The Charlottesville 29

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

All Heart: The Rally for Allie

If you want to understand Charlottesville’s food community, you need to know its heart. In all of my years writing about our food community, no virtue stands out more. Yes, it is a talented bunch. Passionate, too. But, above all, when one has a need, others rush to fill it.

While I have seen this happen time and again, there may be no better example than the food community’s response to chef Allie Redshaw’s recent accident. The former sous chef of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and head chef of Timbercreek Market is one of Charlottesville’s brightest young stars. She is the devoted wife of chef Ian Redshaw and smitten mother of a beautiful baby girl, Sawyer. Early morning March 1, while working at Lampo, her life changed in an instant when her hand became stuck in a meat grinder. Her hand could not be saved.

Immediately, the food community leaped to her aid. A Go Fund Me Page, started the very next day, has raised nearly $150,000; a list of volunteers to make daily meal deliveries to the Redshaws filled as soon as it was announced; and, one after another members of the community asked what they could to do help. While no set of words or images can capture the compassion the food community has shown, the recent Rally for Allie did offer a glimpse.

It all started with host Pippin Hill, and owners Lynn Easton Andrews and Dean Andrews. Not only did the Andrews donate their facility, but they and their staff planned it all, too. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that Pippin Hill is so experienced and skilled in special events, being one of the nation’s best wedding venues. But, events like this take a lot of work. And, for the past several weeks, on top of all of their regular responsibilities, Pippin Hill staff organized and executed a massive event, all to benefit Allie and her family.

Next were the event’s contributors, which reads like a who’s-who of the Charlottesville food community. Chefs included Pippin Hill’s own Bill ScatenaCraig Hartman of The BBQ Exchange, Dean Maupin of C&O, Lee Hendrickson of Red Pump Kitchen, Caleb Warr of Tavola, Greenwood Gourmet’s Polina ChesnakovaGerry Newman of Albemarle Baking Company, Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farm, and Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations – while Dave Fafara of Shenandoah Joe provided coffee. Each one conceived and prepared special tastes just for the evening, which they personally served from stations throughout the ball room, allowing guests to graze from one stellar dish to the next.

With Allie as their inspiration, every chef knocked it out of the park. Every one. Hartman is an example. “I wanted to do a dish that has the word angels in it, because I felt that it would be appropriate for the Redshaws,” Hartman said. “That made me think of the dish Angels on Horseback.” Hartman’s riff included a fried oyster atop a cube of pork belly, all bathing in a pool of Outer Banks style striped bass chowder.

Next were the many donors of auction items for the event. To recruit donors for charitable auctions can often require active solicitations. Not this one. We simply posted a link to a donation form, and watched the donations flood in. Despite doing almost no solicitation, we received more than sixty donations of special experiences, services, and other items from generous donors.

Also not to be overlooked are the guests – 200 in all — who gladly paid $50 per ticket to join the food community in supporting Allie. Long after tickets sold out, I received repeated inquiries from people asking if there were any way to attend the sold-out event. When I told them unfortunately no, invariably they’d respond: “That’s okay, I’ll donate anyway,”

Finally, there are the Redshaws themselves. Not everyone has the character to accept help with grace. For people to whom generosity feels foreign, receiving it can leave them uncomfortable in their own skin. But, Allie and Ian are two of the kindest souls you could ever meet. Generous in their own spirit, accepting the help of others with dignity and gratitude has come naturally.

In the end, the event raised $35K for Allie’s recovery fund, to help with expenses of treatment, rehabilitation, and a prosthetic. Thank you to everyone involved for making the Rally for Allie such a wonderful celebration of the compassion of the Charlottesville food community. If you would like to donate or help the Redshaws, you may email charlottesville29@gmail. com

Below are images of the evening, courtesy of Tom McGovern.

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Gerry Newman, Albemarle Baking Company

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Team C&O

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Caleb Warr, Tavola

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Lee Hendrickson, Red Pump Kitchen

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Bill Scatena, Pippin Hill Amalia Scatena, Cannon Green

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Gail Hobbs-Page, Caromont Farm, w/ Daniel Page

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Anita Gupta, Maliha Creations

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Craig Hartman, The BBQ Exchange

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Cured beef top round w/ compresses pear and parmesan – Caleb Warr

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Crudo of Yellowfin Tuna and Hamachi, with jalapeno-ginger relish and aioli – Dean Maupin

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Smoked Rag Mountain Trout with horseradish creme fraiche, apple, and potato gaufrette –            Dean Maupin

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Carpaccio w/ smoked tomato vinaigrette, Hawaiian lava salt, bourbon peppercorns, fried shallots – Craig Hartman

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Yellowfin tuna poke w/ smashed avocado and inamono

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Smoked salmon croissant with dill, red onion, and capers; olive and herb fougassette with kalamata olives and herbs de Provence – Gerry Newman

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Esmontonian – Gail Hobbs-Page

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Angels on Horseback – Craig Hartman

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Amaretto mocha whoopie pies – Anita Gupta

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Espresso chocolate mousse w/ salted caramel, hazelnut – Anita Gupta

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Vanilla butter cake with lemon curd and fresh berries – Anita Gupta

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“Ideal” – honey cake w/ dulce de leche cream, walnuts, dark chocolate – Polina Chesnakova

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allierally

Rally for her.

