A Weekend in the Mountains: Part 1

This weekend, John and I took a much needed vacation to one of our favorite places-Asheville, NC. We had been twice before-once with friends the summer before my senior year of college, and again last October. Last year we stumbled across the annual Oktoberfest downtown and enjoyed it so much that we decided to come back to this year's celebration! The ride to Asheville was beautiful and the weather was amazing. Our trip was only made better thanks to a text message from my friend Lauren letting me know that her and her long time boyfriend (& John's former roomie) are engaged!
They're engaged!!!!

We started off the trip by eating dinner at one of our all time favorite restaurants, Tupelo Honey Cafe. The delicious menu filled with down home cooking and local ingredients was recently featured in Southern Living's 100 Places to Eat Now. John and I couldn't choose one menu item a piece. So, we picked two and split them between ourselves. We had the "Shoo Grilled Cheese, Have Mercy Served with a Big Hearty Mug of Tomato Soup" (havarti, pimento cheese, caramelized onions, maple peppered bacon, all natural city ham, fried green tomatoes & fresh basil served on sourdough wheat bread) as recommended by Southern Living, and the Nutty Fried Chicken (nut encrusted, natural, hormone free chicken breast topped with milk gravy served with smashed sweet potatoes & fresh asparagus). Yum to say the least!

Even though the dessert menu looked tempting, we took at stroll to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where we divulged and ordered liquid truffles (think extra creamy and thick hot chocolate, or hot chocolate pudding). John ordered the Buddha (dark chocolate and coconut cream)while I had the cayenne and cinnamon. The lounge was so quaint and cozy and served desserts and coffee of all forms. It was pretty much heavenly.

The next day we woke up early and went to the North Asheville Tailgate Market on UNC-Asheville's campus. The variety of produce and goods was beautiful, fragrant, and different from what we are used to seeing at our local farmer's market. There were huge bouquets of dahlias, sunflowers, and wildflowers, crisp fresh picked apples, rainbow chard and colorful pumpkins among other wonderful things.

After we purchased some North Carolina apples and a big Mason jar full of dried apples, we got back in the car and went downtown for Oktoberfest. We made it just in time to see the ceremonial keg tapped and hear the polka band start the festival with a German toast. All of the local breweries were represented including: Highland Brewing, Pisgah Brewing, and Greenman Brewing among others. My favorite though was Arlo's PB & J beer brewed by Catawba Valley Brewing Co. While there, John entered in a target throwing game and ended up winning a pair of tickets to a local comedy show (which we intended on going to, but ran out of time). For lunch, we had German style brats and ate pretzels off of our pretzel necklaces. It was such a fun way to spend the afternoon!

 So much more happened that afternoon (and weekend, for that matter). However, I've decided that because SO much happened,to split it up into more than one post. So, to be continued...


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