Small bites: Dining out for Valentine’s Day

LOVE AND FOOD: Chocolate and wine? Unique cocktails? Multicourse meals? Tacos and tattoos? The choice is yours this Valentine's Day in Asheville. Pictured is the La Vie en Rose cocktail offered at Tupelo Honey. Photo courtesy of Tupelo Honey

As Friday, Feb. 14, approaches, Western North Carolina restaurants are preparing for Cupid’s big day. We’ve spotlighted a few affordable Valentine’s Day dining and drinking options in and around Asheville.

The Asheville Museum of Science, 43 Patton Ave., celebrates with its Make & Mingle event, Taste of Love. Make sour gummy candy and learn about the chemistry of love, while sipping cocktails from H&H Distillery and sampling desserts from local eateries. The event runs 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $25 and come with two drink tickets. Ages 21 and older. (

Black Bear BBQ, 800 Fairview Road, Suite C8, will host a four-course, live-fire dinner featuring appetizers, salad, entrée and dessert. Options for the main dish include pork steak, grilled mushroom or trout. Tickets are $55 per couple, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required. Seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. (

Collaboratory, 39 N. Lexington Ave., will offer a three-course meal, including entrée choices of Hickory Nut Gap Farm club steak or langoustines tossed with spinach and tomato creamy primavera over linguine. Dinner comes with two 12-ounce Collaboratory brews and two 4-ounce dessert beers. Tickets are $60 per couple. Seatings are available 2-9 p.m. (

Take a candlelight tour of the French Broad Chocolate Factory, 821 Riverside Drive, accompanied by wine, cheese, chocolate pairings and a selection of artisan desserts. Tickets are $40 per couple. The event starts at 6 p.m. (

At Madame Roqué’s Meat Emporium & Pickled Curiosités, 117 S. Main St., Hendersonville, couples receive six tacos of their choice, two margaritas and one piece of Better With Sex chocolate cake along with two Valentine’s Day-themed flash tattoos and a lovers tarot reading, all for $75. The special is available 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15. Reservations are required. Call 828-844-4064.

Back in Asheville, Pillar, 309 College St., will celebrate with a beef tenderloin dinner for two, plus dessert and Champagne for $35 per couple. Dinner runs 5-10 p.m. (

In the River Arts District, plēb urban winery, 289 Lyman St., will partner with Conjure Craft Chocolate of Black Mountain for a wine and chocolate pairing. For $16.50, guests will receive three wines and three chocolates. The event runs noon-8 p.m. or while supplies last. (

The Rhu, 10 S. Lexington Ave., will partner with Asheville Tea Co., Penny Cup Roasters and Imladris Farm for a three-course dinner including sweet potato brioche, coffee rubbed duck prosciutto and chocolate torte paired with a cava cocktail. Tickets are $38 per person. Seatings are at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Reservations are required. Call 828-785-1799 or email (

Tupelo Honey, 12 College St. and 1829 Hendersonville Road, will honor the holiday Friday-Sunday, Feb. 14-16, with $8 La Vie en Rose cocktails. The Champagne-based drink, inspired by the classic French 75, features Aperol, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. (

Finally, the Arden location of 12 Bones Brewing, 2350 Hendersonville Road, partners with Three Eggs Cakery of Asheville to offer a couples Valentine’s Day cookie decorating class. . Participants will embellish and take home a half dozen sugar cookies. Tickets are $20 per person. The event runs 6:30-8 p.m. To reserve a seat, contact (

Unless otherwise noted, listed events take place on Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14. 

Asheville Celtic Festival

Traditional Celtic fare — think Scottish haggis, shepherd’s pie, sticky toffee, Welsh miner’s cakes and more — will be served at the inaugural Asheville Celtic Festival on Saturday, Feb. 15. Pours of mead, Irish coffee and Highland Brewing Co. beers will also be available, as well as a separately priced whiskey tent with tastings of Scotch and Irish spirits. Additionally, the event will host a Celtic village of artisans and craftspeople, live music and demonstrations by Highland games athletes. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and younger.

The festival runs 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, 761 Boylston Highway, Fletcher. To purchase tickets, visit

Processing roadkill

Primitive skills instructor Luke McLaughlin, founder of Holistic Survival School, will host a three-hour workshop on processing roadkill. “Instead of letting these animals rot on the side of the road, we can honor their lives and deaths by connecting to them with our hands and our hearts,” the course description reads. Participants will learn skinning basics, as well as how to identify roadkill appropriate for cooking. Tickets are $20.

The workshop runs 6:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Villagers: Urban Homestead Supply, 278 Haywood Road. To purchase tickets, visit

AIR new board of directors

Kevin Barnes, owner of Ultimate Ice Cream, will serve as the 2020 chair of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, a nonprofit organization made up of over 160 locally owned, independent restaurants. Barnes replaces Liz Button of Katie Button Restaurants, who served in the position from 2017-19. In a recent press release, AIR identified advocacy, workforce development, membership and sustainability as four key areas of focus for 2020. Carolyn Roy of BiscuitHead joins Barnes as the group’s 2020 vice chair/treasurer; Kate Bannasch of Copper Crown is AIR’s 2020 secretary. New board members include Kevin Frazier of Well Played Board Game Café, Cathy Horton of A-B Tech and Peter Pollay of Posana, Bargello and District 42.

For more on the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, 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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