What’s new in food: Pranom Pop-Up at Bottle Riot

LIVING THE DREAM: Thai chef Dream Kasestatad will encore his 2018 Pranom Pop-up at Bottle Riot on July 27. Photo by Lauri Nichols

It’s been more than two years since chef Dream Kasestatad fired up his wok at Bottle Riot (then District Wine Bar) for a one-night stand in October 2018. If you missed it, you’ve got a second chance when he returns Tuesday, July 27, with his Pranom Pop-Up at the River Arts District wine bar.

Kasestatad’s career as an itinerant producer of Thai street food pop-ups began in Los Angeles, where he started cooking pad Thai dishes in his apartment and delivering them via his bicycle to local bars to make ends meet while pursuing an acting career. A glowing LA Weekly write-up in 2013 led to a fervent following, more gigs around the city, invitations to cook at festivals and, eventually, the launch of nationwide tours of bars and restaurants.

Bottle Riot co-owner Lauri Nichols met Kasestatad virtually after a friend of his visited the bar and connected them. “Dream and I started talking and texting and immediately became family,” says Nichols. “We were thrilled to be part of the 2018 tour and have kept in touch on a regular basis.”

For the Bottle Riot pop-up, Kasestatad will make pad see ew — thick rice noodles wok stir-fried with chicken, egg, Chinese broccoli, bean sprouts, dry chilis and lime – with a vegan option, priced at $13 a bowl. Diners can enjoy the meal on the bar’s expanded patio or take it to go.

Either way, come thirsty, says Nichols, because Thai food lends itself to many interesting pairings. She will be on hand during the event to guide diners to compatible bubbles, reds and whites and notes that German wine importer Stephen Bitterolf will be there for with a tasting of his wines.  If beer is your beverage of choice, many of the bar’s European brews pair well.

The pop-up begins at 5 p.m. and goes until the wok is scraped clean. For more information, visit avl.mx/9w6.

Bottle Riot, 37 Paynes Way


Hot dogs, opines Jargon executive chef Steve Goff, are pretty much the perfect food. More explicitly, he continues, “If sausage and bologna had a love child, it would be a hot dog. It has the texture and feel of bologna, but it’s a sausage — and who doesn’t love a sausage?”

In 2019, Goff hooked up his hot dog love with his deeply held passion for punk rock to win the inaugural Punk Rock Hot Dogs competition staged by Stu Helm and Shay Brown at the Asheville Masonic Temple.

“I’ve been listening to punk since I was about 12, so I had a bit of an advantage over the other competitors,” he says. “I was inspired by the completely insane performer GG Allin.” His entry, says Goff, was basically a chili dog with embellishments symbolizing elements of Allin’s radical stage act — too radical to describe here.

On Saturday, July 31, Goff will serve as chief justice of the 12-judge bench for the return of Punk Rock Hot Dogs with 10 contenders vying for top dog. Goff says he expects Odditorium chef Ben Hester to be the one to beat. “Ben is very familiar with punk rock, so he has an advantage there. I advise people to really lean into the theme.”

The event is back at the temple. A limited number of VIP tickets are on sale now, including entry for two 11 a.m.-1 p.m., samples of each of the competing hot dogs and the chance to cast a vote for the People’s Choice award. General admission is free 1-3 p.m. with hot dogs and beverages available for purchase. Music will be provided by DJ Punk Rock Lap Top. Proceeds benefit the Asheville Masonic Temple. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit avl.mx/9wn.

Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway St.

Melting point

Fire up your fondue-fork twirling skills for the return of that particular style of dining when Melting Pot Social opens Thursday, July 22, in downtown Asheville. The name and concept will sound familiar to those who fondly remember the popular Melting Pot in Biltmore Village, which permanently closed in 2004 due to flood damage.

The Patton Avenue store is the company’s first iteration of a more casual style, or as a press release describes it, “a whimsical dining experience with a laid-back vibe featuring a menu that is meltable, craveable and shareable.”

That’s a lot of able on the table, but the new concept also offers fast-casual counter service at lunch. In addition to pots of melted cheese and chocolate, Melting Pot Social’s menu has flatbreads, sandwiches, salads and bowls. To see the full menu, visit avl.mx/9wq.
Melting Pot Social, 74 Patton Ave.

Full plate

Smoky Park Supper Club co-owner and executive chef Michelle Bailey says she nearly wept when writing the dinner menu for July 8, a teary yet joyful return to the restaurant’s pre-COVID service model and menu for the first time in 16 months. “We have been putting food in boxes and on cardboard trays for a really long time,” Bailey says.

When the pandemic began, the restaurant closed indoor dining entirely, switching in late spring 2020 to a casual menu of simple starters and sandwiches ordered online or at a counter as the owners navigated various stages and levels of service and closure. The restaurant welcomed diners back indoors in late April this year but kept the same casual menu through the first week of July. “We’re still kind of hybrid,” Bailey notes. “We’ll have our burger and veggie burger, but we’re also able to do seasonal sides, some seafood, the pork chop, half chicken and Sunburst trout. I’m excited about mussels with smoked lobster tomato broth in an actual bowl.”

When Smoky Park Supper Club resumed indoor dining service on July 8, it also instituted a new policy requiring at least one member of each party to purchase a $1 membership available only to North Carolina residents.

Smoky Park Supper Club  350 Riverside Drive. For more, visit avl.mx/9wo.

Glazy days of summer

For more than three years, chef Jay Medford has been correcting customers’ understanding of his business as well as the pronunciation of its most popular product. “We made and sold DoughP Doughnuts at the Jackson Underground Café,” he says. “At first, the focus was on the café, but the doughnuts really took off.”

COVID-19 and a lack of breakfast and lunch business downtown caused him to rethink the menu, and a trademark dispute prompted a name change to Stay Glazed Donuts & Café, with an emphasis on the doughnuts. “We no longer serve lunch, though we are open through lunch,” he clarifies. “Doughnuts have become a popular alternative or an addition to cake at weddings, and that business is really picking up.”

Medford provides doughnuts to the Asheville Art Museum’s Perspective Cafe on weekends and will make doughnut ice cream sandwiches to order using Ultimate Ice Cream. Stay Glazed does three types of doughnuts — brioche yeast, buttermilk cake and Asheville’s only gluten-free mochi doughnut — in multiple and ever-rotating flavors, though miso-maple and raspberry-sriracha are standards.  Fritters jump onto the menu Saturdays and Sundays.

Thanks to its location near downtown municipal buildings, Medford says, Stay Glazed does serve members of the Asheville Police Department. “But actually, we get more firefighters than police,” Medford reports. Bam, myth busted.

Stay Glazed Donuts & Café is at 22 S. Pack Square in the basement of the Jackson Building. Open Wednesday-Sunday with hours that vary. For more details, visit avl.mx/9wm.

Fall forecast

The early bird gets the worm, and the wise planner sows seeds for bountiful fall and winter harvests sooner rather than later. Wild Abundance, a permaculture and building education organization on an outdoor campus and homestead in Weaverville, is here to help. The school’s free online fall gardening course covers 14 vegetables for fall and winter gardening, growing tips for each crop, a guide to planting times and step-by-step instructions on critical matters like setting up frost protection row cover. Natalie Bogwalker and Chloe Lieberman are the pros teaching the course, which is one of several offered by Wild Abundance.

Registration for the fall gardening course is open through July 25. Visit avl.mx/9wp.


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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.

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