This past weekend was the now roughly annual get together of The Triumvirate, aka my group of BFFs from the college days. Last year, Claire and Mel and I wound up going to small-town Missouri on a work conference, but this year the trip was all pleasure and no business at all. Just the way I like it! Mel and her family recently moved to Asheville, NC, a lovely little mountain town that at this time of year is full of fall foliage and tourists and sunny-but-crisp weather. It was a lovely destination and not even too far away from where I live in Alabama.
I was excited to see Mel, especially because this time last year she was oh-so-very pregnant with her daughter, who is now about 10 months old and is cute as a button. As you can see. Her son is now nearly three, a fact which blows my mind. I guess when you only see people about once a year, this is what happens!
At any rate, C. drove to stay with me in Auburn for one night to break up the trip and then we both headed up to North Carolina together on Friday morning. Between my 12-mile run that morning, the 5-hour drive up to Asheville, and the long evening of cooking, drinking wine, and talking, it seemed like a super long (but lovely) day.
We headed into town Saturday for lunch and shopping, and the downtown area was positively bustling with tourists (and, I assume, locals, too, but fall foliage season = tourist season in NC). There were buskers on almost every street corner and the sidewalks were packed.
We ate at Laughing Seed, an all vegetarian/vegan cafe. I have to tell you, it is such a wonder for me to be able to eat at a vegetarian restaurant where I can choose anything I want from the menu. There wasn’t anything there that I couldn’t eat. At most places here in Auburn, there is usually either zero or one item on the menu. Usually you just take what you get and don’t complain. But in Asheville, in Asheville! I got to CHOOSE my meal. Amazing.
I had this vegan bahn mi, which was so motherloving delicious that I am still thinking about it. Claire had a veggie burger made with hemp and Mel had a tempeh Reuben sandwich, and we all tried each other’s food. It was all awesome. I was in love with Asheville already, and no, that wasn’t just the local brews talking.
A trip to Malaprops, a local bookstore, and then to French Broad Chocolate lounge for truffles only cemented my joy.
Books. Vegan truffles. Good lord.
That night, Mel had suggested we try a new restaurant called Plant, that was completely vegan — no animal products whatsoever. I am lucky to have friends who are game to try things like this with me, because it really is so rare that I get to eat at restaurants like this.
This pinot noir was described on the menu as being light, haunting, and “like a zephyr.” Obviously we had to order a bottle.
We tried a little of everything, from the cheese plate (house made cashew cheese that — unlike any vegan cheese in a store — actually tasted great), to the entrees, to the desserts. To the brut. Of course the brut.
It felt like a truly indulgent day, not only to be eating and drinking like kings (DAMN HELL ASS KINGS), but to be spending the day with my two best friends, doing whatever we pleased, and just enjoying each other’s company.
Asheville, let’s do this again some time.