What’s new in food: LaRumba Restaurant Latino brings the party to East Asheville

QUALITY CONTROL: LaRumba Restaurant Latino owners Luis Rodriguez, left, and Reynaldo Macario are ready to rumba at their newly opened East Asheville restaurant. Photo courtesy of LaRumba

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 BoehmJoann 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.

To view the cooking video, visit avl.mx/atk. For both pie recipes, see avl.mx/atl.

Sow good

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.

The deadline to apply for seed packets is Tuesday, Nov. 30; the link to the application is available at avl.mx/atm. The free 2022 Sow True Seed catalog can be found at avl.mx/atn.


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.

About Kay West
Kay West began her writing career in NYC, then was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, including contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. In 2019 she moved to Asheville and continued writing (minus Red Carpet coverage) with a focus on food, farming and hospitality. She is a die-hard NY Yankees fan.

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.