The Charlottesville 29

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

Five Finds on Friday: Zack Worrell

monolith

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Zack Worrell of Monolith Knives, Charlottesville’s own award-winning artisan of custom cutlery, beloved by chefs around the country. Monolith is teaming up with Nobel Peace Prize nominee José Andrés to help hurricane victims in the Bahamas. While Andres’ World Central Kitchen has already served more than one million meals in the hurricane aftermath, thousands remain in need. You can help the cause by entering Monolith’s raffle for an extraordinary one-of-a-kind José Andrés Signature Chef Knife, with a handle representing the Bahamian flag, and a blade etched with José Andrés’ signature, the WCK logo, and the Bahamian national slogan: “Forward Upward Onward Together.” Win the raffle and own the only knife of its kind, all while helping an urgent cause. Enter here

Worrell’s picks:

1) Rice Pudding from Foods of All Nations. “A local favorite, using a recipe that’s hasn’t changed in over 45 years. Foods has been offering their signature rice pudding on their deli shelves since I was four years old. It has the right amounts of everything: butter, sugar, rice, raisins, nutmeg and sweet southern style indicative of older Charlottesville. Pretty much the whole damn deli counter is a museum of tried and true recipes that make Foods of All Nations such a great place to shop.”

2) Steak Chinois at C&O. “This steak is C&O’s signature dish and most likely the longest lasting item to ever grace their menu. The steak is rare and delicious, served with Swiss gruyere and delicious potatoes and scallions with a tamari ginger sauce. This entrée is even better with their Boston Bib salad and bread. The C&O has a fantastic environment and wide selection of fabulous wines making it probably one of my top three places to eat out in Charlottesville.”

3) Bacon Wrapped Dates at Quality Pie. “Chef Tomas Rahal is a local favorite of Spanish infused culinary mastery. His bacon wrapped dates are to die for. They are so delicious and utterly addictive. Tomas has so many other delicious goodies at Quality Pie that there is more than enough to choose from to suit any taste. A wonderful staff and awesome family atmosphere make Quality Pie a big favorite of mine.”

4) The Hellboy at Lampo. “Sitting in the coolest little building in Belmont, Lampo is a must for pizza aficionados and lovers of Mediterranean and Italian inspired dishes with flare. The crew at Lampo have one special bad ass pizza there called The Hellboy. A traditional Neapolitan dough recipe with spicy honey drippings over pepperonis, red sauce and mozzarella create the most awesome fusion of hot and oh so tasty. Make sure to get the shaved Brussels sprout salad and you will be vanquished. A great selection of wines and knowledgeable staff will make your meal a real experience. Do make sure to give an extra 45 minutes of wait time, but it’s worth every minute.”

5) Bacon, Egg, and Cheddar on an Everything at Bodo’s. “Bodo’s is a staple of Charlottesville. Established over 30 years ago, Bodo’s has grown to three locations serving up amazing bagel sandwich creations of any kind. I have been asked to ship Bodo’s bagels to people who have left Charlottesville because the addiction was that good. My favorite, the morning ritual I call it: bacon, egg, and cheddar, on an everything. Even people who don’t like bagels like Bodo’s I sometimes have been known to eat Bodo’s 3-4 days a week. It’s an institution of Charlottesville.”

Hellboy

Dinner by Ian: A James Beard Semifinalist Who Does House Calls

Have you heard? Charlottesville’s own James Beard semifinalist for Best Rising Star Chef in the country does house calls.

Since leaving Prime 109 last month, Ian Redshaw has kept busy with private dinners and events, and his window between jobs presents a rare opportunity to have a James Beard semifinalist cook for you in your home. Just email him: ired214@gmail.com. While he will customize menus to your preferences, the best way to enjoy the work of a chef like Redshaw is to let him do whatever he wants. Like we did last night. 

Twelve good friends gathered for dinner on a friend’s patio, and Redshaw did the rest. Carte blanche.

iancooking

As is wise for an event like this (or any dinner, really), we sent the menu in advance to Erin Scala at In Vino Veritas, who, as always, nailed the wine pairings. She remains a gift to the Charlottesville area, like having your own personal sommelier anytime you want.

With appetizer & can bridge into entree
Cazottes “Marcotte” Mauzac – Central France
Indigenous to central France, Mauzac is an ancient grape that smells like fall- smells like Anjou pears & herbs and would be perfect with, in particular, the kabocha squash & annatto bass. Made by a famous distiller who is friends with Bono
With appetizer or entree
Cambon – Gamay – Beaujolais, France 
Gamay grown in vineyards around the Crus of Beaujolais. The vineyards were hand picked by Marcel Lapierre and they are farmed biodynamically by Lapierre & three like-minded biodynamic friends. This wine is lighter like a Pinot Noir and will go well with the bass and the pork (but especially the pork!).
With pork:
Pierre Chavin “Vignac” – Bordeaux, France 
A fuller-bodied red wine, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux Blend, French oak.
 

