The Force is Strong in Asheville

Two weeks ago, in an apartment complex far from downtown Asheville, the light in my kitchen burnt out just as I was about to make dinner. It’d been a long day, and I didn’t feel like attempting to cook in the dark, so I made my way to Piazza, an Italian joint just down the hill from my apartment here in practically Fairview, which I’ve yet to mention because I’d only had one not-great experience there prior.

Unless someplace is godawful, I like to keep bad experiences to myself. Plus, I don’t think my bad experience at Piazza is entirely their fault. Except for the Iconic Kitchen and Drinks on the South Slope, I don’t believe a restaurant outside the Northeast can make a genuinely great chicken parm sandwich. You wouldn’t expect great boiled peanuts in New York, right? I’m only mentioning this now because Piazza has more than redeemed itself with what I feel comfortable dubbing the best chicken piccata I’ve ever had.

I’m a chicken piccata skeptic. I perennially order it thinking it’ll be good since I like the sum of its parts and always find it too lemony or too dry. I ordered the chicken piccata at Piazza because I tricked myself into believing it was the “healthy choice” since chicken is protein and all (and to my credit, it is probably healthier than fettucini alfredo with pancetta or cacio e pepe pizza, which were my other top options). I was expecting “healthy” mediocrity but will now probably find myself there as early as next week for round two ( which I will be enjoying with the addition of the peanut butter pie).

I’m a big proponent of dining alone. I think more people should do it. There’s nothing sad about needing to eat and not wanting to wait for someone else to be available. When I started my piccata extravaganza, I was the lone solo diner at Piazza. When I ended, there was one more, and he wasn’t as much solo as he was Han Solo adjacent…clad in Jedi costume (I tried various ways to make this joke work and am still unsure if it landed).
Now, he didn’t have a lightsaber or droid, but unless he was a very fancy boy scout, this was a Jedi costume. I happen to know a thing or two about Jedis in the wild too, because this is the second time in a month I encountered a Jedi on the mean streets of Western North Carolina.

Two weeks ago, I was at the Seven Sister’s Tap Room in Black Mountain having a couple of post-brunch Hamm’s pounders with my old coworker Hamish (old as in former, not an elder, as Hamish is as spritely as they come, which I’m only pointing out because he’s one of the six people who reads this blog). I’m sure we were solving all the world’s problems when Hamish casually pointed out a Jedi and Sith Lord walking side by side across the street. We watched as they entered an empty school playground, drew their plastic lightsabers, and parried with each other for about two minutes before putting their sabers down and returned from whence they came (Tatooine? Swannanoa? We’ll never know).

I did some light Googling and can’t find a reason there would be an influx of Jedi cosplayers in the Asheville suburbs, but really, Star Wars fanatics aren’t exactly unique. It’s just funny I saw three in three weeks, and I guess I’m going to stop this post now because I don’t know what else to say, and am not having any luck ending this piece utilizing “they are our only hope” in any way that makes sense.

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