The Charlottesville 29

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

Brian Jones Joins The Alley Light

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Already a talented bunch, The Alley Light‘s kitchen staff just got even better. Earlier this year, Brian Jones, who ran Petit Pois’ kitchen for more than a decade, decided it was time to move on. His new project was to oversee the kitchen of Timberwood Tap House, the restaurant from the Timberwood Grill team which opened in October, across from Wegmans. Now that Timberwood Tap House is up and running, Jones is returning to more sophisticated culinary arts.

In mid-December, he will join The Alley Light’s kitchen, led by Executive Chef and co-owner Robin McDaniel. “Robin and I are excited to bring aboard Brian Jones,” said McDaniel’s husband Chris Dunbar, also a co-owner. “Having both worked with Brian for a number of years at both Petit Pois and Fleurie,” said Dunbar, “we have first hand knowledge of his work ethic, attention to detail, organization, and creativity.”

It was difficult for Jones to leave Timberwood Tap House, which he says is off to a great start and in very good hands. “I had a wonderful time with the Timberwood family,” Jones said, “but, I realized that being behind the range, cooking, was where I wanted to be.”  Jones is excited to have the chance to do that at The Alley Light, while reuniting with McDaniel and Dunbar.

The restaurant does not expect any significant menu changes resulting from the hire. Instead, McDaniel will just have one of the best assistants a chef could hope for. Jones has worked with some of the nation’s most decorated chefs chefs, such as Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Jean Georges Vongerichten. “Personally and professionally, we couldn’t imagine a better fit here,” said Dunbar.

Congrats to Jones and The Alley Light.

Five Finds on Friday: Dan Frosaker

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Dan Frosaker, the brand new Head Chef and Kitchen Manager of Feast!. From Oregon, Frosaker once managed the kitchen of Andy Ricker’s award-winning restaurant, Pok Pok, which GQ named one of the country’s ten best new restaurants, and also was Executive Chef of the classic Italian restaurant Mama Mia Trattoria. This is always a great time of year at Feast!, which offers an awesome assortment of gift baskets, allowing one stop shopping for your food-loving friends. In addition to the picks below, Frosaker recommends anything from Las Cavanas, the gem hidden in a Crozet gas station. Froasker’s picks:

1) Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya. “After moving from the Northwest and never having pimento cheese or pepper jelly, this dish was a revelation. The crispy, salty fried cheese fritters topped with sweet pepper jelly and served with chive sour cream is a perfect blend of flavors and textures. Another offering at Maya that rivals the pepper jelly is the country ham gravy which goes well on anything.”

2) Mosaic Pale Ale at Random Row Brewing. “Coming from the intense beer culture of Portland, OR, I am happy to see the growth of the local beer community here in Central Virginia. Random Row is a great addition to the current offerings. Their tasting room is inviting and their Mosaic Pale Ale is very refreshing.”

3) Porchetta Panouzzo at Lampo.  “I’m not the first person to be impressed with Lampo and their excellently made pizzas and sandwiches. I have gone back for the porchetta sandwich many times. I love the bitter char on the bread and the tender pork, cheese and broccoli rabe. Recently, I had a special shaved beef sandwich that blew me away.”

4) Rotisserie Chicken at Al Carbon. “Another dish that needs no introduction is the chicken at Al Carbon. The perfectly cooked chicken is great on its own, but when you pair it with the Aji Sauce and the Jalapeno and Cilantro Sauce it is truly exceptional. A side of green rice and fried Yucca rounds out a great meal.”

5) Deli Egg on an Everything at Bodo’s Bagels. “There is nothing better than a freshly baked bagel with cream cheese in the morning, but the Deli Egg is pretty close. The chopped up end cuts from the deli meats mixed with an egg and piled on an everything bagel is a great sloppy start to the day.”

Birthday Feast at Sultan Kebab

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On chef Ian Redshaw’s 28th birthday, I had the good fortune of celebrating with him at his favorite restaurant, Sultan Kebab. You can read all about the birthday feast in this week’s C-VILLE Weekly. And, below are some additional shots from the meal, courtesy of excellent photographer Tom McGovern:

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