“They’re looking at me. He’s told them who I am”.
My Rosetta’s Backstory
PIC and I finished our breakfast just as the restaurant owner came over to our table. He’s one of the few in the Hendersonville area who knows who I am and yes, he had told the mom/son duo at the counter who I was.
Smiling through gently clenched teeth, I listened while he explained that this little boy, soon to be eight years old, was a big foodie. He’d even taken a Young Chef class and loved it. He went on to say they were regular customers and really nice folks.
This was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. After introducing myself and chatting for a few minutes, I asked Mark (after secretly asking his mom, Joy) if he would like to help me review a restaurant.
Are you familiar with the term “speechless”? Picture a child’s face smiling so hard it looks painful, looking at his mom, looking at me, looking back at his mom. This was going to be fun!
After emailing back and forth, learning what Mark likes best are vegetables, we decided the three of us would go to Rosetta’s Kitchen in Asheville.
Rosetta’s Own Backstory
She tells it this way:
“At the age of 25, I realized it was time; the crisis point in one’s life – looking at myself and thinking, wow, I have to grow up, and soon. When I look back at that year, I now realize that I hit my own personal rock bottom. I was just not sure if I was living a life I chose and manifested of my own will, or one I had just sort of fallen into by not steering my own boat. I had to think about what I wanted to do and what I was good at. I always had an open kitchen, a open home, and it was always full of enough to feed every and any one who should happen by. I really couldn’t afford to feed my friends & family at my house any more, so I figured why not move it downtown? I was a single mother, divorced, I quit my job, I was physically sick, mentally on edge, emotionally a wreck , basically I was feeling pretty broken, but somehow out of that space, nothing but good came.” Read Rosetta’s complete backstory here.
Rosetta’s Kitchen – easy to find on Broadway St. in Asheville just off I240 at exit 5A. Easy to spot when you get close: purple awning with yellow fringe, purple & yellow exterior sporting a lovely flower box. Not so easy parking: paid meter or lot parking nearby. Recommended parking: a lot across the street from Rosetta’s, under the I240 bridge or in one of the inexpensive city garages on Rankin Ave.
Step inside and you’ll find yourself in an eclectic, colorful, warm space, anchored by a brick wall sporting original works of art.
In addition to the main seating area, there’s a terrific room at the back of Rosetta’s. The only drawback to this room is that it’s not heated. We were there on a pretty cool day, so we decided we’d be more comfortable at a table up front.
Mark had been looking forward to the Peanut Butter Baked Tofu (Bowl/$5.50, Cup/$3.50) since first reading about it on Rosetta’s online menu (prices have changed a bit). The tofu is baked after being coated in peanut butter (with nuts) and tamari.
Sound gross from an adults perspective? Mark was generous about sharing and let me tell you, this stuff was delicious! Mark’s take: â€œThe peanut butter tofu was magnificent. It was very nutty â€“ I loved the nuttiness.”
Along with the PBTofu, Mark also ordered Mac & Cheese (Bowl/$4.00, Cup/$2.50), made with elbow noodles smothered in vegan cheese sauce and topped with a mix of seasonings. After a couple of bites, Mark decided the seasoning was too spicy for his taste. I didn’t get to try this dish, but it may be geared more towards adult tastes.
Mark noted, “I didnâ€™t care for the mac and cheese as much [as the Tofu] â€“ it was a little dry, cold and too much spice.”
Joy chose the Smoky Tofu Wrap ($8.00), a warmed whole wheat tortilla filled with grilled smoky tofu, sauteed red onions, romaine lettuce, fresh cilantro and vegenaise (eggless mayonnaise). It was served with her choice of side, Sweet Potato Fries.
Joy’s reaction after biting into this wrap was fun to watch – eyes widened, big smile, followed by “Mmmmm”. She gave me a piece to try and I turned into a mirror – eyes widened, big smile, followed by “Mmmmm”. How does Rosetta do what she does with Tofu!?!
“Mom absolutely loved her dish that is a favorite at Rosettaâ€™s, the smoked tofu wrap. She says it had grilled smoky tofu, fresh cilantro, and red onions in it â€“ an amazing combo”, according to Mark.
To drink, Mark had Lemonade, Joy had iced Sweet Peppermint Tea (both homemade and priced at $1.75) and I had Blue Sky Organic Root Beer.
Mark’s take: “I thought the homemade lemonade was tart, but my mom really liked it. I enjoyed the peppermint tea more and it was fun going up to the refrigerator doors and getting my own free refill on the tea.”
Veggie Burgers are something of a benchmark in vegetarian eating, in the same way cheese pizza is to pizzerias or tomato sauce is to Italian restaurants. I’ve had my share of veggie burgers, not because I’m a vegetarian, but because they can be pretty tasty.
So sampling Rosetta’s “voted best veggie burger in Asheville” House Veggie Burger ($8.00) was a given. It’s served on a homemade whole wheat bun with lettuce, red onion and tomato. Various “add ons” such as chili, mushrooms, cheese and avocado are available. I chose Swiss Cheese as my burger topper and regular fries as my side.
Unlike some veggie burgers that are a mushed-together mess of unidentifiable “vegetables”, this baby was fantastic! Take a closer look by clicking on the picture. You can see actual pieces of veggies. Flavor and texture were perfect! This was indeed, the best veggie burger I’ve had.
Co-reviewing Rosetta’s Kitchen with Mark (and Joy) was such a fun experience! Mark concluded, “Mom and I definitely want to make Rosetta’s one of our places to eat when weâ€™re downtown Asheville.â€ I do, too.
111 Broadway Street
Asheville, NC 28801-2905