ASHEVILLE – Nine Mile opened its first location in Montford in 2008, expanding to West Asheville five years later. Another five years later, Nine Mile has grown again, this time to Biltmore Park Town Square in South Asheville.
Slow, steady growth and constantly crowded dining venues have helped solidify Nine Mile’s place as one of the city’s most popular restaurants.
Today, after a historic year in which the value of business diversification has become painfully obvious to many restaurant owners, Nine Mile has launched a line of hot sauces – and they’re as good as you want them to be.
The restaurant’s Caribbean-inspired vegetarian menu is already known for dishes like Raggy Road and Cool Runnings, all of which can be ordered at different heat levels without erasing their flavor. Hot sauces continue this tradition.
Nine Mile’s new line includes peppers from Smoking J’s Fiery Foods in Candler, one of the largest specialty pepper producers on the East Coast. There, producer Joel Mowrey breeds Scotch Bonnets, chipotles, habaneros, jalapeños and tomatillos, all of which add flavor to the trio of red, golden and green sauces from Nine Mile. All three contain hemp oil from hemp grown in the United States.
“Hemp seed oil is a great vehicle for imparting the warmth and flavor of these sauces,” said Nine Mile chef and owner Aaron Thomas. “I’m a big fan of hot sauce, but I don’t want to add heat just for the sake of the heat,” he said. “That was our goal for these hot sauces; bring the heat, don’t lose the flavor.
Here is their taste
Red-I: This fiery red sauce gets a smoky kick from chipotles and an extra earthy flavor from fire roasted tomatoes. There is a mild, clear floral habanero flavor with a lingering tingling warmth. This one is full of flavor, so add it to dishes that would benefit from the heat of the smoke. Think shrimp and oatmeal, kidney beans and rice.
The sun is shining: This beautifully golden hot sauce strikes first with flavors of curry followed by mango and ginger. What follows is lingering but not overwhelming heat of Carolina-grown Scotch Bonnet peppers. It would be perfect for rice dishes where you would welcome the flavors of a hot curry. It goes perfectly with roast chicken.
Hempress Rising: This tangy hot sauce made from green tomatillos has a heat of jalapeño and a nice acidity of tomatillos. Garlic and thyme add a decidedly flavorful note. Choose this for the steak tacos. This acidity would also go well with fatty fish like salmon.
Here’s where to find them
Red-I, Sun is Shining and Hempress Rising are now available at all three Asheville locations in Nine Mile, neufmileasheville.com and in stores and online at Carolina Hemp Company. They cost $ 10.99 each or are available as a set of three for $ 29.99.
Mackensy Lunsford has lived in Asheville for over 20 years and has been an editor for the Asheville Citizen Times since 2012. Lunsford is a former professional cook and former restaurant owner.
Meet me: [email protected].