Biotech company Genentech was named one of the 100 best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine in 2015, and any company that sends its reps on one of our Asheville food tours year after year obviously fits that bill in our opinion. This January we hosted one of our favorite corporate gatherings of each year, with NC sales reps from the research and development giant choosing Asheville again for their part business, part social January meeting. We were happy to see these guys again and visit five of Asheville’s best restaurants during a casual evening stroll. Our private Asheville food tours are great ways to learn about Asheville’s best restaurants and still have time to engage with your colleagues, as we’ll visit four or five restaurants instead of seven or eight, giving us the time to have a few bites, a few drinks and a few laughs in a casual fashion.
Like most of our Asheville food tours, we kicked off the night at the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar with bubbly and hors d’oeuvres. The Champagne Bar is one of my favorite places in Asheville, offering around 80 wines by the glass, lots of noshes from Sunburst Trout Farm, Roots and local creameries along with Thomas’ always updating library of over 30,000 books.
After that we headed to the Gourmet Chip Company where we tried a couple of their fresh chip combinations: kettle cooked with homemade sauces, spice blends and local cheeses…yes. Ann gave us her usual warm welcome and we tried some hot ham and cheese panini, this place is definitely one of Asheville’s best restaurants for sandwiches.
Next up was Nightbell, where Drew prepped cocktails and sous chef Lee served us some really cool Caesar salads in jicima taco shells alongside some pretty perfect clam chowder, a great combo of dishes at what is clearly one of Asheville’s best restaurants.
On to Isa’s Bistro, another great place for our Asheville food tours to visit, where Chef Duane Fernandes served up scallops with hoppin’ john and a duck demi glacé…heck yes. Duane has been quietly crafting some of the best food in Asheville for a couple of years now, and these guys are open for lunch and they are the only downtown Asheville restaurant that offers valet parking!
After hitting the French Broad Chocolate Lounge to sample some bean to bar, handmade cacao products, we then segued across the street to our landing spot, Rhubarb. The group had requested ending the food tour at a place where they could continue dinner, so on to another of Asheville’s best restaurants where we were greeted with house cure boards featuring charcuterie and preserved vegetables. Chef Fleer has one of the most warmly welcoming joints in Asheville, and after he spoke with our Genentech-ers, they were on their own to continue with eating and drinking.
We hope to see Genentech next year, these guys are so much fun it made it hard to remember I was guiding them on one our Asheville food tours! Anyone else looking for a great way to entertain a group should get in touch with us here at Eating Asheville, our private tours are a great solution.