The Weekly Newsletter
Menus and Stories for September 12 - 17, 2005


Well, after much hemming and hawing, waiting and pondering, we decided to put the fall trip off until the spring. It's kind of stunning to see how many things can get in the way of a trip, and we didn't, we admit, give folks enough notice this time.

SO - here's your very early notice of a trip to Tuscany (a small-group culinary excursion, that is) - in the spring.

Here's the deal. We already have the trip half-filled, which means that, if you think you'd like to come along, now really is the time to say yes. The dates for the spring trip are March 31 - April 9. We start and end in Florence and spend the days in between the weekends in a lovely villa in the heart of a 2500 acre Nature Conservancy-like property, taking local jaunts every day to learn about the region by visiting its food producers.

You need to want to be around food to enjoy a "Delicious Expedition," but you don't need to know how to cook or anything like that. Interested? Jot a note to and I'll send you some details. Ciao!

I'm late - an explanation

I went away this past weekend. Normally if I go away I write and send the newsletter ahead of time. But last week I was the fill-in baker which meant that I was pretty busy doing that job and my usual one too which meant that I did not have time to do the newsletter.

See, I went for a hike on Friday that involved a long walk, an overnight, a descent on Saturday and a return to Asheville in the middle of the afternoon. On Friday I got up VERY early to finish the baking for the weekend before leaving on the trip. The Friday hike was nice (I'll tell a bit more about it later on.)  I went to sleep early, intending to catch up on my EARLY morning start to the day.  But on Sautrday I couldn't resist responding to the invitation to get up really early to watch the sunrise. By the time I got back to Asheville all I could think about was taking a nap.

I fully expected to write the newsletter after my nap - but the internet connection at my house was "down," leaving me no alternative than to go to bed early (poor me, I know.)

This morning (Sunday) I went in to work to write and send the note, but my computer at work was not working either so there went that plan.

The cable fellow came during the day today and fixed my home connection, so finally, after my day of napping a bit more, I am finally able to get to yesterday's planned task. I hope you forgive me. I know some of you say that you like Saturday morning's notes. Sunday night isn't too far off, though, is it?

Rocky overlook
My camera's batteries stopped right when i reached the top of LeConte.  Um, if I HAD pictures, this is what I would have included:

This would have been where I'd have included the view up to the top of the gigantic Alum Caves.

Dinners to go

Dinners come with a freshly-made green salad, salad dressing of the day,
and made-right-here bread of the day. We take reservations until noon or so.

Please order by phone (252-1500), by FAX (252-02002) or stop in to speak to one of us in person.

Monday September 12 Baked and Fried Chicken 9.75
Tuesday September 13 Tuna Steak Dijon with Lemon Rice Pilaf 12.25

Wednesday September 14 Good Old-fashioned Meatloaf 10.25

Thursday September 15 Marinated Flank Steak with Roasted Fall Potatoes 11.75

Friday September 16 Crab Cake Day! (with Traditional Cole Slaw) 11.50

Our website

Casserole of the Week

We make a special casserole each week on Wednesday. Please give us a call by the end of the day on Tuesday and we’ll fix yours for you. Come by between 4:30 and 6:00. Get a half (for 4 appetites) or a full sized pan (for 9 or so.)

Wednesday, September 14
Martha’s Fried Green Tomato topped Chicken Pot Pie

Full 33.00

Half 16.50

A view to the top

If my camera had worked, I would have put in a shot of the high ledges of Cliff Top.

The valley

And this would have been a shot of the ridges, fading into the dark, separated by the famous smoky, hazy clouds. The Great Smokies.

The llamas

Oh I wish I could have shown you these cutie pie boys. Dakota had a particularly pesky face, ready, at every moment, to shove his train-mate out of the way for one more bite of banana peel. Ah well.

(Next week I'll try very hard to get some pictures to you.)

A Note from Laurey

Hmm.. all my pictures are on my camera at work. I haven't put the necessary software onto my computer at home SO I can't put any of those pictures in this newsletter. Um, so this is a newsletter without many pictures in it.

