Monday, November 16, 2009

Of Art, Asheville and Fried Green Tomatoes

On Sunday we hit the Big Town once again. Yes folks, Asheville. We might as well live there at this point. I think we have been there every weekend for a month or more. But this weekend we hit the big town not to shop as we usually do but to actually do some fun stuff.

Tom's friend from WCU, Martin DeWitt, who is the Founding Director and Curator of WCU’s Fine Art Museum was involved in the Bi-Annual Asheville Art Walk. Also some students from the Screen Department at WCU were going to be filming a senior thesis film at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, so Tom decided it was road trip time.

Since we always like to eat in Asheville when we can, I put a tweet out to my fellow Tweeps and asked for recommendations. I got a few answers and the overwhelming favorite was the the Early Girl Cafe. Thank you Kelby, Jennifer, Angela and for the recommendation. So we headed down with our Mapquest map in hand and started our Asheville adventure.

Kelby had warned me to get to the Early Girl Cafe early and we did. But even then we had to wait around 40-45 minutes to get seated. It didn't matter because the restaurant is located on this little street with quaint buildings and cool architecture. It actually reminded me of Santa Fe. Asheville reminds me of Santa Fe in so many ways. Every time I go I realize that Asheville is a funky monkey town filled with artists, hipsters, trendsters, hippies and the just plain weird. Santa Fe was like that. It was also filled with the artsy folk and it was just a cool place. It's funny because I always feel like Asheville should be in Northern California instead of North Carolina. And every time we go we seem to discover something new and are learning why people really love it there.

While waiting to get seated, we saw a jam vendor right outside the restaurant. He had set up a little table right outside which was wicked smart because you have a hungry captive audience out there. He was handing out samples. I am a certified jam fiend. I love it and if it has seeds in it all the better! So I looked at his samples and decided on the Raspberry Jam since I love it. OMG it was so good. It was some of the best jam I have ever had. Walter from Imladris Farms said they make their own jams and preserves. Of course, I had to buy some. I bought a jar of Raspberry Jam and I cannot wait to eat it. MMM, good. Although I might save it and use it as a special added treat to some of the Christmas cookies I am baking next month as gifts. A little bit of this jam on the thumbprint cookies I make will be delish! Anyway, you may want to check out the Imladris Farms site. They sell and ship their products as well. These would make cool gifts! They also have farm tours and I am saving the business card Walter gave me because I think that would make a cool weekend adventure one day.

Anyhow, once we got in and finally got to eat, we were not disappointed. Tom decided on Shrimp and Grits, a Southern staple. He is starting to like Grits and I like that because I love grits. Grits always remind me of masa (tamale dough). The texture is almost the same except tamale dough is a little finer. And I love eating tamale dough. Yeah, it's weird but it's delish!! I had a little taste of the Shrimp and Grits they were YUMMO! I opted to be "healthy" and had the Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Salad. OMG, what a treat.

Now I have to say that I never ever in my life heard of Fried Green Tomatoes until the movie of the same name came out. Remember I am a city girl but since I do believe, in a previous life, I was a Southern Belle I think that explains my affinity for Fried Green Tomatoes as all other Southern food! I think the first time I ever had a Fried Green tomato was when I was in Charleston for some training and Tom came to visit me while I was there. We took a Plantation Tour and then on our drive back we saw a little diner and stopped there. They had Fried Green Tomatoes on the menu and I tried them. It was love at first bite.

I have to admit that my Fried Green Tomato Salad while being a salad was by no means healthy. I mean it had fried tomatoes, bacon and was dressed with the yummiest creamy garlic dressing ever! Luckily, I didn't eat the whole thing but I did gobble up those four Fried Green Tomatoes although I did share half of one with Tom. Luckily, I don't think he shares my love for those tasty fried treats so he had a little bite meaning more for me. The restaurant is pretty small but the sign of a good restaurant is how many people are waiting in line to get in and this baby was full. I see why because I loved the food.

After lunch we walked to the Grove Arcade but the filming had not started yet so we decided to go over to the River Arts District and find Martin's gallery/studio space. It was amazing because there were tons of people all over the River District. This was another place we had never been to in Asheville so it was a new adventure. We did get a little lost trying to find the building but after a few false starts we made it to Martin's gallery. It is located in a huge brick building. There were tons of studios with so much diverse art.

We visited with Martin for a little while and met his wife and friends. I am posting some of his art. It is pretty cool and interesting. It always amazes me how artists create. I always love hearing what motivated or inspired a certain piece. Since I am not an artist, that fascinates me.

After we left the River Arts District, we popped back over to the Grove Arcade and found the office where the kids were supposed to be filming. If you ever go to Asheville you need to at least walk into the Grove Arcade. It is such a beautiful building. I absolutely love it. They have shopping, dining and residential space. If I had tons of money, I would so live there. Anyway, the kids hadn't started filming so we hung out for a bit and then left.

The drive home was uneventful but sad. Just last week when I picked Tom up at the airport, there was some color left on the trees. The week before that was the peak Leaf Season. But on this Sunday, all the leaves are gone and the hills are no longer the color of fire but now are the color of baby poop. Oh the brownness of it all. **sigh** I guess it had to end sometime.

It hit me then that Winter is right around the corner and it will get cold and it will snow. While beautiful when it snows, many of you know I hate driving in snow and hate the cold.

Oh well. . .


  1. I've never tried fried green tomatoes either. My husband serves deep fried pickles at work though.

    I can't remember how far away from Asheville you said you were, but I'm thinking 1.5 hours?? That's a lot of driving every weekend. Then again, you're doing some pretty great things!

  2. Sounds like funfun.

    I have never tried Fried Green Tomatoes but I love the movie!!

    We have had such beautiful Fall weather here this year, unlike most years!! A short winter would be nice.

  3. I loved the orange painting in Martin's gallery/studio space. Its beautiful! Def. something I would have picked up!

    As for the fried Green tomatoes, never had and not sure if I could eat green tomatoes LOL Why are they green anyway? Estan maduro?