The Charlottesville 29

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

Charlottesville Mt. Rushmore Chefs Dinner

mount rushmore chefs image

Drawing from photography by Jackson Smith.

The Charlottesville 29 and McGuireWoods LLP are pleased to present the Charlottesville Mt. Rushmore Chefs Dinner.

Last year, five chefs were named to the Mt. Rushmore of Charlottesville chefs for their extraordinary contributions to the Charlottesville dining scene: Craig Hartman, Angelo Vangelopoulos, Melissa Close-Hart, and the duo of Tim Burgess and Vincent Derquenne.  On April 13, the birthday of Charlottesville’s original gourmand Thomas Jefferson, these elite chefs will come together at The Space Downtown for a once-in-a-lifetime Charlottesville culinary experience, honoring their achievements.

After a reception of the chefs’ hors d’oeuvres, guests will sit down for dinner — a set menu of five courses, each prepared by a different Mt. Rushmore chef.   Wines will be paired with each course.

Best of all, every penny of ticket sales will go to feed the area’s hungry, via the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.  Each $250 donation for a ticket is enough to provide 1,000 meals to the area’s hungry.

Seating is limited, and only 100 tickets will be sold. They may be purchased here.

  • WHEN:        April 13, 2014, 6 p.m.
  • WHERE:      The Space Downtown, 210 W. Water St.
  • TICKETS:    $250 per person, all inclusive. Purchase yours here.

Five Finds on Friday: Ben Thompson

On Fridays we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Ben Thompson of the pork butcher The Rock Barn.  A trained chef, Thomspon may be the only man in town whose resume includes Per Se and The French Laundry.  You can enjoy The Rock Barn’s products at top restaurants all over Charlottesville, or buy directly from The Rock Barn at area farmers’ markets.  Better yet, try a Porkshare, where each month you get a different selection of cuts, plus expert tips and recipes on what to do with them.  Thompson’s picks:

1)  The Gyro at The Ivy Inn.  “This is not always on the menu, but just pop in the back door and tell the guys to stop service and make you one.”

2)  Bellisima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “See all previous mentions.  Everybody else already said it.”

3)  Steel Wheels ESB from The Barrel House of Blue Mountain Brewery.  “Great balance of drinkability and complexity. My ‘go to’ when it is available. Growlers or cans.”

4)  Citra Hops Kombucha from Nugget’s Raw Kombucha.  “Straightforward. Gets you right. Brings you back.

5)  The Rock Barn Bratwurst at Beer Run.  “Shameless plug. Proud to have my sausage in their hands. They do a great job.”


El Tepeyac

El Tepeyac380 Greenbrier Drive . Charlottesville, VA . (434) 964-1231

[UPDATE: El Tepeyac closed on May 24, 2015.]

Why El Tepeyac?

Even when it was a mere food counter in the back of a tienda, we were regulars at El Tepeyac, the Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant off Route 29 North owned by the Solorzano family.  After it converted to a full service restaurant in October 2012, it became one of our favorite spots in town.  For the transformation, Adolfo and Bertha Solorzano recruited their daughter Maria, a savvy management consultant from Chicago, who helped her mother enhance the decor, service, and cocktail list, which now includes fresh margaritas, and even Horchata con un Toque—rum with house-made spiced rice milk.   Adolfo is in charge of the food, using his own recipes to create pupusas, tacos, gorditas, and full platters.  It’s no wonder top chefs from all over Charlottesville love it so much.

What to Order

One of our favorite dishes in all of Charlottesville is El Tepeyac’s Pupusa de Queso con Loroco, a thick, handmade, corn tortilla filled with cheese and loroco, an edible flower with a floral, truffly flavor.  Solorzano’s family ran a pupuseria in El Salvador, and it shows. All the pupusas are excellent, served with the traditional vinegary slaw, curtido.  Below are our other favorites, as well as picks from Solorzano, and appearances in Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and personalities have named an El Tepeyac dish one of the best in town.  It seems that fried yucca is a hit:

Our Picks

  • Yucca Frita con Chicharron
  • Tacos (Pastor, Lengua, and, on weekends, Carnitas)
  • Gorditas (Pastor, Lengua)
  • Torta de Milanesa

Chef’s Picks

  • Yucca Frita con Chicharron
  • Pupusas (Queso con Loroco, Revueltas) 
  • Sope de Carne Asada

Five Finds on Friday Picks

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