What’s new in food: Counting down to the New Year

ROARING TWENTIES: The Grove Arcade hosts its first 1920s New Year's Eve celebration since 2019. Photo courtesy the Grove Arcade

Haven’t quite decided how you’ll be ringing in 2023? A trio of events at Grove Arcade, Avenue M and Top of the Monk might help make up your mind.

For the first time since 2019, the Grove Arcade’s Roaring Twenties-themed New Year’s Eve Celebration has returned to transport attendees back in time while rolling the calendar forward. Tickets costing $75 per person grant entry into the soiree from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Emerald Empire Band will play traditional big band sets from the 1920s, as flappers and dancers perform.

The building’s 1920s architecture sets the perfect scene for a full-service bar serving classic cocktails, a flashback photo booth and a midnight countdown and Champagne toast featuring a complimentary take-home glass. Guests are encouraged to dress to impress.

“Our expectations for the year were to host more events, and we were very successful,” says Travis LeJune, CEO of Dolo Digital, a marketing agency representing the Grove Arcade. “We’re so excited to see your outfits and to have fun as we look optimistically into the next year! Our goal for 2023 is to continue to grow these events.”

Meanwhile, at Avenue M, chef Andrew McLeod has prepared a five-course New Year’s Eve dinner featuring Kermit Lynch wine pairings hosted by Nick Demos, an advanced sommelier.

“Our dinner begins at 6 p.m. and will provide the perfect base for those staying up until midnight or later,” says Avenue M owner Ralph Lonow, also a sommelier. “Last spring, we founded the Asheville Wine Society to bring our wine community closer together and raise awareness about wine in our beer-focused city. This led us to the opportunity to highlight Kermit Lynch’s incredible wines with a menu highlighting both France and Italy during this dinner.”

The evening’s menu will include oysters with heirloom tomato, lardo and caviar, sea scallops, smoked celery root, New York strip steak and opera cake. All five courses will be paired with five distinct Kermit Lynch wines selected by Demos.

Lastly, over at Top of the Monk, craft cocktails and Champagne will flow from 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Tickets costing $40 per person include entry, a glass of welcome punch, a complimentary midnight toast and light snacks provided throughout the event. The evening’s menu will pay homage to classic New Year’s tipples as well as clever modern twists on established favorites.

Grove Arcade is at 1 Page Ave.; visit avl.mx/c8w for tickets and information. Avenue M is at 791 Merrimon Ave.; the fixed-price menu costs $150 per person (not including tax and gratuity), call 828-350-8181 to reserve your spot; Top of the Monk is at 92 Patton Ave.; visit avl.mx/c8x for tickets and information.

Doggy Christmas sweater contest

Stop Having Kids – Asheville will host its first benefit event Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 6 p.m. Taking place at The Odd, the gathering will support Friendly Fields Farm Sanctuary.

Stop Having Kids – Asheville is a local chapter of a larger national movement that advocates for focusing time, energy and resources that would have otherwise been allocated toward supporting new life into caring for and improving the lives of existing individuals and places.

Guests are encouraged to bring their furry companions to the event and enter them into a doggy Christmas sweater contest. First-, second- and third-place winners will receive prize bags filled with Stop Having Kids merchandise, homemade dog cookies made by The Odd and various other dog treats. The first-prize winner will also receive a gift card to The Trashy Vegan. The Odd will feature signature drink specials, discounted whiskey/PBR combinations and opportunities to take photos with Santa.

“This is our first benefit event, and we would like to introduce people to the movement while having fun and giving back to the community,” says Stop Having Kids – Asheville ambassador Ariel Ash. “Our mission as the Asheville chapter of Stop Having Kids is multifaceted: First, we aim to provide a safe space for like-minded anti-natalists and child-free individuals to feel welcomed. We also aim to serve our community by giving back to the animals and humans that are already here, rather than focusing on making new ones.”

The Odd is at 1045 Haywood Road. All proceeds generated from a $10 suggested donation will benefit Friendly Fields Farm Sanctuary. There is no additional charge to enter your dog into the contest. Visit avl.mx/c90 for additional information.

Taste of Chile

Open Oven Cafe invites guests along on a culinary journey through the flavors of Chile with a themed five-course dinner on Friday, Dec. 23, at 6:30 p.m.

Focusing specifically on the seafood made famous by Chile’s large coastline, chef Jamie Myers will draw from his many years of experience and appreciation for Chilean cuisine to provide a one-of-a-kind meal.

“I found it fitting to do a seafood dinner the Friday before Christmas,” says Myers. “I have always loved the blend of fresh bountiful ingredients used in Chilean cuisine; the mix of spice and bright colors have called to me from a young age.”

