Episode 16 of AVL Food Fans is “in the can,” and ready for listening to and downloading here:
In this exciting episode, Chef Joe and I are joined by Lucy Murphy (AKA Lacy Murray) from the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, who helps us deliver the Food News.
Then we are joined by our very special guests, Chef Katie Button and Asst, Manager / Events Coordinator Anita Elliot, both of Cúrate and The Nightbell, two of the best restaurants in town. In fact, Joe says that the Nightbell is THEE best restaurant in town. Just in case you don’t know, Chef Button is kinda famous ‘n’ shit. She’s also really cool, down-to-earth, and perhaps a genius. Anita is not just a great Front of the House personality, but one of my fave people ever, and in my opinion she’s one of the many reasons that Curate has become so successful, and Nightbell is not far behind.
We also talk about RATS downtown, possibly being stirred-up by the construction of the Cambria Hotel project. I quote parts of a letter that was written to The Answer Man at the Citizen Times, telling a few horror stories about rats, and we joke that Lucy will have a “four-legged” escort to her car after the show.
At the end of the show, Joe and I talk about ambiance in restaurants.
This is from my pre-show notes:
Ambiance is essentially: How the environment acts upon the five (or six) senses:
– How does the place look? Architecture, design, surfaces (wood, cement, granite, marble) Art, lighting, decor, furniture. Employees – uniforms/dress, tattoos.
– How does it sound? – Music, noise levels, yelling in the kitchen?
– How does it smell? Foul? Homey? Weird?
– How does it feel? Seating, cleanliness – no sticky tables! Table height. Head room.
– Of course, in restaurants, taste is a whole different story, but the rest of the ambiance — especially smell — is going to effect how the food tastes.
– ESP – Did the server have evil thoughts?
Joe wanted to skip the ESP discussion (I knew he would) so we stick to the other five senses. He says his friend the architect hates marble counter tops because they’re cold. I use the words “slab” and “mortuary” to describe a them, and I also complain about copper-top tables, which make your hands smell weird when you touch them. We agree that the patina which develops on those poured-cement counter tops is cool, but I can’t stop myself from pointing out that it’s partly made of human skin. Ew.
Joe and I agree that the lighting inside of your restaurant should generally be brighter than the light outside. I say that I hate walking into a dark room for lunch, and he talks about training his people to “follow the sun down” with the dimmer-switch as the night goes on.
During the course of the hour, we talk about or mention the following restaurants and venues: New Mountain Asheville, Nantahala Brewing Company, 32 degrees ICE BAR, Valet Gourmet, Asheville French Quarter, Burial Beer Co., Hi-Wire Brewing, Tupelo Honey Cafe, THE BLOCK off biltmore, Buffalo Nickel, Table Asheville, The Barleycorn, TacoBilly, Chestnut, Gàn Shān Station, PennyCup Coffee Co., Hopey & Company, Vortex Doughnuts, Buxton Hall Barbecue, Clingman Cafe, Posana, Mamacita’s Taqueria, Frankie Bones, and even Ruby Tuesday.
It’s a fun episode with lots of laughs, please tune in if you have time!
— END —
Thanks to: Chestnut, Corner Kitchen Catering, The Corner Kitchen, Coffee Crate, Blue Ridge Restaurant Equipment, and Buffalo Nickel for their support, as well as to WPVM 103.7 The Voice for rebroadcasting our show every Friday at 5pm, and of course to our producer Matt (the angry-looking bald guy in the picture below) at ZaPow studios on Battery Park Ave right downtown. We love ya, Matt!
Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.