Heads or tails
The Admiral hosts a five-course wine dinner with the Appalachian Vintner on Sunday, Nov. 7. Chef Drew Maykuth (half of the Admiral's exec-chef duo that also includes Elliott Moss) not-so-jokingly dubbed the event "a snout-to-tail pig dinner with good wine" when Xpress spoke with him over the phone.
"We've never really done any sort of special dinner before," he says. After a conversation with Mike Tiano of the Haw River Wine Man, however, the two chefs put their heads together and decided that a fun way to break into wine-dinner territory would be to order an entire pig from Hickory Nut Gap.
"We want to do as many courses as we can from the same pig," says Maykuth. To facilitate this goal, he says, a 200-pound animal has been selected for a feast that will serve up to 65 people. "We're going to butcher it, which is something I've never done, so I'm excited about it," says Maykuth. On the phone he mused over which tool to use for the task, speculating that a skill-saw would probably make more sense than a hacksaw or chainsaw. (Come on, it's almost Halloween, people.)
Maykuth says that the chefs intend to cull as many pork preparations as possible from the one animal. To that end, they intend to present a charcuterie course, which will include some cured meats and likely a head cheese. And yes, there will be sausage. Another course will feature pork-belly, another a slow-braised, hearty preparation and another will include a basic grill technique.
Also in the works? A bacon dessert. Maykuth says that he may try to repeat the home-run dish that had everyone in hog heaven at the WNC Magazine Chefs Challenge, battle bacon, this summer: a bacon-chocolate bar sprinkled with sea salt and smoked paprika, finished with a bacon creme anglais and a bacon powder. "People seemed to like it. I think bacon lends itself to sweet things, especially chocolate," he says.
Jamie Ager, the Hickory Nut Gap farmer who raised the pig, will be present at the dinner to talk about the farm. Tiano will also be available to talk about his wines, which will mostly come from France and Italy. "There will probably be a big Italian red that we serve with some tomato-y pork-butt braise with gnocchi or housemade pasta," says Maykuth. Even though he concedes that the food they'll turn out will be based on old-world cooking techniques, the flavors will be "all over the place." Sounds like the Admiral's food to me.
This 5-course event (with a couple of goodies thrown in for fun, adds Maykuth) will cost $85, which does not include tax and gratuity. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. The Admiral is located at 400 Haywood Road in West Asheville. For more information, visit theadmiralnc.com. To make reservations, call the Appalachian Vintner at 505-7500.
It seems that not too long ago we were lamenting the lack of sandwich shops in downtown Asheville. Now there’s Cucina 24 Deli, Roman’s, the Jackson Underground Cafe — and, most recently, The Sandwich Company.
The new to-go only spot, opened by local Cody Stokes, is located on the ground floor of the BB&T building in suite G110. It’s a tiny affair — at just 165 square feet, there’s barely enough room for the employees and about three customers at a time to squeeze in.
The venture has prices to match its size, too. There’s a $2.99 all-beef bologna-and-cheese sandwich on sourdough or wheat and a $2.99 PB&J as well. Nothing costs over $5.99 — good news for the financially challenged among us looking for a deal at lunchtime.
Other Sandwich Company selections include shaved Black Forest ham with olive tapenade, plenty of salads with fresh veggies, wraps and locally made Roots hummus slathered on bread with feta cheese and vegetables.
Hot sandwiches can be made to order and cold sandwiches are available in a grab and go cooler. The Sandwich Company is open on weekdays only, from 11 a.m until 3 p.m. For more information, call 210-8130.
Tea time in the house
Andrew Snavely, who owns two Dobra Tea Rooms in Burlington, Vt. and Madison, Wis., is bringing his love of loose-leaf tea to Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville in late November. Though Asheville’s Dobra will be the third location, don't call it a franchise. Snavely emphasizes that his teahouses constitute “a family.” Why did he pick Asheville for his new location? “It's a very conscious, open community that really cares about quality and knowing the source of their food and beverage products," he says.
Dobra sources and provides over 100 teas, all loose-leaf. Snavely adds that Dobra's direct-contact approach with tea-gardens and farmers seemed the right fit for the area. "The teas are all fresh, based on the seasons,” says Snavely. “Throughout the past five or six years I've been traveling, so I have a direct relationship with all of the teas and with the farmers. We go each spring to the tea countries to do our tastings and make our purchases."
Snavely lists the First Flush Darjeeling, which he calls the "champagne of teas," as one of his favorites. It’s is the first bud of the tea plant, harvested in mid-March following spring rains. It has a gentle, light color and aroma.
Besides the craft teas, Dobra will also serve light fare — dolmas, hummus plates, tabouleh, olives and some "funky, ecelectic desserts from local bakers." Snaveley adds that he's trying to locally source as much food as possible.
Dobra Tea Room will be located at 78 N. Lexington, and will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. For more information, visit dobrateanc.com.
— Send your food news to Mackensy Lunsford at firstname.lastname@example.org