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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beer Town USA - Asheville, NC

Me and my 'big city' mentality. How typical of me to believe there is nothing worthwhile down in North Carolina. That is just straight IGN'ANT! Asheville kind of swept me off my feet. My visit to beer town USA was too short but very sweet.

It was a perfect spring day, and I walked through the streets of Asheville feeling all kinds of hippie vibes. I got butterflies in my stomach as I passed a microbrewery on every. single. block. This really was a city of craft beer, I just wish I could stay long enough to try them all. 

I went in for lunch at Wicked Weed. The place was already crowded and it wasn't even noon. I tried a glass of their Imperial Coolcumber beer (9% ABV). It was served in a glorious goblet with a cute cucumber garnish. This particular beer spent 3 months in Cardinal Gin barrels and is infused with cucumber and basil. 

During lunch, where I had a delicious green curry chicken wrap on naan bread, I sampled many beers. One gluten free, one from Cabernet Savignon barrels, and others were strong and fruity. The variety at Wicked Weed is unreal, and it'll be revisited again soon. 

The National Sandwich of Chile

The 'lomito' is a right of passage in Chilean culture. I'm told you haven't tasted Chile until you've had the lomito. After referring to my favorite travel book, Where Chefs Eat, and crosschecking numerous Anthony Bourdain show clips with locals opinions, I came to the conclusion that Fuente Alemana was the place to go to eat the famous sandwich.
Everything is made in a big open kitchen before your eyes by women dressed in old school diner-waitress attire. My waitress wasn't keen on communicating with me. It was clear that she didn't speak English and I did, yet my simple sentences in basic Spanish left her puzzled ("Uno lomito, por favor?"). It's clearly a fast paced atmosphere so fast ordering with zero questions will afford you a friendlier experience. Luckily, I had a third party communicator to help. Orlando, a native Chilean, offered to help translate. He was very helpful and informative while explaining the menu. 
A schop is a beer on tap, and that's exactly what we ordered. One dark and one light. Then we ordered the lomito. Slices of juicy pork are topped with tomato and an alarming amount of avocado and mayo. A sprinkle of salt and the sandwich is ready to be served between two slices of hearty sandwich bread. The amount of mayo that was on the sandwich actually overshadowed the fact that at least two whole avocados were mashed up on there as well. This was definitely a fork-and-knife sandwich. We also ordered the completo, which is the hot dog version of the lomito, plus sauerkraut and tomato sauce. It was frighteningly good, maybe even better than the lomito...