i loved the place i went to today. like loved it. big time. and the thing is, i had no idea i’d end up there.
instead of going back to haywood road for a third day in a row, i headed downtown. i just felt like i needed the vibe of the eclectic, artsy streets of downtown asheville. i wanted to wander and walk. for some reason, i had a little more time than usual, so i figured i’d window shop and take photos. and boy, did i!
i parked in a parking deck – perhaps the cheapest way to park downtown – and then walked toward lexington avenue down walnut street. it was early enough that there were not that many people out and about yet. the city was just beginning to come to life, as if there was a little orchestra warming-up in the background before the overture begins signaling the beginning of the play.
i turned left down lexington avenue and held a slow, deliberate pace, stopping whenever i wanted to photograph something or whenever something shiny and pretty in a window caught my eye. as i walked, i discovered a hidden garden nestled in between two tall brick buildings. an oasis of sorts. the sunshine gave this little garden, a special glow and i entered to soak up a few rays and moments of silence. after about 15 minutes, i continued on down the street, knowing that i would know where to stop when i came upon it. you see, there are tons of cafes from which to choose in downtown asheville. and lucky me, i get to visit most of them because of this project! i’m no dummy. hehe.
after almost an hour of wandering down alleys, enjoying a little urban photo walk of my own, i headed up broadway toward the center of downtown, pack square. on my way, i saw the cafe where i knew i’d have to stop. it was THE cafe and it was calling my name. there were two tables outside on the sidewalk, both occupied with people waiting for their breakfast/brunch, which was a promising sign. i don’t know why it was a promising sign, it just was. perhaps it’s because i love places that have outdoor seating because i love eating outside. at the door, there was a little podium where a very hippie young lady took my name and told me i’d have to wait about 5 minutes. no problem, i thought. i was getting really excited about this place, even though i still hadn’t darkened the doors.
as usual, i had no idea what to expect, but when the girl (can i call a 20s-something person a girl when i am in my 30s?) invited me in to sit at a place at the bar, i was not ready for what i saw & experienced…
over easy is a small, intimate, funky cafe bathed in turquoise and metal. very industrial. very cool. and very homey in a way that’s difficult to describe. there was no air-conditionaling and the fans were running. the front door was a screen door. there were flowers on tables, and local art on the wall. i sat at the bar, at a stainless steel counter, directly in front of the staff of 3 who filled drinks, prepared fresh fruits for smoothies, brewed coffee and created lattes. i could see everything, from the transparent refrigerators filled with fresh vegetables ready to be cooked and jugs of milk being chilled to fresh fruit being chopped and dishes being washed. i loved the atmosphere of busy-ness and action. and yet, it wasn’t overwhelming or loud.
i received a menu and a cup of coffee, water, and cream without even really being asked. the coffee wasn’t any kind of gourmet coffee, but diner coffee. steaming hot, dark, and strong. in other words, super yummy. i decided then and there that i’d eat something, and that i’d make that part of my fika adventure – one day a week, i’d celebrate with a little cafe food in addition to my cup of joe. i ordered potatoes and eggs, just knowing that they would be yummy. after sipping on my coffee a bit and snapping some photos, a lady came & sat beside me. filled with courage and excitement from my conversations with eli yesterday, i just up and started talking with my bar-mate. she had been there only once before, but loved it. i told her i was an over easy virgin.
soon, i got my food. fresh, organic, and piping hot. i devoured it, and discovered that not only were my potatoes fresh and yummy, they mixed regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.. .what an extra special surprise. and then the eggs, fluffy and free-range. people, this is the place to go for brunch. really. i highly recommend it. there was tons more on the menu that sounded delish.
so, it’s more of a restaurant, than a cafe where you sit and read for a long time. but, it seemed like a perfectly acceptable place to enjoy a meal and some time alone. speaking of alone, i’ve learned one thing about myself already. i have no trouble going places alone. it doesn’t feel weird or lonely. i don’t imagine people whispering to each other about “that poor lady who’s all by herself.” perhaps it’s because i’m older now. perhaps i’m comfortable with myself. perhaps it’s a common and acceptable thing in asheville – i see other people fika-ing on their own. in any case, i am enjoying these little cafe visits every day. and while everything is always more fun with my wife by my side, i am using this alone time to simply be. i am free to think, act, be, go and do exactly what i feel like. what a sense of freedom that is.
i believe i was at the counter of over easy for about 45 minutes. of course, people-watching. and feeling the funky vibe that the entire cafe was giving off. it felt positive, relaxed, and eclectic. from the decor and environment to the hippie, lesbian, tattooed, hipster, outdoorsy people who stood on the other side of the counter.
i’ll tell you what… i’m going back. and soon.
perhaps brunch this weekend?
namaste.over easy . 32 broadway . asheville, nc 28801 . www.overeasyasheville.com