I didn’t just randomly walk into The Laughing Seed in Asheville, North Carolina. I was invited by the bar manager, a friend I grew up with in Marietta, Ohio. I kept that in mind as I searched the winding streets of downtown for the restaurant. This could be a hole in the wall or this could be fine dining—in which case I’m under-dressed… I meandered between these thoughts inside my head and out loud to Ben, who, bless his heart, often has to hear my inner ramblings when they’re haphazardly spoken.
Upon finally arriving at The Laughing Seed, I found it to be an immediate relief. People were parked outside under umbrella tables exorcising their happy hour-fed thoughts and the crowd was just as politely lively inside the restaurant. I took a seat at the bar and, after catching up with my friend, another Ben, began to order what would soon be categorized as one of the most non-obvious vegan meals I have ever had. Crab cakes, a burger, curly fries, an Asian Salad, a vegan cookie, and the best damn Bloody Mary I ever had later, I was thanking my lucky travel-writing stars that out of all of the places Ben II could have worked in Asheville—it was this place. This delicious place with vegan food I swear to G_D you wouldn’t know was vegan if you didn’t hear it from me. And if you didn’t read the website or menu carefully before ordering. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with vegan food that doesn’t convincingly taste like meat, but this is the kind of place you could bring your “Salad is what meat eats” father to and probably get away with it.
By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz