The Charlottesville 29

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

Five Finds on Friday: Jenn Riesman


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Jenn Riesman, pastry chef of Fossett’s at Keswick Hall.  A native Texan, before coming to Fossett’s, in Riesman was Bakery Manager of Austin’s Delish Bakery and Pastry Sous Chef of La Condesa.

1)  Monte Cristo at West Main. “You can’t go wrong with a well-made Monte Cristo. Also a great place for brunch.”

2)  Ham and Cheese Croissant at  Paradox Pastry.  “The perfect on-the-go breakfast.”

3)  Iced Coffee at La Taza. “The best iced coffee in town. It doesn’t even need sugar. Strong but super smooth.”

4)  Smoked Trout Sandwich at Blue Moon Diner.  “Nice to just sit at the bar, listening to music.”

5)  Papas Bravas at MAS Tapas.  “The only thing you really need on a late Friday night is a good drink and potatoes with aioli.”

Five Finds on Friday: Donnie Glass


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Donnie Glass, the new chef of Public Fish & Oyster.  A transplant from New England, Glass was once Chef de Rotisseur at The Parkside in Providence, RI, and Chef de Partie at Teknique in Bedford, NH. Most recently, he was sous chef of The Local.  Glass’s picks:

1)  Any Dessert at Fossett’s Restaurant at Keswick Hall.  “The pastry chef, Jenn Riesman, is crazy talented, and her desserts are spot on. Her IPA ice cream, sticky toffee pudding, and chocolate cake are all life changing.”

2)  Gorditas Al Pastor from La Michoacana.  “Always seasoned and spicy.  My favorite gluttonous lunch for under $10.”

3)  Sweetbreads with a glass of Champagne at the C&O. “I have a lot of respect for Chef Dean running a restaurant that never takes such a gem of a protein off the menu when it is not guaranteed to sell.  Sweetbreads aren’t for everyone, but it was great to see them done well when I got here.”

4)  Cured Meats and Sourdough at Tavola.  “All of those guys could run kitchens themselves, but instead they pool their resources and make EVERYTHING from scratch (and it’s great too).”

5)  Pork Belly and Scallion Pancake appetizers at Peter Chang’s China Grill.  “I honestly had no idea how you make that pancake until I asked.”

Five Finds on Friday: Mitchell Beerens


On Fridays, we feature five foods finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Mitchell Beerens, co-owner of Lampo, the much-anticipated new restaurant to open this fall, with partners Loren Mendosa, Ian Redshaw, and Andrew Cole.  Beerens has spent time in the kitchens of Bizou, MAS, and Tavola.  In the former location of The Farm, Lampo will specialize in real Neapolitan pizza.  Beerens’ picks:

1)  Cheese Plate at Flora Artisanal Cheese.  “This little cheese counter hidden in the back of a coffee shop is truly a Charlottesville treasure. Nadjeeb Chouaf is one of the most knowledgeable cheesemongers I’ve worked with. He has everything from the best imported mozzarella to local treats like Twenty Paces ricotta.”

2)  Vegetarian Blue Plate at Hamiltons’.  “My favorite lunch on the downtown mall.  I order it every time and can only hope that whomever I’m with will let me have a bite of what they ordered so I can sample some of the other offerings.”

3)  Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo.  “My go-to appetizer at the most consistent restaurant in town. You can always count on this dish coming out perfect. It’s both sophisticated and fun. Just like the place that it is served.”

4)  Truffle Fries at Citizen Burger Bar.  “French fries are my favorite food on earth. At Citizen they use a special potato that creates a truly superior fry. Combined with truffle oil and Parmesan they are a real treat.”

5)   Beef Tendon and Tripe in Szechuan Chili Sauce at Peter Chang’s China Grill. “This is a very ‘chefy’ dish. All of the bits and pieces that no one else wants expertly prepared and transformed into something greater than the sum of its parts. I can’t go to this restaurant without ordering three of four items. It’s a fatty’s paradise.”


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