Hello Asheville!

There’s so much Food News going on in this town that I find it difficult to keep up! Gah! Panic. I’m missing out on stuff. Ack.

I scan Ashvegas, the Citizen-Times and the Mountain X web sites to get as much Food News as I can, and then Joe and Lucy and I report it on the AVL Food Fans podcast. Plus I’m always scanning social media, then re-posting and re-tweeting as much as I can. I ask people to tag me on Twitter and Instagram with @stuhelmfoodfan when they post their food news, and I’ll at least “like” it, if not re-post-re-tweet-re-whatever it. Social media works best when we all share each others’ stuff, so I do my best to play my part.

It’s great when people send me their press releases directly to stuhelmavl@gmail.com. It’s even better if they include a few photos and graphics. If it’s a cool enough event or news item, I’ll write a post about it on my own blog, and if it’s super-cool, I’ll post about it here on Ashvegas.

As I said, it’s hard for me to keep up with everything, and lots of stuff slips past me. I’m always bummed when I hear about a pop-up dinner or a food festival, or any kind of food related event, after the fact. With that in mind, I’m thinking you guys hate missing out on stuff too, so here’s a list of 8 cool food events that are on my “foodar,” coming up in the next few months. Please scroll down to read about the following…

FOOD TRUCK SHOWDOWN • MEAT IS MURDER • LOADED UP AND TRUCKIN’ • CAROLINA MOUNTAIN CHEESE FEST • NAVITAT SERVICE INDUSTRY DAYS • EASY BAKE BAKE OFF • ASHEVILLE VEGFEST • ASHEVILLE VEGAN FEST

I’ll be going to some or all of these events and even judging at a couple of the competitions, so maybe I’ll see you there. As always, if you spot me, don’t be shy, I don’t bite… unless you’re wrapped in bacon and please if you know about a food related event, or you have a piece of Food News for me, pass it along!

• Food Truck Show Down – April 2nd – Masonic Temple, Downtown.

Food Truck Show Down

From The Food Truck Showdown’s press release…

Please join Shay Brown Events Management and Sovereign Remedies on April 2, 2016, from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Asheville Masonic Temple (80 Broadway Street, Asheville NC 28801) for the 3rd Annual Food Truck Showdown. There will be 15 Area Food Trucks vying for Best Food Truck and Overall

People’s Choice Awards with Celebrity Judges; Katie Button from Curate, Larry Blunt from WLOS and Stu Helm, Asheville Food Fan. The event is open to the public and will include children’s activities, local brews from the Asheville Brewers Alliance Members & libations from Sovereign Remedies, craft booths and The Temple has Talent live entertainment.

New this year, the event will offer VIP seating at 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm and 5:00 pm for those that would like a Tasting Experience from each truck with private seating inside the Masonic Temple and servers so that you can enjoy the experience. Tickets for the VIP seating are only $35.00 per person or $45.00 per person which includes (2) drink tickets.

The Temple has Talent has a live entertainment lineup starting at 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm in the Historic Masonic Temple Theater for those that wish to enjoy some music, magic and entertainment. Proceeds will benefit The Asheville Humane Society, The Masonic Children’s Home, Whitestone Retirement Community and Friends of the Asheville Masonic Temple.

Come out and enjoy the festivities…

• Meat is Murder – April 7th – MG Road

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From MG Road’s Press release…

Meat is Murder
“Eat Your Vegetables with Chef Nohe Weir-Villatoro”
Thursday, April 7th at 7:00PM
Five Courses of Vegetarian Fare and lots of PBR
with DJ Matthew Storm Schrader
$39 per ticket
More info and tickets at: meatismurder.splashthat.com

Chef Nohe, fresh off his recent pop-up Poly-Pop at MG Road, will be blessing us once again, this time with an inspired menu that focuses on vegetables from the area. At 6pm we’ll have a cash bar and complimentary PBR, and DJ Matthew Storm Schrader will be on deck throughout the evening.

