Nine Mile: Dining in Asheville

16 May 2008

asheville date food ninemile wife

Today, I took the wife on a lunch date to the newly opened restaurant Nine Mile in Asheville. I'd give a link, but their web designer is apparently slack. The restaurant is run by Aaron, husband of my web-designer friend June.

The atmosphere was excellent, mellow with some reggae music. We got an excellent seat by the window. "Nine Mile" is a tribute to Bob Marley, and the Caribbean atmosphere translates well without being at all campy. There's no faux palm huts to be found anywhere. Instead, the walls are adorned with rich abstract art, and a portrait of Marley. There's a lot of Jerk sauce on the menu, plenty of pasta, vegan-friendly dinners and desserts (provided by Butterbugs).

Rebecca got the Nigril Nights, a tangy pasta dish with the finest rare tuna we've seen in a long time. You could taste the freshness and the fantastic flavor of the fish. I got One Foundation which included nicely grilled and sliced chicken over noodles with a creamy sauce. It was augmented by pineapple and peppers.

The portions were generous, the staff super-friendly, and the atmosphere lovely, looking out the windows at the old houses of Montford.

Plus, I got to wash it all down with Cheerwine. Cheerwine!

Overall, I highly recommend Nine Mile, and not just because June's a buddy.

It's located at 233 Montford Avenue in Asheville. Super convenient if you're in Montford for the Music & Arts Festival.

Be Incomparable

31 December 2006

food marketing

chek.jpgThe other night, browsing the local Target, I came across some Archer Farms Blueberry-Pomegranate Italian Soda. My oh my, it's tasty stuff. Archer Farms is just Target's own store brand (aka "generic"). Historically, store brands have been simply cheaper knock-offs of some brand-name product. This is still quite prevalent in the cereal aisle, displaying an assortment of Wheaty Spoonfuls, Krispin' Rice, Nutty Nuggets and Apple-O's. You'd buy them to save a few bucks. Same goes with store-brand sodas, such as Dr Chek and Dr Bob.

archer.jpg Target has taken the tact of actually producing incomparable products. I look on the shelf and see a unique bottle containing, of all things, Blueberry-Pomegranate Italian Soda, I start thinking twice if I really want to pick up that case of Pepsi, or even any cola product. I don't look at the bottle, and think "well, yes, but let me get the brand-name version of Blueberry-Pomegranate soda from the Coca-Cola Corporation." I gladly spend my money on the "generic" item of something that has no mainstream equivalent.

Target has a guaranteed distribution channel. They are already considered upscale when compared to Wal-mart, which is probably selling metric tons of Sam's Choice Cola every hour to the penny-pincher. Why not innovate and try something new? Plus now, when I get the hankering for some more funky fruit soda, I have to go to Target.

Reverse-Engineering Foodstuffs

01 December 2006

art food opensource

gorp.jpgI like snack.

At the supermarket, they have a variety of trail-mixes available, which I buy even though I seldom walk on trails. Even within a single species of mix, there can be good tubs, excellent tubs, and downright crappy tubs. I start to get the feeling that trail-mix mixing is more of an art than a recipe, but I haven't identified which trail-mix chef makes the best.

I figure I've learned how to make pies bread, and I can smoke a pretty good turkey, I might as well try my hand at some trail-mix, also known as GORP. Now, some would claim that "GORP" stands for "Good Ol' Raisins and Peanuts" but really it's a red-herring, as you shall see.

I sat down with a tub of store brand trail-mix and analyzed the components. I publish them here now as open-source trail-mix. Feel free to use it in your own endeavors, even in a commercial setting (it's BSD licensed).

Start with a large zip-top bag, perhaps the gallon size.

Now, add some peanuts to the bag. Shake well (you want the peanuts to mix well with the other peanuts. Nut cliques are bad).

Then, add some raisins. Add enough so that the peanuts no longer feel superior in their majority. Take those nuts down a notch and make'em learn to live with others.

Now, you might think you're done, given what GORP supposedly stands for.

You're not.

After close analysis, I determined that the secret ingredient in a good trail-mix is actually M's. Add some. Add some more. Shake the bag.

Now, perhaps you are done. Unless you're in California, in which case I think you're legally obligated to add some dried pineapple and dates.

Oof Uncamp SF Recap

16 September 2006

codehaus events food java opensource web-20

Brian Topping had the foresight to bring his digital SLR and document the Oof Uncamp gathering last Tuesday evening. Attendees included some current and ex-ThoughtWorkers (Paul Hammant, Kurt Schrader), some guy from Ning (Brian McCallister), a cow-orker (Pete Royal) and a VP of something-or-another at Yahoo! (Sam Pullara). Plus our intrepid photo-historian, Brian Topping. Random partners and friends-of-friends were inbibing with us. Click the photo for even more photos.

Conversation ranged from why everything Yahoo! touches is so ugly to ranting about how freaking cold it was that night. By the time it was all over, Sam was talking about some ideas that involve fleeing the country, never to return. My reputation as Mr Perma-Beta was re-affirmed, and apparently is to blame for Radar's perma-stealth mode.

Yes, it's all my fault. I also cause cancer.

We befriended and inducted Cephus and Mongo as honorary hausmates. We doubt either of them own a computer, but they were nice guys, and the Codehaus Foundation needs some muscle on staff, in case we have some enforcing that needs doing.

Remember kids, any gathering of 3-or-more hausmates is an event. Or an un-event. 2.0.

Smoking like a Chimney

16 August 2006

food tools

Continuing the trend of physical-world things you can buy at Lowe's, I'd like to sing the praise of the charcoal chimney.

This summer, I decided to start grilling with actual chunks-of-wood charcoal, instead of pressed-and-formed McCharcoal Briquettes (now made with all white meat). Real charcoal does not include the mass-load of volatile organic compounds that the "match-light" briquettes have. I started by dousing it with liberal amounts of charcoal starter fluid, and whoosh, I'd eventually get an uneven grilling bed.

After picking up a few copies of Cook's Illustrated (check out July's centerfold), I learned of the charcoal chimney. A few sheets of newspaper or discarded resumes you got from some goons on Craigslist, and your charcoal is evenly nice and toasty within 20 minutes. It's a beautiful and simple design. I have no idea why I never tried one sooner.

Holding Court

14 July 2006

codehaus culture events food misc technology

starbucks.jpgI will be holding court at the Vinings Starbucks , in Atlanta, Saturday night, with my son. I'll probably be there around 8pm or so. Email me (bob@ this domain) if you need more information or anything.

I'm just a grill

07 May 2006

culture food

Grill Today marked the first day of grilling season up here in the Appalachians. For some reason, nothing is quite as satisfying as dousing some brickets with some volatile organic compounds and setting it all aflame. The forced relaxation that comes with waiting for the perfect coals is to be savored. I could probably make an analogy about not rushing software development, but really, I just like playing with fire.

(That's the official Codehaus grill, procured for the Codehaus Incendiary Summer Front-Porch Conference two years ago.)