For the past decade, Blue Sky Café owners Julianna and Mark Pletcher have continually added to a menu nearly as big and cheery as the restaurant’s namesake. Cooks are proud of their hefty, hand-formed burgers and their chicken—each served in a dazzling array of preparations—but there are just as many health-conscious wraps and salads and vegetarian and vegan dishes. A recent development is a creative, sweet-and savory brunch service, where cheese and garlic turn grits into a bowlful of decadence and prosciutto and parmesan put the Sicilian in a Sicilian frittata.
Kids get their own, more-flexible-than-usual menu, though they’ll have to weigh whether to dig in or finish what they’ve been drawing with provided crayons on the paper placemats. A further draw for tots is the playhouse that stands on an oasis of a patio, whose tall wooden fence encloses hanging lanterns, huge umbrellas, and plants trailing from every wall as they toward their goal of trying the sweet-potato fries everybody keeps talking about.
Falderal Winery welcomes guests into the oak-study tasting room twice a month to expound upon the scientific miracle of fermentation. Instructor and vintner Paul Kovacich, a native of the terroir of western North Carolina, wields his experience at Thistle Meadow Winery to aid the public during fermented endeavors. Paul's class covers the winemaking process, from the addition of yeast to bottling to making labels out of cartoons from the New Yorker. Reservations are recommended, as the winery caps classes at eight students.
West Village Market & Deli fills pantries eco-responsibly with fresh groceries plucked from local suppliers wherever possible, and the deli creates symphonies of flavor with harmonizing legions of fresh ingredients. The Roast Beast sandwich folds roast beef betwixt a whole-wheat hoagie, accenting its rich flavor with horseradish mayo, roasted red pepper, red onions, spinach, and cheddar ($7). Herbivores and the herbi-curious can delve into a Tempeh's So Asheville sandwich, layered with grilled local tempeh, banana peppers, red pepper, red onion, leaf lettuce, dill havarti cheese, avocado spread, and pesto mayo, all delivered to their grisly fate by local kalamata olive bread ($7).
Doctor of chiropractic Lillian Thomas specializes in pediatrics and chiropractic for the family, applying gentle techniques that involve no twisting or cracking. With her toggle recoil technique, she balances the topmost bones of the spine to remove interference on the brain stem, keeping nerve channels clear. She takes her time through adjustments and consultations, working until she uncovers the root of the problem. With the help of her staff, Dr. Thomas also is able to develop personalized wellness plans that might entail corrective exercises, nutritional counseling, and advice on somersault form to prevent future aches.
The Artisan Gourmet Market and its adjacent deli celebrate epicurean urges with a panoply of organic produce, fresh meats and cheeses, fair-trade coffee, and wines from around the world. The meat counter lures health-conscious carnivores with a selection of local and natural meats, such as certified Angus strip loins ($7.49 per lb.) and marinated, natural boneless, skinless chicken ($5.49 per lb.), and a collection of well-traveled cheeses, such as Boar’s Head colby ($7.99 per lb.), encourages daydreamers to climb the swiss-cheese Alps. Time-crunched shoppers can also fill their market-cruising carts with already prepared meals and items from the daily special list, including five-pound bags of fresh ground beef ($1.99 on Mondays) and fresh salmon by the pound ($2 off per lb. on Fridays).
Whether stopping in for fresh-baked scones and bread, ordering organic coffee, or perusing the fresh produce, guests at Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery, which is located along the Swamp Rabbit Bike Trail, are assured that the majority of the food is locally grown and produced. The staff prepares espresso drinks with local dairy and assembles boxes of seasonal produce for its grocery-store patrons. The grocery also carries raw cow and goat milk, local honey, and locally crafted chocolate. Swamp Rabbit continues its eco-friendly mission by hosting seasonal art markets, as well as an outdoor music series where donations go to community gardens.