LETS’ GO TO ARDEN!
How ya been? I’m about fuckin’ ready for this Summer to be over, I’ll tell you what. Too fuckin’ hot. Brutal. Kill. Ing. Me. I want to kick the ass of every mutherfucker on the planet who ever contributed even one molecule of carbon monoxide to this catastrophic global warming bullshit that we’re in right now… including myself. Why, Lord, why did I ever use a gas-powered lawn mower? Why did I take the bus from Asheville to Chicago when I could have walked? Why do I persist in eating cows when I know that cows fart… a lot… and those copious cow farts contribute to the living/dying/burning Hell on Earth that we humans call a Summer day these days. Good lord. We all gonna die.
Bahhht, I guess I’m just another stupid human who will never learn, because when my friend Stephan invited me to take a drive out to Arden for a sandwich, I said, “Crank up the AC in the Cadillac, and let’s ROLL!”
PS – Stephan doesn’t own a Cadillac, and I didn’t actually say those words out loud. This is just my attempt at humor here, while I also admit publicly that I am 100% willing to kill the planet just a little more… for a sandwich.
Make that sandwiches.
I got two.
When I go out for lunch, I’m conditioned to be prepared to spend around $20. (Asheville ain’t cheap, Yo! New York City prices in the Mountains of Western North Cakalacky!) So, when Stephan showed up, I shoved a twennydollah bill in my pocket and we hit the road. Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, to be specific! When we got there, the chalk board menu shocked the shit out of me. It was so affordable! Well, what the Hell… why wouldn’t I order two sandwiches… which each came with two sides?
For my lunch-time feast, I purchased the “gladiator” meatball sub, and the “franklin” grilled cheese sandwich. Both were great, I asked for the former with sides of a Cesar salad, and rice and beans. With the latter — which was made with pimento cheese, bacon, and avocado — I asked for a beet salad, and cold cucumber soup.
Before I write one more word, let me take a moment to say, Thank you , American South, for helping me fall head-over-heals in love with pimento cheese. Up North, where I’m from, it’s not a thing. Not like it is down here. Now I fuckin’ love it, and I love what y’all (that’s how you say that, right? Y’all?) do with it. From the high-end, house-made bowl of noms at Imperial Life, to the super melty gimme-a-huggabilty of the Buxton Hall Barbecue pimento cheeseburger, to this humble, yet super-awesome, grilled pimento cheese sandwich from Ivory Road.
I love it all… y’all. Thank you.
This grilled pimento cheese sandwich was definitely the highlight of lunch, and so was the beet salad, which was raw. That’s right, motherfuckers, RAW BEETS. What?!? How the fuck are ya supposed to chew through raw beets, Stu? Well, Voice In My Head, these raw beets are sliced so incredibly thin, that they’re almost like eating crunchy, delicious beet-chips. Plus I’m guessing that they get a little bit marinated in the citrus of the orange slices that are mixed in, which may cause them to be more palatable. In my heart I actually know that a raw diet is the healthiest diet possible, but I am too weak-willed to give up cooked food — I mean, c’mon… it’s cooked food… it’s fuckin’ good — so I appreciate it when a place like Ivory Road slips me some unexpected raw food in the form of something that’s actually edible and tastes great!
The meatball sub was great too. The tomato sauce was flavorful and well made; the balls were traditional pork/beef mix and very tasty, with a great texture; and the cheese on top was plentiful and ummy. In my humble opinion as a person who has eaten a fuck-load of meatball subs, this was a real good one. My only critique would be that I would have liked more sauce, and I like my cheese slightly browned-to-bubbling, which this was not. Other than that, it was very satisfying. I ate half for lunch, and the other half for breakfast at home. It held-up, and re-heated nicely. I’m craving it again as I type this now.
The other sides were all very good! The salad was fresh and crispy, and the rice and beans were just the right texture and temperature, and tasted homey and good. The cold cucumber soup was simple yet sophisticated, and had a surprising amount depth to the fresh, garden-y flavors. I’m not the hugest fan of cold soups, but I finished this one, and enjoyed it very much.
Before we left, shop-owner and head chef, Jill Wasilewski stopped by the table to chat, and offered me some sweets to go. Fuck yes, take ’em! Uh, yeah, settle down, Voice, I took her up on her generous offer, and we had some very nice, sweet, and delicious little cupcakes and cookies and such with coffee at home later. Thanks, Jill!
CONCLUSION: If I lived in Arden, I’d be at Ivory Road all the fucking time. The food was fresh, tasty, and very well made; and the people, decor, and atmosphere were all pleasant, charming, and made us feel very comfortable and happy. I’ll try to catch a ride back there with Stephan as often as I can. Fuck the planet! Gimme a sammich.
Ivory Road Cafe and Kitchen
1854 Brevard Road
Arden, NC 28704
Monday – Friday: 7am – 3pm
Saturday: 9am – 3pm
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.