In a town bursting with restaurant choices, it can be a challenge to pick just one for a night out. But once a year, like a culinary fairy godmother, Asheville Independent Restaurants manifests the Taste of Asheville — where for one night we can sample the work of dozens of local chefs and brewers all gathered under one roof.
Scheduled to take place on Thursday, Nov. 20, at The Venue, this year’s event will bring together 40 restaurants, including lots of old favorites like Vincenzo’s, Rosetta’s Kitchen, Sunny Point and Luella’s Bar-B-Que. But it also offers a great chance to check out some relatively new players like Daugherty’s American Kitchen, Korean House, Brasilia Churrasco, Nightbell and Vortex Doughnuts.
Wine, beer and hard-cider samples from various local brewers and purveyors will be flowing, and there is the somewhat problematic imperative to save room for dessert since, in addition to the doughnuts, guests can expect some sweet offerings from the likes of Ultimate Ice Cream, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Karen Donatelli and more.
As in previous years, a portion of ticket proceeds will benefit AIR programs, including the Chefs of Tomorrow Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to A-B Tech’s award-winning culinary program. AIR director Jane Anderson says supporting education is a priority for her organization, which has seen an astonishing 35 percent growth spurt in the last year.
“We put a lot of emphasis, particularly over the last year, on educational programming at every level of the organization, from front-of-house staff to owners,” she says. Anderson adds that AIR is in the midst of launching a new website for the WNC restaurant industry, Behind the Apron, that offers a job board, equipment exchange and continuing education opportunities.
7-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, The Venue, 21 N. Market St. Tickets: $75 per person/$125 per couple. VIP tickets that get you in ahead of the crowd at 6 p.m. are $100 per person/$175 per couple. Details and tickets are available at airasheville.org.
Eat at Mike’s
WNC Health Advocates will host its sixth annual Eat at Mike’s dinner and silent auction fundraising event on Sunday, Nov. 16. Tickets are $25. The dinner will consist of food and drink donated by area farmers, merchants, chefs and restaurants such as Jack of the Wood, Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian, Chestnut, Bouchon, the Chop Shop and more. Auction items will be glasswork, pottery, scarves, hats, jewelry and more donated by local businesses, artists and crafters. The event is named for Mike Danforth, who died at age 33 after being denied access to health care. All proceeds from the event benefit WNC Health Advocates.
5:30-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, The Mill Room, 66 Asheland Ave. Tickets: Search for “Eat at Mike’s” at Eventbrite.com or call 243-6712. Details: wnchealthadvocates.org
Breakfast at King Daddy’s, late nights at Loretta’s
King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles recently expanded its hours and rolled out a new breakfast menu that’s available all day. The new hours are 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Of course, King Daddy’s already had some breakfast-friendly offerings, but the new menu embellishes on that theme with a whole section devoted to egg, waffle and biscuit dishes. Selections include a fried pie stuffed with country ham, a poached egg and brie-style cheese, and an egg casserole of the day. At the same time, Loretta’s Café, which has traditionally been open during daylight hours Monday-Saturday, is now making its sandwiches, sweets and beverages available 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday as well. Night owls will be able to grab premade cold sandwiches and baked goods or order custom, hot-pressed sandwiches, beer, tea and coffee with the option of adding spirits. Outdoor seating is available.
King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffles, 444 Haywood Road. ashevillekingdaddy.com
Loretta’s Café, 114 N. Lexington Ave. lorettascafe.com
“Late autumn is the time to celebrate ‘the merry triumphant encounter with the world in the act of eating and drinking, in which man partakes of the world instead of being devoured by it,’” says the Facebook event invite to Black Mountain Ciderworks’ Rabelaisian Feast on Saturday, Nov. 22. The quote from Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rabelais and His World is compelling, as are the feast’s promised attractions, which include an outdoor apple pressing, pulled pork with fixins, an apple tasting and a fire pit with s’mores. Not surprisingly, guests can also expect applecentric drinkable treats including mulled apfelwein, wassail, gluhwein and a kid-friendly nonalcoholic mulled juice. The event starts at 2 p.m., the pressing begins at 3 p.m. and the fire will be lit around 5 p.m.
2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, Black Mountain Ciderworks, 104 Eastside Drive, Unit 307, Black Mountain. Facebook.com/BlackMountainCiderworks