A week ago tonight, on a night like this with air like champagne, we sat at a wall of windows in Canyons, a bar and restaurant in Blowing Rock, NC. This was our 26th wedding anniversary celebration, and we’d decided to make it an occasion by driving 70 miles on a friend’s recommendation.
That it was the right choice was apparent the second we walked in and saw the crowded, noisy table of excited prom-goers. There were hikers, grandparents, three-generation families. The bathrooms were like those in a campground; the menu was eclectic to say the least, but that view of the uninhabited canyons behind Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell was just flat-out spectacular. It made my soul feel taller.
As did the appetizer we shared — the single best as well as most imaginative appetizer I’ve ever eaten. Three crisply fried green tomato slices rested on a bed of pickled beet cubes garnished with radish sprouts and tiny slivers of local ramps, drizzled with a house-made honey mustard and dotted with bacon jam.
This dish did just what an appetizer’s supposed to do. It piqued our appetite for dinner rather than stuffing us to the gills so we didn’t care about our meal. It was heavenly, as was the location.