What’s new in food: The Market Place nominated for James Beard Award

SUSTAINABLE WINS: Chef William Dissen stands in front of The Market Place’s live-fire grill. The restaurant placed as a semifinalist for this year’s James Beard Award. Photo courtesy of Dissen

The Market Place was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Award’s Outstanding Restaurant category — a first for the restaurant, which launched in 1979.

“It’s an exciting honor,” says chef and owner William Dissen, who purchased the restaurant in 2009. “To be able to showcase the heritage of our restaurant, as well as our vibrant community here in Asheville, is a wonderful feeling. It takes a village to create a special restaurant like The Market Place, and that includes our spectacular team, our amazing farmers and artisans, and our community who has supported us over the years.”

The restaurant is known for its multigenerational relationships with a network of regional and family farms, from which it sources all of its ingredients. Dissen believes it is The Market Place’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, the arts and the community of Asheville that made the biggest impact on the judges. “And let’s not forget about the delicious and locally sourced food,” he adds.

The menu, which is filled with vegan-friendly options, showcases farm-to-table and seasonally foraged Appalachian cuisine. The chef’s current favorite is the wood-grilled Hickory Nut Gap pork loin with whipped sweet potato, charred radicchio and hamhock jus.

The Market Place has worked with many local schools and nonprofits, including the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, which supports the unique local food system, and Seafood Watch, which promotes more sustainable seafood and healthier oceans.

“We love Asheville and we are in this for the long haul,” Dissen says.

The Market Place will be offering a three-course prix fixe Valentine’s Day Dinner on Wednesday, February 14 at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Starters include a choice of seafood, salad or bisque, followed by one of four entrees such as steak frites or carbonara, with a choice of vanilla cheesecake or flourless dark chocolate torte for dessert.

The Market Place is at 20 Wall St. Reservations can be placed at avl.mx/dbu.

New Orleans comes to Asheville

Burial Beer Co. is hosting its 10th annual Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 11.

Two-thirds of Burial’s ownership hails from New Orleans, and the company is steeped in the city’s influence. “New Orleans inspires a lot of what we do here,” says head of marketing Phil Cassella. “[Its residents] celebrate death, they don’t mourn death. So there’s tradition there. It was important to us to do Mardi Gras here, to throw an annual party.”

This will be Burial’s first Mardi Gras celebration to take place at its new music venue, Eulogy, on the South Slope, which opened in November. Eulogy features a full bar with Burial beer on tap and a cocktail menu.

The Beneath the Veil masquerade ball kicks off Saturday at 6 p.m., and full masquerade attire is encouraged. The ball will feature performances by local DJs Phantom Pantone and avl.xlr and a menu of cocktails inspired by New Orleans. Previous masquerades have featured hurricane slushies and chicory-inspired beer.

“We do special treatments for a few beers where we add different adjuncts to beers that currently exist to make them special for the event,” Cassella says. “Maybe we’ll make a beignet beer this year.” Sunday’s event begins at 5 p.m. with Phuncle Sam set to perform on the outdoor stage as an after-party for the Asheville Mardi Gras Parade.

Eulogy is at 10 Buxton Ave. For tickets or information, visit avl.mx/5sc

Fish camp opens on the South Slope

Former “Top Chef” contestant Ashleigh Shanti recently opened Good Hot Fish on the South Slope.

The highly anticipated restaurant will be a first for the James Beard nominee, who previously gained recognition as chef de cuisine for Benne on Eagle. She first launched the Good Hot Fish concept as a pop-up in Burial Beer Co.’s taproom and has grown a following from there.

The project draws inspiration from traditional fish camps, casual Southern restaurants which specialize in fried fish, hushpuppies and sides. Shanti’s menu is also influenced by Black Appalachian cuisine. Menu items include trout bologna and fried catfish as well as stewed greens and baked mac and cheese. The location is connected to Eulogy, Burial Beer’s music venue, and will soon feature a walk-up window catering to late-night concertgoers.

Good Hot Fish is at 10 Buxton Ave. and is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. For information, visit avl.mx/dbr.

Coffee roaster puts you in charge

A recently opened coffee shop in West Asheville, Kota Kai, gives customers the opportunity to build their own blend.

Kota Kai is the face of Coffee Library, a private label and wholesale coffee-roasting project out of Woodfin. The company sells a wide array of coffee from all parts of the globe and seeks to match coffee drinkers with their perfect roast profile. “Coffee has become a real passion point for me,” says Coffee Library founder Drew Hawkins. “In 2017, my wife and I quit our jobs and traveled the world. … [When we were] backpacking through Central and South America [and] Southeast Asia, coffee became the morning ritual before we went out.“

The company plans to open the Coffee Library Roastery on Riverside Drive by summer, but until then, Kota Kai offers its wide range of coffee blends in store. “In Kota Kai, we are launching a create-your-own-blend experience,” says Hawkins. “’You can choose from over 20 single-origin coffees to create a blend right there in the store, no minimum.” The flat rate for Kota Kai coffee is $18 per pound, but there is a discount for bringing your own container. The shop also features nitro cold brew and draft lattes, as well as house-made caramel sauce.

Kota Kai is at 753 Haywood Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/dbs.

Tea lovers in luck

Asheville Tea Co. has released a Valentine’s Day Trio of teas as well as a gift box set.

Designed with romance in mind, the products use sustainably sourced ingredients centered on botanical flavors. The three-tea box set combines Tulsi Rose, Chamomile Lavender and Hibiscus Mojito. The Bee Mine box set includes a limited-release Tulsi Rose, Asheville Fog Scone Mix and a tulsi rose-infused honey made in collaboration with local honey company Asheville Bee Charmer.

“We are absolutely head over heels in love with the new collaboration from our friends at Asheville Bee Charmer,” says Melissa Dean, Asheville Tea Co.’s director of marketing, in a press release. “With sweet, delicate notes of rose petals, tulsi and hibiscus, this pure raw honey infused with Tulsi Rose tea may make you feel like falling in love.”

The Valentine’s Day gift boxes can be purchased at avl.mx/dbt.

Jazz dinner returns at Jargon

Jargon celebrates Mardi Gras with a two-night New Orleans Jazz Dinner on Monday, Feb. 12, and Tuesday, Feb. 13.

The annual event offers an exclusive assortment of large and small plates à la carte in lieu of the ordinary menu. Designed by chef Ryan Kline, the Mardi Gras menu reflects both the Cajun and Creole culinary traditions of Louisiana.

Tables are available in the dining room as well as the heated courtyard, beginning at 5 p.m. The courtyard will feature live jazz music by Les Chats Violet, with members of the local funk ensemble Empire Strikes Brass.

Jargon is at 715 Haywood Road. Reservations can be placed at avl.mx/9hw.

Publix stocks Devil’s Foot 

Publix is now offering four of Devil’s Foot’s most popular flavors — Sparkling Lemonade, Fuego Ginger Beer, Sparkling Cherry Limeade and Sparkling Black Tea Lemonade — according to a press release. Incorporating real fruit and ginger and sourced from local farms, Devil’s Foot soda has less than half the sugar of a normal soda. These flavors are priced at $8.99 per four-pack.

Devil’s Foot beverages are available at the Weaverville, South Asheville and Waynesville Publix locations. 


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