Stu Helm: Food Fan, on [Re]HAPPENING, Ultimate Ice Cream, Gypsy Queen Cuisine, Buxton Hall BBQ, Asheville


Hello Asheville!

What do you know about Art? If you’re like me, you think you know a lot more than you actually do. That’s why it’s important to talk about Art and look at Art with people who know more about Art than we do.

If I only talked about Art with idiots like myself? Yeah. No. I’d be looking at Jackson Pollock paintings and saying stupid shit like “My three year-old could do that.”

In the scenario above, for some reason, I have a three-year old, and nobody wants that, so please for the love of God, let’s talk about Art.


My GF, the great and powerful Dawn Roe was on the organizing committee for [Re]HAPPENING this year, so there was a big build-up for us, and we were both pretty stoked by the time it finally happened… or… re-happened?

I’ll leave the Art reviews up to those people I alluded to earlier who know more than me, but I will say that I enjoyed the Art tremendously.

Random pictures of Art from [Re]HAPPENING… our friend ate some of it, which was in the form of a very old pizza and some puzzle pieces. He seemed to regret it immediately.

Performance-based, experimental, interactive, weird, awesome. I don’t have the vocab to really talk about it, but for example: I friggin’ loved the three guys who did the crazy revival-tent type of thingy in the theater building… and the rockets that were projected on the trees, with the vibrating platform to stand on… and the Butoh tarot card reading room… I think the fucked-up Tumblr feed cabin was my fave thing of all. I may or may not have smoked a li’l bit of grass while I was in there by myself.  You don’t know that I did. Or didn’t. Anyhoo… all the projections at night and things that lit-up were super cool… and awesome… aaand that’s the end of my career as an Art critic… let’s talk about the food.


As soon as we walked into ReHaps, someone said, “There’s free ice cream.”

Gosh, that’s a beautiful scene. What? The lake? Oh yeah, that’s nice too, but check out that ice cream! GORGEOUS!!!

I apologized to Dawn, and admitted that “I will be completely obsessed with getting some of that free Ice cream until I actually have some in my face hole,” and requested that we take care of that pressing issue first, and then I would look at Art.

It’s good to know one’s self.

It didn’t take long to find my good friends from Ultimate Ice Cream. Big hugs all around! I fucking love Asheville! Free hugs and Ice cream? I live in heaven. They had all kinds of awesome flavors, but Dawn and I both honed in on the Bacon Maple. Good. Lord. So rich. So bacony. I told Dawn, “I could eat a bucket of this.” Sometimes I exaggerate. Sometimes I don’t.

Next, we spied Chef Elliot Moss, who was there, preparing and serving his smoked chicken and sides for the special Cocktail Hour. I don’t know for sure, but I think this might have been a bit of a preview of what’s to come at his new Buxton Hall BBQ, soon to open on the South Slope.

We said hello, and chatted, and he asked if we would be staying for the Cocktail Hour. Like a dejected waif in a big-eye painting, I hung my head, stubbed my toe into the ground, and said “Nawww, we didn’t get a ticket.”  I may have even pouted. Just a little bit.

And that was that… or so I thought… but let’s move on…


With no Cocktail Hour BBQ in my immediate future, I seized the opportunity to grab some shawarma from Suzy’s Gypsy Queen Cuisine food truck. Yum! Shawarma.

We saw Suzy on our way into ReHaps, and she was super-awesome as always. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love Suzy, the Gypsy Queen? She rules. Always friendly. Always up-beat. Cool. Hip. Good looking. Drives a truck. Cooks fantastic food. If you don’t love Suzy, you have issues.

The line for Suzy’s food was long, and the wait to get your food after ordering was even longer… Psst! ReHaps, you might want to add one or two more food trucks next year… and wayyyy more trash cans… Aaanyhoodles, yeah, so while I was waiting for my chicken shawarma, chatting with fellow artists, art lovers, and food fans…

Elliott Moss… Chef Elliot Moss… Thee Chef Elliott Moss comes through some doors, holding a plate of food and two forks. He makes a bee-line for me and Dawn, and hands it right to us. Ho. Lee. Shit. I felt like the most specialest girl at the muhfuckin’ prom right about then. I think my jaw dropped, my eyes bugged out, and I may have drooled on myself as I thanked him a million times. I tore in immediately. If this plate of food is any indication of what’s to come at Buxton Hall, I am there. A lot. It’s gonna be right in my hood, so yeah, Man. Here’s what was on the plate…

Plate o’ smoked chicken ‘n’ fixin’s courtesy of Chef Elliott Moss!

SMOKED CHICKEN – It was really goood! Not too smoky, and cooked just the way I like it — well done, but still moist — it had a beautiful texture and a nice flavor that wasn’t all in-yo-faaace with spices or sauces or some kind of bullshit liquid smokiness. I love chicken and this chicken was very lovable.

BEAN SALAD – Y’know, I don’t usually get all jazzed-up about bean salad, and maybe it was just the excitement, but that was some of the best bean salad I ever had in my life. It was “creamy” but not heavy or mayonnaisey. The beans and rice were both cooked perfectly.  Soft, but not mushy.  The flavor was pleasant without being bland, and it was interesting without being overbearing. I loved it. When Buxton Hall opens, I will be excited to try whatever other salad might be on the menu.  I need more salads in my life.

