Best Lunch in Asheville?

NOTE 6/2/2012: Books and Breadboard has closed.

I’m probably going a bit over-breadboard with that title, but if Books and Breadboard isn’t the best place to get lunch in Asheville, it’s certainly one of the best.

A bookstore, gift shop, cafe and historic (built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt) building all rolled into one, Books and Breadboard has a main dining area

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

and four more tucked away in various rooms. Some tables are situated perfectly for a private conversation over lunch.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

Breadboard owners say:

“At the Breadboard we proudly support local farmers and serve organic produce, dairy and breads. Our coffee comes from a sustainable source and we offer organic juices as well.

Food items get served on sustainable bamboo breadboards. We use only bio degradable and compostable disposable containers, even our bottled water comes in compostable containers. All of our containers are petroleum free and non-toxic. We also compost all our food scraps to add nutrients back to the earth.”

Statements like that sometimes translate to, “our food tastes good, is good for you and is going to be expensive.” Only the first two are true at Books and Breadboard.

The last two times I’ve had lunch here, our server has been Lahna. Servers write their name in chalk on the tablecloth.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

Maybe it’s just me, but although I like things that are “out of the box”, when it comes to menu design . . . not so much. Breadboard’s menu is formatted as if it were a book: Preface, Contents, Beverages and Epilogue. Lunch items under Contents are listed as Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. This means I can’t do a quick scan, but have to read every single item in detail to be sure I don’t miss something I might want to order. Cute idea, but time-eater and just a bit annoying.

That being said, oh what wonderful lunch choices! All lunches are served with Terra Chips, house Deco Slaw and a kosher pickle. “Deco Slaw”? I’m not sure how Deco Slaw is supposed to look or taste, but this is Chef David’s interpretation: a small cup of julienne veggies tossed in a delicious, light vinaigrette.

Chapter 3 ($9) is their Turkey, Swiss and organic lettuce sandwich served on pumpernickel which has been slathered with a “fresh sage and cranraisin mayo”. Fantastic! Love the mayo, the chips and pickle were both crisp.

Even more fantastic is the presentation of this and all lunch items: on a breadboard beautifully styled with vibrantly colored fruits, vegetables and sometimes edible flowers.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

Chapter 4 ($10) is “Roast Beef, sliced roma tomato and organic arugula on focaccia bread with a Bleu Cheese aioli. Most notable - fresh focaccia, very lean Roast Beef, tied together by the very tasty aioli.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

Chapter 1 ($10) is a Breadboard signature dish – Mile High Quiche of the day accompanied by fresh fruit. This day it was asparagus, red pepper and onion quiche, topped with melted cheese. Tasting mild with a hint of sweet, you can see the flaky crust and perfect texture in the photo below.

“Accompanied by fresh fruit” is one of those Forest Gump things – you never know what you’re gonna’ get. Not only was this a gorgeous presentation, there wasn’t one piece of under or over ripe fruit on this board.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

Individual servings of Chocolate Bread Pudding ($3.75) were calling to me from the case.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

I rarely let a call go unheeded. It was served with a fun swirl of raspberry and was delicious. Be forewarned, this has a cake-like rather than a more traditional bread texture.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

A cute room full of children’s books is in a back corner of the building. You could almost call it a secret room when leading young children there to browse.

Books & Breadboard - Carolina Epicurean

Breakfast is served from 8-11am. Free Wi-Fi is offered to customers.

Books and Breadboard is located across the highway from Biltmore Village, next to the newly opened Ruth’s Chris. Their parking lot isn’t very big and it can be tricky getting in and out if traffic is heavy.

Carolina Epicurean highly recommends Books and Breadboard!

Books and Breadboard
30 All Souls Crescent
Asheville, NC 28803(828) 505-8233

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Books and Breadboard QR - Carolina Epicurean

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