5 Days to Figure out Life in Asheville, or Cry Trying.

Making the decision to move to a city without having ever been there is exciting, until it comes time to actually move. Everyone we've talked to about Asheville has had nothing but nice things to say about it, but what if it's like that time everyone said "Anchorman" was the best movie ever, and while it was perfectly fine, didn't quite live up to the hype? What if we can't find a place to live? What if I can't find a job? Casey and I decided to test the waters by spending a few days in Asheville before heading to Myrtle Beach to spend Christmas with my family.

We rented an Airbnb in West Asheville, which was close to a ton of dining and drinking options. Because the city is small, and parking is incredibly cheap (at least relative to everywhere else we've ever lived), we were also able to spend a decent amount of time downtown. If I learned anything during our short stay in Asheville, it is that this is a city that does not want for killer breakfast or beer, and that is the kind of city in which I am meant to live. Here are the highlights:

  • White Duck Taco Shop – Living in Austin set the taco bar pretty high. This was our first meal in Asheville, and while their tacos were maybe a little more epicurean than I'd normally seek out (Banh mi tacos? Dios (banh)mio!), White Duck's taco game is decent, and their River Arts District location has a sweet patio on which I will happily crush tacos and beer any day.

Taco Photos

  • TacoBilly – See above re: living in Austin. This place came recommended by my friend, Chris, who experienced the glory that is breakfast tacos during a recent trip to Austin. Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed the menu advertised Migas and Topo Chico, and there was an orange Home Depot jug situated beside some water cups. I knew immediately that the owner must be from Austin, and confirmed it when Hunter (the owner) came out to greet us once he heard we were also Austin transplants. The tacos were the closest to authentic Austin breakfast tacos I've had since leaving Austin, and I was especially fond of Hunter's green salsa.

  • Fonta Flora Brewery– This brewery is actually about an hour east of Asheville in Morganton, NC. Specializing in rustic and wild beers, typically consisting of locally sourced and foraged ingredients. Our personal favorites were the Hop Beard IPA and the Hefe Roggen (a style I am super intrigued by and still trying to wrap my brain around).

Flights at Fonta Flora

  • Sunny Point Cafe – Don't let this place's affinity for comic sans deter you from eating here. We ate here twice during our visit, and everything was fantastic both times (definitely try the biscuits and the cheese grits). If your schedule allows for weekday breakfast, I would suggest coming here then, because there was definitely a long line when we drove by on Sunday.

  • Wicked Weed Pub – This brewery seems to be synonymous with "beer in Asheville". For real, virtually every beer friend of mine who I told I was moving to Asheville has responded, "oooooooh Wicked Weed", I shit you not. After tasting their brussels sprouts and their beers, I totally get it. Their New Hop Aesthetic DIPA is unreal, as was just about everything else we tried on the two occasions we stopped by here. I was also psyched to pick up a bottle of their Puzzle Pieces barrel aged sour as a gift for my sister- a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold are donated to the Autism Society of North Carolina (my sister works with autistic children, and I was able to introduce her to sour beer. Thanks, Wicked Weed!).

  • Early Girl Eatery – We met our friends Chris and Caitlyn here for breakfast. The concept is farm to table comfort food. My veggie breakfast bowl was awesome, and Casey ordered a second round of bacon (which, okay, bacon. But trust me, it was really good bacon).

  • Biscuit Head– This place is exactly what the name implies, a biscuit-centric eatery. There was about a 10-15 minute wait in a line before we got to the counter to order (side note: I'm oddly fascinated by people who are confused by the concept of waiting until after they've placed their order to claim a table. Trust the system, people, it works!). They have a ton of gravies and house made hot sauces. I went super basic with a biscuit and eggs, but I'm excited to try something a little more adventurous on our next outing.

  • Pour Taproom – I was a little skeptical when I heard about this place. It's a self-pour, pay per ounce taproom, which sounded super gimmicky. I pictured frat boys and party animal tourists pounding beers from unclean keg lines, and wasn't all that interested in checking out Pour. We found ourselves with some free time, and ultimately decided to swing by. I'm so glad we did, because it was not at all the dirty drunk bro apocalypse I'd envisioned. The place was clean, the beers tasted good, and the staff was knowledgable and happy to answer questions. They had about 15 beers on tap (they also had wine), and it was a great way to try a handful of different beers without buying (and drinking) full pints each time. We didn't eat there, but you can order food from Asheville Sandwich Company through them.

Pour Taproom

  • Our new friends, Ter and Scott, were kind enough to have us over to their home in East Asheville one evening, to have some drinks and get a feel for the neighborhood. I met Ter this summer when our paths intersected in Upstate New York– she was attending a wedding, and I was attending a bar crawl. As it turns out, Scott and I grew up in the same neighborhood, and we all had a great time, which I paid for dearly for most of the following day (getting old sucks).

  • We also made trips to Burial Beer Co. and One World Brewing, and really enjoyed everything we tried there. We didn't spend too much time at either location, but I am for sure excited to get back for another visit soon!

Amid all of the eating and drinking we did in our soon-to-be new city, we did attempt to find a place to live, and I did attempt to find a job. Achieving either of these things, let alone both of them, was an ambitious goal to achieve in five days. Especially when those five days happened to be the ones before Christmas. Unsurprisingly, we did not find a place to live, but we did figure out the one or two neighborhoods we do want to live in, and we were able to find an Airbnb rental for January while we continue to look. Also unsurprisingly, I did not find a job, but I did meet some great people, and I am confident that this piece of the puzzle will work itself out sooner than later.

As an anxious person, I've definitely had a small handful of breakdowns over the past couple of weeks. Returning to reality when you're not really sure yet what that entails is freaking scary! I'm sure the length of time we've been driving around is also a pretty big source of stress. I'm not suggesting it's wrong for me to be worried about the future, I think it'd be weird if I wasn't at least a little concerned with figuring this stuff out. I'm just trying to remind myself that it's okay if it takes some time to iron out the details, and that while things may seem up in the air, we did make way more progress than we would have if we hadn't spent five days here.

Also, I really like it here :)