Radha Indian Grocers celebrated its grand opening Oct. 7, just in time for Navratri and Dussehra, annual Hindu festivals occurring in October.
Accordingly, owners Gaurav Kumar and his wife, Juhi Patel, had two items significant to the observations — fresh jalebi and fafda — stocked and ready for purchase at the counter. “You eat them together,” says Juhi. “It is ritual.”
The small store’s shelves, freezers and cooler cases are stocked with plenty more items integral to Indian cooking, diet, culture and lifestyle. Some are as familiar to Americans as basmati rice, while others might be less so. For example, bags of rice flakes, says Kumar, are a breakfast staple in India. “You soak them in water until they become soft, then you cook that with potatoes, onions, mustard seed, curry leaves, green chilis — whatever you prefer.”
As Asheville’s only grocery dedicated to Indian food, the couple are happy to answer questions and share recipes with customers, many of whom they know from their Greenville, S.C., store, which launched in 2010 and is still operated by Gaurav’s brother.
To date, Kumar says, the store’s most popular items in the store are the frozen and ready-to-eat curries, paneer, chutney, naan (and newly added naan pizzas), pakoras and samosas. But fresh produce is also available, including banana flower, round eggplants, gourds, cluster beans and karela (which resembles a large okra pod with a terrible skin condition but is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals).
According to Patel, karela can be sautéed in hot oil with cumin seed, ginger, garlic and green chilis. The member of the gourd family is great in curries, though she warns, “It is bitter, so add a little sugar at the end.”
Kumar notes they are getting in new products every day as shipping options improve and they are happy to special order any item. Gluten-free options are also available.
“These days so many people want to try all kinds of food,” he says. “Asheville people are very open to trying new things. We say don’t be afraid, be curious.”
Radha Indian Grocers is at 813 Patton Ave. To learn more, visit avl.mx/and.
In September, Cane Creek Valley Farm launched Farm Kitchen, which uses produce grown on the Henderson County farm for its menu of sandwiches, salads, entrees and sides.
Orders can be made online and taken to go or enjoyed al fresco on one of the covered picnic tables on-site. Farm Kitchen also has a take-and-bake family meal option available to order each Sunday, with available pickup the following Tuesday or Wednesday.
“We want to help create a love for fresh food and feel like the Farm Kitchen completes that circle for the community,” says co-owner Amanda Sizemore.
Cane Creek Valley Farm is at 1448 Cane Creek Road, Fletcher. For more information, visit avl.mx/ane.
Meat and three
Miss Mary’s Meatloaf is one of the most popular dishes at Haywood Street Congregation’s Downtown Welcome Table. Now, for one day only, the public can enjoy the hearty staple and all its fixings (mac and cheese, green beans and smashed potatoes) in the comfort of their own home.
On Wednesday, Nov. 3, chefs from Cúrate, Rhubarb and 12 Bones will prepare ready-to-go dishes, with all proceeds benefiting the Downtown Welcome Table, which serves hot meals to those in need. Servings are available for one, six, or 12 people.
Pickup is 3-6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Haywood Street Congregation, 297 Haywood St. Orders can be placed at avl.mx/anf.
Five by five
The Fall Harvest Revival brings together five chefs creating five courses to benefit Bounty & Soul, a nonprofit providing free produce markets and wellness education in Black Mountain. “Our dinner theme is centered around ‘reviving’ misfit or often overlooked ingredients,” says Jill Wasilewski, chef and owner of Ivory Road Café & Kitchen. “Our five courses will feature lesser-known or often discarded food items and elevate them to five creative and unique courses. Think kudzu, collards and a crabapple dish.”
The other four members of the culinary quintet are Brett Suess, Ryan Kline, Duke Kroger and Paul Cressend Jr. Tickets are $75 (with an optional wine pairing for an additional $20); 15% of all ticket and bar sales will go directly to Bounty & Soul.
The Fall Harvest Revival takes place Saturday, Nov. 13, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at The Laurel Room at High Vista, 88 Country Club Road, Mills River. To purchase a ticket, visit avl.mx/ang.
Trade that KN-95 mask for something more frightful and help Halloween make a comeback this year. While not quite up to pre-COVID levels of mischief, there are several celebrations to costume up for.
The S&W Market, 56 Patton Ave., hosts its inaugural Halloween party Friday, Oct. 29, 5-9 p.m. The food hall will be decorated for a spooky time, and costumes are encouraged. Pumpkin painting for the kids begins at 6 p.m. Meanwhile, all the vendors will have treats and Halloween specials. For more information, visit avl.mx/aoo.
Ginger’s Revenge Craft Brewing is making it a Hallo-weekend at its tasting room, 829 Riverside Drive, starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, with ongoing celebrations beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30 and 31. Tarot card readings, fairy hair, live music and food trucks are part of the festivities. For schedule and details, visit avl.mx/prwb.
Back downtown, the North Carolina Wine Academy, 58 Wall St., is hosting its first Hallo-wine Wine Scavenger Hunt on Saturday, Oct. 30, 4-6 p.m. Five wine stations will be set up throughout the property, with each station having two or more “disguised” wines: One will be an inexpensive trick wine, and the other will be a more expensive treat. Participating guests will sample all wines and try to determine which is the trick and which is the treat. Prizes will be awarded for the right calls. To purchase a $10 ticket in advance, visit avl.mx/anh.
On the trail
There’s still time to attend the ninth annual Haunted Trail at The Adventure Center of Asheville. For every ticket sold, the Haunted Trail donates four meals to MANNA FoodBank through its Boo to Hunger effort. Last year’s event secured 16,000 meals. The no-contact outdoor trail is a walk-through Halloween play with live actors portraying classic characters. The happening features spooky sounds but no blood or gore and is suitable for children ages 3-12. Additionally, adults and kids ages 4 and older can climb on the Treetops Adventure Park Aerial Glow Trail; two aerial trails illuminated with thousands of colored twinkle and laser lights.
The grand finale takes place Wednesday, Oct. 27, to Saturday, Oct. 30, 6:30-9 p.m. at The Adventure Center of Asheville, 85 Expo Drive. Trail tickets are $15; combined tickets including the aerial trails are $35. To purchase, visit avl.mx/ani.