Nohe describes the concept behind the dinner:

“I just love cooking vegetables. I first envisioned this as a fun idea for a pop-up, playing off The Smith’s album “Meat Is Murder”. I was inspired to base the dishes around the music. For the dinner I’m actually going to do a stencil of Morrisey’s face, and do something fun with that. You don’t see a lot of vegetarian pop-ups or ticketed dinners, so I thought this would be a cool opportunity to turn that on its head. I think with a lot of menus customers and chefs get too focused on the meat item being the centerpiece of a dish, so I want to take the opportunity to showcase how great vegetables can be. They’re so versatile. And especially around here in the Asheville area, where I’ve had the pleasure as a chef over the past couple years to work with so many great farms that are really working hard to do things right, I’m really excited to be showing off their stuff. For this dinner in particular I’m really stoked to be working with produce from Second Spring farm, which is a “market garden” – which is a really cool new movement in farming where the farmers are using tools and technology available to them to keep things more manageable so they can be sustainable without falling into a lot of debt and having to become enormous just to make it. I’m also really excited to be getting some great stuff from Synchronicity Farms in Leicester and Blue Meadow Farms in Hendersonville. I definitely see this dinner as a way to showcase these farms as well as the food.”

• Loaded Up and Truckin’ – April 16th – Oskar Blues Reeb Ranch

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From the Oskar Blues press release…

BREVARD, NC Oskar Blues Brewery is going to get you trucked up this spring. The canned craft beer originator is bringing the inaugural Loaded Up and Truckin Food Truck-Off and Aural Pleasure Fest, a local food truck throwdown and music festival, to the 140-acre Oskar Blues REEB Ranch located on the Henderson/Transylvania county line. The festival pops off on April 16 and features the best food trucks the region has to offer, an ace lineup of kick-ass bands, and more fresh, craft beer than even makes sense.

Oskar Blues, now known primarily for its boundary-destroying craft beers in cans, has deep foodie roots. The original funky little brewpub, Oskar Blues Grill & Brew, which started the craft beer in a can movement still operates in Lyons, Colorado serving up down home food with fresh ingredients, live music and a family atmosphere. Oskar Blues Fooderies, under head chef Jason Rogers, now includes Homemade Liquids and Solids (American food with southern roots), CHUBurger (craft casual burgers), and CYCLHOPS (bike cantina). OB brought their food culture to their second home in North Carolina and operates the CHUBwagon food truck, an extension of the CHUBurger concept, serving up great eats at the Brevard brewery.

What is a “Truck Off?” Loaded Up and Truckin’ brings together eighteen regional food trucks– an impossible collection of the best food on wheels. In addition to their full menus, each truck will serve a special menu item for festival goers who purchase a ‘judges ticket.’ These lucky S.O.B.s will get the exclusive chance to cram eighteen different, one-of-a-kind mobile kitchen creations in their faces. Once all judge-able dishes have been tasted, the people’s court will preside over the judgment of the Truck-Off Grand Champion. Not into passing judgement? A general admission ticket will also be available so you can still boogie to the tunes and purchase whatever food and drink you want with no pressure. Full menus from each food truck will be available for purchase and Oskar Blues will bring all the beers…all of them. Camping will be available at the festival, which will mean that you’ll want to have all of your very best camping food available at the ready. Food? Beer? Camping? Check.

The festival also boasts a genre-spanning lineup, headlined by Charleston, SC folk-rock duo, Shovels & Rope. Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent are a musical power-couple who Rolling Stone has praised for “…a sound that fuses the rhythmic scrappiness and renegade spirit of punk rock with the narrative content and porch-pickin’ bones of American roots — and a bit of blues thrown in for good measure…” The band is renowned for their raucous live show that, according to NPR, is the perfect showcase for their “chemistry and ramshackle playfulness.”

Athens, GA based rockers, Futurebirds, bring with them their unique brand of southern psych-rock. Festival-circuit veterans, Danger Muffin, are also loading up and heading to the REEB Ranch. The Americana roots-rock trio have crisscrossed the country for eight years and been hailed by Relix Magazine as “a trio with immense talent and potential that has gifted songwriting and playing abilities in spades.” Aaron Burdett, Sally and George (Joel Timmons of Sol Driven Train and Shelby Means formerly of Della Mae) and Pretty Little Goat round out the lineup.

