Asheville is a wonderful restaurant (and everything else) town, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. I'm still jet lagged, and I'll try not to be too verbose:
Despite what a previous poster wrote, the breakfasts at the North Lodge were quite good and so were the accommodations. I'd stay there again.
The best meals we had (apart from chicken curry and an amazing cardamom cheesecake at a friend's house) were at Zambra and Market Place. Zambra's cheese plate is beautifully balanced and includes a delicious little item called Drunken Goat that I now have to try to find again...We had a dish of hazelnut-encrusted trout filets over greens and couscous that was, well, perfect. It went well with my sherry that had the coolest hazelnut aftertaste (it started with an "O" and was about the 4th one down on their sherry list).
If you need to eat early, or don't mind doing so, Market Place's Rose Plate special must be the best dining value in Asheville. Three courses for $25, with three accompanying half-glasses of wine for another $5.
We both enjoyed potato-leek soup with Stilton crumbled into it, venison medallions with apples, parsnips, and sauteed greens over grits, and two great desserts: pumpkin cheesecake with a fruit and nut compote, and a pecan praline souffle with creme anglaise added tableside, which might be the single best thing I ate in
La Caterina Trattoria was OK--any place that makes its own sausage and cheese is all right with me--but not as great as I had hoped. My agnolotti were a little tough (not just al dente like they should be, but really a little tough). My husband thought his sausage, greens and pasta dish was "soupier" than it needed to be, but we don't know if that's how it was intended. Service was nice, though.
Alas, I was disappointed with Salsas. I had a well-prepared tilapia filet atop about five or six different things all screaming, "me, me!!!" It was way too much activity for one plate. Beans, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, I don't know what all, and it was mostly noise. The chile-lime salsa was good, but it didn't really pull things together.
Marco's pizza: pretty good. The crust was a bit thin for my taste. Leftovers held up OK for a cold picnic lunch the next day.
City Bakery: very good Black Forest ham and provolone on their whole wheat walnut bread.
I don't know anything about the food at Jack of the Wood, but the oatmeal stout was good and the music was even better!
Thanks Asheville! I'm off to the gym now.
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