One of the bright young stars of Charlottesville food is Polina Chesnakova. With her talent, passion, and love of Charlottesville, the writer and cook is destined for greatness. Sadly, last month she hit a scary bump in the road – a car accident causing several days in the hospital and loss of two fingers, among other injuries. Chesnakova is slowly recovering, and is too humble to ask for help, but could certainly benefit from assistance with medical bills and other expenses. No matter how big or small, please consider making a donation to help her get back on her feet. Help her recover here.
L’Etoile’s two night reincarnation in November went so well that they are doing it again. But, for two nights only. And, space is very limited.
Since closing, L’Etoile has continued as a catering business, but chef-owner Mark Gresge misses his beloved restaurant as much as his regulars do. So, next weekend he is again recreating a L’Etoile-style restaurant experience at the catering site in Crozet. It will be a set, surprise menu, so is best for guests without dietary restrictions. Water and coffee will be served, while guests are welcome to bring their own wines. Details below. For tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Advance tickets required. Ready go!
What: Pop-up L’Etoile Restaurant
When: January 20 and 21, 2017, 6 pm
Food: Seven Course Surprise Menu. No Substitutions.
Drinks: Water and Coffee. BYOB.
Where: L’Etoile Catering, 5857 Jarmans Gap Rd., Crozet, VA
How Much: $60 per person, plus gratuity. Cash or check only.
Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alec Spidalieri, who will run the bar at the highly anticipated restaurant Junction, set to open soon in Belmont. Coming soon, a full preview. Meanwhile, Spidalieri’s picks:
1) Dea Marrone at Tavola Cicchetti Bar. “My work-neighbor Tavola has always been one of the very best places in Cville to dine. How could they have possibly gotten any better? Christian Johnston answered this question to the applause of many when he started the cicchetti bar program in the back space of the restaurant about a year and a half ago. Christian has since moved on to our nation’s capitol to further develop his skills as a drink-maker, but he’s left his baby in good hands with Steve Yang, who has continued to expand the program and done a fantastic job carrying on the integrity and quality of the bar. I don’t know if I can pick a single favorite, but it may be the ‘Dea Marrone, with brown butter-washed Bulleit Bourbon, Averna Amaro, brown sugar, sage, cider, and yellow Chartreuse. Rich but very well balanced.”
2) Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll at Now & Zen. “I don’t really want to know how many pounds of chef-owner Toshi’s sushi I’ve consumed over the last few years. It’s fresh, it’s fantastic, and it’s one of the very best values in town. Plus, the staff is extremely friendly. I will always point people Now & Zen’s way if they’re looking for great sushi.”
3) Big Bad Wolf at Bluegrass Grill and Bakery. “Probably my favorite breakfast dish of all time. There’s a reason these guys always have a line out the door! The Big Bad Wolf is basically a souped-up Eggs Benedict with ham, bacon jam, chipotle hollandaise, and spinach (to convince yourself that you’re being healthy perhaps?) Yes please!”
4) Platinum Rum from Vitae Spirits. “I love rum and I’m fond of using local products, so it’s a good thing that there are some killer rums coming right out of my hometown, courtesy of Ian Glomski’s Vitae Spirits. Vitae’s Platinum Rum is something I’ll reach for every chance I get, but their whole lineup is solid, and I hear they’re developing even more products. I can’t wait to try them all out. I plan on using their Golden Rum in my house-made Horchata during the colder months at Junction.”
5) Pulled Pork Sandwich at The Local Smokehouse. “The Local crew took over the old Belmont Barbecue space and opened up shop back in April. It seemed like a natural way to move into the lunch territory for us that would suit our style and play up our strengths well. Chef Matty was very scientific and methodical about his recipes at this spot; I don’t know how many times I went into work at The Local and was forced to ‘taste test’ different pork and brisket techniques (not that I’m complaining). All that work on his part paid off very nicely. It’s all quite edible, but a pulled pork sandwich slathered in beer mustard is the ticket for me.”