Five Finds on Friday: Rachel Willis

by Charlottesville29


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Rachel Willis, a New England Culinary Institute alum whose resume reads like a greatest hits of Charlottesville restaurants over the last few decades: Metropolitain, Continental Divide, L’Avventura, and Executive Chef of Clifton Inn.  Willis now runs Black Twig Farm with her husband, and also the much-acclaimed Cakes by Rachel.  Willis’ picks:

1)  Drunken Noodles with Beef at Pad Thai.  “The first time I went to Pad Thai was shortly after they opened.  I was eight months pregnant and with three other very pregnant friends. We devoured half the menu and were in ecstasy.  Within an hour of my son being born, I was begging my mother to go get me this dish.  Nothing ever tasted better.”

2)  Lobster Roll from Foods of All Nations.  “When in town doing the mad errand dash, I more often than not find myself stopping for this quick lunch. Theirs is the best to-go sushi in town. And the lobster roll is my favorite!”

3)  Orange Martini at Fardowners.  “Order only one . . . trust me.”

4)  Bratwurst and Fall Sown Spinach from Double H Farm.  “Richard was a close friend and I will miss him dearly.  What a blessing Ara and Gayane are here to carry on what he started.  The brats are perfect and if you are lucky enough to get some of the spinach they have right now, saute lightly and they are perfect together. Their soil grows great greens.”

5)  Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company.  “I haven’t had a slice in a long time, but I still hear it call to me all the way out here in Crozet.  There are some combinations that are just perfect.”