Iâ€™m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America.
Greetings from Galena, Missouri
N 36Â° 47.079â€™ W 093Â° 30.350â€™ Elev. 885 ft.
and West Asheville, North Carolina
N 35Â° 34.936â€™ W 082Â° 36.237â€™ Elev. 2208 ft.
â€˜Round this time last year Jason put together a list of the best things he ate during the previous year. Although the fabled SS Me So Hungry is currently in self-imposed â€œdry dockâ€ I thought Iâ€™d go ahead and post my choice for the best meal(s) I had last year.
Iâ€™ve written about this restaurant twice before and, initially, was kind of hesitant to do so again. But when the food is that good, so head-and-shoulders above the rest, well … whatâ€™s a skipper to do?
So without further ado, the envelope, please. My choice for the best meal(s) I had in 2012 is [rrrrrrrip] Nona Mia Italian Kitchen.
The last time I was there (in November) I actually ordered a steak. I never order steak in restaurants. Theyâ€™re usually too pricey and itâ€™s something most everyone can cook as well or better at home. But I made an exception, mostly because the description on the Specials Menu sounded too good to pass up; a NY strip with a mushroom-chianti wine sauce.
I started with a Rustica salad ($9), comprised of â€œMixed field greens, pear, walnuts, Gorgonzola, lemon and EVO (extra virgin olive oil)â€; shouldnâ€™t that be EVOO? As expected, it was so simple yet so great. What a great combination. My dining companion ordered a Verde salad ($8, small $4.25) of â€œOrganic greens, red wine vinaigrette, and Parmigiano Reggiano.â€ It too looked pretty damn good. And everything fresh, fresh, fresh.
The Bistecca alla Griglia (Certified Angus Grilled Strip Loin Steak, with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus & a Mushroom Chianti Wine Sauce, $18) didnâ€™t disappoint me either. The NY Strip steak was grilled perfectly medium/medium-rare as requested and was pretty darn tender, draped with an awesome sauce. The sauce was so good that I wished there had been more of it. Iâ€™m sure I couldâ€™ve asked Chef Peter Affatato for more but the restaurant was busy and, more so, I was too busy stuffing my face.
The wonderfully garlicky Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus made for a great compliment. And just for good measure it came with a piece of Nonaâ€™s great homemade bread. But this wasnâ€™t the best meal Iâ€™ve had at Nona Miaâ€™s.
Easily the best meal Iâ€™ve ever had at Nona Miaâ€™s â€” and this is saying a lot considering the level of the food â€” was a seafood stew, Pesce Stufato ($17). It was a stew of clams, shrimp, calamari, grouper, fennel, potato and calamata olives. It came bathed in an exquisite saffron broth that lived up to its billing as â€œHeaven in a bowl.â€
In the past Iâ€™ve bitched both here and in person about the fact that Nona Miaâ€™s didnâ€™t have Ravioliâ€™s on the menu. Well, I guess my kvetching has paid off: Nonaâ€™s now has raviolis on its new menu not once but twice!
This would be swell except for two things: They now serve what would likely be my new favorite â€” Formaggio Ravioli Spinaci (House-made cheese ravioli, salsa pomodoro, creamed spinach & basil-walnut pesto, $18) â€” and, much worse, I am exactly 801.7 miles away. Like I said: Swell.
And so we (want to) 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.