I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Asheville, North Carolina.

Greetings from West Asheville, North Carolina
N 35° 34.936’  W 082° 36.237’  Elev. 2208 ft.

After getting sandwiches at a Jersey Mike’s Subs recently — covered in an upcoming post — I walked across the street to deliver a really cool prairie dog postcard to a friend at his workplace. It being a Sunday he wasn’t at work, so I just dropped it in the business’ mailbox and began sauntering back to the yacht.

As I was about to cross the street I noticed that Nona Mia Italian Kitchen’s “OPEN” sign was lit. I figured it was an oversight on their part but decided to walk by anyway. As it turned out they were open.

The last time I’d talked to Yolie Affatato, one of the owners, she’d said they weren’t going to be open on Sundays anymore. Or so I thought. Evidently, I had misunderstood her. To my knowledge, this was the first time I’ve ever “misunderstood” anyone or anything in my entire life!

What she’d actually said was that they weren’t going to be doing the Sunday Brunch through the winter.

So I went in and ordered one of the day’s specials: Pesce Stufato (Nona’s seafood stew with clams, shrimp, calamari, grouper, fennel, green chili, tomato, onion, calamata olives and potato in a saffron broth) for $17.

When the waiter brought out the giant bowl and set it before me he said, “This is heaven in a bowl.” He did not lie. Or exaggerate even slightly.

Chef/owner Peter Affatato is an extremely talented, inventive artisan in the kitchen. And this stew was just more proof of his spectacular skills. Not that I needed any.

All of the sea foods — hell, everything! — was perfectly cooked, as usual. Even the rings of calamari were tender as could be. And the saffron broth was simply bursting with flavor. I thought the addition of green (jalapeño) chili, which kind of threw me when I read the description, was a particularly brilliant flourish, adding just enough zing to seriously perk up the taste buds.

I’ve written about Nona Mia before and my two major complaints remain: No raviolis and I simply can’t eat all that I want and/or see, although I’d sure like to.

Actually, I’ll add a third complaint: They didn’t have any of the heavenly ricotta rolls that they regularly made for Sunday Brunch.

Waaaaaaah! I’m sorry, what I really meant to say was: WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I hope that one day the food gods will bless me with the good fortune to show up when Peter does one of his tasting menus. I understand he’s going to be doing a wine and food pairing menu sometime in the near(?) future. If only I were lucky enough to be there for it.

By the way, Wednesday, October 17th is the Pastafarian version of Xmas: National Pasta Day. Endeavor to suck some noodles in celebration!

And so we roll.

Nona Mia Italian Kitchen, 1050 Haywood Road West, Asheville, North Carolina

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

About The Author

Jason Lam

Food blogger since 2008. Hair model since 2003.

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