Saturday, August 30, 2014


This is a repost of something I wrote to amuse my friends on Facebook a while back.  I think it's a good time for me to reiterate all of these points, because now days I get recognized more and more on the streets, plus I have more new friends and acquaintances, so I am more socially awkward than ever.


Top 10 excuses for my social awkwardness:

1) I'm hard of hearing. Half the frickin' time I have no idea what
people are saying to me. Because of that, I'm really good at nodding
my head "yes" when I shouldn't, giving generally inappropriate
responses, and getting a blank look of total non-comprehension on my
face when others are speaking simple sentences to me. I'm sorry.

2) I'm in my own little world. When I'm in line at the store or riding
my bike down the street, and you say "hi" to me, and I look at you
like I've never seen you before in my life, that's because I first
have to rouse myself from my inner world of hobbits, spaceships, and
go-go-girls, before engaging the real world, where real people I know
and love exist. I'm sorry.

3) You're out of context. This one is all your fault! If I know you
from the Dripolatior, please stay there. It confuses the fuck out of
me when I see people outside the usual realm where I know them from.
JCC pool people at the Greenlife?!? How am I supposed to know you? Of
course, this one is really all my fault. I'm sorry.

4) I'm in a hurry/I drank too much caffeine/I just rode my bike up a
massive hill/I am sweating my ass off. Any combination of those things
might make me feel like I gotta get the fuck outta wherever I am ASAP.
I know I haven't seen ya in a long time, and we should chat, but I
gotta run. I'm sorry.

5) I'm high on the reefer. I shouldn't have blazed-up right before
leaving the house. I'm.... uhhhh...

6) I'm a moody little princess.  Sometimes I'm in a grump bigger than
Barbie's Dream House, so if my smile seems forced and my words seem
hollow, it's because my sparkly little pink heart is temporarily full
of hate.  I'd say I'm sorry, but...  fuck you.

7) I'm horrible with names, and I think that makes me a bad person.
Even if I think I know your dang name, I might hesitate to say it,
because I'll suddenly second guess myself, and then I'll have an
internal meltdown about what a horrible person I must be because good
people remember other people's names, right?   Short names are harder
for me to remember, so sorry, Bob...  Ben?  Bill.

8) You're very attractive.  Please mess up your hair or drool on your
sweater, because your extreme good looks are making me sweat profusely
and mumble nonsense.  I might even faint.  I'm sorry I'm so fucking
ugly.  Please forgive me.

9) I'm weird.  Let's face it.  I'm more than a little off.  You say
"Hello,"  I think "Fire truck."  My brain is just a little, um,
different than other people's.  Softer, perhaps, with a slightly smoky
flavor.  I try hard to fit in with your society, but it's an uphill
battle.  Fire truck.

10) You suck.  Sometimes, it's not me, it's you.  I'm sorry, but  I
gotta get the eff away from you, like now, 'n' shit, because: you
fucking suck.  I'm sorry I even know ya.


Friday, August 29, 2014


Holy shit sticks, the Asheville Wine & Food Festival's Grande Tasting at The Civic Center was awesome, and brutal, and delicious, and chaotic and crazy.

I've written two pieces about it  --  for Food Life Magazine and  --  and both are awaiting approval from the respective editors and publishers.

In the meantime, you can see an ASSLOAD of tagged and captioned pictures from the event, as well as from the Sweet and Elixir events prior to the Grande Tasting on my Facebook page.

There were a few things that I didn't have time or space to write about at all three events that I'll address here, now:


I had SO MUCH fun at this event!  That may surprise some people since it was all about the booze, and I don't drink, but there was food and non-alcoholic bevs too, so I was all good in the "stuffing my face"department, even sans cocktails.

In fact, I had way more fun than I would have if I was still drinking.  Booze made me stupider.  Aaand, I've got some bad news for you guys...  yeah... it makes you stupider too.  Everyone is slightly stupider after their third drink and they generally get exponentially dumb and dumber with each drink after that.

Nobody at Elixer got shitty, or made a complete ass of themselves, but by the end of the night, faces were drooping, speech was slurring, and the rate of perseveration had increased by at least 66%.  Plus:  Close talking.  Too close, Motherfuckers.  Step back.


This was awesome.  You guys know I love sweets and Sweet was aaalll about sweets.  The atmosphere was lovely  --  Grove Arcade building, you rule!  -- and the people were all in a great mood!  It was a limited ticket event, so the crowds weren't too awful.

