One of my favorite things to do while visiting a city, is to take an interesting tour. While visiting Asheville, North Carolina to celebrate the 30th birthday of “S”, we decided to check out one of the tours by Asheville Food Tours.
Asheville Food Tours offers three different food tours- the Brunch Tour (offered on Saturdays), The Food Fan Foot Tour (offered on Sundays) with Asheville food blogger, Stu Helm, and the Downtown Tour. Each tour has a maximum amount of participants to make sure it is an intimate and personable experience for everyone, and features six to seven food related stops that are dear to the Asheville food scene.
“S” and I did the Downtown Tour with Paddy, who was very knowledgeable about the food scene in Asheville, as well as, the city’s architectural history.
The tour started at Grove Arcade with a little history of the building’s architecture and a quick walk around the outside of the building led us to our first stop, Modesto.
Modesto is a wood-fired kitchen with an Italian based-menu, and is also a farm-to-table concept. A lot of the food prepared at Modesto is sourced from either Farm 44, a farm belonging to Chef Hector- owner of Modesto, Bomba, and Salsa, or a neighboring farm in the Asheville area. At Modesto, we had the ricotta spinach ravioli paired with an unoaked Chardonnay. What a way to start an afternoon of eating, right?
Our second stop was The Chocolate Fetish, an award-winning chocolate shop in Downtown Asheville. The Chocolate Fetish is known for their variety of truffles, along with chocolate novelty items such as chocolate heels and chocolate shelled smash cakes. Our quick visit to The Chocolate Fetish included a lesson on quality chocolate, a history lesson on The Chocolate Fetish, a look into the kitchen, and, of course, a tasting of a few of the truffles.
Stop number three was Blue Dream Curry House, which I was quite surprised I enjoyed as much as I did. I often don’t care for curry, but as I was on this tour I paid for and wanted to give honest feedback, I thought it best to at least give it a shot. Blue Dream offers a variety of international curry dishes, and the best part is they pay a living wage to their staff. How cool is that? We were able to try Korma curry, which is vegan and gluten-free, and in case you are wondering, it was delicious!!
To make it to stop number four, we took a bit of a walk- stopping to look at some fancy architectural buildings on the way. Stop number four was The Blackbird, where we enjoyed the Thai brussel sprouts- a roasted brussel sprout dish with a house-made Thai chili sauce, peanuts, feta cheese, basil and mint. The Blackbird is a farm-to-table restaurant sourcing from local Western North Carolina farms on the ground level of the Aloft hotel on Biltmore Avenue.
Stop number five wasn’t too far of a walk to White Duck Taco Shop, which was said to be a unique experience. I had my first taste of a White Duck taco at Tacos ‘n Tequila in Greenville in 2017, where White Duck Taco Shop showcased their popular pork belly and watermelon rind tacos. During our stop at White Duck Taco Shop, we enjoyed the Bangkok Shrimp taco, which has fried shrimp paired with house-made pickles. #YUM!
For stop number six, we walked to what is known as the South Slope and checked out Social Lounge, which was one of Asheville’s first craft cocktail bars and features an intimate rooftop area. Our visit to Social Lounge was kind of a two-for, as we tasted a seasonal cocktail from Social and a bread dish from their sister restaurant next door, Strada.
Stop number seven for us was LAB, also known as Lexington Avenue Brewery. So, I’m sure you can guess we had a beer, and they say beer pairs perfectly with burgers, so we had the sliders- made with angus beef (grown by their farm) and caramelized onions. I’m not a big beer drinker, if you haven’t noticed, but “S” said it was a really good pairing.
Our final stop was to Asheville Bee Charmer, which is just down from the start at the Grove Arcade. Here we were able to taste a variety of honeys, ranging from pure honey to a variety of combinations of infused honeys made in house.
Overall, I definitely recommend taking the Asheville Food Tour. Unfortunately, I can only attest to the Downtown Tour with Paddy, hopefully I can check out the brunch tour and the tour with Stu soon! I hear the tour with Stu features two James Beard nominated restaurants. I must let you know, each tour is different, so although, these were my eight stops, they may not be yours!