When it came time to name his first restaurant, Reynaldo Macario turned to his birthplace for inspiration. “In Vera Cruz, [Mexico], when we go out to a fiesta, dance or party, we say, ‘Let’s go to la rumba,’” he explains.
LaRumba Restaurant Latino, located in the former Bonefish Grill in East Asheville, is an extension of that convivial mindset, he continues. “We want people to come to LaRumba for good food, good drinks and a good time, where they can relax and enjoy the margaritas.”
Though born in Vera Cruz, Macario was raised in California before moving to Asheville in 2003. Over the last decade, he’s worked as the district manager for Cook Out. But after growing weary of corporate culture, he decided to partner with his friend Luis Rodriguez to pursue a long-held dream of opening a restaurant that reflected his culture and heritage.
LaRumba’s menu highlights include mojarra frita (whole fried fish), carne de puerco en adobo con napoles (braised pork shoulder in a spicy adobe sauce with cactus) and calabacitas con elote (zucchini marinated in chicken broth, mayonnaise, corn grains, onions, tomato, pepper, margarine and queso fresco), in addition to house-made guacamole, empanadas, chili rellenos, tamales and tostadas. All tortillas are also made on-site.
Additionally, the restaurant offers brunch all day, seven days a week. Highlights include huevos rancheros (tortillas topped with refried beans, corn and black bean salsa, queso fresco, avocado and two eggs), chilaquiles (fried tortilla chips tossed in salsa and topped with avocado, onion, cilantro, queso fresco, sour crema and two eggs), huevos con chorizo (two scrambled eggs mixed with spicy Mexican sausage served with black refried beans, queso fresco and tortillas).
“Our food is so authentic, guests are surprised to learn our chef, Mike Martin, is from West Virginia,” Macario says. “But he lived in Texas for a long time and learned the Latino cuisine. And Luis and I are right here to be sure!”
LaRumba Restaurant Latino is at 105 River Hills Road, Suite C. For more information, visit avl.mx/atd.
Mother knows best
Fans of Heidi Bass‘ Mother sourdough bread pop-ups, which launched in March, will soon be able to purchase her artisan breads at the baker’s new brick-and-mortar store. Bass and her partner, Brett Watson, signed a lease on the 180-square-foot space on Artful Way in the River Arts District in late October, with plans to open later this year or in January. The storefront will also carry wine chosen by Watson and a small selection of provisions to pair with bread and wine.
Bass’ entry into the bread business began when she teamed up with Metro Wines for its Focaccia Fridays wine/bread promotions in October 2020. She later expanded her product line for the bimonthly pop-ups, staged Sunday mornings on her front yard in Montford; at the same time, she was also growing her client base with local restaurants.
On Nov. 10, Bass launched her company’s website for orders and delivery, a service she intends to keep at least until the storefront opens. The menu includes focaccia, sourdough loaves, hot dog buns, brioche sandwich buns, sourdough pretzels and her cult-following English muffins.
For a complete menu, visit avl.mx/atg.
Oodles of noodles
At the start of November, Hannah Kirschner‘s Hashi Hana became New Origin Brewing Co.’s first resident food truck. To celebrate, Kirschner reintroduced ramen to her menu. “I’ve also added miso soup,” she says. “I make all my own noodles and my own tofu, along with everything else. The ramen is a miso base, so it is vegan. I’m working on a gluten-free noodle, but it’s a process.”
Kirschner’s interest in Japanese food began in childhood with a deep curiosity about Japan and its culture. When she later studied culinary arts at A-B Tech, the program offered only one semester of Asian cuisine. Her adviser urged her to study it on her own through cookbooks, online videos and hands-on experience in Asian restaurants, which she found during her stint at Gan Shan Station.
Meanwhile, her entry into the food truck scene came about during COVID-19. She had the compact shiny silver capsule that resembles the iconic Airstream design custom-built in California, after losing her job at High Climate Tea Co. amid the shutdown. “I took my entire life savings and bought a food truck,” she says with a laugh.
New Origin Brewing Co. is at 131 Thompson St. For Hashi Hana’s hours and additional locations, follow Kirschner on Instagram at avl.mx/ati.
Naughty and nice
Santa’s not the only one making a list. The three organizers behind the annual holiday cocktail celebration staged in bars around the country — Greg Boehm, Joann Spiegel and Jeff Berry — have supervised the creation of the 2021 repertoire of themed alcohol libations for the seasonal spirit pop-ups taking place Monday, Nov. 22, to Friday, Dec. 31. In Asheville, Miracle decks the walls of The Golden Pineapple, and Sippin’ Santa is back for its third year at The Montford Rooftop Bar.
Miracle concoctions include a Christmapolitan, On Dasher, Jingle Bells Nog and a Snowball Old Fashioned. Sippin’ Santa sips feature Kris Kringle Kolada, Azul Navidad, White Russian Christmas and Yule Log Grog.
The Golden Pineapple is at 503 Haywood Road; The Montford Rooftop Bar is at 199 Haywood St. To learn more about either event, visit avl.mx/ats.
Fit to be pied
If you’re a quick study, there’s still time to learn how to make a pie for a happy ending to your Thanksgiving feast or perfect your skill for December holiday potlucks. Spicewalla’s culinary director Alyse Baca has recorded a 25-minute tutorial from her tiny kitchen on how to make the perfect pie crust for two specific holiday recipes — a traditional golden (butter) milk pie and cranberry star anise pie bars.
Every year at the end of growing season, Sow True Seed donates thousands of packets of seeds to organizations that run gardens built to support communities and/or gardening education programs. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a greater need but lower supply for these programs. In response, the Asheville-based nonprofit is prioritizing local organizations, with a particular emphasis on those that serve communities of color.