In honor of Veteran’s Day, Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast is proud to honor our distinguished men and women in the armed services, active or retired with a special offer! On Tueday, November 11, 2014, all veterans can stay for FREE in one of our select Asheville B&B guest rooms (based on room availability). Bring your spouse or special someone and enjoy our hospitality. Offer valid until November 12, 2014.
It seems like I do a lot of blogging about food but what can I say, I have a passion for food, especially fresh from the farm food. Last week I had many guests with certain dietary needs. Rather than make a bunch of ingredient substitutions or several different breakfasts, I decided to be bold and make one breakfast that would make everyone happy. And when I saw the beautiful variety of potatoes my friend and go-to local organic farmer, Alex Brown from Full Sun Farm had at market…my mind screamed a veggie hash with an egg or not on top.
I grabbed a hand full each of gorgeous Green Mountain, German Butterball, Papa Cacho and Russian Banana Fingerlings, some yellow onions, Red Rosa di Milano onions, red peppers, fresh basil and divine Cherokee Purple tomatoes. Unfortunately, Alex did not have any kale so I had to visit our local grocery store for some baby kale, assorted mushrooms and avocados. I also picked up some seeded bread from City Bakery for toast. I have found that not everyone is a fan of mushrooms, so I always check and if there is an objection, I just move some of the sautéed onions to a separate pan continue with the recipe omitting the mushroom step.
Honestly, I couldn’t wait to make breakfast the next morning. There are some meals you just get really excited about and this one is by far one of my very favorites. It also gets raving reviews from my guests. I am including the recipe and some pictures with this blog. Here at our Asheville Bed and Breakfast we are happy to share all our recipes with our guests. Keep in mind, I have done my best to estimate the measurements, but really I just eye it.
Although I had 8 folks for this breakfast last week, I have reduced the recipe to 4 servings.
- 2 1/2 lbs assorted small potatoes cubed
- 1 red pepper diced
- 2 small onions sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Several sprigs of chopped thyme
- 8 oz or more assorted mushrooms
- 1 bunch baby kale or any green leafy vegetable (stem removed)
- 4 eggs (or not for vegan recipe)
- 2 avocados, sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and cube potatoes and place on large rimmed baking sheet. Generously drizzle potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, turning half way through. While potatoes are baking, sauté onions, red pepper, garlic and thyme in a little olive oil. Once onions are soft add the mushrooms. Once mushrooms are cooked through add kale and cook for just a couple of minutes or until kale is lightly wilted. Remove from heat. Toss potatoes and veggies together. Add a fried, poached or scrambled egg to the top for those wanting the protein. Garnish with avocado and tomato.
For more fun recipes keep an eye on our blog at www.pinecrestbb.com or even better, come visit us at Pinecrest Inn Bed & Breakfast in Asheville. We love fixing up farm fresh breakfasts for our guests and can’t wait to see you all again soon!
The Pisgah National Forest covers over 500,000 acres of forested land in and around Asheville. Avid hikers and bikers alike will discover hundreds of miles of trails to suit any taste. If you haven’t explored the Pisgah Forest, then you definitely need to. Some of the Pisgah trails most favored by locals include those at Max Patch, Hot Springs, Bent Creek, Mills River, Graveyard Field and many others. For a quick guide to the best trails based on features, or ease/difficulty of hike visit http://www.hikewnc.info/besthikes/.
A favorite of our Asheville Bed & Breakfast is Max Patch – a good 45-60 minute drive West of Asheville, but well worth the trip. Max Patch Mountain offers some amazingly scenic hikes, appropriate for children and older individuals. It highest elevation reaches 4,629 feet. The grassy summit is not the highest peak around, but it is considered by some to be the “crown jewel of the Appalachian Trail”. If you want a relatively easy hike to Max Patch, take the moderate, 1.4 mile Short Loop trail. For a more difficult hike, continue another mile on the Long Loop trail. The long range mountain views are simply breathtaking.
For easier hiking just 15 minutes from downtown, head south to Bent Creek. The Bent Creek trail system offers great hiking and mountain biking options, a campground, mountain lake with sandy beach (Powhatan Lake), picnic area, fishing pier and a family recreation area. A great place to spend the day or just take a refreshing walk around the lake to enjoy the beautiful Dogwoods and Mountain Laurel. Bent Creek is adjacent to the NC Arboretum and charges a $5 per vehicle entrance fee to the park.
