AND IN THIS CORNER… THE REIGNING, DEFENDING, UNDISPUTED 2015 CHAMPION OF BRUHHHHHNNNCH…
– Written & Illustrated by Stu Helm
That’s right, I returned to the place where it all began: The 2015 Stoobie Award winners for Brunch of the Year, and current brunch-weight belt-holders, The Junction, which is located right in my own neighborhood of the River Arts District. I needed to check-in, and see if they were in fighting shape and prepared to defend their title, going five rounds if necessary, so I stopped in unannounced one fine Saturday to assess the champ.
Wow. I’m happy to report that Chef David Van Tassel and his kitchen staff are still kicking-out an amazing and delicious array of breakfasty, lunchy, brunch-type plates, snacks, desserts, and side dishes that still include several inventive takes on Southern classics, and still showcase Chef Van Tassel’s sense of humor as well as his culinary skills. Husband-and-wife co-owners Charles and Tanya Triber and front-of-the-house staff continue to keep things snappy, and there is no monkey business at The Junction, no long waits for service, no cold dishes being served. Everything runs like a top over there, and it’s always a lively scene, with people, and families, and laughter and what-not, which I dig at brunch.
I ONLY BRUNCHED ONE PLACE DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST, 2016, AND IT WAS THE JUNCTION SO HERE IT GOES…
1) The Junction – 348 Depot St #190, Asheville, NC – Sunday Brunch
• BRUNCH MATES – Good Friend Mike Quirk!
• FOOD – I ordered biscuit-n-gravy, Y’all. (You like the way I switched from my usual “Yo” to a “Y’all,” because chicken and biscuits is a Southern thing? It’s called fitting the fuck in! I’ll keep trying.) It was smothered in smoked and pulled chicken, roasted red pepper bacon gravy, squash relish, and jumbo corn nuts.
• PLUS COLUMN – The food. Holy shit. It was perfect in every way. Even setting aside the fact that “Jumbo Corn Nuts” is now my new favorite three words in a row to appear on any menu ever, every single thing about this dish was effing perfect for brunch. The biscuits: Perfect. The chicken: So fucking gooood… perfect, in fact. The gravy: Did you read the description?!? “Roasted red pepper bacon gravy.” Look at the fucking picture!!! It was perfect. Perfect in every way. The jumbo corn nuts? Yeah, they added the perfect amount of crunch and gave the dish that Van Tassel twist! I’m sorry that the pictures that I took don’t look like better. I’m not sure why I was having such a hard time getting a decent picture that morning. Farmer Mike ordered the sausage and eggs, and even though I didn’t taste it, he said it was the best sausage he’d ever had! And he raises pigs, so I’m guessing he knows from good sausage. We also split an order of bacon and that was great. It’s bacon. Plain and simple. It’s fucking high-quality bacon to be exact, and it was perfect… perfect in every way.
• MINUS COLUMN – I’m not a fan of raw green onions, so I guess I could betch about those being sprinkled on top, but there was a reasonable amount of them, and they were cut small, so that they wilted a little bit when placed on the very hot food, and were slightly less than raw, so they were more palatable to me. Besides, everything else was so fucking good, I couldn’t have cared less about the green onions. There were jumbo corn nuts, Yo.
CONCLUSIONS – The champ is in phenominal shape, Goldie, and this is going to be the greatest fight in the history of everything!!! What? Joe Rogan? Mike Goldberg?!? No way! How’d you guys get in here? I’m such a huge fan! And I totally agree that The Junction is great shape, and is still fully capable of holding on to this belt! The competition is in for one hell of fight from team Triber-Van Tassel, and their devastating, one-two, FoH/BoH, brunch punch! BUT: You never know how these things will go, until… They step inside The Octagon?!? Um, no, Goldie, we won’t know until I announce the Stoobie Award nominees in December… and then the winners in January.
But for now, of course, The Junction wins brunch for August…
Yep, sorry I only ate one brunch last month, but I’ve been working on Sundays, doing food tours with Asheville Food Tours, so no more Sunday brunches for me. (sad face) Izzokay tho’ because I’m transitioning to Saturday brunches instead, of which there are plenty. So, Junction wins brunch for August and is now in contention for Brunch of the Year 2016.
Here are all of the contenders for Brunch of the Year 2016 so far (listed alphabetically):
Wildcard candidates will be culled from the list of all the places I’ve been to so far, which includes the following (asterisks indicate ranking):
Chestnut – *****
The Barleycorn Pub – *****
Isa’s Bistro – *****
Bull & Beggar – *****
Strada – ****
MG Road – ****
Asheville Food Tours – ****
Curate – ****
Buxton Hall BBQ – ****
Edison / Oskar Blues Beer Brunch – ***
Mojo Kitchen and Lounge – ***
Copper Crown – ***
Imperial Life – ***
Rhubarb – ***
Misty Mountain Bakeshop – ***
Love You a Brunch Truck – ***
Local Provisions – **
The Market Place – *
— END —
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.