One of my favorite things about traveling to new places is the chance to try new restaurants. Trust me folks, Asheville did not disappoint! Every meal we had was well worth the visit. After our big hike up to Black Balsam Knob, we followed another recommendation from the wonderful folks at Local Provisions (the first being the hike up to Black Balsam Knob) and went to Gan Shan Station for a late lunch.
This small indoor space makes great use of the natural light and we were seated at a table that was next to the large wall of windows in the front of the restaurant.
Having hiked at least 6 miles (did 9 miles of walking for the day), we quickly drained the water bottles placed on the table.
This old building was perfect for camera play-I loved the light fixtures hanging above the tables.
Sorry, couldn’t resist…
My choice for lunch was a spinach and tofu salad. Trust me when I say that this is not what I expected. It was also as delicious as it was different, those crunchy bits on the top…Seriously though, this dish was only offered as a special and for those of you who visit the restaurant, I hope they offer it again! It had a little bit of a bite to it but the crumbled tofu and cooked spinach were well flavored and served cold-perfect and refreshing for the hot day and the hike we had just completed.
The rest of our meal included pork dumplings and fried tofu. Be sure to check the special board to see what fillings are available for the dumplings because they change them frequently. We devoured them! The filling was a typical Asian style pork recipe with ginger and garlic and all of the other ingredients you would expect to find but it was the sauce that made them. It was a creamy peanut sauce with what I think was a touch of red curry and if we had been there alone, we might have fought over who was going to have it all.
The fried tofu was light and crispy, fried to perfection in a well seasoned starch mixture and again, the sauce was a big part of the success of the dish. It was not your typical salty-soy sauce and we used it freely as we ate the crispy sticks.
Between us, we also shared a grilled vegetable salad that included squash, peppers and avocados. This was the first time I ate a grilled avocado and honestly, I don’t think it made any difference to the flavor; ripe avocados are the food of the gods and nothing can improve that! Again, be sure to check the special board, that is where the good stuff is. At least it was on our visit because most of what we ate, was ordered off the board and not the menu.
And if you need any proof, we joined the clean plate club and walked away feeling full but not stuffed! It was the perfect way to refresh ourselves after our hiking adventure.
The verdict, if you are in Asheville, take the trip over for lunch, it isn’t in the downtown area but it is worth the time you will need to get there. My plan is to go back sometime and try the dinner menu.
Remember that mention of Local Provisions? We were staying nearby and walked over for cocktails before heading out to dinner. When I read the description for the Midnight Voyage, I had to have one. It was the first time I have ever tasted Honeysuckle Vodka and I probably could have consumed a quart of this mixture! The cocktail is a blend of honeysuckle vodka, Creme de Violette, St. Germain and lime juice. It was a little sweet, very citrusy and just a bit floral; it was also like a glass of grown-up limeade that did not remind me of really bad margaritas, which is something lime juice generally does for me. They knocked it out of the park with the addition of a stem of begonia flowers. How is it that this gardener did not know that begonias are edible??? They have a tart flavor that will get you at the back of your jaw but in this drink, they were the perfect addition!