How about a story or two about the hike?

There is a group of folks here in Asheville who hike up to the top of Mount LeConte a couple of times each year. LeConte is the highest mountain in the Great Smokies National Park and is an easily accessible hike from the area. Steve, the fellow who led the group, has made this hike 40 times. I guess that, since it is so close, it is a hike that lots of people make over and over again. I know I'd like to go back.

It's kind of a funny hike. 5 1/2 miles. Fairly serious elevation gain. Very well-traveled path. Pretty spectacular scenery along the way, with some terrifying drop-offs. And a very well-appointed lodge at the top. There were about 50 of us on this hike this time. Most of the hikers had been before though there was a welcoming sense about them. No one acted as if the new comers were interlopers.

On the way up, just after the lunch break, I noticed that the sole of my boot had completely separated from the body. Flap flap flap! Yikes! Here I was trying to fit in and trying to not make a scene and my boot sole was flapping around.

A few months ago, during a particularly trying time of my life, I had had a dream that involved needing a compass to navigate a treacherous and dark passage. The day after that dream I went to the outdoor store and bought myself a compass, which came in a clear plastic package, compete with a bright red cord. I like red things so I bought it and carried it with me every day until things settled down.

On the way out the door to the hike I had grabbed my red-corded compass, tucking it into my pocket. Ah ha! I chortled to myself with a bit of relief. The cord could do the trick on the flapping boot sole. Sure enough I tied a quick trucker's hitch, ran it between the lugs on the sole, passed it over my instep, and managed to mend the flapper. My friend John pitched in with some adhesive tape, which was a nice thing, but as I continued the hike, I was pleased to see my knot holding firm.

At the lodge the group settled in. This place has wool blankets, cotton sheets, running water, heat, real meals, and a staff. We arrived just in time to watch the llamas being loaded up with dirty linens for the trip off the mountain. Gosh, by the way, llamas are very cute, nibbling, full of expression, soft, and strong.

Hikers in this group bring snacks. Hors d'oeuvres. I was on the hors d'oeuvres list. "We're so excited to see what you brought!" a few folks said. I muttered something, embarrassed that I had grabbed a couple of bags of snacky things on the way out the door. I had PLANNED to do something more elaborate, but the week got away from me. At the end of the cocktail hour, my measly bag of soy nuts remained almost untouched, ignored in the face of smoked trout and brie and other fancies. Ah well - next time.

After a hearty dinner of real mashed potatoes and real cookies and real cake we trooped up to watch the sunset. What a delight to sit on high rocks as the sun slipped away, the sky filling with stars. The sky, vast and soft, grew dark. High up there, on the west side of the mountain, it was easy to feel very far from home. Sadly, a return to the eastern side provided a rude reminder of how close we were to a run amok land filled with malls and cars and lights that blared up to our mountain spot.

Morning, early up, dark, quiet hike to the eastern tip of the ridge and a short wait til the sun popped up. Then breakfast - huge and hot, and preparations to hike down. Which is when I discovered my OTHER boot had come unglued. "She's come unglued!" Argh. The other thing I'd popped into my pocket before leaving home was my Swiss army knife on its blue cord. With very little hesitation I untied the knife and tied up the other boot. Ugh. I needed no tape, though, and thanked my two original Outward Bound instructors who taught me those reliable, versatile knots way back when. What handy lessons to have had. What handy knots to know!

Down we went, me favoring my feet in a way, concerned that I not wear through my cords. All functioned well, fortunately, and I got to the bottom just fine, though a bit sore from walking in a slightly off-kilter way.

And now, faster than I would have imagined, I am home, settled, unpacked (though the camping clothes remain in the laundry basket.) I am surrounded by the cicadas, the dark, a few stars, my dog and the two cats. Everyone sleeps. We're all happy to be home, the adventure, brief, over.

The baker is home too, and this week I return to my desk.

Tye the wonder dog, on patrol

Contact Info:

"Gourmet Comfort Food"
Eat In - Take Out - Catering
67 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801


Monday - Friday 8:00 - 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 - 4:00 pm

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