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Help Save a Life

Please join us for the 12th annual Dining Out For Life® benefit at Zia Taqueria Asheville on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 and 20% of your bill will be donated to the Western North Carolina AIDS Project. Since 1986 WNCAP has worked to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in our region, while improving the lives of individuals and families living with AIDS.

Asheville is one of 60 cities across the country raising funds for a local AIDS Service Agency making Dining Out for Life® the single largest AIDS Fundraiser in the country. Last year over $157,000 was raised locally to fund the mission of WNCAP and helped us expand our services to 18 counties of WNC.

This year, all you have to do to support a great cause is simply go out to eat! Enjoy a great meal and help save a life.

Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)    Zia Taqueria Asheville   521 Haywood Rd  Asheville, North Carolina 28806  (828) 575-9393

Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)

Zia Taqueria Asheville

521 Haywood Rd

Asheville, North Carolina 28806

(828) 575-9393

Culinary Connection

Asheville is turning its culinary connection to Charleston, S.C., into a boon for Western North Carolina food.

Not only do local chefs say they share ideas with Charleston culinarians on a regular basis, but Charleston eateries also look to Asheville for expansion — and vice versa.
— Mackensy Lunsford, Citizen-Times

Green Hatch Chile

The green Hatch chile packs a unique flavor profile, and West Asheville’s Zia Taqueria is one of only about 20 restaurants in the country where diners can find it.

Founder Kevin Grant (who runs the original Zia Taqueria in Charleston, S.C.) calls the green Hatch “without a doubt the most flavorful chili pepper out there.” His partner, Robert Tipsword, maintains the Asheville location. The two were lucky enough to establish a relationship with an authentic green Hatch chile supplier in New Mexico and have been consistently using the fiery fruit in dishes since mid-November. So far, notes Tipsword, the response from customers has been great.
— Sharon Bell, Mountain Xpress
hatch-chile.jpg
Right now, the green Hatch chile stew is the restaurant’s main feature. A unique blend of spices, potatoes, corn and carrots (available either with pork or vegan), the stew is just the right kind of spicy to be a seasonal favorite. “The recipe isn’t all that hard,” says Grant. “The hard part is getting the chile. It’s the only one with this kind of flavor. The stew is a way for people to understand there’s a lot more than just heat in a chili.”

“It’s almost an unprecedented taste for Asheville and the Eastern Seaboard,” adds Tipsword, who’s excited about playing with new green Hatch chile recipes and flavors that will soon be featured on Zia’s menu.

Tipsword is also looking forward to creating a community-driven hub of dining, with specialty cocktails and entertainment. With one successful year under his belt, he hopes to begin hosting sports events, movies, bands and more at his prime location. “We’re fortunate to be on Haywood with parking surrounded by fences. I feel like with this property comes a sense of responsibility to do something that involves the community, and that’s definitely something we’re looking forward to.”

Tipsword’s passion for community involvement doesn’t end at Asheville’s city limits. New Mexico’s nearly 350 days of sunlight, he explains, have made chili peppers a primary export, and he says, “with Asheville’s growing economy, we should support and buy this world-renowned American product.” In 1992, he notes, 40,000 acres in the state were devoted to growing [chiles]; by 2010, that number had dropped to 9,500. “Unfortunately, 82 percent of chili peppers bought are from other countries now, and there’s no telling how they preserve it, package it — and what some restaurants put on it to make it look good again”
— Sharon Bell, Mountain Xpress

A Single Word: Outstanding

Really, a critique could be accomplished in a single word: outstanding. When it comes to Tex-Mex, words like ‘fresh,’ ‘traditional,’ and ‘authentic’ are tossed around like so many jumping beans. Once in a while, the descriptions are actually true.
Here, it’s practically a religion. Even the garnishes are given solemn attention: the jalapeño relish is a simpatico blend of sweet and spicy, starred with whole garlic cloves, and the standard pico de gallo is anything but. Its bright tang, as with so many other items on Zia Taqueria’s menu, begs the query: ‘What is that I’m tasting?’
Flavors are delicate. They revolve; they surprise. The owners’ search for rare spices and peppers succeeds many times over, from the savory dry rub on the Beef Barbacoa plate to the achiote-guajillo glaze on the Pastor (pork with pineapple) tacos.
— Blaise Covert, Bold Life
Robert and Kevin at Zia Asheville Photo:  Bold Life Magazine

Robert and Kevin at Zia Asheville
Photo: Bold Life Magazine

Barbacoa Nachos

Grant recommends the barbacoa nachos, which come with with jalapeño relish, guacamole and crema, or the portobello mushroom tacos with avocado and black beans.

Other menu highlights include entree-sized salads, tacos al pastor (complete with their authentic pineapple trappings) and an array of margaritas from house-made sour mix, a mixture of fresh-squeezed lemon, lime and orange juices.
— Emily Patrick, Mountain Xpress
“It’s a menu that Grant knows well. He owns another location of Zia Taqueria in Charleston. (He co-owns the Asheville eatery with Robert Tipsword, who lives here in town.)”  Kevin and Robert  Photo:  Mountain Xpress

“It’s a menu that Grant knows well. He owns another location of Zia Taqueria in Charleston. (He co-owns the Asheville eatery with Robert Tipsword, who lives here in town.)”

Kevin and Robert

Photo: Mountain Xpress