Tickets and schedule information for the Loaded Up and Truckin’ Food Truck Off and Aural Pleasure Fest can be found online at loadedupandtruckin.com. General admission tickets are $30 and include admission into the site for the music and access to all the food trucks. Think you’ve got what it takes to choose the best food truck? A judge’s ticket is $60 and includes admission to the site, a free small-plate from each truck, and a ballot to make your vote count for the truck off. In addition, tent camping tickets are available for $15/per person. A limited number of creek-side car-camping spots are available for $100 (max of four people per spot). The Oskar Blues trolley will be shuttling festival-goers to and from the brewery and downtown Brevard.

Food Truck Lineup:

Oskar Blues CHUBwagon
Amazing Pizza Co.
Appalachian Chic
Appalachian Smoke BBQ
Blue Smoke BBQ
Smash Box Mobile Kitchen
El Kimchi
Melt Your Heart
The Real Food Truck
Farm to Fender
Root Down
Grateful Roots
Doc Brown’s BBQ
Chameleon Catering + Mobile Food Co.
Out of The Blue Peruvian Fusion Cuisine
Vieux Carre

• Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest – April 24th – Highland Brewing

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From the Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest’s web site…

CELEBRATE CHEESE!

Join us in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina on Sunday, April 24th, 2016. We’ll be celebrating southern cheese at Highland Brewing in Asheville, NC. Be curious, learn about the process, taste the products, touch the animals, talk to the cheese makers, purchase some of the best cheese in WNC! Come and experience the wonderful world of cheese.

Some of the best cheese makers in the South will be at this year’s Fest. Our vendors hail from the mountains of North Carolina as well as other parts of our fair state and neighboring states. You’ll find cheese made from cow, goat, and sheep milks in a multitude of styles alongside amazing breads, meats, jams and mustards to go with it.

We invite you to sample, buy and talk with your favorite producers and meet some new favorites along the way.

CHEESE MAKERS

Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery*
Boone Creek Creamery
Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery
Caromont Farm
Dayspring Dairy
English Farmstead Cheese*
Forx Farm
Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese
Looking Glass Creamery*
Mountain Farm*
Oakmoon Farm & Creamery*
Piemonte Farm
Round Mountain Creamery*
Sequatchie Cove Creamery
Spinning Spider Creamery*
Three Graces Dairy, LLC
Yellow Branch Farm & Pottery *

LOCAL PRODUCERS

Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon
Farmer Jane Soap
Fields of Gold Farm*
Garnet Gals Local Jams & Jellies
Green River PIckles
Hickory Nut Gap Farm*
Lusty Monk Mustard
Roots & Branches Crackers*
Scott’s Knots
Silvermoon Chocolate
Sunburst Trout Farms
True South
Wake Robin Farm Breads

*WNC Cheese Trail Cheese Maker

See ya’ll at the fest!

PLEASE NOTE: PETS NOT PERMITTED.

• Navitat Canopy Adventures – May 2nd and 3rd – Service Industry Days.

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I was handed the flyer above directly by Abby from Navitat, who told me that they are having two days of free fun for everyone in the Asheville area food, beverage, hospitality, and attraction employees. She told me that they did it last year, and it was really popular, but there were long lines, so in an effort to make it more fun and less wait-in-liney for everyone, they are asking folks to make reservations. REPEAT: Make your reservations now by calling 855.628.4828 for a FREE day of zip-lining fun! Abby also called me “Asheville’s celebrity,” so… I like her.

• Easy Bake Oven Bake Off – May 7th – Odditorium

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From the Girly Girl Revue’s press release…

Girly Girl Revue is hosting a bake off!
An Easy-Bake bake off!

Bring a baked item from home and our panel of judges will pick the top 4 contestants to move on to compete!

There will be 3 rounds
Burlesque during cook time (since it takes a while to cook something with a light bulb)
and the winner goes home with notoriety and a cash prize of $100!

So whether you want to compete, or just watch the craziness ensue, come join the Girly Girls at The Odditorium on May 7th for the Pasties & Pastries: Easy-Bake Bake Off!

Doors open at 8:30pm – Show starts at 9pm
www.girlygirlrevue.com

I have been invited by Deb au Nare to come sit on the 3-judge panel, with local comedian Craig Holcombe and local baker Renee Hill aka The Caked Crusader!

