Iâ€™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 35Â° 34.936â€™ Â W 082Â° 36.237â€™ Â Elev. 2208 ft.
After getting sandwiches at a Jersey Mikeâ€™s Subs recently â€” covered in an upcoming post â€” I walked across the street to deliver a really cool prairie dog postcard to a friend at his workplace. It being a Sunday he wasnâ€™t at work, so I just dropped it in the businessâ€™ mailbox and began sauntering back to the yacht.
As I was about to cross the street I noticed that Nona Mia Italian Kitchenâ€™sÂ â€œOPENâ€ 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 Iâ€™d talked to Yolie Affatato, one of the owners, sheâ€™d said they werenâ€™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 Iâ€™ve ever â€œmisunderstoodâ€ anyone or anything in my entire life!
What sheâ€™d actually said was that they werenâ€™t going to be doing the Sunday Brunch through the winter.
So I went in and ordered one of the dayâ€™s specials: Pesce Stufato (Nonaâ€™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, â€œThis is heaven in a bowl.â€ 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 â€” hell, everything! â€” 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 (jalapeÃ±o) 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.
Iâ€™ve written about Nona Mia beforeÂ and my two major complaints remain: No raviolis and I simply canâ€™t eat all that I want and/or see, although Iâ€™d sure like to.
Actually, Iâ€™ll add a third complaint: They didnâ€™t have any of the heavenly ricotta rolls that they regularly made for Sunday Brunch.
Waaaaaaah! Iâ€™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 heâ€™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.