If you’d rather hike on the north end of town, head up to the trail system in Hot Springs. The famous Appalachian Trail runs right through town. From the trail head, take a hike up to Lovers Leap Ridge for spectacular views of downtown Hot Springs and Spring Creek. The scenic town is also home to natural, hot mineral springs for which the town is named. Take in the therapeutic spring waters after your hike by renting your own private mineral bath at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa and follow it up with a relaxing massage. Now that’s my idea of a satisfying hike!
No matter where you go, you’re sure to enjoy exploring the endless hiking trails in and around Asheville -especially in the Pisgah Forest. Our Asheville Bed & Breakfast is fortunate to be surrounded by so much natural beauty and endless outdoor recreation options. Need trail maps or other recommendations for hiking? Just ask our innkeepers or any member of the Pinecrest Inn staff during your visit. For Inn reservations or more information visit www.pinecrestbb.com. We look forward to seeing you soon.
If you’re visiting our Asheville Inn this summer, you don’t want to miss some of the many great places to grab a cup of gourmet coffee or a hot fresh bagel and take in the local sights and sounds. Here’s our Top 5 Picks for Best Coffee hang-outs in Asheville.
Izzy’s Coffee Den
74 N Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
Izzy’s in downtown Asheville is a true hipster coffee shop (although they call it a “den”). The brick walls and the dark interior certainly lend themselves to it feeling more like a den. It has a distinctively moody vibe and always smells amazing when you walk in the door. No matter whether you order an Americano, Cappuccino, Latte, Breve or a Homemade Chai, true coffee lovers won’t leave disappointed. In addition to serving superb coffee, Izzy’s has excellent live music, interesting art and lots of other libations too like handcrafted-beers, lemonade and Mimosas.
Fire Storm Café & Books
48 Commerce St
Asheville, NC 28801
Named as Asheville’s “ultimate Counter Culture cafe” by Asheville Magazine, Fire Storm is more than just a coffee shop and bookstore. It’s a worker owned cooperative that also hosts workshops, film screenings and fund raisers. In addition to getting your caffeine fix, you can also nosh on tasty bagels and gluten free desserts, as well as a wide selection of black, white, green and herbal teas. Having a sweet tooth? Don’t miss Storm’s signature Coconut Cream Breve paired with a brownie topped with Madagascar vanilla ice cream. All we can say is “welcome to a slice of heaven!”
Clingman Café River Arts District
242 Clingman Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
This pleasing coffee shop in the heart of the River Arts Districit is one of Asheville’s original coffee houses. The pretty space is filled with natural light, tall ceilings, and all sorts of pottery items from the studio next door. Proudly serving organic coffee and espresso, the Clingman Café may just be the only coffee shop where you can grab a gourmet sandwich and watch the trains go by. If you’re trying to eat light, try the apple, cranberry and arugula salad. Yummy! There’s also a pleasant outdoor patio area with market umbrellas – a nice shady spot to whittle away the afternoon with a gourmet bagel sandwich, a bowl of Granola, or an egg and sausage sandwich…all equally good. If you’re shopping in the River District, be sure to stop in.
High Five Coffee Bar
190 Broadway St
Asheville, NC 28801
Formerly known as the Dripolator, this local favorite specializes in handcrafted espresso and coffee drinks. Known for its cool and uber talented Coffee Culture trained barista staff, the High Five serves an amazing espresso. This is the place for true coffee snobs. Try the Ethiopian or a simple but artfully served latte, sure to please the eye as well as the palette. Just a little tip, try a flavored coffee. High Five makes their own flavored syrups in house to avoid the use of corn syrup. Talk about dedicated to flavor! The location can be a bit hard to find…it’s on the North end of town, right after you pass under 240, located right behind Greenlife Grocery.
Battle Cat Coffee Bar
341 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
This hip, but laid back coffee shop in West Asheville is known for its Counter Culture coffee, breakfast tacos and cozy front porch. Grab one of their many specialty coffees like the Café Miel, made with espresso, honey and cinnamon or a Thai Iced Coffee and soak in the vibe. The place is pure West Asheville in all its glory! By most standards, they’ve got some pretty amazing grub too which makes it a great place to just chill and hang out with friends in an unpretentious environment…picnic tables and all.
Need more tips on great places to visit while in Asheville? Ask the innkeepers at Pinecrest Inn, one of Asheville’s best kept Bed & Breakfast secrets! While here enjoy a cup of our own fresh brewed coffee on the sun porch or meander out for a morning walk in our peaceful one acre English gardens. Call today for Inn reservations 888-811-3053 or visit www.pinecrestbb.com for more information.