MIXED GREENS ‘n’ SUCH – Again, my “jazzed” factor isn’t at its highest when I’m staring at a pile of mixed greens, especially when I spy a ton of what look like raw onions on top… but… those weren’t onions! I don’t know what they were, but they were crisp and mild, and refreshing.  Maybe shaved jicama? I really dunno. The greens and the sprigs of herb, as well as the sprinkling of what seemed like goat cheese were all great too. As with the bean salad, I will actually be looking forward to this type of mixed greens salad again if it’s on the menu when Buxton Hall opens. Just to be clear about what’s happening here: Stu “Hot Dog” Helm is looking forward to eating salad. That’s no small feat. Thanks again, Chef Elliot!

In the meantime…

Someone in the food truck called out my name and I picked up my chicken shawarma.

It was fuckin’ aye good, just as one might expect. Even though Dawn and I had both stuffed ourselves on ice cream and BBQ, we chewed through that schawarma wrap like a couple of hungry dogs. And, also, too… randomly… a dog watched us the whole time.

Shoo! Be gone! Off with you! He wouldn’t leave. He knows good shawarma when he smells it.

The chicken was perfectly cooked and had a really nice consistency. The flavors were deep, interesting, and had a very traditional, and authentic taste to me. Just the way I remember stuff from living in larger cities with more Middle-Eastern food available. Thank you for bringing the real deal to Li’l Ol’ Asheville, Suzy. 

We ate our shawarma so fast, I forgot to take a picture. Sorry.

Here’s one more thing about Gypsy Queen… it’s a commitment. As in: That shawarma wrap might be the last thing you kiss for the next 24 to 48 hours.

Our friend Daniel told us that he used to work for Suzy, and he “loved the food, butthat garlic sauce… “

“Not a lot of kissing for you during that period of your life?” I guessed.

“Yeah. No girlfriend,” was his hilariously dead-pan response. I love Daniel. And Suzy! And you too, Dawn… Gimme a kiss… glom glom!


Two last thoughts about the food at Rehaps: First a shout out to Vortex Doughnuts for providing some much-needed, and very delicious coffee, and thanks to Short Street Cakes for the mini-cupcakes.  I ate five. That is a 100 percent truthful statement.

So, yeah, Man: [Re]Happening. Good times. Great Art. Fantastic food. I only regret that I am unable to report on the food provided for the Special Dinner by Black Eyed Susan’s Catering. I didn’t get to try it, but I heard from a reliable Food Fan that it was very good.

### END ###


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 about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook 

External links:
Stu Helm, Jason Sandford, and Lesley Groetsch talk about PEPSITOWN / LOVE TOWN on AVL Informer at Zapow!
@StuHlemFoodFan on Twitter 
STUHELM33 [Instagram]
 THE FOOD CRITIC [channel]
• Food Fans, Asheville: Interview with Foothills Deli at Ben’s Penny Mart
• Food Fans, Asheville: an impromptu interview with Rowdy from Friends Against Butts
• Food Fans, Asheville: Before and After an interview for finding Asheville
• Food Fans, Asheville: My Good Deed for the Day
• Food Fans, Asheville: Brief interview with Chris Cunningham of Blue Dream Curry House
• Food Fans, Asheville: West Village Market & Deli (deli counter interview only)
• Food Fans, Asheville: West Village Market & Deli (full video)
• Indoor Gas Grillin’ Prt I
• Indoor Gas Grillin’ Prt II
• 5 Q’S w/ Chef Mike Moore of Seven Sows & Blind Pig Supper Club
• 5 Q’s w/ Dano Holcomb of Root Down Food Cart
• 5 Q’s w/ Russel Keith of Grey Eagle Taquaeria


indie499 April 15, 2015 - 2:08 pm

15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Yep Stuey’s 15″ is up

RobotDanceMonkey1975 April 15, 2015 - 4:04 pm

No! I don’t want him to go yet! He still hasn’t reviewed the Ethiopian restaurant yet! He could be like “I was worried about eating here, because who the fuck would go to a restaurant to starve to death!!?” or something edgy like that i don’t know i can’t really think what’d he say i can’t do what he does but maybe it’d be a good way for stu to “re-start” his buzzer clock and get himself another 15 minutes.

Anyways pretty good review, but I hate food trucks! I’m always nervous they’ll drive away after I order and give them my money because what’s stopping them??

Harry April 19, 2015 - 11:48 pm

If you could arrange for Stu to meet the owners of the Ethiopian joint in a social setting, it wouldn’t take long for an advertising article to appear. Friendship is the name of the game.

RobotDanceMonkey1975 April 20, 2015 - 8:50 am

I agree, the ability to form “connections” with others does play a big role in our successes. Maybe it’s even more important than “technical ability” in a lot of cases.

I bet stu is the type that “never met a stranger” which at first you think that means the person is a recluse and only goes “grocery shopping at 2 a.m.,” but really it means they’re personable and make good eye contact.

Stu Helm April 15, 2015 - 6:09 pm

You said that a month ago. And two months ago. And three months ago. And six months ago. And a year ago. And a year and a half ago. Longest 15 minutes ever.

indie499 April 17, 2015 - 10:02 am

2 comments and 1 of them is yours.


Stu Helm April 17, 2015 - 10:31 am

Gahd. You’re such a creepy little turd, Indie, and you have been from day one. My name is Stu Helm, and I stand by my own writing and statements. You, on the other hand, hide behind anonymity. Afraid to own your words. Lame. Creepy. Cowardly. Turdly behavior from a turdly person. Your “15 mins” seem to have completely eluded you, BTW. Poor thing. What’s your name again? I’ll google it to see what your accomplishments in life amount to. I’m guessiiing… Not much.

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