I have found it. The place I want to be, the place where I feel at home, the place that feels like me. The smell of patchouli lingered in the mountain air. More than once, I said out loud to Beevy, “These are my people.” There are farms galore, filled with many a cow grazing on a hillside happily. There are so many vegan options it made my head spin. There are people singing on a street corner with a saxophone, guitar cases slowly filling with change. This place is alive. It pulsates with the rhythm of the street, breathing in and out peacefully.
Are you beginning to understand why I love this place so? It makes my heart happy to be in a perfect mixture of farm life and hippies wearing fuzzy hats and mismatched gloves. Also, the food is the JAM. I may or may not have already searched for jobs in Asheville. #YOLO, right? Light your Nag champa incense, cook a tofu scramble with turmeric, and join me by the fire with your organic fair-trade cotton blanket: it’s time for the recap!
Beevy and I started our road trip one week ago, with too much coffee. Well, to be honest, Beevy is a die hard coffee drinker (she constantly yells at the top of her lungs: “Death before decaf!”) but I am not. I get high on green tea with jasmine, y’all, cause that shiz is bananas. But on this particular Friday, with a glorious road trip in front of me, I decided that it was the perfect time for a giant black coffee which I ended up chugging. To say I was wired is an understatement. A mere 2.5 hours later, Beevy and I were at our first destination: Sunny Point Cafe. We had to wait a few minutes for a seat, but once we made it inside, we jointly decided that we are the smartest people alive and ordered a ton of food. And perhaps a mimosa (read: DEFINITELY a mimosa).
Sunny Point is super chill, with a menu to fit all appetites; they have meat, veggie items, and vegan goodies. Beevy got an omelette and I decided on the Huevos Fucheros: black bean cakes, tofu chorizo, tomatillo salsa, red skin potatoes, tortilla strips, and a side of tofu bacon for good measure. It reminded me of the chilaquiles I used to eat for breakfast in Mexico, except much more awesome. I’m going to blow your minds when I say that is was so delicious that it took Beevy and I about 45 minutes to clean our plates, but by George we did it. Victory! I’m talking an embarrassing level of clean, folks, except I don’t get embarrassed by cleaning my plate and only feel pride.
It’s at this point, full on delicious food and mimosa and high on coffee, that I decided it was indeed the perfect time and place to get a tattoo. Remember when I said I wasn’t going to get a tattoo this trip because I was going to be responsible and all that shiz? Right. I remember that, too. Fast forward to Beevy and I walking into Freaks & Geeks and made an appointment for about 2 hours from them. Decision made! To keep ourselves busy, Beevy and I peeked into a thrift store, ran to Ingles, went to get coffee (this time I got a tea, fortheloveofeverythingholy), and popped into a cafe for a vegan cupcake. The coffee joint (called Bean Works) seemed to be renovating so we bounced after getting what we came for. West End Bakery, however, had many a vegan option of bread and sweets for us to indulge in. My chocolate cupcake was not the best cupcake I’ve ever had, and it seemed super dry and crumbly. Beevy said hers was good, but I always want vegan food to blow carnivores away or else I fear they’ll think our food sucks.
Then, it was time. Tattoo thirty, if you will. We headed back to the shop and got all ready and cozy with Galen, my tattoo artist. He turns out to be quite the attractive man and my palms got clammy (or was that the coffee high?), but I digress: I was there for one reason only. As always, I got nervous before it begins because I know it’s going to hurt like a bastard. And then, as if the universe was working overtime, Otis Redding came on the radio and serenaded me and made me calm again. It was all going to be ok. And now I have my ninth tattoo!
After that, Beevy and I grabbed some beer (which we did not drink until Saturday) and headed for the cabin in Leicester (allegedly pronounced as “Lestor” but I have my doubts). The place (Compassionate Expressions) we stayed at is beautiful, no doubt about it. It is in the mountains, it is serene, it is calm, it is peaceful. No internet, no tv, no phones. Heaven, right? We were guided around the property by one of the owners and it was, to be fair, one of the craziest experiences I’ve had. I am forever grateful that Beevy was there with me or else no one would believe me. I’m trying to be delicate when I say, with all of the kindness I can muster, that this woman forgot to take her medication that day and crazy was fully stocked. We eventually settled in, had an hour in the hot tub, and went to bed at 9:30 pm with absolutely not a care in the world.
Saturday greeted us with a warmer day and an eagerness to get to downtown Asheville to see what it had to offer us. Our brunch place didn’t open for about 45 minutes, so we wandered in and out of shops, took pictures in a photo booth (I’m obsessed with them), and people watched. We decided on Laughing Seed Cafe for brunch. They have vegetarian and vegan options, but no meat. We each ordered a beer and the appetizer jalapeno onion fries, which were amazing. Beevy ordered a grilled cheese for her meal and I ordered the tempeh reuben, which was quite honestly one of the best sandwhiches I’ve ever had in my life. I told Beevy she had to try a bite and then I ate it all, just to give you an idea. Can we talk about the vegan Russian dressing and the caramelized onions? May I someday learn to replicate this sandwich and then never leave my house again and have to be rescued by a crane, it was that good. We ordered another beer and dessert: chocolate chai icecream and a chocolate cherry cookie to split. As Beevy pointed out, the chai icecream is very very chai tasting, so be prepared. We ordered another beer, and it’s at this point that I remembered that my beer is high gravity and we are officially day drinking, which I have never really been successful at.
After 3 hours (I’m not joking) at Laughing Seed, we left to walk around for a while and then drive back to the place we were staying (not before hitting up Starbucks for more coffee). It’s at this point, back at the place, where things get hazy. We decided to crack into the beer we bought on Friday (coincidentally, that beer was also high gravity. Whoops!) and hit the hot tub up. After that, we made some friends that were also staying there and hung out by the fire pit. I shall save what happened later for just Beevy and I, but let me just say that I am indeed to old to drink high gravity beer all day long.
On Sunday, after a completely restless drunk night’s sleep (OLD), Beevy and I checked out and headed back to Asheville to our final destination: Rosetta’s Kitchen. This place is also vegetarian/vegan and they have kombucha on tap, which basically means I asked if I could move into the bathroom and just live there. They fixed me up with sausage, biscuits, gravy, and french fries (hangover food, people). Beevy got a grilled cheese and veggie nuggets. My tummy was still sensitive from last night’s debauchery, so I am sad to say that I didn’t even finish half of my food. It was delicious though, and I plan on going back to drink all of the kombucha and try the rest of the menu.
All in all, it was one of the best vacations in memory, filled with new adventures, fun people, and too much beer. What more could you want from a weekend?