Tag Archives: Asheville

Chai Pani in Asheville is a “Can’t Miss”

Chai Pani should be on your not-to-be-missed list when traveling to/by/through Asheville. It will be so worth it.

If you’re a regular reader, you know my kidlets love Indian food. So when an opportunity to be in the Asheville area presented itself, we planned dinner accordingly and made our way to Meherwan Irani’s much celebrated Indian street food restaurant. Think all the fun staples—chaat, bhel puri, pakoras…all shareable and fun. There are a few larger plates too, like the butter chicken. My kids were a bit disappointed not to see Chicken Tikka Masala on the menu but the Butter Chicken was a hit (it’s a close enough compromise). Chicken Tikka is a feature on the menu at times.

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Chai Pani is super cute and a bit retro inside. I’d say it’s on the small side but you don’t feel crammed at all.  We were there on a Monday and halfway through our meal, it was already filled up inside.  It’s been two months since our visit and now that the homeschool year is pretty much wrapped up, I finally have time to share some of the delights we enjoyed. Annnnnd that being said, I simply have no idea what the featured dish was that night as it changes often and my brain has no recollection other than I know it was wonderful. It may have been a vadouvan with a protein like lamb or goat, savory, aromatic, with a bit of a kick.

Green Mango Chaat

Green Mango Chaat

This wonderful chaat, considered a street food snack, was deliciously sweet and salty, cool and crisp and no wonder it’s the perfect snack because it has everything you want in something munchy.

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Aldo Tikki Chaat

Now heading to the more savory side, we really loved these crispy Indian potato fritters  “served on spiced garbanzo bean stew topped with tamarind & green chutneys, sweetened yogurt, and crunchy chickpea noodles (sev).” This was a warm, spicy appetizer that had all those aromatics and flavor you love in a classic Indian dish.

Kale Fritters

Kale Pakoras

Indian style savory kale fritters made with curried chickpea batter. Served with green chutney & sweet yogurt.  So unexpected, Chai Pani sent out these kale fritters that were A-MAZE-ING. Get them get them get them!  My mouth waters thinking about them. They’re like kale chips taken up 1000 notches. Super crunchy perfection.

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Butter Chicken Thali

I mean you just cannot go wrong with Butter Chicken. Marinated and seared Joyce Farms chicken in an aromatic tomato cream sauce with butter and jaggery. It’s described on the menu as a North Indian favorite and one of Chai Pani’s signature dishes. You might need two. We didn’t because of all of the above, lol.

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Vadouvan

While the Butter Chicken was mainly for the kiddos, this spicy dish was for Mr. foodie and myself. I will say that the rice at Chai Pani is perfection, but basmati done right usually is as traditionally it’s made in a large amount of water and drained off so that you get beautiful individual grains of rice. See them?

The dishes were just the perfect balance of savory and a touch of sweet with the appropriate tangy requirements from yogurt, citrus. You just can’t get any better.

The kitchen actually sent out a couple of desserts for us to try. My daughter really enjoyed the “mango ice cream sandwich” on a wafer cookie and I absolutely loved gulab jamun, which is deep fried dumplings made of milk, flour, butter and cream, soaked in cardamom & rose syrup. There’s just something about the texture of those little dumplings in the syrup. And they’re just the prettiest little things. If you’re a fan of Indian rice pudding, it’s also an option.

The Chai Pani restaurant group has locations in Atlanta and Decatur, GA and you may have also heard of Buxton Hall Barbecue, also in Asheville. Another can’t miss eatery if visiting the area. For cocktails, you’d love Asheville’s MG Road and now Irani, who must not be busy enough, has launched his own spice company, Spicewalla.

So if you’re traveling in Western NC and you see fit to make some time in Asheville. I just cannot recommend Chai Pani enough. Service is wonderful. Drinks are great. Food is incredible.  And even if you think you don’t like Indian food, Chai Pani may convert you with their fun, shareable plates.

Chai Pani
22 Battery Park Ave (58.67 mi)
Asheville, North Carolina 28801

 

 

 

Beyond the Triad: Asheville–Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder. Eat here. You’ll Be Happy

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I have several places to chronicle from my little trip to Asheville with Mr. foodie. Normally I’d start with where I, well, started. But sometimes a place is so good, you skip ahead to the last night you were there and let it be the beginning. Then you decide, nah, this place deserves a post all its OWN! So here’s a mini-chronicle of where we ate and then we’ll blaze right into Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder. A more in-depth post of the chronicle will follow suit (like in a day or so) ;).

