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Weekly Scoop (January 27-February 2) - Local Latin cuisine with The Urban Gastronome đŸ„˜ Plus lots to do this week!


Local Latin Cuisine with
The Urban Gastronome 

The Paella at Cono Sur. Photos by The Urban Gastronome.

As creatures of habit we typically stay within our comfort zone unless poked or prodded. Nourishment is a necessity in life, therefore we must eat and drink. So if I told you in roughly twenty minutes from downtown Asheville you could dine on some of the most authentic Peruvian and Latin fusion cuisine, would you go? If I said you could experience one of the top 13 sandwich recipes (Chacarero) in the world according to Time magazine in 2014, would you go? If it involved a Chilean and a Peruvian who have labored 20+ years in the hospitality industry to finally realize their dream and open up their own place...again...would you go? Consider yourself poked and prodded.

Sergio Castro, a certified Chef by ACF (American Culinary Federation), was having a cerveza with a Chilean friend by the name of Patricio Vera (or was it wine?) Anyways, they were enjoying an adult beverage and as the conversation ensued, it was apparent it was time to make a change in their lives. Both have worked tirelessly across the United States and in South America perfecting their craft throughout their careers. Everything from the front to the back of the house, so this was a marriage made in heaven. Sergio with his acute culinary skills, and Patricio with his innate ability to charm guests, set out on this magical journey together and opened Cono Sur in Mills River.

Only one parking space was open, and as I entered the restaurant it was buzzing with lunch goers grinning from ear to ear. Colorful plates of yummy goodness filled the hands of all the staff as it was all they could do to keep up the pace. The Fire Chief was there, several business owners, locals and more. It was apparent that they have already built relationships within the community. With that said, I felt lucky to be there and to get an open table. Did I mention this was after 1:00 pm?

The Aji D’Gallini.
Everyday specialties listed on the menu included: Empanadas, Ropa Vieja, Arroz Chaufa, Lomo Saltado, Aji D’Gallina, Chorillana, Beef and Papa Murro, and Pork Havana. In addition they do a Special of the Day, and I ordered the Paella and my lunch guest had Aji D’Gallini. Mine was filled with octopus, mussels, shrimp, rice and veggies. It was simply delicious and quite filling. Shredded chicken with an array of spices, olives, boiled egg, yellow potatoes and rice covered my guest’s dish. The creamy sauce with spices blended nicely and was not like anywhere else.

Next time I will be trying the Cuban sandwich and the Pollo a la Brasa (Peruvian rotisserie chicken). Both looked amazing as I saw them being served to the other patrons. I almost ordered them to go, but figured it would be better to come back with friends.

Speaking of which, if you do go with a large party, I suggest treating the meal like a family style dinner. Order a variety of items on the menu and experience Cono Sur in its entirety. I mean line them down the middle of the table and dabble in the culinary genius of these two men. Their passion is food, and it is to stay true to Latin cuisine. Sergio said you will find their food on the streets in South America and you will find it in their restaurant: authentic flavors.

Get out of your comfort zone and experience all the flavors this world has to offer. A twenty minute car ride is a lot cheaper than a flight to South America.

Folks until we eat again, Cheers!

Below you will find one locally curated Scoop chosen for each day this week — but make sure to check out all the Scoops this week on our Dig Local Scoop Calendar.

Monday, January 27

2019 Asheville Food Fan Awards
with Shay Brown Events
Join us along with Stu Helm, Ashvegas, The Urban Gastronome, and Shay Brown Events at the Asheville Masonic Temple for a night of foodie paradise to eat, drink, and be merry while paying tribute to the great people who make up the amazing Asheville food scene! All leftovers will be donated to Food Connection to reduce food waste and ease hunger.
More details.
More to do Monday
Tuesday, January 28
Taco Tuesdays and Free Pool!
at The Bier Garden
$2.50 tacos, $1.50 off all drafts, $2.50 well drinks, AND free pool?! What more could you ask for?
More details.
More to do Tuesday

Wednesday, January 29

W.A.C. Wednesdays
at Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro
Cozy up with $2 off cigars and $1 off whiskey pours, and enjoy them by the fireside.
More details.

More to do Wednesday

Thursday, January 30

Rooftop Live Music
at Antidote

Enjoy a rotating cast of talented local bands on the rooftop during the twilight hours of the evening from 7-10pm.
More details.

More to do Thursday

Friday, January 31

Interactive Escape Room Adventures
at Black Mountain Escape

It's Fri-yay! Gather your crew and immerses yourselves in an exciting story and creative set designs that range from a WWII battleship to a time machine.
Tickets and more details.
More to do Friday

Saturday, February 1

Wine 101: Swirl, Sniff, Sip!
at Rustic Grape Wine Bar
Are you a new or casual wine drinker? Then this fun and interactive class is for you! Come learn the basics of how wine is made, tips for buying quality and affordable wine, learn about smelling aroma, swirling in the glass, and of course sipping great wine.
Tickets and more details.
More to do Saturday

Sunday, February 2

The Power of Distinction Exhibition
at Southern Highland Craft Guild
In honor of the organization's 90th year, this exhibit features works from the Southern Highland Craft Guild's 5,700-piece Permanent Collection of American Craft. The oldest piece in the exhibit dates back between AD 1000 and 1470!
More details.
More to do Sunday
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