Please welcome guest blogger Elyse Sparkes. She has been living gluten-free for 5 years. As a personal trainer, she advocates health and wellness in NYC through SparkesWellness. Elyse loves to discover new naturally gluten-free restaurants in NYC and abroad.
One Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
I had the pleasure of stumbling upon the Posana Cafe recently while I was traveling in Asheville, North Carolina. Well, I can't actually take all the credit. Usually when I travel I do a little gluten-free restaurant research beforehand to know what my eating options will be when I arrive. This year, however, due to pre-vacation chaos I didn't do my homework before I headed off to a five-day dance festival in Asheville. Due to the intense schedule of the festival I figured I would make a grocery store stop and stick to my staples like carrots, hummus and rice cakes.
So naturally, I was shocked and delighted when my boyfriend (who had arrived the day before) picked me up at the airport with a gluten-free muffin in hand! He had walked into Posana Cafe just looking for a cup of coffee when he saw a small sign for gluten-free baked goods. (Isn't it great to have gluten eaters looking after us?) Check out this Trail mix scone he bought!
The Pumpkin Cranberry muffin was just as yummy looking and had the same perfect texture. We tried to dine there that night, but found out they are only open certain evenings for dinner. I could tell though, just by looking at the menu posted outside, that it was my kind of place! Not only because of the mouth watering entree's listed, but also because of the note on the bottom of the menu,
"We welcome you to share with us any food allergies or intolerances so we may better serve you".
The next day we went there for brunch and discovered that the entire kitchen is gluten-free! I must have asked our server three times, just to triple check because the fact that the restaurant is 100% gluten-free is quite understated. (The only non gluten-free item Posana Cafe does carry is regular draft beer, but they also have gluten-free beer available.)
The owner, Martha Pollay, was diagnosed with Celiac disease 4½ years ago. It was her husband who insisted that the kitchen be gluten-free. She said they have been discreet about marketing the gluten-free part of their menu, so as not to suggest that the food is missing something or that it is only for those on a restricted diet. "Ideally, we want to be known as an outstanding restaurant that just happens to be gluten free", she stated. If all restaurants adopted this approach, it would be heaven on earth for the celiac community!
For brunch we shared an egg-white omelet with tomato and basil, sautéed greens, buttermilk pancakes, and potato home fries. Everything was so fresh and cooked to perfection. Plus, my gluten eating boyfriend thought the pancakes were delicious (the ultimate test). We loved the food, atmosphere, and service so much that we made a reservation for dinner and took a box of baked goods back to the hotel.
Posana Cafe is only open Thursday-Saturday for dinner, so it was amazing that we somehow got in on New Year's Eve. This time with a party of four I could try lots of different dishes. I'm pretty sure I was beaming the whole day in anticipation of our meal. All the ingredients in every dish were high quality, many coming from local farms. At our table we drank two bottles of wine, split four appetizers, entrees, and two fabulous desserts. Party time!
Baby Spinach Salad with Belgian endive, caramelized pecans and balsamic vinaigrette
Vietnamese Spring Roll with shrimp, rice noodles, carrots, cucumber and ponzu dipping sauce
Roasted Beet Salad with herbed Local Dark Cove Farms goat cheese and homemade bread sticks
Braised Boneless Short Ribs with maple mashed butternut squash and sautéed brussel sprouts
Yes, the desserts were gluten-free too, and didn't last for a second on our table.
Dining at Posana Cafe was an amazing experience, I highly recommend it and it was well worth the trip to Asheville. Check it out! www.posanacafe.com