The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Five Finds on Friday: Ben Jordan


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Ben Jordan, winemaker and general manager of Michael Shaps Wineworks, which has just launched a brand new tasting room and also introduced wine growlers, a great new way to buy wine.  Jordan also has his own side project in aromatised wines and bitters, and has bottled the cult-favorite War & Rust.  Jordan’s picks:

1)  Grandpa’s Favorite at Pad Thai.  “Fried catfish, fried rice, and an omelette was a new combination for me, but now I have to work not to order it every time.”

2)  Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light.  “The option of drinking-off-menu taps into the creative energy behind the bar, always a fun way to drink.”

3)  Sunday Lunch and Brunch at The Shack.  “I grew up in Augusta County, and it’s great to be able to stop in for the biscuits and gravy or the fried quail on the way to visit family. And, the drive to Staunton is shorter than some brunch lines.”

4) Dry-Aged Burger Grind at JM Stock Provisions.  “We make thin patties with this, and there is so much flavor that they work as simple burgers, without much need for adornment.”

5)  First Three Cheese Suggestions at Flora Artisanal Cheese.  “My strategy is to walk in, say something vague about what I want, taste what Nadjeeb offers, find it delicious, and then buy it.”

Parallel 38

p 38

2055 Bond Street, Suite 180 . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 923-3838

Why Parallel 38?

Opened in January 2014, Parallel 38 is Charlottesville’s only restaurant featuring mezze, small plates of food rooted in cuisines of Mediterranean countries like Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. Justin Ross, who co-owns the restaurant with Steve Pritchard, once managed perhaps the nation’s most renowned mezze restaurant, Jose Andre’s Zaytinya, in Washington D.C..  And, it shows.

The food and wine of Parallel 38 celebrate regions hovering 38 degrees north of the equator, like the Mediterranean, Napa Valley, and Charlottesville.  Chef Alfredo Malinis has drawn comparisons to James Beard award winners, and has even cooked at the James Beard House himself.  Ross, meanwhile, has a strong background in wine, and his list features 100 carefully chosen wines, all available by the glass. The cocktail program is serious, too, with barrel-aged cocktails, and house-made ingredients like Sekanjabin, a tart Iranian vinegar syrup.  Finally, the sleek setting may be the most dazzling in town, with towering ceilings, a wall mural of the 38th parallel, and huge windows looking out onto Stonefield shoppers and movie-goers.

What to Order

Below are our suggestions, Ross’s suggestions, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where other area chefs and personalities have named a dish from Parallel 38 one of the best in town.

Our Picks

  • Htipiti
  • Labneh
  • Sauteed Shrimp
  • Lamb Tartare
  • Grilled Lamb Loin
  • Roasted Pork Belly
  • Boer Bok Meatballs
  • Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Owner’s Picks

  • Gnocchi – soubise, peperonata, fine herbs
  • Boer Bok Skewer – Autumn Olive Farms heritage goat, ras el hanout, grilled naan, tzatzik
  • Roasted Pork Belly – cipollini onions, roasted garlic, sumac, pork jus reduction
  • Pan Seared Bronzini – brown butter, barberries, saffron potatoes, tomato concasse
  • Lemon Olive Oil Cake – vanilla ice cream, spicy chocolate, lemon curd, milk crumble, allspice

Five Finds on Friday Picks

Five Finds on Friday: Rachel Pennington

Photo by Justin Ide.

Photo by Justin Ide.

On Fridays we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Rachel Pennington,  the much touted pastry chef of The Whiskey Jar, who will be making pies for The Pie Chest, an extension of The Whiskey Jar baking program opening soon on the Downtown mall.  “Simple, rustic, classically Southern, seasonal, fresh, from scratch. Those are my values for it,” said Pennington.  More details soon. Pennington’s picks:

1)  The Para Papa at Al Carbon Chicken. “This perfectly-roasted, juicy, charcoal chicken is one reason why vegetarianism would be a near-impossible personal life choice. Half a chicken with fried plantains and yellow rice, salsas, friendly and personable service, just simply delicious. Also doesn’t hurt that Kohr Bros. is within a very doable post-meal walking-distance.”

2)  Spinach Salad and The Fat & Sassy with Artichokes at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “I still fondly remember my first meal at this place. Now it’s the go-to for game days, True Detective binge-watching sessions, and New Year’s Eve tradition. Savory in the most satisfying way. Also doesn’t hurt that right next door is the Crossroad Store with killer Peanut Butter Cup cookies.”

3)  Lobster Tempura at TEN.  “Easily one of the best bites of food I’ve ever eaten. Literally melt-in-your-mouth satisfaction.”

4)  Tomato Sandwich at The Whiskey Jar.  “I can’t help it – I tried to resist the urge to include this due to a bit of a conflict-of-interest, but this sandwich…oh, this sandwich. Starts with butter-toasted Goodwin Creek bread, a generous double-slather of Duke’s mayo, a little seasoning, and thick slices of fresh, beautiful, delicious Red Row Farm tomatoes. I literally eat one every single day during the summer. Sometimes two.”

5)  Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls at Feast!  “A good friend bought me one of these before heading to the Paramount to watch the World Cup match against Germany. As soon as the game ended, I walked to Feast! and bought an amount of which I care not to admit. I also care not to admit how many of these I can consume in one sitting. Perfect with a Cortado from Milli Joe.”


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