Asheville is synonymous with many things…fresh air, great food, live music and farmers markets just to name a few. The mountains of WNC are home to over two dozen farmer’s markets, tail gate markets and organic farm markets.
No matter what day of the week or time of the year you visit Asheville, you won’t have a problem finding a market with plenty of hand made and locally grown foods to offer. A personal favorite of our Asheville Bed & Breakfast is the Montford Farmer’s Market open May through November from 2-6pm. This mid-week market is convenient to our Inn and close to downtown. This producer-only market provides a wide assortment of sustainably grown fruits and vegetables, flowers, baked goods, wood-fired breads, meats, local made cheeses and hand crafted wares from local artisans.
Don’t have a lot of time or want to catch a market in town? There are many smaller tailgate markets available with just about anything you can imagine from local grown foods and live music, to hand-made clothing from recycled materials. You can find one or more in just about every town. The French Broad Food Coop Tailgate Downtown Market, North Asheville Tailgate Market, Black Market Tailgate Market and West Asheville Tailgate Market are just a few of the many.
Another good option that’s always convenient is the state-owned WNC Farmer’s Market. Open year round, seven days a week the mostly indoor market offers quality fruits and vegetables, mountain crafts, jams, jellies, pickles, slow roasted peanuts, sourwood honey, fresh baked breads and dozens of other farm fresh items. The market is so large, it can easily become a half day trip for avid market goers. Inside is a deli that offers lunch and ice cream so you won’t leave hungry. There’s also an open-air market space where farmers, furniture makers, basket weavers and local vendors of all kinds can display their home-grown and hand-made wares. The market is open daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., April-October; 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., November-March.
So many markets so little time! Don’t know which market to visit or when? The Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project publishes a Local Food Guide which lists all the farmers markets in the region.
Another great source for local market information is www.ncfarmfresh.com. The directory features a list of pick-your-own farms, roadside markets, and farmers markets throughout the state. Use it to help locate the freshest locally grown fruits, vegetables, christmas trees, ornamental plants, herbs and flowers. So the next time you visit our lovely Asheville Pinecrest Inn, plan a trip to one of our local farmer’s markets to experience all the farm fresh bounty and handcrafted arts of the region.
Planning a visit to Asheville soon? We hope to see you at our Asheville Inn, just a short walk from the Montford Farmer’s Market. Visit www.pinecrestbb.com for reservations or call 888-811-3053.
We recently made a goat cheese and chive breakfast scramble for our Asheville Bed & Breakfast guests. It made me think about how lucky we are to have so many artisan cheese makers right in our own WNC backyard. As it turns out, the time-honored craft of artisan cheese making has experienced a revival the past few years, especially throughout North Carolina. Our state boasts over 40 cheese producers, with about 30-35 of those being artisanal in nature. Artisanal cheese-makers own their own goats or cows and process their cheeses on small, sustainable family farms or local creameries.
Many N.C. cheeses are produced without the use of additives, growth hormones, preservatives or other unnatural ingredients, and are some of the most prized in the nation. In 2011, Looking Glass Creamery in Fairview was one of only six Artisan Cheese-makers across the country to be featured in Williams Sonoma catalog. Three of their signature cheeses Early Bird, Ellington, and Chocolate Lab were showcased. Ellington is named after the famed art deco architect who designed many of Asheville’s unique buildings. The famed cheese won the Taste Test Awards by Cooking Light in 2011 and brought home second place at the American Cheese Society Conference and Competition last August.
The artisan cheese movement has taken such a strong hold, there is now an official cheese trail (wine lovers eat your heart out!) The WNC Cheese Trail gives cheese connoisseurs a chance to tour the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, while sampling some of the finest local cheeses fresh from the farm. Sample cheeses from local favorites like Round Mountain Creamery, Heritage Homestead, Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery, Looking Glass Creamery and more. Whether you prefer Blue, Chevre, Gouda, Brie or something more exotic, the tour will give you the chance to taste a wide variety from soft-ripened pasteurized varieties to hard, aged raw milk cheeses. The distinctive flavor of handcrafted cheese results from the high quality and pure nature of the milk being used and the variety of grasses and herbs used to feed cows and goats. For more information, visit www.wnccheesetrail.vpweb.com.
Now that we’ve got you all geared up for some yummy local WNC cheese, we’ll share one of our favorite Bed & Breakfast recipes with you.
