12 BONES – River Arts District
So there’s a really famous guy who really likes 12 Bones. You all know him. Some of you love him, some of you hate him, but like it or lump it, he’s The Boss. Obama? Oh, yeah him too, but I’m talking about Stu Motherfuckin’ Helm: Facebook Food Critic! That’s me.
My mom is always up for a trip to 12 Bones and will often invite me along. When I can spare the time & money, I jump at the chance! I’ll even break three of my own rules to get a taste of that Bonesy goodness:
Rule #1 – I don’t wait in long lines for food. But I will at 12 Bones. The line goes FAST, because these folks have their shit down. That line can be out the door, running down the side of the building, and spilling out into the parking lot, and I’ll be unfazed, because I know the people in charge are on it.
“Let’s do this!” I’ll say to my mother.
“Jump out and save a spot! I’ll park the car!” she’ll reply, barely coming to a stop.
They have their system. We have ours.
Rule #2 – I don’t eat off of tin plates. What am I? A fucking Boy Scout? I don’t ever wanna hear the sound of a metal fork scraping a tin plate while gittin’ my grub on. Eff that sound. Horrible. I hate it. At 12 Bones they could serve my food on a chalk board and give me a fingernail-fork and I wouldn’t give a shit. Nom nom nom… screeeeeeeeeech… nom nom nom…
Rule #3 – I don’t eat at long tables with total strangers. Are you kidding me? Other people are often the worst part of any experience for me. “Excuse me, Sir and/or Madame, could you please pass me a fucking jig-saw, so that I can just… cut this sucker in half… there we go… and push you and your family way over there into the corner very far away from me and my experience? Thank you!” That’s how I feel about sharing a table with strangers. My thoughts turn to power-tools. Not good. At 12 Bones, I still hate it, but I’ll put up with it, because the food is that delish… fucking killing me tho’. Sometimes we luck out, and score a table to ourselves inside, and that makes me very happy.
My friends always wanna know what my favorite dish there is, and believe me, jaws hit the floor when I they hear my answer:
“WHA?!? TURKEY PLATE?!?”
Yeah, Man. Turkey plate.
I’m not the biggest fan of having grease or sauce all over my face and hands, even if the ribs are amazing (which they are), and sometimes, I’m just not in the mood for any pork or red meat of any kind. I do love me some chicken, but one day, on a whim & almost as a joke, I said to the nice lady taking orders, “I’ll have the turkey plate!”
I thought my mom was going to disown me.
But I’m here to testify, Brothers and Sisters: That shit is good!
Great, in fact. Totally awesome and — to me at least — completely unique. The turkey is always moist, smokey, all white meat, carved medium-thin, right off the bird, and served with two sides. The sides at 12 Bones are really good. I give them a Stoobie Award for Best Collard Greens in Asheville, and the Jalapeño Cheese Grits are of a high quality, with just the right amount of creaminess and just the right amount of heat. The baked beans are great too, an so is the piece of corn bread that always comes with your meal at 12 Bones. It’s never dry, and has a sweet ‘n’ savory thing going on that is really yummy.
My sister has been getting the turkey sandwich with melted brie on Texas toast. It’s something special. It really is.
Even my mom has come around, and agrees that this turkey is amazing. We’re thinking about ordering the Thanksgiving spread. I grew up, like a few hours from Plymouth fucking Rock (true story) so for our family to even consider ordering a restaurant turkey, with collards, and grits, on Thanksgiving is almost historic.
This turkey is epically yum.
CITY BAKERY – N. Charlotte St. & Biltmore Ave., Asheville
Best hot cup of dark roast coffee in Asheville, period.
Let the haters hate and doubters doubt, but I’ve spilled more drops of coffee than most people will drink in their entire lives…
The coffee knobs on my adrenal gland go up to eleven…
If I had to take a piss-test right now, it would totally come back positive for “Jesus fucking Christ you drink a lot of coffee!”
I’ve tried just about every hot cup of coffee in Asheville worth trying, and I am totally confident in making the above statement. I’ve never had their medium roast, I’m sure it’s good, but this is the dark roast I’m talking about here, Karl. (Random Slingblade reference.) It is the titty-ass bomb. Full, rich… it has plenty of what I crave: the flavor of motherfucking coffee.
Plus, it comes in a good, thick, deep, ceramic mug. Eff glass mugs, and especially eff paper cups. If I wanted to taste paper, I’d eat some fucking paper.
Other things I enjoy at City Bakes include the thumbprint cookie, which is a cheap and chewy nosh, the breakfast biscuit sandwiches, which are salty, warm, and comforting, and the staff, which is friendly, polite, and yes… attractive!
Some readers have expressed a distaste for my repeated use of the word “attractive” to convey my feelings about my particular experiences in various dining situations. What can I say? That’s just me. I’m well-known by my friends as someone who finds a wide variety of people to be attractive for various reasons, that are not always related to the physical gifts, or lack-thereof, that nature might bestow upon us at birth, or that life might toss our way along it’s rocky path. And it’s a not a sexual thing, Perverts, it’s just an observation about how people in a professional work situation present themselves to the public. And I guarantee you, no restaurant staff, in any review I ever gave, got their feelings hurt because I described them with the word “attractive.” Would you? No. Don’t be an idiot.
(BTW – “Good, thick, deep,” was just for you, Spycey Spyce!)
Stu Helm is an artist and writer 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 restaurant reviews strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook in 2013.