Y'all know me. I am always in the market for a) good food b) good 'cue and c) a blogworthy experience. And lunch at 12 Bones in Asheville the other day fully lived up to the hype on all 3 levels.
Ok – so we went to the branch in Arden – which is apparently new and rather shiny and sterile but it doesn't really matter because unlike the debacle known as Uncle Yammy's it might be new and shiny and sterile but it feels worn in and a little rough around the edges and when you are eating finger food such as ribs it is helpful to feel like you are in a clean environment so I really didn't mind. And also – the food was totally awesome and utterly amazing so I could have been in a hospital operating room eating it and wouldn't have minded.
Although 12 Bones has the full 'cue offerings (pork, chicken, brisket, etc.) we were there for ribs. Specifically. And so it was ribs I planned to order. I had been told in advance that the Blueberry-Chipotle ribs were the way to go (apparently the Blueberry-Chipotle sauce won some kind of award on Good Morning America) but that sounded kind of gross and so I wanted to evaluate my options. I have no idea how many “flavors” of ribs 12 Bones offers, but according to the on-line menu they offer 2 – 3 different flavors daily and on the day I was there they had 5 available:
• Nekked (just salt and pepper)
• Blueberry-Chipotle (um…ok…next?)
• Traditional Brown Sugar Dry Rub
• Memphis Dry Rub
So my first choice was – what flavor? Actually, my first choice was half rack or full rack but when my dining companion told me that he was going to order a half rack, that decision got made for me. No way I am going to out-eat my male lunch companion by 6 full ribs. No way. Though for the record – I totally could have. Totally.
Then came the whole “what flavor” thing. I am not big into fruity meat and plain nekked sounded so…plain…and nekked…so I was debating between the 2 dry rubs. But it felt like an epicly important decision. One I couldn't make on my own for fear I might screw it up. So once I got up to the counter and it was my turn to order, I asked the Girl Behind the Register what the difference was between the Traditional Brown Sugar Dry Rub and the Memphis Dry Rub and if she had to choose one, which one would she choose? I don't recall her exact answer – but it wasn't particularly useful and had something to do with one being sweet and one being sweet/spicy. So then I asked about the Blueberry-Chipotle – mainly because my curiosity is insatiable. And she gave it the canned ringing endorsement that any GMA-award winning BBQ sauce gets…and after debating in my head for a full minute while she waited patiently (and the rabid lunchtime mob behind me stamped their feet impatiently) – I opted for the Memphis Dry Rub. One decision down. Finally. Only then the Girl Behind the Register looks at me and says: You know you can split it up between 2 flavors. And I'm like: Even for a half rack? And she's like: Of course. So I completely give in to morbid curiosity and order a half rack with half Memphis Dry Rub and half Blueberry-Chipotle. What the Hell – right?
They also had some sick sounding sides including corn pudding, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes with white cheddar, jalapeno cheese grits, sweet vinegar slaw, apple/sausage/cornbread stuffing, and buttered green beans – just to name some. I mean – it was a good thing I waited in line for 10 minutes before ordering because it took me this long to make up my mind. And I confess – I am a carbophobe. This is what happens when you lose 30 lbs. on Atkins and manage to keep it off for 5-1/2 years. But I was not about to skip out on corn pudding/stuffing/cheesy taters and the like. Only – what to get? They advertised their corn pudding as the best in the world – or some other such superlative – and it was tempting. Only - the meal came with cornbread. And so corn pudding seemed kind of redundant. Ditto the stuffing. I was all about the grits – even though I am not really a grits kind of girl – only my dining companion was going to order the grits and so I couldn't very well replicate a side when there were so many to be tried. He was also going to order the collards – which he tried desperately to push on me as well. Only – as much as I love me my green veggies, I am not a big fan of collards.
So after the Girl Behind the Register helps me sort out what flavor of ribs I want, I ask her about the sides: “Between the mac & cheese and the white cheddar mashed potatoes, which would you order?” Now logic would dictate that since my meal came with 2 sides – I would order BOTH. However, as I said - I am a recovering (?) carbophobe and mentally I was only prepared to go down one carbolicious road. The Girl Behind the Register gave it a minute and then told me to get the potatoes. Which I did. And I got the slaw. Because I love slaw. Assuming it's good.
And for like, 4 and half seconds, I totally flirted with the idea of ordering banana puddin' for dessert (because after all – I did go with the half rack – right?) but in the end I exercised extreme discipline and didn't.
And so clearly I don't need to tell you that when the food came it was INSANELY good. I mean, Blueberry-Chipotle sounds totally nasty to me and I was not expecting to like it…let alone LOVE it. I mean, let alone worship at the shrine of freaking love it. But I did. And the Memphis Dry Rub was incredible too. But not Blueberry-Chipotle incredible. There's a reason why that shit won an award. And the collards – which I tasted courtesy of my dining companion – were so amazingly, fantastically good. They were clearly cooked with some kind of pork product. And the grits were heaven and awesome and I'd eat grits all the time if they were cooked like that. And I won't even attempt to talk about how magically delicious (and delightfully super duper lumpy) the potatoes were. I ate the entire scoop on my plate. The scoop which was as big as my head. I mean – the entire meal simply rocked. And I kept looking at my dining companion (who is also my boss) and just kept thanking him over and over again for even thinking to bring me to 12 Bones because it was like, the most amazing place ever and how lucky was I to have a boss who would bring her here for lunch.
So lovely readers…tell me about a recent memorable lunch you enjoyed.
Oh. And I haven't even mentioned the drinks. Usually – when spritzing from a fountain the choice is Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. Well at 12 Bones – it’s all about the Diet Cheerwine. I mean…
And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your…