La Vida Comida – Bees, Bears, Benches, and Beans.

Hello Asheville!

So… the other day I was sitting at home, “working,” when I realized, Oh fuck! It’s 1PM already! If I wanted to grab lunch at Buxton Hall, I’d have to leave immediately. They close at 3pm for two hours, and believe me, I have missed that boat often enough, that I give myself plenty of time to get there now. I was really really hungry, so I quickly tossed on some extra layers for the brisk, 15 minute walk, and on the way, I texted Good Friend Henco Billy…

“what r u doin?”

His answer came back right away, “eating lunch at buxton, big meeting.”

I responded, “I c u there.”

Sure enough, when I got there, the nice hostess seated me at one of those great little two-toppers along the wall, and when I glanced around, I saw Billy Henc’s sitting directly across the room, facing me. He smiled my way. I threw him the peace sign. A few mins later he texted me a picture of his food. “Chicken” he informed me. When my super-nice server came around, I ordered the special of the day, country fried steak, with two sides. I couldn’t wait to text Billy some pics of my grub!

In my head…

Boy am I hungry. Oooh, another text! What did Billy get for dessert?

Nope. It wasn’t Billy. It was Pablo.

“See you shortly after 2,” he said.



I totally forgot about Pablo.

Pablo Gomez is co-owner with his wife of a sandwich delivery service called Fresh Lunch. He had contacted me a week prior and asked if he could bring me sandwiches, and tell me about his company. Are you kidding me? Food Fan Rule #15: Never say no to sandwiches. So we booked a day and a time, which happen to be a 1/2 hour from the moment after I ordered my country fried steak at Buxton Hall. Arg. Panic.

Later, Henco Billy told me that he saw my demeanor change as I started frantically texting and furtively looking around the dining hall. I was texting Pablo asking for 10 extra minutes to get back home, and searching for my server. I tracked her down, and with apologies, switched my ordered to take-out. I paid her cash, tipped her as if I had stayed for my meal (only seemed fair), and bolted for the door.

“Wait wait!,” came a voice,“Elliot wanted you to have pie.” The house gave me pie. I was the dick, I fucked-up, I wasted their time, and they gave me pie. Gosh, I love being me sometimes!

Anyhoo, I beat Pablo to my place by about 10 mins and literally stood over my take-out box, shoving steak, black-eyed peas, and mac salad in my face as fast as I could before the sandwiches arrived. I’m telling you what, by then I was fucking hungry. It was 2pm already, and I had not eaten a thing all day.

Fuck, that steak was goooood. Like, really good. Really really really fucking good. Even though it had been transported home in a box, and had suffered slightly as a result, it was still warm, and tender, and delicious, and slightly chewy (like it should be), with a goodly amount of delicious gravy. Holy fuck, it hit the spot. I was about ready to give up the ghost, and I think this steak may have saved my life.

As a Northerner, I ain’t eaten a lot of country fried steaks in my life. It’s just not a thing up there. In fact, I’d only had it one other time, at 5 Points Diner, and it was fucking horrible. That place fucking sucks. I don’t know what people see in it. Folks tell me things like “it’s a real diner,” or “it’s so authentic,” but that’s total BS. The food is crap, and the country fried steak they served me was something that I wouldn’t feed to a dog. Chef Elliot Moss’ country fried steak was fucking awesome though, and I would totally get it again. It’s the special of the day every Wednesday. The two sides I got were excellent as well.

So, I ate a few more bites of steak, and then hid all evidence of my first lunch from Pablo, who arrived shortly with my second lunch. Three super-tasty sandwiches! Yay! They were very good, and the bread was fan-fucking-tastic! Apparently his wife makes it from an old family recipe, and wow, really good bread. All of the ingredients in the three sandwiches were tasty and fresh, and of a high quality, so I recommend Fresh Lunch Delivery to anyone living or working downtown. Thanks, Pablo!

What is the point of my story? None. Just a random anecdote from my crazy food life, by way of an intro to the video and photos below. If there’s anything that I want you, the reader, to take away from my story it is this: The steak at Buxton is great, and so are the sandwiches from Fresh Lunch. Simple as a pimple.

In the video, Pablo explains a little bit about his company and their food (if you don’t see the player, you can check it out HERE) and below that, the photo gallery is from the last few days of mi vida comida, and depicts everything from a bench and a beehive being destroyed, to coffee beans being roasted, to pakoras, alfredo, nachos, an anniversary party, Smoky Park Supper Club, good friends, good times, double-donuts, and brunch with mom at Buffalo Nickel. What a great food week!

You can click on the thumbnails to view larger versions and if you have any questions about any of the food or venues depicted below, please use the comments section, and I will answer you if I can!



 – END –

IMG_0273Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.


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