Monday, January 28, 2008

In my mind, I've hurled in Carolina...

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.


Courtney said...

How did you know that was going to be my topic for today? (Kidding! I'm still mad. That bitch owes me breakfast.)

em said...

asheville is a lot like ann arbor in that sometimes the rich white people and the hippies turn out to be THE SAME PEOPLE! how does that happen? i will never get it. but i love both places.

sorry you got sick.

Noelle said...

I love Malaprops! I'm glad you came back alive.

Allie said...

Aw! Sorry you were pukey. It's never fun, but so much worse when you aren't home.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Any date that ends with a viewing of Goonies is the perfect date. Unless of course, you end the movie by puking, which you did. Kind of.

Way to ruin it, Mickey.

Kidding! Hope you're feeling better, and happy birthday for the millionth time.

Aaron said...

Puking is actually very underrated. I always find I feel like a new man post-puke.

Oh, but: still sounds like a fun-venture. If only because of Andie MacD's toilet.

Rachel said...

That sounds like a great weekend! I'm sorry it ended with vomiting -- usually that means you've had an excellent time, but this time it probably means your goat cheese grits were bad.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I have never seen "Goonies," nor do I have a desire to. I've also never seen the Star Wars movies, but I did see "Space Balls" once. I have failed Generation X.

Chris said...

Rachel, I'm not sure what this says about me, but I was so relieved to read that you've seen "Space Balls" that I don't even care about your not seeing "Star Wars." "Space Balls" is just so much better.

And Mickey, while your initial description of Tupelo Honey Cafe sounded nice, I'm thinking I'll probably avoid it now that I know how you spent the morning after.

Mickey said...

em- I'll have to check out Ann Arbor if I ever get to MI.

noelle- Yeah, I kind of dropped the Malaprops reference in there for your benefit, although we did spend some time in there (of course) and Courtney bought a couple things.

allie- Being away from home definitely made it that much worse!

npw- I always ruin everything. I'd be a terrible Goonie.

aaron- I felt like a champ for about ten minutes post-puke, but then I settled right back into the nausea and headache. Usually I'll have a good hurl and get on with my day, though.

rachel- You're not Gen X, but that's still no excuse for not having seen Goonies.

chris- I'm not sure it was dinner, so I wouldn't right off Tupelo Honey altogether. I should have gotten the chicken.

Meaghan said...

I'm certainly not likening myself to Jacob's beer knowledge, but you should only drink wine from Italy or France. That's my snobbery for the moment...

Glad you had a good time otherwise. This makes me want to go to Asheville. I just won't stay at the B&B and won't be drinking the muscadine wine! Happy birthday again!

Jacob said...

Mickey, sounds like the stomach virus that was going on around here finally made it's way up north. I spent about 6 hours actively nauseous and then the rest of the recovering from the dehydration and weakness of the hard part.

Either that or the wine had sulfites in it and you're allergic to sulfites.

Meaghan, there's also some highly respected stuff made on the West Coast, South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, much of it much more respected than much of what comes out of Italy. Sorry, I get Food & Wine magazine for the recipes and like reading some of the wine articles despite having no real interest in the stuff. You just can't expect too much from what's produced in the Carolina's, Tennessee, and Georgia. We're too far south for the real wine grapes.

Severo said...

I think Andie McDowell is very refreshing figure in Hollywood. And you're so lucky to have puked in a toilet that she may or may not have used.

slightly intriguing post (only because of the McDowell reference). i'll give it a C+ for effort.

sid said...

You used the same toilet as Andie (we're on first name basis)? Courtney didn't mention that! She just talked about how she missed breakfast.