I showed up hungry and broke to the Underground Cafe in the historic Jackson Building, and totally took advantage of a young entrepreneur’s good nature to score some free grub.
What an asshole!
But, holy shit, I was really hungry.
EAT OF THE WEEK: BRISKET SLIDERS!
True tales of a stoner idiot
So, the other day, I got all blazed-up and started walking downtown with just one thing on my mind: EAT.
I was in a jaunty mood, fairly skipping #iwasnotskipping down the street, specifically on my way to eat more of the great food available from the brand-dandy new Underground Cafe, which is, like, my new favorite thing on planet Earth right now. (Except for this song, which is my super-duper new favorite thing on planet Earth right now.) As I walked, I was very focused on my task at hand — to eat stuff- and I had the following very deep thoughts…
“Burger. No! Meatloaf. Mmmm… meeeeatloaf. Waitaminute… pork belly? Doughnut?!?“
But suddenly! As I was walking past that hideous, rambling, throw-back, of a shit-shack called the Downtown Inn, I had a horrible realization — fuck! I forgot to bring my lighter… and my pipe… and my weed… money… house keys, credit card, everything. I patted myself down thoroughly. My pockets were 100% devoid of anything useful to surviving a day in downtown Asheville. Not even a pen with which to draw a dollar bill, or write a sign that says “Will Critique Sandwiches for Sandwiches.”
I was fucked. I hated myself! FUCK YOU STU HELM! YOU’RE SO DUMB! You walked all the way downtown for NUTHIN’! Except… (wheels began to turn in my head) I do happen to know that the Chef/Co-Owner of the Underground Cafe, Jay Medford is a nice guy. I would even say that he’s a very nice guy! Sooo… maybe Jay would let me Wimpy my way into a sandwich today, which I would gladly pay him for on Tuesday? I mean, I barely know the guy, and yes I felt like a shitheel for even asking, but I no joke, I was fuckin’ hungry, and becoming rapidly, steadily, and deeply more unhappy with each passing minute, so what the Hell, it was worth a shot. And sure enough, BOOM, these three sliders happened to my face soon after…
I’m trying to eat my way through Jay’s menu, no repeatsies, so the burger and meatloaf sandwich were both off the table. Instead I went for the next most meaty thing on the menu: Beef Brisket Sliders. I’m not the world’s most brisket-savvy eater, and I’ve actually had some pretty meh brisket in my day, so I wasn’t 100% jazzed by my choice to be honest, but so far I had thoroughly enjoyed the other food I’d had from Jay, so it was with high hopes that I attacked these super-cute li’l sliders, and WOW! High Hopes, you were met and exceeded. After one bite, I cocked my pointed little head at an obtuse angle and said to myself… or perhaps out loud… “Holy shit. That’s good brisket.”
Then I tore into those three little fucks like a ravenous hyena.
And they were gone before I even knew what was happening to me. Seriously. Poof! Gone. I could have eaten ten more. Not because they were unfulfilling, no! Total opposite! I was quite full and very effing satisfied. I just wanted more sliders because I’m a pig who always wants more sliders. If I had any actual money in my pockets I think I might have purchased three more right then and there, but since I was dining at the pleasure of the house, I refrained from ordering a second round, and instead I thanked the Chef several times, promised to return to pay him, and said goodbye.
The brisket on these sliders was wonderfully beefy, and hot, and melty, and umami-y, and it was definitely one of the best brisket experiences I’ve ever had. In addition to all that beautiful hot beef, these sliders consisted of avocado, house made buttermilk slaw, house made pickles, and chipotle pimento cheese, all served on a classic, soft, sweet, squishy King’s Hawaiian bun, which is just one of the greatest buns ever. I know, I know. It’s trashy. It’s processed. It’s not local. It’s total bullshit nutritionally speaking. DON’T CARE! It is clearly the best bun for the job, and truly one of the joy’s of being alive in the modern world.
Yes, I just said that King’s Hawaiian buns are one of life’s great joys. You can disagree with me… if you feel like being wrong about something today.
Every aspect of these sliders was perfect, a guaranteed hit with me, and with anyone who is a fan of all the ingredients listed above. Chef Jay & team Underground, you have been batting a thousand with me so far, and true to form, these Brisket sliders were fucking awesome.
Thanks for your kindness (I stopped back in to pay Jay for these sliders a couple days later), and thank you once again for opening such a great little eatery, in such a fun, historic, and apparently haunted space! (Jay has video!) These insanely cute and tasty little sliders have been on my mind ever since I ate ’em, and for all the reasons listed above, they are more than worthy of being named as my…
EAT OF THE WEEK!
The Underground Café with DoughP Doughnuts
“Fun café located in the historic Jackson Building in Downtown Asheville. Serving up breakfast, coffee, and lunch featuring DoughP Doughnuts.”
Address: 3521, 22 S Pack Square, Asheville, NC 28801
Phone: (828) 412-5718
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Stu Helm is a food writer, blogger, social media personality, and food tour guide living in Asheville, NC, where he can frequently be seen 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, and has since been called one of Asheville’s top “influencers,” and a “small town celebrity!”