August 15, 2013

Roadtripping Through Asheville & Durham, NC

As mentioned in Tuesday's weekend recap, we made a long weekend of traveling down south to North Carolina to spend time visiting and celebrating with some of our good friends. Sunday, our friends Emily and Allison were hosting a baby shower for our friends Lindsay and Adam (you might remember them from here) who live in Durham, so we thought it would be a fun idea to make a weekend of it by driving down to Asheville first to catch up with Emily and J before we all headed back up to Durham for the shower.

So, we hit the road early Friday morning and smiled at the fact we were able to make a few pit stops along the way to publish a blog post and just generally take in the scenery as we got further south.

You might remember our first trip to Asheville when we went to see Emily and J's place from this time last year. One of the things we were looking forward to the most was hitting up 12 Bones again for lunch. It's a famous smokehouse in Asheville known for only being open on weekdays, only for lunch, and only during certain parts of the year — it was a must. They always have something a little saucy on their sign too. Last year's message was "Good Cheap Butt," this year it was "Sweet Racks and Nice Ribs Too:"

Friday evening we stopped by the local Chop Shop to pick up some steaks to go on the grill along with some fresh corn and hot padron peppers we'd brought down from Virginia.

The Chop Shop is a perfect example of how wherever we go, Tim makes some sort of lasting connection. He was wearing his Meat Hook shirt that day and when we walked in, the guys in the shop asked him — is that The Meat Hook in Brooklyn? After replying yes, they instantly broke out in friendly conversation about a mutual connection they had from childhood who runs the Meat Hook. I'm telling you, this happens all the time with my guy!

The steaks Tim and J decided on were called "cowboy ribeyes" since they were big enough to feed a really big, really hungry cowboy. We ended up getting 2 to cut up between the 4 of us. We had fun making jokes about brontosaurus steaks and how manly these men were grilling up these big steaks!

The next morning we headed out to try a new breakfast place in Asheville called Biscuit Head. Anything with a name like that sounds dangerously good in our book. This place centers around homemade biscuits of all kinds:

They even have a butter and jam bar with artisanal mixes you can try with whatever you ordered:

It turns out these biscuits are the referred to as "Cat Heads," meaning they are literally the size of a cat's head. I got the fried green tomato special and Tim went with the 3 pigs special. This was one brunch for the history books and a place we'd definitely recommend trying out if you are near the area:

While in town we also had the chance to check out other local spots and scenery new to us:

We were introduced to one of the cutest and best curated homesteading shops we've ever seen called Small Terrain. It was opened and run by one of Emily and J's friends and we fell in love when we walked in the door to be greeted by two big dogs. They had everything from brewing kits to chicken coops and won us over when we spotted the Hungarian black peppers in their lineup of heirloom seeds:

We had a chance to check out another new spot called Ben's Tuneup and catch up with more good friends, Ashley and Mike, who used to work with me at Etsy back in the day. It was pouring down rain and this local spot is known for their open outdoor space, so it was kind of ironic:

Ashley is a super talented artist and it was so much fun getting a chance to reconnect in person when we've mostly kept in touch online over the past 4 years — it can be so easy to stay connected online, but it's so special when you get to make time to chat face to face!

Saturday evening we were eager to try out another raved about and highly recommended place (thank you Emily & Olga) called Curate, pronounced cur-ah-tay. Being a curator by profession, it was extremely difficult for me to look at the name of the restaurant without butchering the pronunciation!

Well, the verdict is in and let us tell you — this place was up to all the hype. It was a tapas style menu and we started things off with a pitcher of red sangria, then tried so many things I couldn't budge at the end of the evening. A few highlights included the potato chip wrapped chorizo, creamy chicken croquettes and Tim's favorite, the roasted red bell pepper, onion and eggplant with spanish anchovies plate with olive oil bread.

Best of all — the company. Not many compare to these two:

Sunday we all got up at the crack of dawn to drive up to Durham, North Carolina for our friends' baby shower. You might remember Lindsay and Adam from the mushroom foraging adventure we went on here in Richmond with them this time last month.

Lindsay's due in early October, so it was a lot of fun all getting together to celebrate her. There were about 45 guests at the shower — here's the 4 of us girls (myself, Allison, Lindsay & Emily), still hanging out after being so close in middle/highschool:

One of the highlights from the shower were these donut muffins from Scratch Bakery:

With the cronut craze going on up in NYC, it was fun to get to try one of these crazy donut bakery hybrids. Speaking of cronuts (croissant donuts), Tim and I are on a mission to snag one on our next trip up to the city.

We had fun surprising Lindsay and Adam with a few fun gifts from Etsy, one of which included this yellow mushroom shaped rattle:

We'd had so much fun learning about how to forage for chanterelle mushrooms with the two of them, that we thought it would make for a fitting gift. Going along with the theme of mushrooms, we also snagged one of these and some of these from Etsy to include in the bag — everything was a big hit.

We had a lot of fun making a long weekend and the trip down to NC — it's not often we're able to see and spend time with so many of our friends in person, so when we do, it's very special. Now that Tim has more freedom to travel with his new work, we hope to make a better habit of it moving forward.


  1. The donut muffins are a specialty of Scratch Bakery:
    You guys would love that place! Something for the next visit...

    1. We will have to visit with you guys next time down. Hope things are going well!

  2. My husband and I are spending the long weekend in Asheville and went to The Chop Shop on your recommendation! What a great butcher -- the guys were so helpful and we loved that everything was locally sourced. Sure wish we had one of those in Raleigh (where we live)! Thanks for the great recommendation -- I just know these steaks are going to be delicious tomorrow night.

    1. We so hope they were and very happy that you took our recommendation! Good folks at The Chop Shop!


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