Ashvegas: The City You Love. The News You Want.Some of what’s going around on the local food scene:

-Lex 18 reopens: Lex 18 reopened last week after a little controversy. Here’s the press release about the new direction:

Lex 18’s creative design and opening in mid-March was a collaborative effort between Bobo Pho owner, Ms. Suwana Cry, and a four member partnership of local Asheville friends and family called Jack & Masters. Forty-five days after it’s opening on March 18th, Ms. Suwana Cry presented the opportunity to sell her business to Jack & Masters. Georgia Malki of Jack & Masters stated, “This was very exciting for all of us; Lex 18 is a great location in a wonderful building that we have always loved since its days as Bobo Gallery. The business transition has been a very collaborative and positive; we are very grateful. Today, June 6, 2014 we are pleased to announce the successful purchase of Lex 18.”

On Saturday, June 14th, Lex 18 will re-open with some visible and behind the scenes changes. The most important exciting change is Lex 18’s new Executive Chef, Edwin Bloodworth, Jr. teamed up with front of house lead Mrs. Jeannie Bloodworth.

Lex 18’s food focus will be new Appalachia cuisine. The menu is designed to give guests the choice of either fixed price 4-course dinner or a la carte selections. Before and after dinner our bar will offer an eclectic menu of small bites that range from 1920’s specialties to twists on classic tapas.

Edwin is known for preparing out of the ordinary dishes from uncommon local ingredients. He explains, “in my cooking I focus on Appalachian cuisine, which includes so many wild things that are available in the woods…. There are a lot of things that I like to utilize, there are so many delicious flavors right under our noses and I like to bring those flavors out. I grew up in the mountains spending a great deal of time in the garden with my grandparents. I aim to combine my Appalachian roots with a modern approach to the regional ingredients to offer a memorable meal and help define Appalachia cuisine and transform other dishes.”

Chef Bloodworth’s resume includes Chef de Cuisine at Gamekeeper Restaurant, Boone, NC; Sous Chef at Town House Restaurant, Chilhowie, VA; and Line Cook at Four Square Restaurant, Durham, NC and Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley, CA.

Lex 18’s format is a jazz supper club. Supper served Tuesday – Sunday at 5pm with prohibition era black & white films and live jazz and blues performers starting at 8pm every evening. At the bar our small bites are offered till close each night. Saturday and Sunday we will open early with a delectable brunch menu from 10:30am to 2:30pm with scheduled entertainment.

-Green Room goes Italian: The Green Room Bistro & Bar, located at 12 Church St., opened last May just off bustling Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville. It is owned by Brian and Tiffany Lee, who also own and operate the Altamont Theatre just down Church Street. The restaurant is planning to go to an Italian-centric menu in about two weeks. Brian tells me that Italian dishes are top sellers, so he’s just making moves to meet the demand.

-12 Bones cookbook: Asheville Citizen-Times food writer Mackensy Lunsford announced via social media recently that she’s just finished writing a cookbook for 12 Bones Smokehouse, Asheville’s popular barbecue joint. Will be on shelves in coming months.

-Dessert truck: One of the best little dessert shops around these parts is Ruth & Ranshaw, located in Fairview. The owners recently announced that they planned to start up a food truck. A cupcake truck, mayhaps?

-Burger wars: From organizer Kelly Denson, who earlier this year staged Asheville’s Wing War:

Ok…so it is official! The Inaugural Battle of the Burger: an event to determine Western Carolina’s Best Burger has been scheduled for August 10 at The Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Asheville. This is an unofficial official nomination process that starts now! Only 15 restaurants can compete for the title. Which local establishment is serving up the best combination of juicy beef, soft buns and melty cheese?

-Tailgate market moves: The Montford Market, the tailgate market that has been setting up shop in the lower parking lot of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, is moving to the field adjacent to All Souls Pizza in the River Arts Distrct. The market will open on the first Wednesday in July, which is July 2, and it will be open from 2-6 p.m.

-Hole in the works: Hole, the new doughnut shop on Haywood Road in East/West Asheville is coming right along.

-New direction for Carolina West RibFest: Here’s the pertinent parts of the press release:

This July the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center will once again host a RibFest. However, this year the festival sports a new name, new promoter and a new direction. … The event will be held July 11-13. Admission is $7 for adults.

The Carolina West RibFest will feature an expanded group of national barbecue teams and an eclectic mix of entertainment including 3 days of local, regional and national music acts on the main stage, Lucha Libre wrestling, a sideshow and saloon featuring can-can girls. McDavid adds, “There are few places where seven dollars can buy this amount of entertainment.” McDavid has tagged the RibFest with the slogan, “A different type of BBQ festival.”

The 2014 Carolina West RibFest will have six barbecue teams vying for awards but mainly will focus on satisfying the appetites of thousands of BBQ fans. This year’s line-up includes local purveyor Big Bad Wolf BBQ from Etowah, Big Boned BBQ (Charleston, SC), Camp 31 (Castleberry, Alabama), Porky Chicks (Farmington, Arkansas), Carolina Rib King (Moore, SC) and Florida Skin Bones (Arcadia, Florida). The judges panel will consist of folks from the event’s Facebook family, local chefs and foodies as well as local dignitaries including David Gantt, Chairman of the Buncombe County Commission.

Joining local musical acts like Underhill Rose and Circus Mutt will be national acts Moon Taxi and Jason McKinney. UIW Wrestling will showcase a diverse group of luchidores and the RibFest’s sideshow will be hosted by The Squidling Brothers from Philadelphia, PA. Rounding out the festival will be a marketplace, kids’ zone and the Shady Lady Saloon. New participants Leinenkugel beer and Cupcake Vineyards will provide product samples.

-Eat out, support Blue Ridge Parkway: Here’s the info:

· What: 3rd Annual Plates for the Parkway to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway will be held June 16-19

· Who: The Admiral, Café Azalea, Charlotte Street Grill and Pub, Copper River, The Corner Kitchen, Edna’s of Asheville, Filo Pastries, Glass Onion, Gypsy Queen Cuisine, Hickory Tavern, Highland Brewing, Iannucci’s Asheville, Iannucci’s Hendersonville, the Local Taco, Loretta’s Café, King James Public House, the Local Joint, Magnolia Ray, Mayfel’s, Nachos and Beer, Old Europe, Posana Café, Salsa’s, Smash Box Mobile Kitchen, The Social and Westville Pub. See full list of participating businesses at www.platesfortheparkway.org.

· Where: Asheville, Sylva, Brevard, Roanoke, Charlotte, Floyd and cities where Blue Ridge Parkway fans live and work.

· How: Dine out and restaurants give a percentage of sales June 16 – 19 to protect the Blue Ridge Parkway. Find participation details at www.platesfortheparkway.org.

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