We began with carpaccio of tuna with kabocha squash, umeboshi (plum paste), bonito flakes (dried tuna flakes), benne (sesame seed) and neonata. One of my favorite ingredients, neonata is a fiery Calabrian condiment made from baby icefish that is excellent out of the jar, and extraordinary when a chef like Redshaw makes it from scratch.

table

carpaccio.JPG

 

The main courses were served family style: annatto spiced roast pork and annatto roast bass. For the pork, Redshaw first rubbed Autumn Olive Farms pork shoulder with orange, coriander, fermented beans and chilis, and then wrapped it in bananas leaves and slowly roasted it under river stones, which help to sustain a steady heat. In contrast to the low and slow approach to the pork, Redshaw lightly steamed the whole bass, for a more delicate flavor. Inspired by a dish from chef Michael Domtrovich, with whom Redshaw once worked at Montauk Yacht Club, Redshaw calls it a mashup of Cuba, Southeast Asia, and Hawaii.

pork

bass

Seasonal, hearty, and delicious, the sides were ideal for a cool autumn night. Take the smoked potatoes, with quark and mortadella. First, Redshaw cured potatoes overnight in koji, which not only lends umami, but also creates a surface on the potatoes to which smoke can adhere. Next, he smoked the potatoes with freshly fallen leaves, before adding mortadella and drizzling on quark dusted with furikake and ranch powder made from dehydrated milk. Quark is fresh cheese-like dairy product made from sour milk, and furikake is a Japanese seasoning blend often sprinkled on rice, typically to include sesame seeds, seaweed, dried fish, sugar, salt, and monosodium glutamate.

potatoes

For stuffed squash, Redshaw rubbed the inside and outside of a hollowed kabocha squash with koji and let it sit overnight. He then stuffed the squash with shaved squash rolled into a rosette, schmaltz, clarified butter, and garlic feuillitine – crunchy slivers of garlic with Szechuan peppercorns.

Squash

Tabouleh Redshaw made from farro fermented in kefir, then lightly cooked, and tossed with warmed chestnuts, herbs, and charred red onion vinaigrette.

farro

For “jungle curry” mussels, Redshaw steamed Prince Edward Island mussels in a pungent coconut broth made from a paste of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, galanga, Calabrian chili, shrimp paste, and lots of fish sauce.

mussels

For dessert, Redshaw took the liberty of doing something a less talented or confident chef could never pull off: made a dish we never imagined we would enjoy as much as we did, if at all. A riff on the bars that we put in our kids lunches, the entirely vegan dessert began with a bar made from granola, dates, and hemp hearts. Beside that on the plate was slow cooked pumpkin butter, huckleberry, and “cloud cream” – cashew cream and powdered sugar emulsified with non-dairy cream cheese. Even writing the words, it seems hard to believe how much we loved it.

Dessert

After dinner, Redshaw left the place spotless. As he always does. He also joined us for an after-dinner drink, where he waxed philosophical about food, life, and friends. As if the amazing food he prepared were not enough, Redshaw dropped on us a profound life observation that left us wondering how soon we can plan the next Dinner by Ian.

Smiles

deck

selfie

wine

“You never can recreate the same time and space.”

Introducing Luce: Fresh Pasta To-Go from the Bizou/Bang! Team

When they were young, Mt. Rushmore chef Tim Burgess’s five children would beg him to make the same dish on his days off: fresh pasta. Especially fond of the dish was Burgess’ middle child, Travis, who also came to share his father’s love of the food industry itself. Now 26, chef Travis runs food operations at both of his father’s restaurants — Bizou and Bang! — and is next poised to launch a place inspired by that favorite childhood dish. Offering fresh pasta to-go, Luce will open this month in the takeout window on 2nd Street NW.

Like many in the industry, Travis began by washing dishes, which is how he and his siblings spent summers as young teens, at Bang!. “I would prep goat cheese dumplings and crab potstickers, and scrub piles of pans that would tower above me,” Travis said. “Those summers are where it all started and when I got hooked on the kitchen life.”

During college at George Mason, Travis washed more dishes at Trummers on Main in Clifton, and then suddenly became garde manager when the prior one quit. It was there that Travis decided that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of the life. And so, after graduation, in 2015 Travis scored a gig at one of the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants and best training grounds, FIG, in Charleston. As luck would have it, Travis was assigned to hot appetizers, which was essentially a pasta station, where he cranked out thousands of iterations of dishes like stone crab spaghetti and gnocchi bolognese. “Standing over the pasta pot became my zone,” Travis said.

Travis returned to Charlottesville in 2017, becoming Chef of Bang!. And, despite Bang!’s focus on Asian small plates, Travis’ heart remained with pasta, which he began working into the menu wherever he could, with dishes like ricotta gnocchi in curried sweet potato sauce.

Then, this summer Travis sprung on his father the idea of opening a takeout pasta place and calling it Luce, Italian for “light.” His father did not blink, and immediately pulled up from his iPad an old photo he liked, which he had stowed away in case it ever proved useful. A mural covering a storefront in Madrid, it depicted the beam of a streetlight in yellow paint.

luce light

“The concept of Luce is my dream,” said Travis. “To sell the pasta I’ve been making every day for the last two years, fresh cooked to order.” The idea is for the food to be fresh, fast, and affordable, he says. “Fine dining quality fresh pasta cooked to order for $10 or less,”  Travis said. “Kinda like Bodo’s meets Tavola?”

Travis says there is no secret to his pasta — aside from good quality ingredients: 00 flour and semolina, local organic eggs, and a splash of Spanish olive oil. That’s it. Though the Luce kitchen is tiny, the focus solely on pasta means there will be space to prepare it. Roll and cut fresh pasta by hand, boil it, and toss it in sauce. “It’s just fresh and cooked to order which is a real gamechanger,” Travis said.

At least initially, the size of the menu will match the size of the space: a kale caesar salad, cheesecake for dessert, and just three pasta dishes, like the “Bolo” – pappardelle with pork ragu, toast crumbs, mint, and parmigiano-reggiano. Travis’ favorite is the one that reminds him most of his childhood. The “Cacio” combines tagliatelle, parmigiano-reggiano, olive oil and cracked black pepper, and takes Travis back.  “Just the memory of eating my dad’s pasta was mind-blowing,” Travis said. “When we’ve had menu meetings for Luce, I’ve been licking the container reminiscing about the pasta my dad used to make.”

But, Travis says, his pasta and his father’s are not exactly the same.

“I think mine’s better. Sorry Dad?”

luce

Luce opens in late October at 110 2nd Street NW. Hours 11 am – 8 pm.