Goat Cheese & Chive Scramble (serves 6)
3 tbsp. stick of butter
18 eggs whisked
2 tbsp. half and half
Good quality goat cheese (to taste)
Half a bunch of chives chopped
Heat large sauté pan over medium high heat and melt butter. Mix eggs and half and half together and pour into pan. Turn heat down to medium low and cook eggs slowly. Gently push eggs around in pan and keep a close eye on them. When almost set turn off heat and add goat cheese and chives.
Asheville is renowned not only for its culinary diversity and wide selection of independent restaurants, but also for its strong farm to table dining reputation. “Eat Local” isn’t just a slogan in the mountains of Western North Carolina, it’s a way of life.
The area’s rich farm lands contribute a remarkable variety of produce, meat, fish (Trout) and dairy to the local food movement. Food critics and amateur foodies alike, agree they can taste the difference between farm fresh and frozen. There are many advantages of farm to table with the most obvious being the financial benefit to local farmers and growers. Not to mention that local chefs have endless opportunities to create seasonal inspired dishes made with ingredients harvested at their peak. Another great advantage is the freshness of the foods and the abundance of organic and free-range foods available. The area’s strong farm to table movement symbolizes fresh, healthy, and fiscally responsible living – now that’s a win, win in our culinary book.
Asheville restaurants offering farm to table prepared dishes include Posana, Limones, Table, Seven Sows, Carmels, Blue Ridge Dining Room, Strada, City Bakery, Corner Kitchen, Grovewood Café, Marketplace, Plant, Sazerac, Tupelo Honey, Zambra and many others.
Asheville’s farm to table movement isn’t just for restaurants only. Our Asheville Bed & Breakfast frequents local markets weekly to pick the freshest ingredients for our breakfast dishes, including produce, fruit, bread and local made cheeses. Last week we served blueberry waffles using local blueberries and fresh strawberries with a riccota, yogurt orange sauce - both from Full Sun farm. I also prepared a blueberry slump on Sunday. Yummy! Hurry over to Asheville, you still have time to get some! Blueberries will be available for several more weeks.
So if you’re looking for free-range or hormone-free meats, local fruits and vegetables, seafood from the Carolina coast, or local made cheeses, look no farther than any of the dozens of markets in and around Asheville. The Montford Tailgate Market and North Asheville Tailgate Markets are a short five minute walk from our Asheville Inn.
Hungry for a farm fresh breakfast? We’re waiting for you! Plan a visit to Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast in Asheville this summer and enjoy recipes made with local grown ingredients. Visit www.pinecrestbb.com for more information or call 888-811-3053 for Inn reservations.
Summer is here and that means there’s a lot to do in and around Asheville, but the one not to be missed summer event each year is Bele Chere. The coveted music and arts festival is one of the largest in the Southeast and the oldest, this year celebrating 35 years of musical excellence, food, fun and revelry.
Be sure to book your Pinecrest B & B reservations early, as July fills up fast. Our cozy Asheville inn offers the best of both worlds, a quiet oasis on over an acre of lush grounds, and just 5 minutes from the hub of downtown and all the festivities. The more adventurous, might choose to even walk or bike to the festival – we’re that close!
Experience all the free concerts, arts and entertainment Bele Chere has to offer July 26-28th. Groove to the sounds of Balsam Range, Wanda Jackson, Antique Firearms, Rory Kelly, Drew Holcomb, Deep Fried 5, The Buchanan Boys, Joy Styles and dozens of other talented musicians. Foodies can sample foods from many of the wonderful restaurants frequented by our Asheville bed and breakfast guests including Mela, Corner Kitchen, The Lobster Trap, Boca, Neo Burrito and plenty more. Be sure to go hungry, you’ll surely come back satisfied. For those interested in a cocktail, alcoholic beverages are served on Friday and Saturday only.
The spring gardens this year are magnificent at our Asheville bed and Breakfast. Everywhere you look flowers are blooming. We have been cutting peonies (my favorite flower) all week for the Inn. The scent throughout the house could not be lovelier. I will be so disappointed when we see the last of them, which unfortunately is going to be soon. I won’t be sad too long because next up to bloom will be the Hydrangeas, another favorite of mine. As of today, we still have blooming rhododendron, azeleas and Mountain Laurel. In the perennial garden there are hostas, astilibe, Bellflower, Green and Gold and native Jacobs Ladder just to name a few. We have a slope of iris and blooming rose bushes that will continue through summer.
Our perennial garden is way out of control and will need some love and care this fall. We will be doing a lot of separating and replanting in the fall. There is no shortage of space for us to keep expanding the perennial garden.
