What’s new in food: Dobrá brings Eastern tea to East Asheville

EAST MEET EAST: Dobrá Tea's new location in East Asheville features over 100 teas for dine-in and to-go. Photo of Dobrá staff member Anna Claire Lotti courtesy of Lindsay Ann Snyder

Dobrá Tea, an Asheville staple since 2010, recently opened its third location at 1011 Tunnel Road in East Asheville.

“The new space is cozy and intimate,” says owner Andrew Snavely. “We have a fireplace with a comfortable bench and couch surrounding it, the wallpaper is beautiful, and we even have a new drive-thru window available for guests on the go.”

The launch, continues Snavely, fills a void that many local fans felt following the 2018 closure of the tearoom’s Black Mountain location. “Since closing, we have had so many people on the east side of town and in Black Mountain request we open again in the area,” Snavely says.

As with its downtown and West Asheville locations, the new venue offers a selection of over 100 teas, procured by Snavely and General Manager Miles Cramer on their annual trips around the globe. “Every type of tea has been sourced directly from its country of origin,” Snavely explains.

Bubble teas, iced teas, chai teas and a small-bites menu of both savory and sweet options are also available for dine-in and to-go. “We’re particularly excited for a matcha green tea soft serve coming soon for the spring months.”

Taking a concerted effort toward creating a place of peace and comfort, Dobrá Tea has planned a number of workshops and events inside its larger East Asheville space. On Saturday, March 4, 10-11:30 a.m., the tearoom welcomes instructor Sara Delaney, founder of Sarilla, a certified alcohol-free beverage company, for an exploration of Rwandan tea. And on Sunday, March 5, 10-11:30 a.m., Aurora Taylor, an ayurvedic wellness counselor, Cha Dao practitioner and yoga instructor, will lead a silent tea and meditation event.

“I’m so excited for Dobrá Tea to continue to spearhead traditional tea culture for our broader Asheville community,” Snavely says.

Tickets for both upcoming events are $25 per person. For more information on either workshop, as well as general store hours and menu options, visit avl.mx/cfl

LGBTQ+ barbecue benefit

Fill your stomach, ears and hearts on Sunday, March 5, 5-7 p.m., as 1898 Waverly Inn hosts a special barbecue and music fundraiser at Continuum Art.

All proceeds from ticket sales and individual donations will directly benefit PFLAG, the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating and advocating for LGBTQ+ people, their families and allies.

The evening’s menu, prepared by 1898 Waverly Inn in Hendersonville, includes smoked pulled pork and chicken, chicken wings, five-cheese macaroni, smoked beans, creamy coleslaw and chocolate chip cookies. Impossible burgers with vegan cheese, chips and salsa will also be available.

Music from Raphael Morales (lead singer of local band Lazrluvr), The Circuit Breakers and Moonshine State will be played live throughout the event. The fundraiser is BYOB for wine and beer (no hard spirits allowed), as guests are encouraged to sip, stroll and network with supporters.

Continuum Art is at 147c First Ave. Tickets are $40 per person for general admission and $25 per person for students. Visit avl.mx/cff for additional information.

Cacao and creative expression

High Climate Tea Co. is inviting community members to an evening of dance and cacao on Tuesday, March 7, 7-9:30 p.m.

Hosted by Elowan Fae, co-creator of Sacred Evolution (a local movement offering guided meditations and music classes with a focus on spiritual connection), the High Climate Full Moon Cacao Ceremony and Dance Lab begins with the drinking of a ceremonial dose of cacao (about 45 grams of chocolate) and a shared moment of sacred intention. Cacao ceremonies are intended to help participants stop, slow down and connect to the medicinal value of theobroma cacao, the plant from which chocolate is derived. Translating to “food of the gods,” theobroma is believed to help open blood vessels, provide an energy boost and create feelings of euphoria.

Following the ceremonial sip, guests will be encouraged to release inhibitions in “ecstatic dance,” a movement practice wherein participants move their bodies in any way that feels natural and free of judgment. There are no rules when it comes to ecstatic dance, but there are two main guidelines for guests: no talking (to encourage introspection and uninterrupted connection to one’s body during the dance) and no shoes.

“I hope people take away from the experience a sense of freedom and a sense of being welcomed to be their authentic selves,” says Fae. “I hope they leave my event a little more connected to themselves, a little lighter and a little more joyful.”

High Climate Tea Co. is at 12 S. Lexington Ave., Suite 1. Event tickets are available for $20-$80 per person, depending on individual generosity. Visit avl.mx/cfg for additional information.

Food protection certification

Looking to bolster your food safety skills and become better informed on food codes? The N.C. Cooperative Extension will hold a multiday, in-person food manager certification class beginning Monday, March 6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be two days of education to be followed by a Food Protection Manager Certification exam on Wednesday, March 8, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The exam has been approved by the American National Standards Institute.

Through case studies, experiential learning, hands-on activities and in-depth discussion, the Safe Plates for Food Managers course trains food managers to create a work environment that minimizes food safety risks in their restaurants, cafeterias and grocery stores through best practices, open communication and thoughtful practice.

Successful completion of the exam will guarantee food managers meet the FDA Food Code 2017 requirement to become a certified food protection manager. This certificate meets not only the requirement in North Carolina but throughout the entire United States for five years.

The course and exam will be held at 589 Raccoon Road, costing $125 per person and only $70 for NCDPI – Child Nutrition employees. Visit avl.mx/cfe for tickets and additional information.

Blue Dream Curry House transitions

Blue Dream Curry House has transitioned to a takeout-only model as of mid-February, citing inflation, rising property values and a decline in downtown business as the most prominent factors.

“Inflation has driven up cost by up to 100% on certain products, and property values have gone up so quickly that the living wage rate — that we have honored as our minimum wage from the beginning — has had to go up quite a bit to match,” says owner James Sutherland. “Fewer people want to eat and work downtown. In addition, payroll ended up being almost 50% of our revenue this past year.”

Following Blue Dream’s announcement of the takeout-only transition, a GoFundMe page was created by its employees to assist the 15 individuals who were laid off as a result of the decision and to help get the restaurant back on its feet.

“The community has really rallied to help Blue Dream survive and provide for our employees,” says Sutherland. “We’ve been well loved by the people of Asheville since opening in 2015, and I am confident this is just a dark period of time before something amazing.”

Blue Dream Curry House is at 81 Patton Ave. Visit avl.mx/cfh to help contribute to the restaurant’s GoFundMe page.

Devil’s Foot expands collaboration

In the process of making Devil’s Foot farm-to-can craft beverages, the company juices hundreds of pounds of fruit each month and produces a great deal of organic zest, spent ginger pulp and other pressed fruit byproducts still containing flavor and nutrition. Recognizing the untapped value left in these byproducts, Devil’s Foot created the Full Fruit Life program, allowing other local food and beverage makers to source these materials directly.

“A huge part of our mission from the beginning has been to ‘do more good and less harm’ in all parts of our business. One way we do this is to reduce waste and extend the goodness of the raw materials we use,” says Devil’s Foot co-founder Ben Colvin in a news release. “Now that we’re in our new production facility, we not only have room to grow into new product lines and small-batch innovative styles, but we’re also able to dramatically expand our sustainability efforts, collaborations, and our Full Fruit Life program.”

Visit avl.mx/cfd to learn more about the Full Fruit Life program, including how to connect on collaborations.


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