PHOTO GALLERY: Eating Our Way Through Asheville

 

My Top 5 Bites in Asheville (described in 3 words)!

This year on Fourth of July weekend we traded Florida beaches for Blue Ridge scenery in Asheville, North Carolina. We couldn’t get enough of the cool mountain temps, southern barbecue and farm-to-table eats.

 

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#5 — Hummingbird Cake: Sweet. Moist. Sugar.
at Early Girl Eatery in Downtown Asheville

 

 

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#4 — Smoked Trout Spread: Spicy. Creamy. Addictive.
at Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen in Omni Grove Park Inn

 

 

 

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#3 — BBQ Sandwich: Meaty. Vinegary. Authentic.
at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, NC

 

 

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#2 — Cheerwine Float: Sweet. Cold. American.
at Cook Out in Lincolnton, NC

 

 

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#1 — Shoo Mercy Omelet: Southern. Cheesy. Stuffed.
at Tupelo Honey Café in South Asheville

Little Bites, Big Flavors: 100 Montaditos

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100 Montaditos
1401 Brickell Ave.
100montaditos.com

We are now in the home stretch of busy tax season – one week and counting! And I’m sure others would agree that during a stressful workweek, the last thing I feel like doing is messing with dinner in the kitchen. Some evenings I’m really just in the mood for a quick and cheap meal out, some place with tasty fare where we can get in and get out instead of lingering over a heavy meal tableside.

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100 Montaditos served as that ideal quick-yet-tasty dinner spot for us last week, and the best part is that it’s within walking distance of our condo just down Miami’s bustling Brickell Avenue. A fast-casual restaurant inspired by Spain’s renowned tapas culture, this low-key chain eatery (there are several locations in the Miami area) serves up 100 mini sandwiches (hence the name) filled with tons of different meats, cheeses and more. It’s a great place for the diner who enjoys trying a variety of small bites – and I’d certainly describe myself as such!

IMAG1636The price of the sammies (ranging from $1-$3) might also reflect their size, but we were pleasantly delighted by the flavors and fresh ingredients packed into these light bites. The menu consists of a number (literally, each item is assigned a number, which you use when ordering) of individual montaditos – serrano ham, tortilla Espanola, Philly steak, barbecue pulled pork, Manchego cheese, anchovies and everything in between. You can also opt for one of their collections, which includes five pre-selected montaditos ($7-$12), or nosh on their appetizer platters or salads.

IMAG1637The beer, wine and sangria prices are without a doubt some of the best deals in the Brickell area (if not in all of Miami). I’m talking about five types of sangria ($3 for a mug, $8 for a pitcher), domestic beer on tap ($3 mug, $8 pitcher), $3 wine by the glass, and also imported brews, such as Estrella Damm, a Barcelona-based pilsner, which we ordered in pitcher form ($15, or $5 for a mug).

Being as it was our first time visiting the place, I wasn’t exactly sure how many montaditos I should order for myself. I started with three (all orders come with plain potato chips): #59 was filled with juicy, spicy chistorra (Basque-style chorizo sausage), hard-boiled egg and tangy-sweet piparra pepper; #80 came with salty anchovies, Manchego cheese, spicy piquillo pepper, arugula and mayo; #91, called the Caprese, was served on soft chapata bread and toted serrano ham, mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato and rich pesto sauce. The trio plus chips satisfied my hunger that night, but I’d suggest at least a foursome of montaditos if you’re feeling pretty hungry.

IMAG1641_1My carnivore husband ventured toward the Meat Lover’s Collection ($7), which comprised #11 (meatballs with bacon), #29 (Philly steak, cheddar, piquillo pepper and crispy onion), #45 (chicken, green pepper, fresh tomato and ali-oli), #47 (barbecue pulled pork, cream cheese, bacon and ali-oli), and #52 (garlic pork loin, fresh tomato, lettuce, mayo). And because we are two blue cheese lovers, we added a #35 (blue cheese, arugula, crispy onion and honey mustard) for good measure – although we were somewhat disappointed at the cheese’s creamy texture and lack of pungency, as we were expecting crumbles.

I’d have to say #59 with the chistorra sausage was our favorite from my plate, while we really enjoyed the garlicky pork on #52 as well as the juicy rendition of the Philly in #29. Some might say the bread on these sandwiches also plays a huge part in their success, and I would most certainly agree – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, just the way I like it.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention the sweet montaditos on the menu, which are a must-try with any visit. We shared #98 (cookies and cream), which served as a perfect sugary ending, with its crumbled Oreo cookies, smooth cream, and soft-and-warm chocolate bread. Note: I’ve been dreaming of that montadito ever since we left.

With so many menu options, cheap drink prices and its quaint outdoor courtyard seating area, I’m thinking we might have found our ideal weeknight dinner spot in 100 Montaditos. Who knows, we might get adventurous and try eating our way through the numbered menu items one-by-one. I don’t do math, but I’m thinking that might take a while.