Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Amazing Pubcycle

While we did not take a tour on the Amazing Pubcycle, it looked like the folks were having a blast on a Spring evening.

The Amazing Pubcycle

Two questions we had: How did this concept pass the NC ABC Board? and Wouldn't this be fun in RVA?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Table in Asheville

Table is a modern farm to table restaurant concept in downtown Asheville. We kind of stumbled upon it and the menu looked delicious. The place has lots of windows giving the place a light airy feel.

The menu can change up depending on the season. When we arrived ramps were in heavy rotation which prompted us to order the Whipped Feta and Grilled Ramps as a starter.

Whipped Feta with Grilled Ramps

Most of the meats are from local farms in the area. Hubby ordered the Hickory Nut Gap Pork Chop with turnips and apple butter. A Winter into Spring kind of meal.

Hickory Nut Gap Pork chop

I had the Brasstown Coulette Steak with crispy potatoes and duck egg. The ravioli-type item was supposed to be filled with a runny onion soubise. It didn't quite work. The filling was more solid and did not add much to the dish. Everything else was divine and I enjoyed the runniness of the duck egg adding body and cohesiveness to the entire dish.

Brasstown Coulotte Crispy Potatoes Duck Egg

Our waitress provided attentive service and happily answered our questions about the various dishes. I would welcome a chance to return.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Nightbell in Asheville

We stopped by Nightbell for a cocktail before dinner. This speakeasy bar and restaurant is the little sister to Curate (which we did not get to try).


The decor is eclectic with accents of turquoise.

Nightbell Sofa

And while we had bourbon and scotch based cocktails, the most popular and eye-catching concoction was definitely the Cold Roses.

Cold Roses

Rose-infused Tito's vodka, St. Germain, lemon, soda, berry ice, and lavender foam. And garnished with dried rose petals. Wow. We sampled a bit of the lavender foam and it was divine.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Alleia Restaurant Chattanooga

Our second evening in Chattanooga we dined al fresco at Alleia. The place features a dark cavernous interior and a bright side patio. We ate on the bright side since the weather was perfect.

Busy Kitchen

Alleia features Italian dishes with a nod to the local food scene. Wood-fired pizzas, pasta, and a wide variety of starters tempted us. Cocktails were thoughtful and inventive; wine prices a bit high (maybe this is the norm here?).

We experienced good service for the most part except at the very end. We were very full from our pasta dishes, but decided to at least look at the dessert menu. Upon relaying this to our waiter, he brought us the check instead. Hopefully, it was a misunderstanding? In any case it was a missed opportunity.

A few highlights of our meal:

The Awakening - Bufflo Trace Lavender Cynar
The Awakening with Buffalo Trace, Lavender, and Cynar. Great to see bars utilizing an amaro for its cocktails.
Benton's Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Dates wrapped in Benton's Bacon and drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar. Benton's has some of the best pork products in the nation. It was great to see Alleia make use of some local fare.
Tagliatelle with Rabbit and Ramps
Tagliatelle with Rabbit and Ramps. What a wonderful Spring delight! If you are in the Chattanooga area, it's worth your while to order while the menu still offers this dish.

Despite the question mark of service at the end, Alleia was a delicious choice for our last night in Chattanooga.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chattanooga Whiskey and Tennessee Stillhouse

Downtown Chattanooga features the Tennessee Stillhouse, a micro-distillery for Chattanooga Whiskey. They proudly proclaim "Whiskey to the People" and "Making Up for 100 Years of Prohibition." My kind of place.

Whiskey to the People

Making Up For 100 Years of Prohibition

The Stillhouse features two whiskeys: 1816 Reserve - a bit mellow and good neat or in a cocktail. The 1816 Cask is 113,6 proof so while tasty, a bit harsh due to the high alcohol content. For $12 you get a personalized tour and a taste of both whiskeys and a sample of four different cocktails made with the whiskeys. The place is open until at least 9 PM most days and I'm sure regulars now skip the tour and just sample the goods. It's also the only place to buy a bottle of whiskey on Sunday in Chattanooga.

Tennessee Stillhouse

1816 Reserve

1816 Cask

Chattanooga Whiskey had to lobby the state legislature to change some of the alcohol control laws in order to begin their endeavor. It's nice to see folks forging ahead and turning their whiskey dreams into reality.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Easy Bistro and Bar - Chattanooga

Without realizing it I think we just happened upon the best restaurant in Chattanooga - Easy Bistro and Bar.


The space soared up two floors with black walls and well-placed mirrors.

Easy Bistro and Bar

Robin, our most excellent server greeted us with a lovely spring green amuse bouche and a vinegar based tiny cocktail which turned out to be an amazing pairing.

Amush Bouche with Cucumber

We didn't stop at the tasting cocktail. We had to try the Dixie Smash which featured Chattanooga 1816 Whiskey, lemon, and cinnamon syrup. So delicious that we had to visit the distillery, which happened to be a few blocks away.

Dixie Smash

While sipping cocktails we enjoyed a Smoked Pork Belly with Watermelon and Rhubarb. So, yummy. Throughout the menu, Easy Bistro featured local and seasonal ingredients.

Pork Belly with Watermelon and Rhubarb

We selected a Tuscan wine for our entrees. Easy had a nice list, but prices were a bit higher than we are used to. The wine prices were the only slight drawback to the place. And while we paid a bit more for the red, the wine service couldn't have been better.


For the main course, hubby selected a Pan-Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Ramps. Ever since we were on the Oregon coast a few years back, hubby had been hankering for halibut, and not just any halibut, but Pacific halibut.  He was not disappointed.

Halibut with Ramps

I had to have the Smoked Duck Confit with Favas, Charred Okra, and Morels. Yes, I am partial to duck. The smokiness with the fall-from-the-bone meat was a bit between duck and pork. A Southern twist on a classic dish. And when I visited Oregon, I fell in love with morels. The only mushroom that I don't just tolerate, but venerate. These were awesome!

Smoked Duck Confit with Favas and Morels

To complete the evening we splurged on a spring-time dessert - Strawberry-Rhubarb Panna Cotta with Chartreuse Ice. So lovely.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Panna Cotta

Our server Robin also recommended other places to eat the next evening. Since it was a Monday, she made sure the places were open before handing us her list. Service + Excellent Food. We did dine at the best restaurant in Chattanooga.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Family Meal

The fried chicken and biscuit at Family Meal was delicious.

Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit

The kitchen coordination, which could be observed from our table, left a lot to be desired. Orders were forgotten and no one seemed to be in charge. From my vantage point it was definitely not the wait staff lacking execution skills. The hope is for all of the hiccups to be remedied in the near future so the food can shine.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Enoteca Sogno Continues to Please the Palate

We always enjoy eating at Enoteca Sogno.  Recently, we imbibed Aperol Spritzes (lovely for Spring or Summer)...

Aperol Spritz

...split a Roasted Beet and Orange Salad...

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad

...and indulged in Duck Confit and Arugula Salad.

Duck Confit and Arugula