One thing I sometimes forget when I think of the local food scene is the astounding number of international eateries we have, especially for such a small town, located in the Appalachian Mountains of WNC. Sure, you would expect awesome biscuits ‘n’ gravy, fried chicken and pulled pork around here, but what about Moroccan bastilla?
No? Never heard of it? Yeah, neither had I, until my friend Paddy and I popped into long-time Asheville favorite Jerusalem Garden Café the other day, where I spied it on their menu under “tapas."
Although I had no clue as to what bastilla might be, the description sounded great: lamb, cous cous, feta and raisins in filo dough. I’m down with all of that, individually or together. I trusted that the “Moroccan” part of the dish would mean there would a be a whole lot of flavors goin’ on beyond that fairly basic description. My gamble paid off nicely!
This baked, stuffed, savory pastry was warm, soft, comforting and packed with interesting flavors on the inside, while remaining light, flaky, crispy and delicate on the outside. It came with some nice house-made sauces and a fresh little salad. Paddy and I shared it, but I was secretly coveting it all for myself, and already making plans to return on my own.
Later, I read online that a bastilla — sometimes called a “pastilla" — is a form of pie or hand-pie; not entirely unrelated to a Cornish pasty, only like, I’m gonna say, way better. Sorry to any Cornish people reading this, I like your pies, but, c’mon. Go eat this Moroccan bastilla and then tell me I’m wrong.
Anyhoo, thanks to local restaurateurs like Farouk Badr of Jerusalem Garden Café, we are very fortunate in Asheville to have a relatively large and varied number of International eateries to choose from! I chose the bastilla, and I chose wisely!
Find all the food specials, new menu additions, events and more from Jerusalem Garden by checking out their Dig Local Profile.