Travel Date: Wednesday, Dec 17 2014

Rise and shine. Time to explore Downtown Asheville. The one thing I noticed is that there are parking meters everywhere. I hate parking meters, so I drive a little further from downtown and decide to park at a free spot half a mile from downtown and walk. I need the exercise with all this food and beer I’m eating.
My first stop is at Tupelo Honey Cafe recommended by my friends Alex and John. A place where ‘Southern Food is Good for the Soul,’ but probably not for your heart. 🙂

I decide to get the Super Southern Breakfast Bowl: Salsa verde black-eyed peas and SC stone-ground goat cheese grits layered with two all-natural, farm-fresh over-medium eggs, maple peppered bacon, cheddar and salsa

My heart says NOOOOO but my tongue says GIMME GIMME GIMME.

That was absolutely delicious. 🙂

A few of my friends (Stephanie, Ashley and Alice) mentioned that I should check out the Malaprops bookstore. I love bookstores especially the ones with a mom and pop feel. So I walk by. It is quite close to Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Art work in the front.

I walk into the bookstore and enjoy the view. Reasonably sized quaint bookstore. There are no events at the moment but it was busy. They have a reasonable sized book collection and unique feel to their store. I like it.

I love this sign!

Ha. And you thought you could get away with this.

I feel a tinge of laziness creep in. I don’t feel like being touristy anymore so I decide to indulge in my laziness and watch a movie: The Hunger Games – Catching Fire. I head over to a United Artists theater, and fortunately it is a Regal Theater so I get to use a free movie coupon I had in the car.

When I take a look at the coupon, I noticed it expired seven days ago. Bummer! But I decide to ask anyway. The wonderful staff of this theater decide to honor my free pass. If you never ask, you will never receive.
So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. ~ Jesus Christ.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~ Wayne Gretsky.

After movie 1, I decided to drive around and watch movie 2: The Hobbit at another theater: The Carolina. Unfortunately unlike the first, this one was not free.

Now that I have been lazy for about 5 hours or so sitting and staring at a screen, I decide to indulge in my sweet craving. My friend Mary suggested that I try the French Broad Chocolates.

So I walk in.

And do a self tour.

As I walking back, I run into the owner: Dan and we talk a little about the shop and my travels.

And I also learn a little more from the handouts lying around.

I sample a few of the chocolates.

And then decide to pick one.

Winner Winner Chocolate Dinner: dark chocolate 80% cacao.

I drop it off in my car, and decide to walk towards the Brewery next door: Green Man Brewery.

As I’m taking pictures, I meet a couple Brittney and Travis and we start chatting.

And we walk in together.

Time to order some beer.

I go with the sampler.

This place is quite lively.

And it looks like they are BIG fans for D.C. United.

Brittney, Traavis and I talk for a while and we are having such a good time with each other, we decide to try out another brewery: Lexington Avenue Brewery aka Lab.

This is a bigger bar area.

I look at my selection of choices.

And decide to go with another sampler.

And some Lab Beef Sliders: topped with bleu cheese-bacon sauce and truffled fries. Sounds delicious.

And looks delicious.

After two beer outings and a small meal, I’m ready to get some more food. Brittney and Travis have to meet up with some friends at a restaurant so we wish each other well.

I then head off to the restaurant: Chai Pani, which my friend Alice recommended.

It is kind of quiet.

I get some wine.

And order the Chicken Pot Pie. I didn’t see anything else I liked. Service wasn’t great. The bartender practically didn’t notice I was there, but the food was good. Overpriced but good.

The one thing that highlighted this restaurant for me was the old movie posters from Bollywood movies. Classic Amitabh Bachan

Now with a belly full of food, wine, beer, chocolate samples, and southern cooking, it is time to go home and rest. Tomorrow I make the drive back to Virginia and soon will be ending my trip.

Reflections:

Tupelo Honey was a great recommendation by Alex and John. The food was delicious and I’m looking forward to dining there another time.

Malaprops was okay. Unique with funny signs and nice artworks outside. I definitely would go there to drink coffee, read, and spend time there if I lived there.

Watching two movies was a great break. I definitely enjoyed the movies and it was good to recharge my batteries.

Mary, the French Broad Chocolate Factory was great. It smelled so good in there and walking around looking and learning about the chocolate process made me smile. Thank you for the recommendation.

The highlight of my Day 2 in Asheville was really meeting Brittney and Travis. They were traveling for his birthday, and visiting various places in Asheville. It was literally a chance encounter because I stopped to take a picture and they politely waited for me to do so. And we walked down the street together so I figured why not say Hi, right? As we talked through the evening we all clicked.

They gave me the biggest surprise and sentimental compliment that I’ve ever received. I came back from the restroom, and they had already taken care of my food and beer at LAB. They told me that I was the most interesting person they had met and they wanted to treat me for the mutual experience. I was in shock and gratitude. I can’t believe that happened with total strangers that I had met walking down the street a few hours before. Thank you Brittney and Travis. Spending time with you both was amazing and serendipitous. Will never forget it – especially as it comes on the heels of completing my journey. You left me taken aback, humbled, and gratuitous for your generosity.

Finally Chai Pani was not welcoming. Food was good but overpriced, but I really felt the place had a snootiness to it. Can’t explain, but it didn’t connect with me. I did enjoy the Bollywood movie posters though. Even though it sucked, thank you Alice for the recommendation. It was still something to experience – even though it didn’t work out. Life is not always about just good experiences. Without the bad you cannot appreciate the good.

All said it was a great day. Tomorrow I head back to the home state of Virginia!

Expenses: $63.14
Breakfast: $15.32 (Tupelo Honey Cafe)
Movies: $7.50 (The Caroline Asheville)
Candy: $7.49 (French Broad Chocolates)
Beverages: $9.00 (Green Man Brewery)
Dinner: $23.83 (Chai Pani)