Monthly Archives: July 2012

Stoney Knob Cafe-Weaverville’s Best

TEDDY’s RATING:

Weaverville is a little town, just north of Asheville, about a 10 minute drive from downtown. Population: just over 3,000 people.

If you’ve driven through Weaverville you might think of it as just a sleepy little hamlet, but they’ve got some great eating spots. I’ve already written about the Well-Bred Bakery. Definitely check that out if you’re there. But if you’re looking for a great meal at a fun, funky bistro, try the Stoney Knob Café.

When you walk in, you’d think you were in a restaurant in downtown Asheville or even a much more metropolitan city. The décor is a “whimsical blend of artifacts and artful spaces,” as their website says and the menu is made up of American, European, and Mediterranean cuisine.

The Stoney Knob Café started out as a small diner back in the 1960s. When original owner Gus Dermas emigrated from Greece to the US, he discovered Weaverville and fell in love with it because it reminded him of his homeland. The restaurant is currently run by Gus’s sons, John and Yotty.

In 2000, the Stoney Knob Cafe was expanded. The original diner remains, but is now flanked by two other dining areas. On one side is the Red Room where you can enjoy an intimate dinner by the fire. On the other side is the Mediterranean Room, also called the “saints and sinners” room. This larger dining room is decorated with a mish mash of everything from velvet Elvis paintings to a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary. So, one restaurant with three distinctive looks, but all of them inviting and fun, and like nothing you’ve probably ever seen before.

The menu is as eclectic as the atmosphere. They prepare dishes “from near and far” combining local tastes with world-wide flair. You can get Spanish paella, Greek moussaka, Asian spring rolls, falafel, Kobe beef burgers, and filet mignon. There are also seafood, vegetarian and gluten-free choices.

We started off our meal with an excellent cocktail, the Love Potion #69, a blend of strawberry kiwi Vodka, peach schnapps, lemon juice and sour mix. Delightful. They have other original cocktails, a full bar and an extensive wine list.

For entrees, the tortellini with chicken was light, creamy and totally delicious with a parmesan carbonara sauce, prosciutto and peas. And as the menu says, the tender braised boneless short ribs with asiago stone ground grits were “to die for.” We rounded off the meal with their luscious Italian lemon cake.

Service was excellent, as was the food and the entire experience. There’s really nothing negative I can say about the Stoney Knob Café. I can’t wait to go back there on my next trip to the Asheville area. 

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

http://www.stoneyknobcafe.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Get Back to Nature at the North Carolina Arboretum

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Describing the North Carolina Arboretum in words is not an easy task. So, I’ll just let my pictures tell you all about it. I will include a few words, though.

The North Carolina Arboretum, just south of downtown Asheville, is a 434-acre public garden near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

      

      

There are 65 acres of lush cultivated gardens, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, ever changing indoor and outdoor exhibits, a fabulous Bonsai collection, and the incredible quilt garden (which was being replanted on our last visit, but was beautiful in 2009).

      

The Arboretum is open daily, weather permitting, except for December 25th. There is no per person admission fee, but they have a parking fee of $8.00 per vehicle. Visit the first Tuesday of the month and parking is free.

      

      

You can grab a light bite at The Savory Thyme Café Tuesdays through Sundays. And if you’re looking for a location for your “green” wedding, the North Carolina Arboretum is the perfect place.

      

It’s a beautiful way to spend a quiet day getting back to nature. I recommend it.

Dates of Visit:  May 2009, May 2012

http://www.ncarboretum.org/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Giddy Up to the Apopka Food Truck Roundup

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Rustle up some tasty vittles at the Apopka Food Truck Roundup!

The food truck craze has really exploded all across the country. You can sample all types of food in one place. Kind of like a traveling food court. I’ve even toyed with the idea of opening up one myself. Teddy’s Tantalizing Treats?  Hmmm.

Anyway, the Apopka Food Truck Roundup takes place the first Thursday of every month at Kit Land Nelson Park in downtown Apopka, Florida from 5:30pm to 9pm. This food truck event has been so successful that in August they’ll be celebrating their 1st birthday.

Several of the food trucks are regulars at the Roundup and others take turns making an appearance. Here are the trucks that were there when we went:

Burger Culture, Sunset Ice, TJ’s Seafood Shack, The Crooked Spoon, Monsta Lobsta, Yum Yum Cupcakes, Brisket Bus, Jimmy’s Meatballs, Kerri Out, Fat Tortillas, Korean BBQ Taco Box, Big Wheel Truck, The Crepe Company, Shipyard Brewing.

       

Each of them has their own Facebook page and you can follow them on Twitter so you know where to find them each day or weekend. Some have website, some even do catering.

Here’s the food that we tried:

The Crooked Spoon: Macaroni & Cheese, with bacon, yellow and red peppers, fresh basil and crumb topping.
The Brisket Bus: Pulled brisket sandwich with cole slaw.
TJ’s Seafood Shack: Fish & Chips.
The Crepe Company: Red, White and Blue Crepe (strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream).
Sunset Ice: Banana and strawberry Italian ice.

And we rounded off the meal with half a dozen cupcakes from Yum Yum Cupcakes: Root Beer Boom Boom, Orange Cream Dream, The Ballad of Churro, Peanut Butter Choco-Rama, Red Velvet and Lady Bird (gluten-free hummingbird cake).

Everything was very good, especially the cupcakes. Of the six, there wasn’t one that I didn’t like, but my favorites were Root Beer Boom Boom and Peanut Butter Choco-Rama.

I do have to say that the prices were a bit steep ($8.50 for the mac and cheese, $13.00 for the six cupcakes), but you’re paying for the experience. And it was a fun experience. There was live jazz music. The city sets up tables and chairs, which a lot of other food truck sites don’t do. We got there early before there were any long lines. Food is made fresh to order, so you should be prepared to wait. And even though most trucks take credit cards, it’s faster if you have cash.

So, why not lasso a great meal at the next Apopka Food Truck Roundup? But get there early, before the stampede!!

Dates of Visit:  July 5, 2012

http://www.facebook.com/ApopkaFoodTruckRoundUp

http://www.apopka.net/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Cougars and Otters and Bears, Oh My!

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Take a walk on the wild side of Asheville at The Western North Carolina Nature Center, a 42 acre nature sanctuary not far from downtown.

The Nature Center is home to more than 220 animals and the largest collection of Southern Appalachian animal species in the world. It is also where injured or orphaned animals are taken who cannot survive in the wild on their own.

The Nature Center is very nicely landscaped with tree lined walkways. All the enclosures are designed to represent the native habitats of each animal. So, it’s not your traditional zoo.

      

One of the most popular attractions is the River Otter Exhibit. You can sit for hours watching these playful creatures jump in and out of the water, playing with toys and swimming around.

I was most fascinated with the black bear habitat. Instead of being caged, these black bears roam free with a raised walkway for visitors to get a close up view of these lovely animals.

      

There were also white-tailed deer, red wolves, grey wolves, and two beautiful cougars. There is a reptile house featuring rattlesnakes, frogs and the largest salamander in North America, the Hellbender. There’s also a petting zoo for the kids with sheep, goats and donkeys.

      

The Nature Center is open year-round, seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm. It’s a nice way to spend a few hours of your day, roaming along the quiet trails, seeing all the animals, and of course taking lots of pictures.

Dates of Visit:  May 2012

http://www.wncnaturecenter.com/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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