We had a very nice long weekend Saturday through last night in Asheville, North Carolina, a lovely small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains about 3 1/2 hours from home. It is very vegan friendly, and we love eating and shopping in this progressive town. We ate at our favorite restaurant the first night, Laughing Seed
, where we shared a great salad that included purple potatoes and sauteed beet chips, and I had a very good, chewy, breaded seitan dish.
I briefly visited for a cookie, but we returned on Monday night for dinner, the almost-1-year-old Firestorm Cafe and Books
, "a worker-owned community event space". It's a vegan business "established as a worker-owned and self-managed business, we aim to provide community space, critical literature and an alternative economic model based on cooperative, libertarian principles. ... wide range of events, workshops, film screenings, fund raisers and presentations. Additionally, we serve food and beverages all day long. ... run without bosses or supervisors, relying instead on a horizontal workplace. ... we are committed to a not-for-profit model and we will reinvest 100% of our earnings in the community once we are able to pay a living wage." Wow! We had good, hearty sandwiches there Monday before heading home.
We went to another, for us, new and interesting restaurant on Sunday night, Nine Mile
, in the historic Montford section of town. It features "Caribbean inspired pasta dishes"; what a nice idea and flavor combination! They list many items as explicitly vegan and can substitute tofu or tempeh for meat or fish. I had, with tempeh, a dish called Negril Nights ("reminiscent of a night on the beach in Negril. Grilled salt and peppered ... with garden fresh vegetables, and fire roasted tomatoes, sauteed in jerk coconut milk. Served spinach fettucine & topped with spring onions." They are careful and told me that the fettucine wasn't vegan, but gave me several pasta choices that were. It was delicious - I want to try to make something like this!
For brunch on Monday, we went to another restaurant, along with Laughing Seed, that we always try to visit, all-vegetarian and mostly vegan Rosetta's Kitchen
. I enjoyed cornbread, tempeh, and a strawberry tart. We brought home (and I look forward tomorrow to trying!) coconut milk-based custard.
Anyway, one stop we always make (twice this time!) is the French Broad Food Coop
(the French Broad is the name of the river that runs through town). Like Wilmington, NC's Tidal Creek Coop
, the produce is all organic! They have the biggest bulk section I've ever seen. I picked up someSami's Bakery millet and flax pizza crust
, which I used with dinner tonight.Chicago Soydairy
, a company whose products we don't get but whose owners Ryan and Daniel I have met, have a new highly recommended vegan cheese called Teese
. As their website says, "Teese Vegan Cheese is a melting dairy-free soy cheese made by the Chicago Soydairy. Teese has a taste and texture that is miles ahead of the other vegan soy cheese brands on the market. Our vegan cheese is made in a 100% dairy-free, peanut and tree-nut free facility and is trans fat and gluten free. Teese Vegan Cheese is a tasty and healthy alternative to dairy cheese. It has exceptional melting qualities and can be applied to any application you would use traditional dairy cheese."
I picked up three teeses, mozzarella
, and creamy cheddar
(I guess to make into sauces). For tonight's meal, I made a pizza with spicy vegan Mexican Chipotle sausage
by the Field Roast Grain Meat Company
and mushroom, plus the mozarrela on half (my wife has problems eating non-fermented soy - I sometimes do, too, but sometimes take small samples). The sauce was Rao's
marinara sauce. I also cooked some O'Brien potatoes. (The pizza was good, but I prefer the Vicolo Pizza
organic cornmeal crust pizza shells
; the mozzarella was pretty good and melted nicely.)
We brought back several other tasty treats, including baked goods from Firestorm. From the coop, we got Field Roast deli slices
, something we don't get locally; I picked up the lentil sage.
We love Turtle Mountain Purely Decadent coconut milk-based ice creams
and often keep them in stock at home. But my first taste of a coconut-milk ice cream was Coconut Bliss
. As I wrote in this blog last September
, "I have been predicting for some time that coconut milk will more commonly be available as a base for 'ice cream' (I also predict that we will be seeing more hemp-based products - I can't wait to find a hemp cheese!). When my wife and I were in California back in May, we found in Bolinas
' People's Store
coop a fabulous coconut milk-based ice cream, Coconut Bliss
. I sure wish we could get it here, as well."
Well, the French Broad Coop had Coconut Bliss in three flavors
, Cherry Amaretto (which I bought - the same flavor we loved in California) and I think Cappuccino and maybe Chocolate Hazelut Fudge. I will soon sit down with a small scoop each of Purely Decadent and Coconut Bliss brands ice cream and compare!