Latin Café and The Grey Eagle Taqueria.

The event was created by UNC Asheville student and Grey Eagle intern Marianne Beasley. Taqueria manager Russ Keith says he was immediately on board when she approached him with the idea. “I’ve seen all these wing cook-offs and burger cook-offs, and I thought, why is no one doing a taco cook-off, as crazy as this taco town is at this point?” he says.

Each competing restaurant will offer its finest speciality taco, and each entry has two chances of taking home a prize. The People’s Choice award will be decided by those in attendance, while the Best Taco award will be determined by a panel of local celebrity judges: food writers Stu Helm and Jonathan Ammons, WNCW radio host Scotty Robertson and chef Steve Goff of Sovereign Remedies.

Flights of tequila will be for sale during the event — guests will be able to choose from Fidencio Mezcal, Espolon Blanco, Casamigos Anejo, Herradura Anejo, Hornitos Resposado and Don Julio. In addition to tacos, drinks and competition, local post-punk band Ouroboros Boys and Brevard-based singer-songwriter Dave Desmelik will perform.

“We’re looking to throw a good party that benefits RiverLink, our dear neighbors that we like to help out as much as possible,” says Keith. “That’s the biggest thing we’re trying to get out of it.” He pauses for a moment, then adds, “and maybe a title for the Taqueria. We’ll see.”

Let’s Taco‘bout It Taco Throwdown and Tequila Tasting takes place noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at The Grey Eagle Taqueria, 185 Clingman Ave. General admission tickets are $10. VIP tickets are $35 and include a taco from each vendor plus a flight of tequila or beer. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Cúrate cookbook release party

Cúrate chef and co-owner Katie Button will host a special event at the restaurant on Monday, Oct. 10, to celebrate the release of her new cookbook, Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen (Flatiron Books). At the free gathering, Button will sign copies of the book, which will be for sale at the event. Complimentary wine and tapas will be available as well. Preceding the book’s release, Button is hosting a sweepstakes with a grand prize of a trip for two to Spain. The winner and a guest will join a small private wine and culinary excursion tour with an itinerary custom-designed by Button and her husband, Felix Meana.

The book launch celebration runs 5-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at Cúrate, 11 Biltmore Ave. The event is free and open to the public. For details visit To enter the sweepstakes, visit

Siam Thai Restaurant opens in North Asheville

Siam Thai Restaurant held its grand opening in North Asheville on Oct. 2. This is owner Pon Wyatt’s second Asheville restaurant — in 2013, Wyatt opened Pon Thai’s Cuisine at the Stop-and-Go on Sweeten Creek Road (the former location of Little Bee Thai). The new venture seats 54 and offers lunch and dinner. Menu items include a variety of curries, stir-fries, noodles and fried-rice dishes. Specialities include a seafood basil, tamarind duck, duck curry and hor mok tilapia.

Siam Thai Restaurant is at 100 Stone Ridge Blvd. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. For details, visit

Cooking workshops at Living Web Farms

Living Web Farms offers a pair of food-related workshops this month. On Thursday, Oct. 6, it will host Sweet Enough, a cooking class on low-sugar desserts, at the French Broad Food Co-op. The class will cover recipes and techniques for preparing treats with less sugar, along with samples. On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the farm will offer a class at its biochar facility on how to build clean-burning, gasifying and biochar-producing biomass cookstoves from salvaged materials.

Sweet Enough runs 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the French Broad Food Co-op, 90 Biltmore Ave. Register at The biomass cookstoves workshop runs 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 11, at Living Web Farms, 176 Kimzey Road, Mills River. Register at Both workshops are donation-based ($10 suggested).

Velvet & Lace Harvest Moon cocktail series

“October is the perfect month for a witchy theme,” says Kelly Vormelker, the events coordinator at Buxton Hall Barbecue. The Harvest Moon cocktail pop-up events —presented by the Buxton Hall’s Velvet & Lace femalecentric cocktail series — feature crafty drinks, dark music and light snacks. The Thursday, Oct. 6, Harvest Moon will feature two out-of-state female bartenders: Robin Nance of Chicago and Zahra Bates of Los Angeles. Velvet & Lace launched its inaugural series in 2015, spotlighting the talents of Asheville’s female mixologists. Vormelker says she’s excited to bring the event back and highlight talented female bartenders from around the country.

Harvest Moon is a two-part series. The first event runs 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, and the final event runs 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20., both at Buxton Hall Barbecue, 32 Banks Ave. For details, visit or



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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 and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, comes out on March 23, 2021.

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