What’s new in food: Asheville home baker launches online shop

GOLDILOCKS ZONE: Sourhouse co-owners Jennifer Yoko Olson and Erik Fabian created Goldie, a device designed to keep sourdough starter at the ideal temperature. Photo courtesy of Sourhouse

Local baker Erik Fabian has launched a new online shop for his company, Sourhouse. Dedicated to helping aspiring bakers make the perfect loaf of sourdough bread, Sourhouse offers free community cookbooks and sells several products designed to make the baking process easier.

“It can be a bit overwhelming trying to bake sourdough for the first time, especially if you don’t have much experience in baking,” says Fabian. “Our goal with Sourhouse is to make the process a little easier and hopefully make it less intimidating for people looking to get started.”

Sourhouse’s signature product, Goldie, is a device that maintains the ideal temperature for active sourdough starters.

“Temperature has a huge effect on a sourdough starter and will impact your bread a lot,” says Fabian. “With Goldie, you can keep your starter at the ideal temperature of 75-100 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of the temperature of your kitchen. We call it ‘Goldilocks Zone’ because it is not too hot but not too cold.”

Fabian’s idea for Goldie came during the pandemic while helping his friends bake sourdough.

“In 2020, I was suddenly a stay-at-home dad hungry for adult conversation, so I was happy to talk about sourdough baking with my friends,” says Fabian. “Helping them get started gave me something positive to focus on in a stressful time, and it reminded me just how much of a struggle it is for new sourdough bakers.”

Fabian knew that temperatures were a huge challenge for sourdough bakers and had tinkered with ideas for a device that could keep sourdough starters warm. After over two years of work and dozens of prototypes, Goldie was born.

“Goldie has truly been a labor of love,” says Fabian. “We worked so hard on different versions and variations, but the end product is something that I am really proud of and something that I hope will help inspire people to get into sourdough baking and join our community.”

Fabian says that his biggest piece of advice for people looking to bake sourdough for the first time is to expect to make mistakes.

“A big thing that I tell new bakers is that I don’t strive for perfection with every loaf of bread; I strive for what I call the ‘good enough’ loaf,” Fabian says. “Sourdough is not the easiest thing to bake, but with each ‘good enough’ loaf, you learn more and more, and your bread will improve.”

For more information, visit avl.mx/d8t.

Honoring MLK

The 14th annual Kenilworth Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held on Monday, Jan. 15, at Kenilworth Presbyterian Church. A community potluck will be from 5-6:30 p.m. in Kenilworth Center, behind the church, followed by the main program in the sanctuary.

The topic of this year’s event will be “A Capital for Black Capitalism: Soul City, N.C., and Its Unique Connection to Asheville.” Floyd B. McKissick Jr., son of the late civil rights leader and Asheville native Floyd B. McKissick, will be the keynote speaker. Members of the McKissick family are among the developers of a 3,700-acre community called Soul City, a planned Black mini-metropolis in rural North Carolina.

The discussion will be moderated by Benjamin Barber, a writer and voting rights advocate who serves as the democracy program coordinator at the Institute for Southern Studies and as a contributing writer for Facing South. The event will be hosted by Marvin Chambers, a founding member of A.S.C.O.R.E. (Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality).

Kenilworth Presbyterian Church is at 123 Kenilworth Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/d8i

Cuban coffeehouse to open in West Asheville

Haywood Famous coffee shop is set to open at 2 Westwood Place in West Asheville come spring.

Owner Eva Rodriguez-Cué, a first-generation Cuban American, says the business will specialize in Cuban coffee and market itself as a “sober nightlife” destination.

“As a teenager, I always dreamed of a place where I could hang out at night that was like the parties I hosted in my room — spinning records, good conversation, inside jokes and art. Instead, it seemed all there was to do at night was walk around the grocery store, go for a drive or find some trouble,” says Rodriguez-Cué. “Thus came the idea for a coffee shop that wasn’t just a place to work but a second home; a place that supports its patrons through the exchange of coffee, music, art and ideas.”

Rodriguez-Cué says that the name for the shop comes from when she worked at the West End Bakery as a teenager.

It was my first summer working there, and I was greeted by regulars, neighbors, friends, some familiar and some not. I felt like a minicelebrity,” says Rodriguez-Cué. “Eventually, the phrase became an inside joke between my friends and I to talk about our little slice of the world. In this world, we have our own icons, hangouts, stories, legends, parties and even 15 minutes of fame.”

For more information and to see updates on the café, visit avl.mx/d8w.

Asheville Restaurant Week returns Jan.16

Asheville Restaurant Week, the annual celebration of local cuisine organized by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, kicks off its 12th year on Tuesday, Jan. 16. For its 2024 iteration, nearly 50 restaurants will join in on the festivities by offering menu specials through Monday, Jan. 22.

Each restaurant has created a customized menu or special offering for the week, which can be viewed on the Asheville Chamber of Commerce website. Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar, Cúrate and Ruth’s Chris Steak House are among the several dozen participating eateries.

For more information, visit avl.mx/5k3.

Pop Bubble Tea launches authentic Hong Kong snack

Pop Bubble Tea, a local bubble tea shop on Merrimon Avenue, is launching a new addition to its menu — Hong Kong bubble waffles, also known as egg waffles. Co-founders Ashley Garrison and Eva Peterson dedicated extensive research and testing to curate the recipe, drawing inspiration from Peterson’s roots in Hong Kong and Garrison’s experience with recipes at The Hop Ice Cream.

A classic street snack in Hong Kong since the 1950s, bubble waffles are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

“This is my honor to introduce one of the most famous street food snacks of my hometown to the U.S.,” Peterson said in the release. “This original flavor bubble waffle is the essential flavor at every bubble waffle store in Hong Kong, just like selling classic milk tea at every bubble tea store.”

Pop Bubble Tea is at 640 Merrimon Ave, Suite 103. For more information, visit avl.mx/bk5

Asheville Drag Brunch hosts fundraiser luncheon

Asheville Drag Brunch is hosting two drag shows on Sunday, Jan. 14, at Green Man Brewery. These family-friendly events will feature several drag performances, costume shows and lip-sync competitions.

Brunch is included with both the noon and 2 p.m. shows. All proceeds will support Black Wall Street AVL, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting local Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

Green Man Brewery is at 27 Buxton Ave. All ages are welcome, but youths must be accompanied by an adult. General admission tickets are $25 and must be purchased before arrival. For more information, visit avl.mx/d8u.


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About Chase Davis
Chase Davis is an Asheville-based reporter working for Mountain Xpress. He was born and raised in Georgia and holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from LaGrange College. Follow me @ChaseDavis0913

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