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Eating our way through Hendersonville, Don’t Miss Hendersonville Restaurant Week!

I was honored to be invited with other food bloggers to attend a Sneak Peek of Hendersonville Restaurant Week. Meals and accommodations were provided gratis. All opinions are my own. 

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I just got back from a quick little trip to Hendersonville, NC to catch a sneak peek of the upcoming Hendersonville Restaurant Week which is happening  March 15-24. I’m telling you about it now because it’ll give you plenty of time to plan. And let me tell you, you’re gonna want to take a little jaunt to the mountains of North Carolina to check out this foodie town and get you some delicious eats.

I had heard that Hendersonville had a happening food scene, while enjoying being a touch “away” from the tourist vibe in nearby Asheville (about 20 minutes away). It was my first time and I immediately fell in love with its charming downtown as well as the neighboring village of Flat Rock.  A half dozen or so food bloggers from all over the state and South Carolina were invited by my friend, Laura Huff the Carolina Epicurean, to taste what is to come for their first ever restaurant week. We tried eight restaurants in 2 1/2 days …it’s a tough life, foodies. We call it R & D and I haven’t quite recovered from so many tastes of foods. Plus I got spoiled a little, I ain’t gonna lie.

The 10-day event encourages locals and visitors to explore restaurants via prix fixe multi-course menus. You’ll find all varieties of restaurants participating, from taverns to fine dining and even food trucks. Lunch menus range from $10-15 and dinner menus from $25-35 (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). And if you want to turn your foodie adventure into a bonafide getaway, there are lodging partners that are offering special rates and packages, such as buying a two night stay, get a third for free. Reservations are recommended as this inaugural event is generating quite the buzz.  Please be sure to visit the Hendersonville Restaurant Week website for the latest menu updates. Below is just a smidge of what you’ll taste and see during HRW. We just glazed the surface baby. And we ate a ton!

Flat Rock Wood Room  1501 Greenville Hwy, Hendersonville
This cute BBQ restaurant meets pizza joint draws you in the moment you get our of your car. The smell of the smoke and the casual ambiance invite you to just hang for a while. Be sure to get some stock for your pantry with Jamie Guay’s Championship rubs and sauces. You’ll have trouble deciding. There’s a lot to choose on the menu and we tried some tasty bites, but I really loved those wings and you must try the cornbread. It rocks.

Old Orchard Tavern201 Sugarloaf Rd, Hendersonville

Located in the Cascades Mountain Resort, this little restaurant is not your typical hotel restaurant. Very chef-driven with locally-sourced ingredients, I look forward to dining here again. The hotel is quaint and you can enjoy some family time in the indoor pool with a slide that kids of all ages would love. As for the food? Delicious is all I can tell you. Highly recommend any of the dishes. I also loved this beer-brined game hen, which didn’t make the cut. So just be sure to check the website for any menu changes.

Brooks Tavern142 3rd Ave W, Hendersonville

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If tavern fare is more you speed, you’ll love this cute little happening bar-meets-restaurant for drinks and specials and pub food. It’s just so fun and pretty too. Don’t miss the jar of candied bacon and if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll enjoy the fried (yes, fried) cheesecake. Think cheesecake made like an egg roll served with a side of preserves. Big enough to share. 

Postero401 N Main St, Hendersonville

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You. Guys. Postero is gorgeous and Postero put so much food in front of us that we ate ourselves into a tizzy.  And Postero has great lighting for food photography and I felt very comfortable there with my fellow food bloggers just taking snaps. I’m sure people were aghast but we didn’t care because we were with our people. There were several highlights but I have to say that the whipped goat cheese mousse with house-made waffle fries kept me going back for more. As did the salmon tartare. As did the polenta fries. And the banana ice box pie. I’ll stop now.

Season’s at Highland Lake86 Lily Pad Ln, Flat Rock
A great vacation spot whether you’re vacationing solo, as a twosome or as a family. Highland Lake enjoys hosting receptions, weddings, parties and business luncheons. Quite too many tastes that we tried to list here. We had a table full of plates and we passed and tasted in a flurry. What you see here may change and here are some of my faves.

Hannah Flanagan’s300 N Main St, Hendersonville
A traditional, no frills, super casual Irish pub. Their claim to fame is the Shepherd’s Pie Eggroll. Dipped in a little brown gravy, it’s a super tasty crispy on the outside soul-soothing favorite.

