We branched out from bbq to find several other fine culinary options over the holiday weekend:
Corner Kitchen: the Obamas ate here in April (funny blog post by one of their servers the hostess); we sat in the downstairs bar, two entire walls of which are ceiling-to-nearly-floor windows; wine list seemed a little pricey and the fried calamari was bland and mostly breading, but the grouper was excellent and its pillow of andouille-laced potatoes even better; mountain trout on sweet potato puree and crab-corn bisque also good. Very nice atmosphere and service, one of the nicer places in town. Menu changes weekly and they seem to be trying for an Asian-Cajun taste vibe; I would probably go for the Cajun side in the future.
Early Girl Eatery: hip, popular downtown casual cafe serving breakfast all day; there was a constant half-hour-to-an-hour wait all late morning/early afternoon on Monday. Dining room feels like an elementary school classroom with chalkboard specials, schoolroomish windows, mediocre art on the walls. Menu is long and everything was decent but nothing was really good; I had biscuits with gravy, grilled pimento cheese (weird grainy consistency) with tomato and spinach, and a side of mediocre collard greens. Others enjoyed their breakfasts of eggs, potatoes and biscuits. Awesome service by a staff of hipster/punk girls. I probably should have ordered breakfast food.
Pack’s Tavern: newly remodeled tavern in a 103-year-old building across from city hall that was for many years an automotive supply company; great remodel job leaving the original exposed brick, adding lots of wood and sleek surfaces, creating a new-yet-antique vibe; excellent on-tap list including many local and regional brews; we especially liked the Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA (Athens, GA), the French Broad 13 Rebels ESB (Asheville) and the Craggie Antebellum Ale (Asheville), made with molasses using a 19th Century recipe. Nachos also very good, our server knew her beer and was friendly and attentive, great experience, will be our first food-and-beverage stop whenever we revisit Asheville.
Asheville has been about ten degrees cooler than the DC area this weekend, so we’re not happy to come back to the heat and humidity. But we are looking forward to a return to Wheaton eatin’…