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Archive for April, 2014

Moogfest 2014 is Here!

April 25th, 2014 by abedofroses

The Moog Store and Factory on Broadway

The Moog Store and Factory on Broadway

You can tell that Moogfest has arrived in Asheville by all the young people walking around downtown dressed in black with their heads tilted down reading their phones. It’s the dressed in black part that’s different from every day in downtown Asheville! Just kidding. The occasional strange looking head gear (see the video below)  may give it away too! Moogfest describes itself as The Synthesis of Technology, Art & Music. For 5 days, at locations scattered around the city lectures, workshops, interviews and visual/musical installations and performances are taking place with some of it free to the public. A look at the schedule is astounding in terms of the breadth and range of the experiences being offered. Experimental music, art and technology is a perfect match for Asheville.

Electronic music pioneer Bob Moog

Electronic music pioneer Bob Moog

It all started with Bob Moog, the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer and founder of Moog Music. A pioneer in electronic music, Moog spent the early 1990s as a research professor of music at the University of North Carolina here in Asheville and died here in 2005. The Bob Moog Foundation is based here as is the Moog Store and Factory. Moog Music brought Moogfest to Asheville in 2008 as a 3 day multi-stage electronic music festival featuring contemporary bands that exemplified the innovative spirit of Moog. This year the festival has exploded to become so much more!


Just one example of the dynamic new focus of the festival is an installation that allows you to compose music through the electrical activity of your brain using the head gear referred to earlier. Participants are invited to wander around the city creating an audio-visual  experience in response to the environment. Very cool.

The Masonic Temple is one Moogfest venue

The Masonic Temple is one Moogfest venue

There’s an area with Theramins that you can experiment with, new media art installations and a “Modular Marketplace” that are all open to the public, as well as many of the concerts.  I checked out a “Durational Performance” at the Center for Creative Design that was a continuous multimedia electronic music experience, one of several taking place over the 5 days.

The panels, films and work shops include conversations with music pioneers, philosophers, technology leaders and more. Economic development and just plain networking is going on along with the cool music and art. It’s definitely an event!

DOUGH in Asheville makes even baking Croissants a Success for the Home Cook!

April 15th, 2014 by abedofroses

Croissants ready to rest in the "Proof Box"

Croissants ready to rest in the “Proof Box”

I love to cook and I get plenty of practice making breakfast for our guests at A Bed of Roses, but the idea of baking croissants from scratch was pretty intimidating even for me! Pastry Chef Ali Caulfield at DOUGH in Asheville got me, along with a class of 10 or so other home bakers, over our fears this past week in a fun 2 day evening class. DOUGH is an innovative chef-owned market and bakery in North Asheville that also offers an ever-changing freshly made menu of sandwiches, salads and pizzas to eat there in the market or to take out. But the wonderful cooking classes and special events that they offer makes DOUGH totally unique, even for Asheville. Most classes are one-day courses, 2-3 hours each and include everything from cooking Thai or Moroccan food to making handmade pasta or mastering the art of the French Macaroon. They have some Parent-Child Pizza Workshops, too that look like a lot of fun. Even in our class we had a family. The parents and their two daughters have taken several classes at DOUGH and the girls did a wonderful job!

Chef Ali Caulfield demonstrates for the class

Chef Ali Caulfield demonstrates for the class

Lawyers, students, real estate agents, retired professionals and one nervous innkeeper all dug in to learn the art of baking croissants hands-on and the flour literally flew! I brought my camera the first night (go to our gallery to see the photos) and it was covered in white dust by the end of the class! Chef Ali took us through the steps one by one, demonstrating along the way with an angled mirror above her workspace that allowed all of us to see exactly what she was doing.

An angled mirror allowed everyone to see what the chef was demonstrating

An angled mirror allowed everyone to see what the chef was demonstrating

It’s the perfect way to learn! You get to see it in digestible chunks, then do it while the visual is still fresh in your memory. The chef is available to check it and make suggestions right away before you move to the next step. Having the right equipment is as important as proper technique. Once the dough has been mixed you need to pound the cold butter into a thin, 5-inch square with a French Roller*. You can just imagine what it looked like to see a room full of people hauling off and hitting big chunks of butter with wooden bats. It was quite a sight! Then the dough is wrapped around the butter into a packet, that is then folded, rolled out and folded again, four times in all, to get all those luscious layers of dough and butter.

The bright and airy cooking lab made for a relaxed atmosphere

The bright and airy cooking lab made for a relaxed atmosphere

The process involved letting the dough “rest” at various intervals in a “proof box”** and at the end of the first class our dough packets spent the night in the refrigerator before we continued the next day. But even the first night we got to learn and eat what you can do with left-over croissant dough. The cronut! Now there’s a sinful treat. By the end of the second class we each had a batch of beautiful golden croissants to take home with us along with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, not to mention some new friends.

* A French Roller has no handles and is tapered at the ends.

** A “proof box” is a warm, humid place for your dough to rest. You can use your oven, set at 100° with a bowl of water at the bottom.

You don’t have to live here to enroll in classes at DOUGH. Check out their calendar and get a real taste of Asheville while you’re here visiting! And don’t forget to check out my finished croissants in our photo gallery. They were to die for, if I must say so myself! Yum.

 

Spring is Officially Here! April in Asheville.

April 7th, 2014 by abedofroses

Magnolia blossoms

Magnolia blossoms

The Cherry Blossoms and the Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom, but the real sign of Spring in this city tucked in the mountains is the first Drum Circle of the season!  This past weekend kicked off the Spring Season in Asheville with the first Drum Circle on Friday night in Pritchard Park and the season’s first Downtown Asheville Art Walk. Biltmore Blooms is already in full swing as well, as more and more of those flowering bulbs are filling the gardens of America’s Largest Home. This week also marked the opening of the North Asheville Tailgait Market at UNC, a long awaited harbinger of good eating ahead. Before you know it every weekend will be hosting a street festival with live music, art and great local food. After a cold cold winter across the country we’re all ready for that!

Pritchard Park Drum Circle

The Drum Circle in Pritchard Park

The Drum Circle is a must-see tradition in Asheville that will get you moving! Every Friday night dozens of drummers come together at little Pritchard Park in the heart of downtown and all kinds gather to dance, tap and enjoy the rhythm that you can literally feel from blocks away! Great people watching too!

Glass hands

Meditation in Pink by John Littleton & Kate Vogel at the Blue Spiral Gallery

Asheville is a mecca of artists and crafts people. Another Friday evening tradition takes place on the first Friday of every month from April until December. More than 20 downtown galleries, studios and museums host the Downtown Asheville Art Walk from 5-8PM. All are within a half mile radius so you can take a leisurely stroll and see why Asheville is called the “Paris of the South”. Many serve up light hors d’oeuvres with their art to wet your appetite for one of the myriad of independent local restaurants that will dot your path.

Asheville is also known for keeping it local. Our excellent independent restaurants stress fresh farm to table cuisine and with over 17 local tailgait markets we all can share that local flavor. Our favorite is the North Asheville Tailgait on the UNC campus. In a lovely shaded setting, the market is a social gathering place as well, with live local music, crafts and baked goods along with the farm fresh food. You’ll find local cheese makers, jams and sauces, even hot foods and native plants for sale.

farmers market

The North Asheville Tailgate Market

Spring in the mountains is truly a special time.

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