Stu Helm, Asheville’s Facebook Food Critic, on Tod’s Tasties, Dough

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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facebook_food_critic_2013Since the first post was so popular, here are a couple more reviews from Stu Helm, Asheville’s Facebook Food Critic:

Tod’s Tasties – Montford, Asheville

I’m not an expert on feng shui. I don’t even necessarily give a shit about it, but I know an asinine set-up when I see one, and Tod’s has the most asinine set-up in Asheville.

You walk in the front door… directly into the line of people waiting to order, there is nowhere to stand while you wait for your order, and the cream and sugar bar, bus-buckets, and bathroom door are all jammed-up into the same tiny space that everyone is waiting to order, or waiting for their order in. Holy fuck. Even that last sentence was crowded, confused, and disorienting.

There is another door, but as far as I can tell, they keep it locked at all times, and there is another room, but the one-and-only time I ate back there, it was an almost unbearable hot-box where flying insects of all kinds had come by the hundreds to pester, then die. Your best bet is the outdoor seating, but even there, make sure you grab some shade, because the sun is, like, 20 degrees hotter and 50 lumens brighter on the patio at Tod’s than anywhere else in the world. Of course, I hate the sun, so that’s probably just me.

The staff are friendly, professional, and attractive… well, the friendliness is a crap-shoot, to be honest. They seem a little moody at Tod’s. Must be the feng shui.

The food and coffee at Tod’s are both really good, and worth all of the above if I’m in the right frame of mind. I have mostly been there for breakfast-type foods, and have enjoyed the scones, biscuit sandwiches, and croissants in the past. The coffee is rich, full-bodied, hot, fresh and delicious: 4 stars.

Tod’s is on my list of places that I go, and when the weather is good, the staff are upbeat, and all the stars and planets in the fucking Universe are perfectly aligned, I love it!

DOUGH – Merrimon Ave., Asheville

I keep trying to like Dough. I’ve been there, like, 5 or 6 times, and tried everything from the bacon maple donut to their pepperoni pizza, but it’s just not happening for me… yet…

The donut was big, had maple icing, and chopped up bits of bacon on it. The flavor was okay, but I’m just gonna say it: this donut was hard to eat. It was bigger than I could open my mouth, so I had to attack it like a rat, which meant I got icing on my nose. Plus all the bacon fell off, so I had to gnaw off a bite of donut and then put a piece of bacon in my mouth if I wanted to enjoy them both at the same time. It wasn’t even all that great of a donut, and beleive me, I’ve eaten a lot of fuckin’ donuts. I expected more from a place with the word “Do” right in their name.

The pizza wanted to artisan-style, and pretty much was, but it just wasn’t awesome. It was good… enough… but again, fell short of my expectations, which were largely based on the pricetag, which was large, and the fact that the place is called Dough… and pizza has dough.

Then there was the Angry Mustard Incident. Yep. There was an incident. Basically, I ordered a sandwich, they made me the wrong sandwich, and when I pointed that out, I got the distinct impression that they didn’t believe me, and then the sandwhcih I got back had, like, 2 1/2 tablespoons of yellow mustard on it. As I scraped off the mustard into a sizable blob on my plate, I said to my friend, “That’s angry mustard. That’s ”fuck you’ mustard.”

I’ll keep trying Dough… I want to like it so bad! I mean, c’mon! I love things that are made out of dough! Do it for me, Dough! Do it!!!

I just hope they don’t see this review, or the pile of mustard I’m gonna get…

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.stu_helm_2013

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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  1. Karen November 28, 2013

    These may be the best, most spot-in reviews this local foodie has ever read. I want Stu to go to Chestnut…not because it’s awesome (it’s not) but because I want to read his take on the place. Please, please, more Stu reviews.

  2. None November 4, 2013

    Dough dough doh doh doh! What a terrible bakery. Overpriced, out of touch and only mediocre food. Asheville, when will we get a REAL bakery???

  3. Lauren November 2, 2013

    I was just discussing Dough with a friend the other day…totally agree..but have finally quit going back hoping for an epiphany…and I think the service is marginal, at best. What a disappointment they turned out to be. Glad they put the damn thing in North Asheville.

  4. Rain November 2, 2013

    I read this mostly to hear what others thought of Dough. I have also been struggling to like it, giving it several tries. Most of the time it goes fine, as long as I stick to a simple side dish or loaf of monkey bread. Tried to get doughnuts and then a few of their to-go dinners the other night. Dry doughnuts (think muffins in a weird shape) and then 22$ for not-quite 2 servings of manicotti? In a plastic TV dinner tray? And it wasn’t all that great! Crazy prices for mediocre food.

    Two thumbs up for the reviewer, however! Stu better be back with more.

  5. Orbit DVD November 1, 2013

    I’m digging these as well and a request for Mr. Sanford. Please don’t compromise objective reviews for ad dollars (like other local publications).

    1. Jason Sandford November 4, 2013

      I hear ya, man.

  6. Jeremiah November 1, 2013

    Stu just fucking nailed it on this one. This dude is fucking awesome.