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Never Blue119 S Main St, Hendersonville
Ya’ll. My bucket list spot. I’ve been trying to get to Never Blue for a few years now since hearing the praises of superstar Chef Jesse Roque. She’s so hip and gorgeous and super sweet. And heck yeah, can she cook. Tried a lot here too. My favorites were the Gypsy Cheese (think a tex-mex style pimento cheese, but with jalapenos) topped with Cowboy Candy (think candied jalapenos…and yum). The gnocchi was also mmmm…mmmm good. Be prepared to get FED at Never Blue. The portions at dinner are no joke, but Jesse says she wants you full and happy and you will be! 

 

The Dugout Taproom & Grill430 N Main St, Hendersonville
This is the only spot I didn’t get to try since I had to get back to the kiddos, but from the photos I saw, you might want to get you some fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese because, cheesy goodness. 

Where I stayed:

1898 Wavery Inn

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1898 Waverly Inn is the oldest surviving inn in Hendersonville. This inn used to be a boarding house before being turned into a charming bed and breakfast. Mike and Tracey made us feel so welcome.  Breakfasts were delicious and not just for guests. You’re welcome to just come in the morning to eat. It’s very convenient and just a block from downtown. Be sure to enjoy their social hour and if the weather is warm, you’ll love taking a seat in a rocking chair a swing on the charming front porch.  

If there’s time between eats, don’t miss…

Appalachian Pinball Museum, 538 N Main St, Hendersonville

Pinball machines, Pac-Man, Tetris, Frogger. All in a historic theater. It will take you back for sure.

Also try not to miss:

The Poe House 

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Named in honor of author Edgar Allan Poe, The Poe House is located in historic downtown Hendersonville. Coming off somewhere between English Pub and trendy wine bar. The Poe House is a hangout for locals and visitors alike. A cozy place to enjoy live music, a craft cocktail, beer from their ever changing draft list, or a flight of hand selected wines.

What I loved about Hendersonville is that the downtown is very walkable with wide streets and ample parking. And the nearby town of Flat Rock has cute little shops and eateries, a wonderful park, Flat Rock Playhouse and the Carl Sandburg home.

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A portion of Restaurant Week’s proceeds will benefit Dandelion, a job-training cafe in downtown Hendersonville for Safelight, a nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence.

Check out the restaurant week menus here. For more information about Hendersonville, click here.

Happy eating and traveling foodies. Let me know where you go and what you loved. Tag us while you’re there on FB or Insta, we love seeing you on your adventures!

Website: http://hendersonvillerw.com
Social:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HendersonvilleRestaurantWeek/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hendersonvillerestaurantweek/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HendoRestWeek

For Lodging Specials: http://hendersonvillerw.com/lodging-partners/

Carolina Poutine with Pulled Pork

Did you say poutine? Yes, yes! This is your all local poutine inspired by the abundance that North Carolina offers. I am receiving compensation from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to raise awareness about purchasing pork at NC farmer’s markets. All opinions and content are my own.

IMG_7515Every once in a while a great opportunity comes along and you get a little more bang for your buck when it comes to being a cheerleader for all things local–you get a whole TEAM of cheerleaders. I’ve partnered with the NC Department of Agriculture’s Got to be NC program along with bloggers across the state, to highlight some of our local farmers. Bloggers like me, who love local goodness (I’ll call them my SQUAD), are shopping at their local NC farmer’s market, buying the ingredients for a meal and sharing the recipe with folks like you. We’ve got chicken and pork coming at you. I’ll share links to those at the end of this post.

My farm is Mill River Farm in Mount Airy. I’m actually familiar with farmers, Kim and Steve, as I subscribed to a CSA with them a few years back. Such quality meat and produce!  I looked forward to what would be in my box every Saturday when I picked it up from the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market.  market - booth2

Kim and Steve have an abundant farm and they sell pork products such as bacon, pork belly, pork butt and loin, chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, produce of all varieties like lettuce, kale, peas, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and I could go on and on. You can visit them at the farm (details here) or at the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market, where you can speak to them directly and find out more about how they raise their animals and grow produce that you can feel so great about.  They’re both super knowledgeable and enjoy sharing what they do. Kim even has a cookbook called Cook Like a Farmer .  It’s full of great recipes. The thing that we don’t want you to forget is: When you visit your North Carolina farmer’s market, don’t forget the meat!