The evening menu includes corvina ceviche, smoked chili and roasted tomato blue mussels, monkfish stew, white sea bass and a tres leches cake dessert. “I hope to inspire people in the flavorful journey that is Chile and that people can take away a new interest in cultural foods and broaden their personal palate,” says Myers.

Open Oven Cafe is at 102 Church St., Black Mountain. Tickets are $99 per person, with a $30 wine and cocktail pairing package available as an add-on. For more information, visit avl.mx/c8v.

Christmas Eve potluck and caroling

Tucked away in the River Arts District, the Asheville Guitar Bar provides a space for local bands and singer-songwriters to play, network and share community. On Saturday, Dec. 24, from 5-9 p.m., the venue welcomes all for a free Christmas Eve potluck and caroling event for the holidays.

An annual tradition before the pandemic, this potluck and caroling event invites guests to bring their favorite holiday dishes and join one another in the revelry of the season. Singing is not required, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself joining in and following the lead of local musicians Greg Candle and Sarah Weiss as they head the evening’s caroling.

Asheville Guitar Bar is at 122 Riverside Drive, Suite D. Bringing a potluck dish is encouraged but not required. Visit avl.mx/bra for additional information.

Holiday cooking classes

Looking for a little inspiration before the family arrives hungry for holiday dinner? Asheville Mountain Kitchen has you covered for two distinct cooking classes meant to satisfy those Christmas and New Year’s Day cravings.

On Saturday, Dec. 24, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., the art of the Christmas roast will be explored. Instructors will educate on how to make the perfect roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes and chocolate truffles. Tickets are available for $85 per person.

The following week, on Saturday, Dec. 31, from 6-9 p.m., guests will familiarize themselves with a variety of tapas — from Taiwanese pork belly buns to filet mignon with foie gras. Wine pairings meant to accentuate the flavors of each bite will accompany dishes. Tickets are available for $120 per person.

Asheville Mountain Kitchen is at 332 Sondley Drive. Guests are encouraged to BYOB. Visit avl.mx/c8u for additional information and tickets.

Wicked Weed celebrates 10 years

Wicked Weed Brewing will hold a special anniversary party to mark its 10th year in business on Wednesday, Dec. 28, from 6 p.m.-midnight, at the brewery’s downtown brewpub location. Unique draft and rare bottle selections featuring some of Wicked Weed’s most notable beers from the past decade are planned to be rolled out for the occasion.

DJ Marley Carroll and DJ Lil Meow Meow are on deck to provide the tunes for the evening’s celebrations.

The Wicked Weed Brewpub is at 91 Biltmore Ave. Visit avl.mx/c91 for additional information.

Barn Door Ciderworks embraces tradition

Barn Door Ciderworks rings in the new year with a special menu paying homage to Southern tradition on Sunday, Jan. 1, from noon-6 p.m. A traditional meal of collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread will be served all day alongside small-batch cider, beer and wine.

Some believe the meal promotes a prosperous year with collard greens representing paper money, black-eyed peas representing coins and cornbread representing gold.

“We are strong on traditions as is evident in our approach to cider making,” says co-owner Katie Moore. “We’re delighted to have a fun way to share another delicious tradition by offering a New Year’s Day meal to our guests.”

Barn Door Ciderowrks is at 23 Lytle Road. Visit avl.mx/9ni for additional information. 

Taco Boy meets Asheville

On Dec. 20, Taco Boy, the Mexican-inspired restaurant originally from Folly Beach, S.C., opened its fourth location and its first in North Carolina.

Located at 521 Haywood Road in the former Zia Taqueria space, Taco Boy serves up its signature tacos along with rice and beans, chipotle slaw, Mexican street corn, guacamole, margaritas, Latin-infused craft cocktails and a brunch menu available on weekends.

Visit avl.mx/byw for additional information.

Chai Pani makes charitable pledge

Chai Pani Restaurant Group has pledged to raise $40,000 by the end of December for Dharavi Diary, a children’s community center in India located within one of the largest slums in the world. Over 1 million people live within 1 square mile in Dharavi, and Dharavi Diary seeks to provide a vibrant community center and safe haven for Dharavi youths.

Money raised will fund Dharavi Diary’s entire operation for the next year and will help cover costs of STEAM learning, rent for two centers as well as health and hygiene programs for 400 students. Various initiatives have been organized across the group’s restaurants, which include Chai Pani, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Buxton Chicken Palace, Spicewalla and Botiwalla.

Spicewalla is currently donating 25% of proceeds from the spice company’s Chai Pani Collections to Dharavi Diary through the end of 2022.

Visit avl.mx/c8t for additional information on the initiative including how to directly support Dharavi Diary.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.