Blackened treats, mountain spa magic, + how to email Congress re: Child Nutrition Act!

Hi friends,

I hope your weekend was tasty! I managed to put away an enormous blackened shrimp, mushroom, spinach, goat cheese + soft-scrambled local egg breakfast burrito yesterday morning at the hip, seasonal-menu'd Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville, NC, as well as a brain-melting blackened salmon, queso fresco, and BBQ mushroom paquete (basically a quesadilla) on Saturday at Hector's Salsas in downtown Asheville -- my new favorite Latin restaurant. Obvi had some cravings to attend to.

The 3rd fl GPI atrium, w/four-story ceiling + skylight. Rad.
'Twas not a gluten-free, dairy-free weekend. Kinda couldn't resist the iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, bacon, and tobacco-sizzle onions; the Carolina lump crab cake; and the roasted veg ravioli we enjoyed via room service in the 100 year-old, Arts and Crafts deco'd guest atrium at the historic, boulder-encrusted Grove Park Inn on V-Day. Especially after spending a mega-therapeutic afternoon (thanks to my sweetie!) in the GPI's mind-blowing spa , rated #5 in the country by Travel + Leisure for very good reason.

Um, an enormous indoor heated multi-pool grotto with massive, vaulted stone ceilings, skylights, two super-hot, thundering "therapeutic waterfall" hot tubs, and a snow-ringed, sunny, outdoor hot tub with a view of the Blue Ridge mountains? Yeah. The GPI spa facilities fully kicked the tuckis of the spa at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in CA, y'all, and I had thought the it was a king-daddy.

For those of you who know me personally, you're likely familiar with the chronic neck and back problems I've acquired over the last decade or so. Back in 1999, I started reviewing spas for the now-defunct San Francisco Metropolitan Magazine in an effort to score comped therapeutic massage treatments, which I could not otherwise afford at the time. One thing led to the next, and among other terrific writing/editing clients, Splendora (one of the all-time greats) enabled me to sample hundreds of pampering destinations. So I kindof developed a thing for spas. A BIG thing for spas. And the Grove Park Inn is the most pampering bang for your buck that I've found thus far! Man, it was awesome. Obviously I can't shut up about it. Let's go back!

Meanwhile, toward less self-indulgent pursuits, here's a repost of national interest that I just put up over at the Slow Food Columbia blog:

Act Now! Tell Congress about the Importance of Real Food in Schools.  At last night's monthly meeting, each attendee sent an email to Congress telling them that America's children need real food at school.

For those of you who were unable to attend, join us now by submitting an email:

Child obesity is skyrocketing, and our children, our economy and our quality of life are at risk. Helping schools serve real food may be the most promising way to end child obesity -- but it can't happen unless Congress invests in healthier food in the upcoming Child Nutrition Act. 

Last night, your fellow Slow Food Columbia members told our legislators that schools need the resources to serve real food, cook meals from scratch and buy directly from local farms. It's time to give America's kids a healthy future.

A call to Slow Food USA this morning confirmed that efforts toward reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act will be ongoing over the course of many months and beyond, do don't be shy about Facebooking and forwarding this call to action!

Thank you for all that you do to promote good, clean, and fair food in the Midlands. 
All the best, 
Slow Food Columbia

p.s. We're thrilled to report that our Terra Madre Day BBQ at City Roots Urban Farm on February 27, 2010 has sold out! Special thanks to local businesses Caw Caw Creek Pastured Pork, Smoke Southern BBQ Revival, and Rosewood Market for working with us to produce the event.

We're also happy to note that last Tuesday, Slow Food Columbia co-sponsored a sold-out screening at the Nickelodeon Theatre of the excellent, positive-minded documentary film, Fresh

A vibrant talk-back session followed re: cost-prohibitive, byzantine regulatory issues facing small, independent farms, leading to a thought-provoking discussion between panelists from Slow Food Columbia, City Roots Farm, and Freshly Grown Farms, as well as audience members from USC's Green Quad, Sustainable Midlands, the SC Department of Agriculture, The Shop Tart, and Shadow Lane Farm in Wagener, SC.

FRESH Synopsis (from

"FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.
Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.
FRESH would love to support you in organizing a community screening. Community screenings of FRESH provide a great way to raise awareness about our food system while promoting your work and vision"



  1. Dang, dang, dang. I really wanted to go to the Terre Madre event and hadn't gotten tickets. Do you know ANYWHERE there may be some left still? Is anyone hoarding them?! :) Lane

  2. Hi Lane! Oh man, I wish there were more! We are going to have to do more of these, I think. Follow the Slow Food Columbia blog and we'll post info about future similar events!


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