    My hopes and dreams for Tod’s (when the building was transitioning) was that they’d move that line and bring the beer up front. The one thing that’s been fucked up about everything that’s called that building home is the entry/line area and NO ONE has fixed it. Christ.

    Also, Dough is just like a Will Smith movie. All the glitz and glamour of something that has potential to be great, then, well, Will Smith happens.

    Can’t wait for what’s next.

  7. Melissa October 31, 2013

    Tod’s is “to go only” for me. Horrendous place to try to eat. And Dough is just way too bland for me…

    I LOVE these reviews!

  8. Davyne Dial October 31, 2013

    I want to like Dough too, it’s practically at my front door…but so far I’ve been underwhelmed.

    Throwing angry mustard atcha….not cool.

  9. Foothills Dweller October 31, 2013

    I was so stoked the whole time they were building Dough, following it’s progress on Facebook. I’m assuming that Chef Brian Ross (I think that’s his name) isn’t doing the actual cooking, reading all the ‘bland food’ reviews. Maybe he focuses on the teaching or something. I see that they’re not worth driving up the mountain and battling Merrimon.

    I agree with Christopher D – I hope that Stu’s reviews are a regular feature. Informative and humorous at the same time. ‘Fuck you mustard’ – ha!

  10. E-g0r October 31, 2013

    The “fuck you mustard” incident is priceless…easily the funniest thing I’ve read in a food review. As an aside, I’m glad Stu got this gig because it seems like he needed some way to subsidize his eating out budget.

  11. JML October 31, 2013

    very funny, keep em coming, this cat could be a regular ashvegas poster

  12. not tastie October 31, 2013

    Re: Dough. Not great, bread, sorry. I’ve had much better “artisan” bread and would buy the stuff at Greenlife over this. I have had some excellent sandwiches there, though.

    Totally agree – BEST FOOD WRITER EVER! Can’t wait to read your next review.

  13. Christopher D. October 31, 2013

    Love these reviews, so far they’ve been spot on. Can Stu be a permanent part of Ashvegas, please?

    I also think Tod’s food is worth the bad fung schwee.

    1. Media Watcher November 1, 2013

      Now, if Ashvegas can figure out how to monetize his new food star . . .

  14. doh-nut October 31, 2013

    Not to mention one donut at Dough costs $4! Whoever heard of such a thing?!

  15. Z October 30, 2013

    I’ve never been to Tod’s but everyone tells me to get it delivered and not to go there. I’ve been to Dough and he is right on about that damned Maple Bacon Doughnut. Also had the muffaletta which was tasteless and too big to eat also. Bigger is not always better. I’d go back to try the take out options and maybe grab some bread. Next time you go there take some of your oddest book choices and add them to the free library cabinet out front.

  16. Anon October 30, 2013

    You are the best food writer EVER

  17. not tastie October 30, 2013

    How can you ruin a bagel and cream cheese? I don’t know how exactly they did, but that was the last thing I tried to eat at Tod’s. It’s weird because don’t the same folks own Table? I’ll eat there any day.

  18. Crick October 30, 2013

    Right on about Tod’s bad feng shui. How can people work there day in and day out and it not ever occur to them to change the orientation, streamline function, think about the customer experience? As for Dough, my gripes are that most dishes are not seasoned properly (great if you like bland) and the counter help. Have been in 6 times and 5 times the counter help was thrown off balance by malfunctioning computer, cash register, confused orders, prep guys that were too busy show-boating to make the sandwich correctly and my last experience where I had to instruct the counter girl how to seal the sandwiches, put them in a bag so they didn’t spill and walk her step by step thru customer service 101. She was oblivious. I want to like Dough but it needs to offer something more than grandma’s bland chicken salad, however well-sourced, and train the staff in professional counter service.

    1. smytty October 31, 2013

      I also want to like Dough. Been there twice, had an okay experience, but was overcharged both times. Not a giant deal, but the first time I pointed it out to the cashier and they were annoyed. The second time, I didn’t even bother to point it out.

  19. Icenine October 30, 2013

    Tod’s review is spot on. Good food, friendly staff, poor layout.

    As for Dough, been there three times and all of the food was delicious, especially the meatloaf sandwich that was on special…

  20. Jami October 30, 2013

    This guy is telling me my feelings about Tod’s that I didn’t even realise I had.

    But I can’t agree with the Dough review. I’ve never had pizza, but everything I’ve ever had has been insanely fantastic. Pistachio fig cake? That curried chicken salad? What what? Also, I appreciate that all of their ingredients are of the highest quality, and all meat is responsibly sourced but they keep the price range pretty fair.

    1. So Pretentious October 31, 2013

      As a vegetarian, the idea of “responsibly sourced” meat seems rather implausible. Maybe there’s another phrase for it? Obviously, most everyone eats meat and that’s fine, but don’t trick yourself with buzzwords. Unless you’re going to go for roadkill or natural causes, isn’t all meat-sourcing/animal-killing either really bad or bad?


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