Last week, Christopher and I took a trip out to Asheville to "catch a break" from working as well as to celebrate his birthday. Using Priceline to nab an awesome deal, we stayed at the lovely Hotel Indigo, located right in the heart of downtown Asheville.
The hotel was great for many reasons- namely the fact that the rooms were carpet-less and also because we were within walking distance of EVERYTHING. Also, the hotel had fantastic amenities such as a sizable gym, an in-house bistro cafe, business center and business meeting room, to name a few. I also loved the fact that the entire property was non-smoking and that the room had the faint smell of lavender. Some of the pictures from the hotel can be seen below.
Out and About
After we settled into our beautiful hotel room, we decided to walk around Asheville for a bit and do a little sight seeing as well as figure out where we were going to eat. For those of you who have never been to Asheville before, there are literally TONS of places to choose from.
The last time Christopher and I went to Asheville (exactly one year ago), we happened upon this coffee shop/cafe called World Coffee Cafe. Back then, Christopher was still drinking coffee and had ordered some sort of coffee beverage, which he claims was the "best" he had ever had. Though Christopher has since given up coffee/caffeine, we still went back for old times sake and stopped in for a visit. We would later re-visit World Coffee Cafe to sit down to some of their outstanding Tiramisu, Chocolate Mousse Cake and beverages.
Dinner- Day 1
After walking around a bit and stretching our legs from the 4-hour car ride, we decided to have dinner at a restaurant called Carmel's. The restaurant menu featured mostly American fare with a bit of a southern flare. Both Christopher and I wanted to keep it simple, so he ordered a meatloaf dish, and I ordered a pepperoni pizza. For the appetizer, we nibbled on fresh baked bread dipped in a basil pesto (not pictured) and also enjoyed some shoe string french fries.
If I could describe downtown Asheville in one phrase, it would definitely be "hippie-dippie". Prepare to smell incense wafting from open storefronts that sell eco-friendly clothing and furniture. Friendly locals with dreadlocks, long skirts, sandals and guitar cases are also among some of the variety of things that you'll see while walking around.
There is a lot of art work as well as a strong sense of community as store owners and restaurants house local artwork and stick signs and posters in their storefronts urging everyone to "support local agriculture and artists". While it's not quite as eclectic as New York City, there are definitely some interesting things to see when carousing around by car or by foot.
Day 2- Old-Fashioned Diners & General Stores
Christopher and I couldn't wait to get out and go exploring again, and we were thankful that we had another day in which to do just that. Shortly after getting up, we made our way down to the old F.W. Woolworth Building in Historic Downtown Asheville. As a kid, I can remember going to Woolworth's with my mom and sitting in the diner, ordering a grilled cheese sandwich with french fries, a pickle and a soda. This has not changed.
Established back in the 1930s, the Old Woolworth building in downtown Asheville is still alive and well, though some updates and changes have taken place over the years, and the building now houses one of the largest collections of local artwork in Asheville in addition to the renovated soda fountain lunch counter. I loved being able to sit at the old fashioned diner with Christopher. While we waited for our food, we enjoyed a couple of Cokes :)
After a light lunch, we strolled around and came across the Mast General Store, established in 1883. Walking through there was really, really neat because the store had much of the original architecture and feel, making it seem as if you were stepping back in time. Originally known as "the store that had everything", this saying still rings true. From clothing to art supplies, barrels of bacon, candy and other food items, it seems as if this place is a one-stop shopping experience. It's definitely a store that I will be going back to visit the next time around!
Other Sights & Dinner
The following are some pictures that I snapped as we continued to walk around the area. It was amazing to see how much of the history has been preserved in the architecture of the buildings as well as old signs, restaurants, and cars. There was even a street trolley that offered visitors guided tours of the area. While we didn't get the chance to take the guided tour, we still enjoyed sightseeing on our own :)
For dinner, Christopher and I decided to try Posana Cafe because it gave off the appearance of looking pretty good- plus we had noticed quite a few people there the day before. For drinks, Christopher ordered a fresh, squeezed lemonade, and I decided to try a coconut cream soda concoction. We then ordered an appetizer of veggie spring rolls.
While Chris' lemonade was delicious, we found that my drink lacked flavor and sort of tasted like nothing..haha. Also, the spring rolls were 'ok' but didn't really 'wow' us. However, the presentation of all the food and drinks was nice. For dinner, Christopher ordered the steak with garden greens, and I ordered grilled eggplant and veggies with quinoa. The nice thing about Posana was that they used all organic ingredients as well as produce from local farmers. The downside, however, was that the menu was sort of limited, and in the end, the meals weren't very flavorful. We'll probably pass on this place the next time around.
Ah, my favorite "meal" of the day: dessert. As I mentioned earlier, we didn't forget about World Coffee Cafe and our promise that we would go back there. As per the tradition, Christopher ordered the Tiramisu, this time with an Italian soda, while I decided to try the Chocolate Mousse Cake with a Chai Tea Latte. The Tiramisu was delicious, but I was a little disappointed in the Chocolate Mousse Cake as it tasted a wee bit stale and was too rich for my taste.
Saving the Best for Last
It's always sad when you realize that your vacation or "break" is coming to an end. This is made even more difficult when you are really enjoying yourself. After checking out of the hotel, Christopher and I had already decided to revisit a restaurant called Chorizo as we had enjoyed a delicious late-night meal there the night before. Chorizo specializes in Latin and Caribbean cuisine, which is right up my alley.
We were not disappointed. The wait staff was incredibly sweet, and the food was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Both Christopher and I declared that it was some of the best food we had ever eaten, and we were only sorry then that we had not chosen this restaurant to eat at in the first place. If you are ever in Asheville, make your way to this restaurant!
It was just before noon when we sat down to order, and I wanted breakfast. Christopher, who is not the biggest breakfast person, ordered a delicious, grilled Chipotle Chicken dish complete with freshly made mashed sweet potatoes and pico de gallo. In the meantime, I ordered an appetizer of fried Plantains with fresh squeezed pineapple juice; and for the main dish- an order of Chorizo's "Cheesy's". These were pancakes that were specially made with a subtle filling of cheese. The meal also came with scrambled eggs, fruit compote and bacon.
It was a great way to end our trip, and we are looking forward to going back Asheville again in the near future :)