Five Finds on Friday: Brandon Wooten

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Brandon Wooten, co-founder of Grit Coffee, now with four locations: the Downtown Mall, Elliewood Avenue, Crozet, and Stonefield. The new Stonefield location, Wooten says, has more of a “European cafe vibe,” and will soon introduce weekend evening service, with small plates, dessert, draft beer, wine, and craft cocktails. Evening service begins next Friday, April 28. Wooten’s picks:

1) Carne Asada at MAS Tapas. “I’ve probably had dozens of steaks since the first time I had the carne asada (8 or so years ago), and have still yet to have a better steak dish in this town or really anywhere else in the world. It’s that good.”

2) Rotisserie Chicken and Fried Yucca at Al Carbon. “Their rotisserie chicken is something special, as is everything else I’ve had there. I love sauces and theirs are exceptional.”

3) Cuban Sandwich at Grit Coffee Downtown. “Hopefully this doesn’t read as self-promotion because we can’t take any credit for the local iteration of this sandwich. (That honor goes to Tony Jorge of Cafe Cubano fame). All we’ve tried to do is carry on the legacy of what we think is the best Cuban sandwich outside of Florida.”

4) Red Hot Blues and a House Margarita at Continental Divide. “I know I’m not alone in coveting either one of these, but for me they are inextricably linked (and a necessity at least once a month).  I think often of the Wait-A-Minute mango habañero sauce – probably more than I should.”

5) Double Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries at Riverside Lunch. “My dad used to take me and my brother to Riverside back in the days when it was just a counter in the back of a laundromat. There’s just no beating the simple perfection of their burgers and fries. It’s a Cville tradition I’m more than happy to pass on to my two boys.”

Five Finds on Friday: Novi Beerens

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Novi Beerens, Instore Coordinator at Wegmans. There are far more products at Wegmans than there are restaurant dishes in Charlottesville. And, as the deer-in-the-headlights looks on many customers’ faces reveal, the selection of 60,000 items can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Beerens knows where the good stuff is. Beerens’ five insider picks at Wegmans:

1) Marathon Bread. “Great, healthy breakfast to start my day. It is made with organic flour, banana, carrot, apple and sunflower seeds.”

2) 1916 Aged Goat Cheese. “A soft goat cheese, slightly tangy and creamy.”

3) Calamari. “A popular happy hour item from our Pub by Wegmans, the calamari is lightly battered, fried with capers and Tuscan herbs, and served with lemon and marinara sauce.”

4) Myojo Chukazanmai Instant Ramen. “I love the soy sauce flavored. Yes, it is instant ramen, but it has still got a chewy texture like fresh ramen.”

5) Champion 5th St IPA. “An IPA that Champion Brewing Company brews exclusively for our Charlottesville store Pub.”

Introducing El Guero

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Outside of coffee shops of all places, Cuban sandwiches are not easy to find in Charlottesville. Sure, we’ve long had cheffy riffs on the classic pork-loaded sandwiches. But, winemaker Derek Young believes that we have been short on the real thing.  And, he’s about to fix that.

Young fell in love with the sandwiches while in college in Florida. He cut his teeth at the legendary Bern’s Steak House, where he first learned about great food and wine. He has since been a wine buyer, winemaker, and brewer, and now is launching a trailer, El Guero, focused on the Cuban sandwiches he remembers from Florida.

Young says there are two main styles of Cuban sandwiches in Florida – Tampa’s and Miami’s – and his will be a blend of both.  Following Tampa, his Cuban’s will feature salami. But, rather than Tampa’s famously crusty bread, Young will use a softer bread common to Miami’s version. Pressed between the bread is roast pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and mustard.  And, they all come with the traditional side of plantain chips.

While Young’s focus is squarely on the sandwiches, he will also offer pastelitos de guayaba – traditional pastries of guava and cream cheese rarely seen outside Cuba or Florida.

El Guero’s debut is this Saturday, April 15, from 12-4 pm, at Blenheim Vineyards.