I wrote about the vendors and food for Jason, and you should be able to read that over at soon (if not already) so I'll use this space to write about one of my favorite moments at Sweet.

I had stepped to the side to post some pics on FB and get out of the stream of human sugar fiends for a minute, when one of the custodians came near me to sweep up a little bit of trash.  I smiled at him and asked, "Are you getting to sample any of the good stuff?"

"No," he replied, "I'm just lookin'."

"You don't get to try the stuff?!?" I said, ready to be indignant at the unfair labor structure of run-away capitalism and the plight of the working classes, when he said:

"Well, I don't drink, so..."

"Oh, I don't drink either, but what about all these sweets?"

"Well, I don't eat sugar, so I'm just enjoying what I see."

"Ahhh..."  We smiled at each other, and I suddenly knew what he meant by "just lookin'" and "what I see."

The Women.

"There's certainly plenty to see." I said, our smiles increasing, "Have a great night, my friend."

"You too!"

He was a nice guy, I'm a nice guy, we both love women.  It was a good moment, Man.


Okay, I've written about this extensively on Facebook, and for Ashvegas and Foodlife, so I'm not gonna repeat all that here.  You'll have to cobble together all my ramblings from the various sources if you want the world's most comprehensive Stu Helm viewpoint on the Grande Tasting.  In the meantime, I'll just relate another great moment for me that happened on the big floor in the middle of all the choas.

Dawn and I had stopped to talk to Chef Steven Goff and his lovely wife, Sam.  It turns out we have a lot in common with them, and we enjoy each other's company very much.  That's great in and of itself, but here's a tidbit of conversation that I will never forget as long as I live:

Steven:  Are you going to the big thing tomorrow?

Me: Tomorrow?  Sunday?  There's a big thing?

Steven: Oh...

Me:  Ha ha!  Did you just tell me about a "big thing" that I'm not invited to, Steven?  Thanks, Jerk!"

Steven:  Ha!  Well, no, it's like, a cook-out with (he named some chefs and some animal parts) for, like, industry people.

Me: Oh, yeah, well, I'm not sure I'd be welcome there!  I'm not exactly part of the industry!

Steven:  Aren't you?  Yeah, you are.

Well, fuck yeah, Man! If Steven Goff says I'm part of the industry, that's all the credentials I need!

I didn't attend the cook-out  --  I was waaay too burned out from the 3 days of food and festivities  --  but it was REALLY nice to be invited and SUPER AWESOME to be invited as part of the industry!

So, yeah, there you go.   A little something extra about AW&FF for ya over here on my exciting BLOG!

Please love my blog.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Tonight is "Sweet," The 2nd of 3 events Hosted in Asheville by the Asheville Wine & Food Festival!

Dawn and I are attending courtesy of Ashvegas and AWF&F , thanks again, Jason and Melissa!

I'm gonna try to take better pictures than I did at Elixir, that I'll post here, as well as on Facebook.

I'm stoked about this event!  Karen Donatelli Cake Designs will be there, along with City Bakery, Well Bred, True Confections and some of my other favorites!  Plus, I wanna try the one's I've never had, and I'm soops curious about the vegan and gluten free stuff.

Not because I'm vegan or celiacky, but because I'm always interested in seeing what creative people can do within limitations.

This event is at the Grove Arcade (one of my fave buildings in town!) and I heard there might be as many as 800 people attending!  Ack.  That's a lot of people. 

I'm way more fond of sweets than I am of crowds. 

I might have a freak out.

Friday, August 15, 2014


I need to drive some traffic to this dang blog, so I'm resorting to cheap tricks. 

No, not Cheap Trick, although I am now listening to "Southern Girls" on YouTube.  Holy shit, what a fucking great song.  Cheap Trick was the first band I ever saw live... Fuck yeah!  Smoking' weed on the floor of the Boston Garden in 1984, they did the "Live at Budokan Album" from beginning to end, and it was Bun E. Carlos' birthday, so they did this really cool thing, where two more drummers, wearing Bun E. masks came out of the stage floor on risers...  and then, like, 100 more people walked on stage wearing Bun E. masks.  Yeah, man...  good times...    but that's not what I'm writing about...  Sorry.

What I thought I might do to drive traffic to my blog is to give stuff away. 

I have an extra ticket to The Asheville Wine and Food Festival courtesy of Food Life Magazine and I want to give it to a reader.

