Asheville is a small and unique city, especially the number of buildings still in use from the Art Deco and Art Nouveau centuries. The exteriors as well as interiors are wonderful back ground for films, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Biltmore Estate. But we are also unique in the number of novelists, actors and musicians who were born or raised in and around Asheville. From the Past my favorite was Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald. She resided in Asheville for the last 12 years of her life. She was beautiful, an author, ballerina, an icon of the Flapper of the 1920’s. Unfortunately she also had mental illness which was exacerbated by her being married to F Scott Fitzgerald. She admitted herself to Asheville’s Highland Hospital, off and on during her last years, as well as continued to write. She died in a hospital fire here. There is a plaque on Broadway (the next street over from us) pointing our where she burned to death. Other celebrities are the iconic Thomas Wolfe (author-Look Home Ward Angel- early 20th Century) the boarding house he grew up in is in downtown Asheville. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery which is located in the Montford Historic district where we are.
Current Celebrities is our Caleb Johnson, the 2014 American Idol winner. Andie McDowell lives in Biltmore Forest (Cedar Cove series on Hallmark channel), Warren Haynes, vocalist and songwriter for The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule and the Dead- holds Christmas concerts in Asheville to giving proceeds to charity attracting national acts and featuring local artists for the last 20 years. Gladys Knight, lives in Fairview just outside Asheville city limits, know for her music in the 60’s and 70’s called the ‘Empress of Soul’. Steve Martin resides in Brevard, just 45 minutes away from Asheville. Besides an accomplished comedian and actor, know around here as an accomplished musician with his Banjo. Roberta Flack singer and songwriter was born in Black Mountain just aoutside of Asheville. Her music is legendary in Jazz, R&B, Soul and folk. Harry Anderson just lives down the street from us on Flint. Harry was one of my favorites on the TV show Night Court, as the judge, but is also a well known magician.
So as you walk down the street keep your eyes open. You may bump into your favorite basketball player, actor, author or musician…or you may have dinner right next to them……..but don’t stare or interrupt…….just smile and nod with a gentle “I see you, welcome’ and respect their privacy. We love to protect and allow any celebrity a normal life.
If you love a restaurant that is well serviced, the food is very healthy and beautifully presented you sure take your grandson there, when you get to choose where you want to eat for your birthday. And that is exactly what Larry did. The kids (parent’s of the grandson) treat (they will pick up the tab) for your birthday present. So you can order the surf and turf if you want! He chose The Korean House (he also knew his grandson LOVED Asian food and had a palate at the age of 4 that far surpassed ours in our 60’s).
My son, my daughter-in-law and my grandson (the sophisticated palate one) live in Arlington, Virginia, and the selection of international restaurants is mind boggling. So when they heard what Papa’s selected they were surprised and pleased. The experience was the same as the first time. My son and his wife ordered stuff I could not even pronounce. Larry ordered a Stone bowl and I ordered the stir fired chicken. So we reversed our original visit orders. My grandson loves dumplings and could pick over all of our plates. The staff was so sweet, they brought him chop sticks but they were rubber banded at the square flat end end to allow him more control of picking up his food.
Everything was perfect. One little problem did end our grandson’s enjoyment. His father had placed a side dish of raw jalapenos next to him (not thinking of consequences). Our grandson popped one in his mouth thinking it was a pickled cucumber, and the shock of the heat made him gag with tears streaming down his little face. The chef ran out from the kitchen concerned and tried to think of something to ease the burning sensation. After lots of milk to cool his mouth and throat, he went for a walk with his mother to calm down. They happened to find a ice cream store and that finally erased the shock.
I was upset but not at the Korean House. I was pleasantly surprised with their immediate attendance and concern. It only re-enforced my opinion of this wonderful family owned and run restaurant. New rule: Grandma will forever sit closer to her grandson and causally watch what goes into his mouth.
Nationwide and with promotion even from the White House by Michele Obama, there is a growing interest/push for Local Foods, Strong Farms and Healthy Communities. You can drive down Merrimon Ave. (just two streets over from Cumberland Circle) and see where churches are growing vegetables on their front and side lawns ( cared for by their congregations). Members of AIR (Asheville Independent Restaurants) have all committed to using local farm products within 100 miles. ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) is a hugely responsible for teaching local farmers how to market their products, connecting food service buyers and Chefs to farms that can fill their needs, producing and publishing a local Food Guide, designing a brand that certifies products that are Appalachian Grown, education of school children focusing on where their food comes from (farm tours) and organizing Asheville City Markets coordinating with the Mountain Tailgate Market Association. Even if you are just visiting you can enjoy the following list of Tailgate Markets: Asheville City Market-8am – 1pm, Saturdays, 161 S. Charlotte St. and Eagle Street- free parking available; Asheville City Market South-1-5pm, Wednesdays – 2 Town Square Blvd- Biltmore Park Town Square; French Broad Food Co-op Market– 2-6pm, Wednesdays, 76 Biltmore Ave., in parking lot next to French Broad Food-Co-op; Montford Tailgate Market-2-6pm, Wednesdays, parking lot of the Asheville Visitors Center, 34 Montford Ave; East Asheville Tailgate Market-3-6pm, Fridays, Groce United Methodist Church’s parking lot at the corner of Beverly and Tunnel road; West Asheville Tailgate Market-3:30-6:30 pm, Tuesdays, 718 Haywood Road, in parking area between Grace Baptist Church and Sun Trust Bank. Items to buy range from flowers, goat cheese, grass fed beef, pasteurized pork, cider, vegetables, fresh bread, honey, molasses, mushrooms, eggs, soap and chocolate, to name a few items for sale.