We always forget the camera. Sorry.
It was my birthday again this weekend (I like to stretch it out) as my lady, as promised, treated me to a weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. For those not in the know, Asheville is a strong contender for "Freak Capital of the East" if not the whole U.S. and A. This in turn makes it a destination for rich white folks who like to sit and enjoy fine wines and artisanal food while gawking through the window at the dreadlocked white guys and their tatooed and facially-pierced women-folk sitting on the sidewalk thinking about that shower they took last year.
I'm kidding! I love hippies!
Actually, we're poor as shit but it was the two of us taking up the role of the rich white folks as we ate a fine lunch and downed a couple of local brews whilst watching the parade of unkempt freaks, VW-driving yuppies, and middle-aged empty-nesters from the safety of a downtown eatery called the Bier Garden, directly across the street from Malaprop's bookstore. It was a fine start to a weekend that would see us attempt to embody the soul of our host town by eating, drinking and spending locally and conclude with me puking up that very soul from the depths of my own into Andie MacDowell's toilet less than 24 hours later.
I hooked you with that last line, didn't I? Actually, it wasn't really Andie MacDowell's toilet, but the bed and breakfast we stayed in used to be owned by Ms. MacDowell's grandmother, and the famed star of Sex, Lies, and Videotape and Muppets from Space is purported to have spent some time there as a child. In fact, the Blake House Inn's website claimed that she left some graffiti in the closet of our room, but I couldn't find it. If she's written on the walls, she's probably used the can.
After driving and walking in circles trying to find just the right place for my belated birthday dinner (it had to exist precisely at the nexus of affordability and elegance, from what I could figure out), we finally ended up in the Tupelo Honey Café. Later on it would come out that it wasn't as nice as my lady had in mind, but it was just what I was shooting for, a place with plenty of local flavor that puts a subtle modern spin on classic southern cuisine. Damn near everything on the menu was served over goat cheese grits. I got the blackened catfish and grits, my lady the shrimp and grits. I also enjoyed a couple of Duck Rabbit Milk Stouts as my date sipped her sparkling white. Back at the inn, we watched The Goonies on DVD (Courtney was the last of our generation to have not seen it) and drank a sweet muscadine wine, produced in-state, of course. This last wasn't all that great, but we were determined to keep it straight-up NC, Petey Pablo style.
Actually, it may have been the wine or it may have been the catfish, but I woke up Sunday morning with a pretty stiff headache. I figured it was just a little dehydration from the drinking of the previous night, but then the nausea set in. I had only consumed about four drinks over four hours, so I feel like something else was going on, too. Either way, I had an extended face-to-face encounter with Andie's toilet just before checkout. Luckily, we were able to get a rain check on the tickets Courtney had already purchased for the Biltmore Estate, and she drove me home, post-haste. It's an easy two-hour drive, but I felt like death the whole way as I tried to keep from retching into the paper bag between my feet.
So our special weekend in Asheville did not turn out exactly as planned, but we had a good time right up until my unplanned illness. It's a cool city with a happening downtown and beautiful mountain scenery to boot. Oh, and don't ever stay at the Blake House- I'll let Courtney tell you all about that over at Malfeasance.