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Anniversary in Asheville

Chai Pani okra fries 020a

To celebrate our anniversary last week, we decided to take a few days away from our crazy-busy schedules to drive down to Asheville, NC.  If the 25th anniversary is silver, and the 40th is ruby, then surely the 42nd must be okra fries and corgies — at least for us!  The okra fries were a highlight of our “eyes are bigger than our stomachs” lunch at Chai Pani (more on that later), and the two adorable corgies are the wonderful “greeters” at the gorgeous 1898 White Gate In where we stayed. (They kindly provided us with vegan breakfasts.)

Corgies kitchen 014a

Asheville is a vegan food lover’s paradise — a surprising oasis of fun, food, and culture in western North Carolina, with breathtaking mountain views and lots of things to do and see.  We love visiting this gem of a city and it’s a lovely and very scenic drive to get there.  Now about the food….

Our first stop was dinner at Plant.  All the great things I’ve heard about this place are true.  The food at this all-vegan restaurant is top-notch in terms of freshness, flavor, presentation, and creativity.  We began with the Blistered Shishito peppers, served with vegan cream cheese, shiitake bacon, and focaccia. So good….

Plant appetizers 006a

Our other appetizer was a selection of of vegan cheeses with fruit, rosemary amber, olives, and black garlic oil, and house made bread. Extremely yummy!

Plant cheese 007a

As much as we like ordering different dishes so we can try more things, Jon and I both had the same entree, because neither one of us could resist the Hazelnut Crusted Seitan served with whipped cauliflower, grilled rapini and romesco, pickled onions, and shiitake bacon.  Wow.  Just wow.

Plant seitan 008a

Even though we were stuffed, we HAD to order dessert! Who could resist the Cherrybomb Cheesecake with cocoa crust, cherry syrup, and toasted almond-chocolate ice cream?  Not me, obviously!

Plant cheesecake 009a

After dinner, we had a chance to chat with Jason, the chef, who is super-nice.  If you get to Asheville, you must have dinner at Plant!

There are lots of  other vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Asheville that we enjoy going to every time we’re there — we even had to skip a few this trip, for lack of time.  We always hit Chai Pani for lunch for the aforementioned okra fries (!) and a selection of the delicious chaat on their menu.  This trip we enjoyed the bheli puri, dahi sev papdi (ask them to hold the yogurt — and bring your own vegan yogurt, if you can), and the samosa and chickpeas — again, hold the yogurt.   We also had to stop by Laughing Seed for their insanely delicious Banh mi sandwich served with a side of their signature jalapeno and onion fries. OMG.

Laughing Seed banh mi 032a

We did manage to stop for tapas at Zambra.  It was the only non-veg restaurant of our entire stay, but they had a nice selection of vegan choices including chickpeas with garlic, lemon, and spinach, sauteed mushrooms with sweet potato wontons, spicy potatoes, and (surprisingly!) this crispy tofu served with harissa and hummus:

Zambras tapas tofu 030a

It was definitely an anniversary to remember!  Especially the okra fries and corgies!  Can’t wait to see what’s in store for #43!




{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Birgit August 26, 2013, 3:39 pm

    Happy belated Anniversary!
    It all looks divine!

    • Robin August 26, 2013, 3:49 pm

      Thanks, Birgit. It was! 🙂

  • Carolyn August 26, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Love those cute corgies! And the food looks awesome. Happy Belated Anniversary to you and Jon!

    • Robin August 26, 2013, 6:32 pm

      Thanks, Carolyn. Yes, those corgies are too precious!

  • Maureen August 26, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Love Asheville! I so love Plant! Jason is such a talented chef and keeping the message going to eat cruelty free is delicious! Happy Anniversary! BTW, I was in Asheville last weekend too!

    • Robin August 26, 2013, 11:05 pm

      I agree, Maureen. Jason is super-talented and super-nice, too! Thanks for the anniversary wishes!

  • Amanda August 27, 2013, 10:03 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Such an exciting blog post. I live in NC and like to get to Asheville as much as I can (which is not nearly enough!). I knew from your first photo that the delicious bowl was from Chai Pani! Isn’t Plant amazing! Asheville is certainly a gem in NC! Durham, Raleigh, and Charlotte are catching up!

    • Robin August 27, 2013, 11:10 pm

      Thanks, Amanda. Yes, Asheville is a gem — and Plant is truly amazing (as is Chai Pani!)

  • Susan August 28, 2013, 1:51 am

    Happy anniversary!
    Looks like you had an amazing time. Clearly you know how to celebrate. 😉

    • Robin August 28, 2013, 12:33 pm

      Thanks, Susan. Yes, we take our celebrations very seriously! 🙂

  • Deborah Saas August 30, 2013, 9:15 pm

    I have never been to Asheville, but everything that I have seen, read or heard tells me this place will be my next home.

    • Robin August 30, 2013, 10:57 pm

      I get the same kind of feeling when I’m there!

  • JennyBakes September 1, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Happy anniversary! I live an hour south of Asheville and go up at least once a month, and we just went to Plant this last month. It was great!

    • Robin September 2, 2013, 4:00 pm

      Thanks, Jenny. Lucky you being so close to Asheville!! 🙂

  • K. Crane October 2, 2013, 10:42 pm

    Thank you for the review and pics Robin. Plant has been on my wishlist for a while and now that I’ve read your review I can’t wait to go there. I love that Banh Mi at Laughing Seed too. They make a pretty good vegan banh mi at a place called Ramsey’s World Café in Louisville too.

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