I’ve been wrestling with a proper way to introduce us here at the Dirty Spoon, and I think, like most good things, it should start with a story. I was driving home from visiting my old music school in Martha’s Vineyard several years ago. It was early Spring and the trees were still bare, reaching their branches like shriveled arms up to the sky, pleading for a little bit of warmth. About the time I pulled through Roanoke Virginia the earth began to look a little more hospitable. Trees began to take on more leaves, flowers were starting to sprout upwards, and the city seemed a little more hospitable than everything else I had just driven through. I drove towards the downtown area till I found cheap hotel, checked in and headed downtown to find a drink before closing time. There was some rag-tag sports bar that I slipped into just before the witching hour. While sipping on my bourbon I chatted up the cute bespectacled brunette bartender and tried to find out where a good, local place to eat in the morning would be.
By the time I checked out of the hotel room it was noon. My hangover wasn’t nearly as rough as I was expecting, so I figured I could stomach a substantial meal and took the bartenders advice, heading to a little local bakery and cafe called Wild Flour. The unassuming entrance, terrible “local paintings” on the wall, the generic cafe chairs pulled up to gorgeous wood tables, all told me I’d made the right choice. As I often do in a new place, I allowed the server to surprise me with her favorite dish.
I’ll just let their menu describe the sandwich I was given, “eggplant medallions that are coated in Parmesan cheese and baked to a golden brown are layered on wildflour bread topped with sauteed green peppers, red onion, mushrooms, sliced tomato, provolone cheese, lettuce, ranch dressing and secret sauce.” I actually ended up staying in Roanoke another night just for the excuse of eating that sandwich again. The sauce. Oh my god, the sauce. Creamy, spicy, with a lingering finish that makes me salivate still, years later. Perfect bread with pillows of air beneath crusty and dense doughy goodness. And a crispy breaded eggplant that audibly crunched like a kettle chip. I believe my tweet read something like “I understand, for the first time, why people thank god for their meals.”
I am a person who is prone to wanderlust, even in my home town. I cannot sit at home on the couch when there are good things to be tasted, new ideas to consume and cocktails I’ve never tried. There is so much to absorb and I want it all. I have been in Asheville for a really long time. Other than a few short stents away and some time on the road, I have been a permanent fixture in both downtown and in the suburbs. I have worked in the music industry, marketing, and politics. I have tended bar, worked at wineries, waited tables, managed restaurants and booked for venues. But most of all, I have eaten. I have been consuming everything this town could throw at me for as long as I can remember, and I have no intention to stop. In fact, I have a great desire to tell you about it. And that is what I intend to do here.
At Dirty Spoon, we intend to bring you stories about food. We have no desire to cover “breaking food news” (is there such a thing?), rather our main focus will be observations about our experience with the food and drinks we love, in order to fully understand how to better our lives through sensory experience. We also intend to bring you quality long format pieces on the things that truly affect our food and the politics of getting it to our plate. There will be plenty of my words strewn all over, but I’m most excited about the amazing contributors we are lining up for you. So stay tuned, we promise good things very soon.