• Asheville VegFest – Sunday, May 15 – Pack Square

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From the Asheville VegFest web site…

Asheville VegFest, presented by the Asheville Vegan Society, is a celebration of compassionate eating and sustainable living, where vegetarians, vegans, and the veg-curious alike can explore and celebrate the benefits of plant-based eating. Held in gorgeous Pack Square Park in beautiful downtown Asheville, this family-friendly event will feature live music, speaker sessions, local beer, cooking demonstrations, a kids’ activity area, and best of all—food!

A wide variety of vegan fare will be available for purchase from food trucks and local veg restaurants, and free samples will be provided as well. Think of it as a delightful vegan epicurean feast. We’re expecting thousands of attendees, so make sure you come join the fun! Admission is FREE, so we hope to see you there.

Why Should You Attend Asheville VegFest? Because you are…

Curious about a plant-based diet
Interested in new companies and products
A foodie who wants to taste what’s fresh and new
Looking for something to do that’s fun and free
A fan of live music
Excited about the cooking demonstrations
Committed to helping animals and the environment
Interested in connecting with other veg folks in the area
Vegan Awareness Week

Asheville VegFest is not only a celebration of vegan food and drink; it’s also the culmination of Vegan Awareness Week! From May 9th until May 15th, the Asheville Vegan Society will be hosting veg-related events around Asheville, featuring guest speakers, film screenings, book signings, and more fun happenings. Visit the Vegan Week Events page for more details and to read Mayor Esther Manheimer’s (soon-to-be-posted) ceremonial proclamation of “Vegan Awareness Week” in Asheville!

• Asheville VeganFestSat, June 11 & Sun, June 12 – Pack Square Park

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From the Brother Wolf Animal Rescue web site…

Save the date for Asheville VeganFest to benefit Brother Wolf Animal Sanctuary: June 11 and 12, 2016! As Brother Wolf continues to expand our circle of compassion, we’re spreading the love with our community and introducing folks to the joy of compassionate living (and the joy of delicious, healthy, plant-based foods!)

For 2016 we’re expanding Asheville VeganFest to bring you more speakers, activities, food and fun!

Saturday, June 11
Panel discussions with dynamic speakers from around the country
Keynote Speaker
(more details to come)

Sunday, June 12
11am-5pm
Festival in Pack Square Park, downtown Asheville with over 100 vendors
Food, Beer, Farmers Market, Guest Speakers, Music and more!
Free and open to the public
(more details to come)

Keep up to date with event news at our Facebook and Twitter pages.

And there you go! Two food truck rallies, three vegetarian/vegan events, a cheese fest, an Easy Bake Oven bake off with burlesque, and a free day of swinging through the trees for all of my friends in the service industry… and I’m sure I’ve missed several… dozen… other fun food related events and news items. Please keep me posted on what know and I will keep you posted on what I know, and together maybe we come close to covering this ever-growing thing we call our Local Asheville Food Scene.

— END —

From left: Chef Jacob Sessoms of Table; Chef William Dissen, The Market Place; Chef Steven Goff, Standard Foods; Chef Katie Button, Curate; Chef Joe Scully, Chestnut and Corner Kitchen; Stu Helm; Chef John Fleer, Rhubarb; Chef Karen Donatelli, Donatelli Bakery; Chef Peter Pollay, Posana Cafe; and Chef Matt Dawes, Bull & Beggar./ Photo by STEWART O'SHIELDS for ASHVEGAS.COM
From left: Chef Jacob Sessoms of Table; Chef William Dissen, The Market Place; Chef Steven Goff, Standard Foods; Chef Katie Button, Curate; Chef Joe Scully, Chestnut and Corner Kitchen; Stu Helm; Chef John Fleer, Rhubarb; Chef Karen Donatelli, Donatelli Bakery; Chef Peter Pollay, Posana Cafe; and Chef Matt Dawes, Bull & Beggar./ Photo by STEWART O’SHIELDS for ASHVEGAS.COM

Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.

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External links:

avlfoodfans.com

ashvegas.com

stuhelmfoodfan.wordpress.com

facebook.com/stuhelmfoodfan

instagram.com/stuhelm33

twitter.com/stuhelmfoodfan

wpvmfm.org/show/asheville-food-fan

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