Day 1: Charlotte: Tulips Multi-Cuisine
Asheville: Curate (holy smackers, yum)
Day 2: Green Sage Coffee
Blackbird
Chestnut
Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder
Day 3: Posana Cafe ❤ LOVED ❤

And now, about Seven Sows, Bourbon & Larder. I have heard wonderful things about Owner/Executive Chef Mike Moore and his new restaurant that opened in March. Mr. foodie visited Asheville a couple months ago, had a NC shaved ham board and bar drinks that he RAVED about. It put him in such a good mood he went to watch some comedy.  For this visit, Seven Sows was a non-negotiable. We were DEFINITELY going to eat there. Then some other very cool folks tried to sway us to a place that’s LIKE Seven Sows. Am I glad we stuck to our instincts and stayed downtown at the Sow! It’s a gorgeous restaurant. Kind of progressive farm-style with dark walls and ceiling, corrugated aluminum and little coverings for booth areas. Lots of wood and historical looking decor. It was rugged while not being manly. The side-facing patio was open by a large garage door and gave the feeling of an open air restaurant while being inside. Walls were black with lots of rough hewn beams. My kind of place. Very appropriate for a place with the name bourbon in it.

Seven Sows bar. See all those pickles?

Seven Sows bar. See all those pickles?

Wall adjoining patio

Wall adjoining patio

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The menu is “nostalgic southern created in modern cuisine” and full of locally sourced ingredients.  The first thing I wanted NEEDED to get was Chicken Cracklins. That is fried chicken skins, baby. No dip with it. Just crunchy and chewy skins with lots of salt and pepper on them. Geez!

I decided to order two small plates. The Fried Brussel Sprout Salad, with Pecorino, Soft Egg, Bacon and Root Vegetable and Jalapeño Hash. Foodies, this is one of the most satisfying things I’ve eaten. It was so delightful. If you don’t like brussels, you’d probably like THIS. Every last bite was eye-rolling. I don’t think it’s on the brunch menu, but it would be a great brunch salad. The brussels were crispy caramelized, the bacon was crispy and thick. The root veggies had a little bite to them still. And that egg when pierced just sort of created this warm, creamy sauce for the salad. My other small plate was the NC Skate Wing. It came with roasted beets, leeks and a fried green tomato with a delicious tarter sauce. The skate was lightly fried and tasted like a scallop but with the texture of something like snapper. Wonderful.

Fried brussel sprout salad, Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, triadfoodies, Asheville

Fried Brussel Sprout Salad

NC Skate Wing, Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, triadfoodies, Asheville

NC Skate Wing

Mr. foodie ordered a Scotch Duck Egg with bacon bread crumbs, country sausage, deviled egg aoili and a butterbean mint salad. So flavorful! And his entree was the Heritage Cheshire Pork Chop that came with these amazing LEMON corn grits, collard greens and it was all adorned with peaches, shallot and a Sweet Tea Chop Sauce. Really fantastic. Mr. foodie still talks about those creamy lemony grits. So different yet so fresh. Note: For some reason the beautiful iPhone 5 pics that Mr. took aren’t has large. Can’t figure out how to increase them.

Scotch Duck Egg

Scotch Duck Egg

Cheshire Pork, Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, triadfoodies

Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Chop

Mr. foodie likey! He didn’t bother to look up for his glamour shot.

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We had a couple of cocktails. I ordered the Lavender Lemonade. Refreshingly simple vodka lemonade with lavender syrup and Mr. ordered a bourbon drink—the Bufala Negra with fresh basil, balsamic and ginger ale. It was very, very nice.

Bufala Negra & Lavender Lemonade

Bufala Negra & Lavender Lemonade

After that, we could scarcely move so there was no room for dessert, I’m sorry to say. But I can tell you, the options all looked amazing, like Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta, Jasmine Creme Brûlée or Butterscotch Pudding or how about Peach Pie with Rosemary Ice Cream? Yes, please.

The menu changes often so what you see here may not be there when you go. They have too many bourbon and whiskeys to count. The bar is open with snacks late on Friday and Saturday. And, since a “larder” is a “pantry” you can also buy items, while available, like buttermilk, ham and pickles…all from the region.

I can’t wait to go back soon and try something totally different on the menu. Next time, I plan to save room for dessert.
www.sevensows.com
77 BILTMORE AVENUE ASHEVILLE, NC 28801 USA
DINNER: MON-SAT 5PM-10PM SUNDAY DINNER: 5-9 BRUNCH: SUN 10:30AM-2:30PM
(828) 255-2592