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When I saw Kim and Steve, they weren’t in their traditional digs inside the farmer’s market since the fair was in town. But they had enough yumminess on hand for me to purchase the main ingredients for my #GotToBeNCPork Carolina Poutine.  Poutine? Yeah, baby! Poutine is typically french fries and cheese curds with a rich brown gravy.  If you’ve had it, you know it’s like the guiltiest pleasure ever. Mine is a riff on that.

Let’s take a look at my truly local…

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Carolina Poutine with GotToBeNCPork
Serves 2-4

2-4 Sweet Potatoes (count on about one per person), preferably #gottobeNC
Pulled pork (from a 2-3 pound #GotToBeNCPork butt or shoulder)
Ashe County Cheese Curds
BBQ Sauce of your choice (I used a blend of chipotle sauce with some Eastern NC sauce I had on hand)

To prepare the pork: Give the pork a good liberal rub of your choice of seasoning plus plenty of salt and pepper. If you’re able, grill the pork on all sides. I don’t have a smoker, so I let my grill and my slow cooker do the work for me. Get it good and browned on all sides, then place in the slow cooker with about 1 1/2 cups of water or broth (beer or a mixture of bbq sauce and water is fine too–you just want a flavorful liquid). Allow to cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Once tender and falling apart, remove from cooker and shred it, baby.

Cut your NC Sweet Taters into fry-sized sticks. Coat with oil (I used avocado oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and sprinkle with smoked paprika (optional), salt and pepper. Bake at 400-degrees until lightly browned and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Just before you remove the fries from the oven, heat up the sauce. I simply used my favorite Sam Jones Eastern NC style sauce and added some smoky chipotles to it.  You will want that sauce to be PIPING hot so that it can melt the cheese curds as it hits them.

On a platter or pan, place the crispy sweet potato fries in heaping pile. Top with shredded pork, cheese curds and drizzle the sauce over the top. The sauce should be hot enough to start melting the cheese curds. If not, it’s okay to blast it under the broiler until they appear to be just melting.

Garnish with chopped green onions and enjoy!

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I want you to know that this delicious and fun recipe is simply a guide. If you can slow cook your meat on a smoker, so much the better. As I said before, I don’t have a smoker but I do have the grill and a slow cooker. I get a really good crust by grilling on high, though I keep an eye on it as the fat and any sugar on the outside can cause it to light up. You can also bypass the slow cooker and modify by cooking on a low heat in the oven for 2 1/2-3 hours. The sauce is also up to you. A mole would be amazing with those sweet potatoes. Play around with your flavors and have fun!

So… what makes it poutine? To a purist, is it still poutine if it doesn’t have real gravy but rather a sauce?

I’m not here to debate that. I just do know this poutine delicious party, nosh, use-up-leftovers kind of fare that tastes great with a NC craft beer. Support your local farmers at your local market. I’ve got links below to plenty of convenient locations and some of the best pork in North Carolina.

PS: You are going to have plenty of pork leftover for another poutine, tacos, breakfast…or a good ol’ BBQ plate.

Here’s a list of the pork and chicken from my squad:

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Got To Be NC Pork at Your Local NC Farmers Market

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Watch Heidi’s video!

Got to Be NC Chicken at your NC Farmers Market

 

Backyard Flavor: How the Pros Smoke ‘Em Out

Hi, foodies!

I don’t plan to make a habit of posting and linking every story I do for YES! Weekly. But I thought this is especially timely and such fun chatting with some local chefs about how they celebrate the perfect backyard experience.

I  penned the opener of this week’s issue of YES! Weekly. Read it here!

Then click on the CHOW icon for my chat with the local chefs. Talk soon, foodies!

BackyardFlavorChefs

triadfoodies named Top NC Bloggers to follow by FlipKey

Hey, foodies!

Long time no chat. Been busy traveling and eating while we travel. Stay tuned for some recaps which are way overdue and deserved.

I got a note today that triadfoodies was just named a top NC-based blog to follow by FlipKey by tripadvisor. Pretty cool since when we travel across NC and beyond, we love to let you know about the greatest local eats.

I’m in some great company in this list. Check it out!

We’ll talk soon!

Kristi