Rosetta’s Kitchen is a plant-based restaurant with a mission. Rosetta’s is not only dedicated to serving healthy whole foods but is also determined to feed the hungry. Every day a red beans and rice dish is prepared at cost for those in need. The price is a sliding scale according to what an individual can afford to pay. If someone can’t pay the minimum suggested price, they may ask for a food voucher which was donated by previous customers who have paid something extra so that all may eat.
Located off exit 5A from I-240, Rosetta’s front entrance faces Merrimon Avenue just as you are coming off the exit ramp. There is no parking in the front so you must turn left onto Merrimon, take the next right onto Woodfin Street and then another right onto N. Lexington Ave. It’s isn’t as complicated as it sounds. There is parking on Lexington and also in a lot across from Rosetta’s. Be sure you put your money in the meter because the police patrol this area often, including the parking lot.
Clearly the gods were with us. Rich and I arrived at Mela’s minutes before the lunch crowd overtook the place, and a parking spot opened up for us right next to the restaurant. Entering, we stepped into an inviting, spacious room and were greeted by a gracious hostess. Directly before us was a bountiful buffet bar of mouthwatering Indian specialties in which fully half of them were vegan! Everything is made from scratch at Mela, from as many organic ingredients as possible and locally sourced when available. Many of the dishes are naturally gluten free. The price for the buffet was $9.95. Add chai tea or a beer from the full bar and the cost is $12. One can, of course, order off the menu during the lunch hour.
Ordering the buffet was a no-brainer. With a profusion of colorful and fragrant temptations we could contain ourselves only long enough for Rich to order a beer and we were off to the buffet bar. By the time we returned to our seat, the restaurant was jammed packed with enthusiastic diners and filled with laughter and conversation.
Plant-based is the name of the game in this all vegan restaurant in Asheville, NC. Everything in this restaurant is plant-based, hence the name, Plant. There are no animal products of any kind available in this cruelty-free, environmentally friendly and health conscious establishment. Of particular note, there are no genetically modified products in any of the foods prepared at Plant.
Plant management has made a commitment to use only the finest ingredients available. Therefore, much of what you are served will be organic, to the extent it is available, and are sourced as much as possible from local farmers. Chef and co-owner, Jason Sellers, is fanatical about finding organic, quality ingredients. He has been instrumental in convincing other local chefs to buy organic products so that food venders will readily carry them. (more…)
Once in a blue moon I’ll discover a truly unique gem of a resource that I simply feel duty bound to share with the world. Natural Imports of Asheville, NC, is one such discovery. Natural Imports is a purveyor of traditional Japanese culinary products of the highest caliber. Great care is taken to assure excellence, offering foods of a medicinal quality, prepared in time honored traditions by skilled Japanese craftsmen. Mass production and quicker, low-quality methods are threatening the livelihoods of these Japanese artisans, who prepare foods using the principal of Ishoku Dogen, “medicine and food have the same source.” You’ll find no mass market food and no arsenic laden Chinese seaweed here, only traditionally crafted products and sea vegetables grown in deep waters of Japan, protected for centuries with organic, sustainable practices.
Bruce MacDonald, now semi-retired, is the founder of Natural Imports. His daughter, Crystal, has been his partner and business manager since its inception in 1993, since she was 19 years old. Crystal speaks fluent Japanese and is a wealth of information about all aspects of how the seaweed is harvested, the medicinal and nutritional ingredients of every product, the sustainability practices of her suppliers and any glitch that effects the ecosystem and thereby affecting the quality of their products. She is a dynamic powerhouse who stays on top of all issues pertaining to Natural Imports.
Crystal essentially grew up in the business. Her parents divorced when she was young and she spent summers working at Commodities, a Japanese import store Bruce owned in New York City, where she learned about Japanese food. Bruce had previously worked for Erehwon in Boston, which was the original importer of natural foods in the US and subsequently for Erehwon West in California and later for Bread and Circus, which was sold to become the original Whole Foods Market.
For the vegan and veg-curious, there is no better way to sample a variety of great vegan dishes than by joining a local meet-up group. The best way to find one in your area is to simply google vegan meetups (your city). For example, vegan meetup Butler, TN. This brought up meetup groups in Boone, NC, Asheville, NC and Johnson City, TN, all of which we have become members. Participation in these potluck events are usually free or very inexpensive, depending on whether the group has to pay a fee for a venue in which to meet. I’ve never seen one charge more than $3. You are expected to bring a pot-luck dish which has no animal products in it whatsoever and will feed eight people. Usually, you also bring your recipe as well as your own place setting. This is a great way to experience vegan cuisine, gather new recipes of the dishes you enjoyed and become a part of a supportive group of like minded people. Occasionally, a group will get together to sample the vegan cuisines offered by local restaurants.
Yesterday, we were able to visit for the first time (due to the long drive) The Asheville Vegan Society’s luncheon at Suwana’s Thai Orchid. Suwana’s was one of the first restaurants we reviewed when we began our journey with Veggin’ Out & About. We learned yesterday she is in the process in opening up an Asian Noodle shop very near Suwana’s Thai Orchid. We are excited about reviewing this new find in the coming weeks.
The Asheville Vegan Society is a robust, laid-back group of vegans of all ages. We had such a great time and were welcomed like old friends. The food at Suwana’s was even better than we remembered. It was all so delicious and the service was fantastic. Thank you, Joe W. VeganMan for organizing this great event and this dynamic group!! And thank you, Suwana and her amazing staff for pulling it off so seamlessly!!
Asheville, North Carolina was recently voted the best small city in which to find vegetarian restaurants. Somehow, Suwana’s Thai Orchid was overlooked in several of the on-line vegetarian search engines. We are so tired of the standard vegan fare, meatless meals made to look like meat, tofu out the wazoo. What we want are delicious fresh vegetables presented in healthy, tasty sauces. Suwana’s Thai Orchid certainly accomplishes that.