COVIDtown Crier: May 06, 2020

“Why are they publishing this Crier rubbish?” you may be asking. We certainly are. The rest of this edition of Mountain Xpress can’t help but show the tough times WNC is facing. Here’s one little spot in the paper where we offer a bit of levity, to possibly brighten someone’s day, poking a bit of fun at the outrageousness of it all.

Culinary creativity

With home delivery and curbside pickup already losing their, well, flavor, area restaurants are exploring innovative strategies to, er, cater to their customer base. Here are a few highlights:

One popular route is the Tastes Like Chicken (or Tofu) home dining experience, in which patrons rent a VR headset from their preferred establishment, sit at a table and select a Server Experience. Options include “Snarky,” “Hey, it pays the bills” and “You’re a Michelin judge, right?” Wielding the provided cutlery “as usual,” diners unwrap and begin chewing a special “food gum,” whose microscopic technology syncs with the VR software to recreate the flavors and texture of the ordered menu items. The simulation extends to the bathroom (complete with fragrant, locally hand-crafted artisanal urinal cakes), and delinquent diners will get fussed at if they go behind the bar.

Meanwhile, in a van down by the river (the French Broad, that is), James Beard semifinalists Ashleigh Shanti, Katie Button, Meherwan Irani, John Fleer and the Cultura team are joining forces for the Roadkill Cafe pop-up restaurant. “You kill ‘em, we grill ‘em” is the endeavor’s official motto, which narrowly defeated “O possum, my possum.”

Gourmands who miss dinner and a show can sample the offerings of local entertainers who deliver meals and then perform in customers’ front yards. Choose between Background Noise Jazz Guitar, Singer-songwriter Who Won’t Take Requests and Mariachi Band.

For folks eating on a budget, several order-at-the-counter Mexican restaurants have launched Burrito of the Month clubs, including a few with “Won’t explode while unwrapping — or your money back” guarantees. And to boost food-providers bringing their menus to the neighborhoods, MTV has relaunched its hit show “Pimp My Ride.” The network is sending original host Xzibit to outfit select Asheville food trucks with fish tanks, home theaters and other insanity. “If I don’t lower their resale value to zero, I’m not doing my job, dogg” says the rapper/actor.

Japanese Chindōgu artists contribute pandemic inventions

With more people getting out into the world more often, local artists and inventors are coming up with ways to keep people safe and improve quality of life under bad circumstances. Inspired by the Japanese art form of Chindōgu, roughly translated to “strange tool,”innovators are coming up with solutions that are perfect, yet puzzling. Here are a few examples:

A mini-wristwatch-cocktail-shaker worn on the wrist during vigorous hand washing, for a little reward after important hygiene.
A top hat that has a stovepipe which conveniently holds a disinfectant wipe cannister.
A face shield and mask that unfurls from a necktie and attaches to a headband, for the businessman on the go.

Readers, if you have come up with inventions for better living under coronavirus conditions, send us pictures of your prototypes in action!


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