We have had a lot of rain this spring which has been a blessing and a curse. The yard is really green and lush but the gardens have been plagued with a lot of weeds. It seems the 20 yards of mulch we laid in April has been of little help keeping the weeds at bay. Almost every day you can find my dad out in the yard on his knees working away pulling weeds. He use to maintain the entire yard and gardens, but it’s become a little too much for him to handle so, Jose our “yard guy” has been doing a great job keeping up with the almost 2 acres of gardens and yard.
Just a few blocks away from this Asheville inn is the Botanical Gardens of Asheville. There you will find a collection of 600 species native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Garden is home to 50 species that are considered uncommon, rare or endangered. Within the ten acres that comprise the Gardens, a walking trail forming a half-mile loop leads visitors across bridges spanning streams, through meadows, and over a woodland ridge to a wildflower cove. At this time of year the slopes are covered with thousands of flowers such as Trilliums, Crested Dwarf, Spring-beauties, Wild Geranium and Foamflower. As we move into Summer the gardens will be full of members of the Aster family such as Joe-pye Weed, Blazing-star, Goldenrod and Coneflower. For a full description of blooming flowers by month, please see their website. Admission is free but a donation is recommended.
It’s also a great time to visit the North Carolina Arboretum. The 434-acre public garden in the Pisgah National Forest is located at the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, just a 10 minute drive from Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast . There are over 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails. For a short but beautiful hike we recommend the Azelea Collection Trail (.5) mile. The trail takes you through the National Native Azelea Collection and the Fern Loop. The Fern Loop takes you along a natural mountain wetland where you will encounter a Rhododendron thicket. Admission is 8.00. For more information visit their website.
Although spring and early summer are a gardener’s paradise, natural beauty abounds all year round in Asheville. All of the pictures were taken at this Asheville B & B. Please visit our website www.pinecrestbb.com or give us a call 888-811-3053 for more information or booking your reservation.
There’s nothing quite as beautiful and magical as a summer evening at the Biltmore Estate. Every Friday night this summer starting May 24th, Biltmore hosts its Fridays After Five event. Held at the Antler Hill Village and Winery, it’s the perfect way to kick off your summer weekend whether you’re a local or a visitor.
This family friendly event has something for everyone. You can bring your own picnic, or grab a hot dog, cotton candy or snow cone in the village. Parents and kids alike will groove to the beat of live music, while couples enjoying a romantic evening out can grab a quaint table for two at Cedric’s outdoor patio. Don’t forget to cool off at the notorious Biltmore Creamery with an old-fashioned milkshake, ice cream or float at the end of the evening. Access to Antler Hill Village & Winery is included in your Biltmore admission. Season pass-holders can bring friends to Antler Hill Village for free after 5:00 p.m. Catch the tunes of Viper’s Dream playing gypsy jazz on Friday, May 31st.
Talk about grooving to the beat! The Asheville Drum Circle is the place to be on Friday night if you want to see and hear all the sights and sounds that Asheville has to offer. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears. Gather round as amateur and professional drummers from all walks of life beat their drums, tambourines, and every other instrument you can think of. The sound is truly one of a kind and never the same. You can find the drum circle in Pritchard Park downtown on Patton Avenue at College Street from around 6 PM until 10 PM. Experience this free, funky event every Friday night this summer. Impromptu drummers and dancers welcome, so bring your happy feet and your Ukulele and head on down.
If you happen to be staying at our Asheville Inn this summer on the third Friday of the month, you won’t want to miss Asheville’s biggest Friday night event, Downtown After Five. The free live music concert and food event happens every third Friday, May through September. Join thousands of food and music loving locals gather on North Lexington Avenue where it intersects the I-240 overpass. The event runs from 5-9 PM and is celebrating its 25th year this year! Downtown After Five hosts some of the best local blues, rock n’ roll bands and solo artists. Thirsty concert-goers can sample a host of local brews from Highland Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing, Asheville Brewing Company and others. And don’t worry, there’s plenty to eat for you foodies too. We recommend the taco truck if you get a hankering for a burrito with that ale. For a full line up of this summer’s entertainment, visit: www.ashevilledowntown.org.
Heading to Asheville for some summer fun? Enjoy a quiet retreat just 5 minutes from downtown at Asheville’s Pinecrest Inn Bed & Breakfast. Relax on over an acre of beautifully landscaped English gardens or take in the cool summer evening breezes on our sun porch. Call today for reservations or visit www.pincrestbb.com for more information.