All you have to do is "follow" this blog.  Then I will take all of the names of the people who followed m, and I will randomly select a winner.

The expo starts next Thursday, August 21st, so I'll pick a winner and make my announcement by next Wednesday for sure.

Okay, that's that.  Staaarrrt followin'.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

ASHVEGAS - August 14, 2014

My latest food column has been posted to

I revisit the Glass Onion review from last week, as well as recap the burger battle, and tell the full story of the 5 course dinner at Tod's.

Sysco Freshness

I have recruited a secret Sysco Spy in the food industry, who agreed to provide me with pictures of Sysco lameness. Here's some awesome fresh peppers. Yum!  Anyone who wants to be a Sysco Spy for me can contact me. Let's get a look at the horror. 


Okay, I promised you guys some true stories way back when, and I think I'm going to use ol' Bloggy here to post them.  I've got a bunch.  I already posted GAY PARADE HOT DOG on Ashevegas, and I'll save ONE EGG and ORDERING IN FRENCH for another time, but  for now, I'm going to start right out of the gate with my greatest restaurant story ever...


This is a totally true story.  If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'.

When I was a young man slowly dropping out of college in Boston, Mass, I had a good friend named Pat.  Pat and I worked together at a pottery shop, and we would also spend all of our free time together.   We ate a lot of lunches.

One day we were eating at a place called Thai Bangkok on Boylston Street in Copely Square, and as was my habit at the time, I ordered Chicken and Cashew, with no cashews.

Chicken and Cashew was my favorite dish back then.   I loved the chicken, the sauce, the veg, everything but the cashews.  I was a weird kid.  I'm over that now, but back then... 

It was always an ordeal to convey my strange wishes to the waiters and waitresses of the various Asian restaurants that I ate in, due to the language barrier, and the complete and total absurdity of my idiotic request.

Me - "I'll have the Chicken and Cashew, please, but with no cashews."

Server - "Chicken...  cashew...  ???"

Me - "...with no cashews."

Server - "No cashew?  Ahhh...  What number?"

Me (pointing to the menu) - "Number 57, no cashews."

I think they thought I was fucking with them sometimes, but I was sincere in my request, and my dislike for the cashews in Chicken and Cashew.

So, this one time, at Thai Bangkok, after the usual misunderstandings and disbelief, I finally convinced the waiter that I did indeed want Chicken and Cashew without the cashews.  When he returned with our food, however, my Chicken and Cashew had cashews.  I pointed that out, and he took it back.

The next thing we know...

He comes crashing backward through the swinging doors from the kitchen into the dining room, in the crane stance  -- I shit you not  --  hopping on one foot, hands poised to deliver the death blow, kicking at the chef, who is chasing him, also throwing kicks, ready to strike!

They are screaming at each other in an Asian language that I do not understand, but  --  I swear to God  -- the word "cashew" was being thrown as often and with as much ill-will as those kicks!  Holy fuck!

The entire wait staff had been eating their lunch at one big giant table and they all jumped up!  The kitchen crew came pouring out of the swinging doors en masse, and I thought that it was going to a full-on Kung Fu fight!

Fortunately the two teams pulled the warring waiter and Karate cook apart, and the whole place eventually calmed down.   Pat and I were like, WWWWTTTTFFFFF????

Like, two seconds later, the same waiter brought me my Chicken and Cashew, sans cashews.  He looked a little rumpled, his hair was a tad mussed, but he maintained his sense of dignity while finishing up our service.  As if that whole thing had never happened.  Good job, Buddy.

I was too nervous after all that to eat anything, so I barely touched my lunch.
Okay, trying again!

Thanks to Reader Kilgor Trout, I may have figured out how to keep my white backgrounds from showing up gray.

White plate?

I've uploaded this old picture from my cell phone to see if Blogger makes the white plate darker. The food is from Storm. It was really good!
This is the first post on my new blog.

It's my Food Critic logo, with the Mountain Xpress "Best of WNC" graphics added. 

I created it because I recently won 3rd place in the "Social Media Personality" category of the Mountain X reader's poll. 

I'm not sure why blogger made it about 10% darker than it really is.  It's supposed to have a white background. 

Does anyone know why that would happen?  I'm clueless about Blogger.  Will it make all my pictures 10% darker when I upload them?

That seems weird.

Anyhoodles, here's the link to the best of page on MX:

Thank you for voting for me, Asheville!