Well, after asking Joe for a week to please post about our last Saturday (9/12/15), I decided to do it myself. This is the awesome day out in Asheville that made me want to start a family blog. I wanted to remember this day, and the awesome eats we had.
We were woken up by our alarm clock (Sammy) at around 8:30 and stayed in bed cuddling as a family for about an hour. We decided we wanted doughnuts and finally rolled out of bed and got ready for the day. After a little bit of bantering we decided to go to Vortex Doughnuts on Banks Ave, in the South Slope area of Asheville. We were concerned there would be a wait since the new hottest restaurant in town had opened 3 weeks earlier next door to Vortex. Well, we rolled the dice and went.
Vortex wasn’t terribly busy and we had 3 doughnuts to split between the 2 of us. No, we didn’t leave Sammy out, he is a rare unique kid who marches to his own drummer and dislikes doughnuts (for now, crazy kid!) We had a lavender and French Broad dark chocolate cake doughnut, A Southern Paris Doughnut that had blueberry frosting dark chocolate drizzle and a meringue cookie placed on top of the cake doughnut, and finally a milk chocolate topped yeast doughnut. (SORRY: forgot to take a picture) We both had 1000 Faces Coffee that was awesome as usual. We really think Vortex has found their stride. A few times we had gone prior was not always the best doughnuts, but coffee is always great!
Well, it was now 11:25 and we decided, if the line was short, we would go to Buxton Hall Barbecue next door. Locally famous Chef Elliot Moss opened this restaurant 3 weeks prior to rave reviews, which we always take with a grain of salt. The doors opened a few minutes after 11:30 ( there was photographer there to take picture for advertising and the restaurants website) and were seated immediately.
We were happy to see Chef Elliot Moss there working the line and picking the meat off the hog. He was working hard alongside his crew. Usually a sign of a good chef, however, there was a photographer there. We hope that he really does have such a vested interest in his restaurant. It was cool to see him doing grunt work, and not bossing people around. He did wash his hands at one point and welcome some guests that he knew (we think, one was a local politician and the other is affiliated with either a brewery or another restaurateur.) and went right back to the “‘Pig Pickin'”.
The open kitchen and really neat restoration of an old roller skating rink was really awesome. They preserved some of the artwork from the previous occupants of the building.
First, we ordered an appetizer of Hush Puppies. The hush Puppies and the remoulade sauce (we think had relish in it) was very good. However, the hush puppies themselves were quite spicy. Make sure your water cup is full before breaking into these bad boys. Though very flavorful, I was not expecting the heat factor. I’m not saying melt your face off hot, but a surprising amount of heat for hush puppies, though the sauce did a bit of a cooling effect. We are 60% sure we would get them again.
We both had the Pulled Pork Plate. Joe’s 2 side dishes were beet salad (apparently and old traditional southern dish, according to Joe) and Collard Greens.Joe’s collard greens were outstanding!!! They are a 90% get again food. It was so good (How good where they? haha) They were so good that Joe drank the liquor at the bottom of the bowl. How uncouth, but according him, worth it! His beet salad was good too. Though Joe is not a beet fan, he actually a good portion of it. I thought it was delicious for someone who loves red beets. Sammy even had a small bit. However, it was simple beet salad. Not that (according to Joe) beet salad needs to be anything but simple, that is all it was. maybe a 25% reorder chance.
I had ordered the same plate but with Mac & Cheese and Smoke Squash Casserole as my sides.The Mac & Cheese was OK. Nothing to write home about. They were solid and tasty, with good melty white cheese, but not the best I’ve ever had. Maybe a 40% get again, because there are other sides I like to try before I return to the Mac & Cheese.
The Smoked Squash Casserole….hmmm… not great. Once you ate the small amount of grated smoke Gruyere cheese, it really was flavorless and not great. The mushy squash chunks in a sauce that tasted much like plain milk was not the highlight of my meal. 0% chance of reorder unless it is drastically changed.
Now for the meat. This is “Smoked While You Sleep,” whole hog meat. It was very flavorful and had a really nice smoke ring on the few end pieces we got on out place. It really was good meat. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The three sauces provided were: a vinegar based sauces (eastern Carolina BBQ based), a tomato based sauce (Memphis/St. Louis BBQ based) and a mustard sauce (South Carolina BBQ based). All of the sauces were very good and tasty. I really liked the mustard one, now I am not a mustard BBQ sauce girl cause I find them to spicy, however, this one was creamy and not really spicy. I really enjoyed it. The other 2 were solid sauces, done well.The toasted Merita Roll was just that, a toasted roll from the Merita bakery, a true southern touch to traditional barbecue.
Finally, we had to get dessert. We were to full to eat it there, but one we got pound cake to go. It was flavorful traditional style pound cake, but a bit dry. I’m not sure I can say it was dry when we left the restaurant, I might give the benefit of the doubt, but we would have to try it again, maybe a 75% chance we would get it again, just to make sure it wasn’t as dry as it was when we ate it.
Sammy behaved so well in this restaurant, I cannot rave enough about him. He can be a bit temperamental at restaurants, but they were so accommodating with paper to color on and a cool box with a few crayons. He doesn’t always eat a lot at restaurants so he picks at our places at his leisure. We feed him at home when its new or adventurous eating. As for the pink rubber band in his hair, he really wanted it, and I wasn’t going to wrestle it away from him and gender bias him against pink or having his hair up. Who cares? He’s 3 and cute and I’m not changing that at all! If it bothers you…get over it.
Overall I though this was solid BBQ restaurant, and about 75% that I will return again and try some other things on the menu. They are heading int he right direction, and I’m sure, improve over the next few months. They are clearly honing in their menu and fixing some issues. Happy to see they are serving good BBQ and not bastardizing traditional BBQ by making it Fru-Fru or fancy. Buxton Hall Barbecue was a great experience. Looking forward to doughnuts, barbecue, and beer next time. Oh, yeah Catawba Brewing is next door too! Best strip in Asheville: Beer, BBQ, and Doughnuts! Yum!