The Charlottesville 29

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

Category: Five Finds on Friday

Five Finds on Friday: Reggie Calhoun

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Photo by Derrick Waller.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Reggie Calhoun, chef of Draft Taproom and Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar, both of which have donated great items to the Auction for Allie, where local businesses are auctioning off special experiences and services to benefit chef Allie Redshaw. See all the great items and place your bids here. Also, on Monday, March 27, Calhoun is competing against Miso Sweet chef Frank Paris III in a Duel Chef Showdown at Tin Whistle Pub. Details and tickets here. Calhoun’s picks:

1) Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “This is not only a place that sells the best burgers in town but it also holds a lot of memories for me growing up playing soccer. My friends right after practice would go straight here and get the double bacon cheeseburger with fried onions and pickles. These burgers are perfect just as they are – juicy with tons of beef flavor and a tiny bit of crispiness to them. Each bite just melts away. It’s the perfect burger!”

2) Bourbon Fruit Punch at The Alley Light. “The first time I went to this place, I expected it to be over-the-top good, and sure enough it was. I sat at the bar and asked the bartender to select a drink. She asked me which spirit I wanted, and I chose bourbon and said I’d like something very refreshing. She ended up making a drink that not only was the best fruit punch drink I have ever had but still to this day is my favorite drink I’ve ever had, period.”

3) Polyface Chicken Wings at Rapture. “Nothing much to say other then hands down the best chicken wings in Cville. Super clean and clear chicken flavor, juicy, and crispy.”

4) Gambas al’ Parilla at MAS Tapas. “Very simple dish, but that’s just the reason why these shrimp are awesome. Briny and fresh, with the fattiness of the garlic alioli that they make in house, which is key, and huge chunks of sea salt.No lie, I eat these once a week or at least every other week. I love MAS!”

5) Carne Asada at MAS Tapas. “In my opinion, this is one of the top steaks in Cville because it is always cooked perfectly and seasoned just right so the steak flavor shines through. Served with garlic alioli and tortillas dabbed with duck fat.”

 

Five Finds on Friday: Linda Steiner

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Linda Steiner, pastry chef at Duner’s, whose desserts are known to be destination-worthy. It’s shad roe season, and Duner’s is one of the only places in town to enjoy the delicacy, but supplies are very limited. Every Thursday Duner’s receives enough to make just eight weekend orders of the sauteed Pamlico Sound fish egg sacks. First come first serve, and just for a few weeks. Steiner’s picks:

1) Crab Pot Stickers at Bang! “Crab Pot Stickers and Firecracker Shrimp get ordered every time. As well as my Bang-A-Rita. If it is nice enough, you have to sit outside and enjoy all of Vincent and Tim’s hard work.”

2) Dumplings at Marco & Luca. “I have a really hard time going downtown and not bringing home some of the best dumplings and peanut noodles in C-Ville.”

3) Prosciutto Pizza at Lampo. “Andrew KILLS it with his cool wine selections. I just let him pick and always leave happy.”

4) Cured Salmon at The Alley Light. “Any cocktail from Micah, one of the best in all of C-Ville, if not Virginia! And is there really anything that you would not be happy with off of their menu? They have not missed a beat since the changing of the guard in the kitchen. The Cured Salmon and Potted Shrimp get me every time if they are on the menu.”

5) Beef and Broccoli at Silk Road. “A little off the path, but everyone should really try this place in Waynesboro. (Turn into the old Shoneys on your way towards the Home Depot) Ambiance, Ambiance, Ambiance! The food is really great, the Lunch Boxes are great, but if you have to pick one, go for the Beef and Broccoli.”

Five Finds on Friday: Laura Fonner

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come Laura Fonner, the mother of four who recently resumed her former role as head chef at Duner’s, after several years catering. Famous for its lines, Duner’s now takes reservations(!) but only via Open Table, not by phone. Walk-ins always welcome, too. Fonner’s picks:

1)  Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “This dish is amazing because of its simplicity and perfection. What a great showcase for such amazing mushrooms. Paired with a bottle, yes I said bottle, of their Gossip Pinot Grigio, it’s a match made in heaven.”

2) Green Smoothie from Smojo. “Beth Harley has been running a smoothie truck for years but just recently moved into the Piedmont Place in Crozet. Her green smoothie is amazing. All of them are. I have four kids so anything quick and and easy is always my go-to. Her ingredients are organic and her combinations are unique and delicious.”

3) Brisket & Cheese Sandwich at Smoked Kitchen & Tap. “I live in Crozet and work in Ivy, so naturally I tend to stay in the area! Smoked finally opened up a brick and mortar location in Piedmont Place. Their meats are amazing. My inner fat kid is in love with their brisket and cheese sandwich with charred onions and Duke’s mayo on Texas toast. It is sloppy and full of flavor.”

4) Fried Oysters at The Whiskey Jar. “I am a sucker for fried oysters and these are wonderful. Perfectly flash fried so they are super juicy In the middle.”

5) BLT w/ Avocado on Everything at Bodo’s. “Like I said before, I have four kids, so I tend to eat places that don’t mind me bringing in a backpack of toys and sometimes screaming children. I have lived here my entire life and can’t imagine a better go-to than Bodo’s. Their bagels are consistently good! Their BLT is just great, add avocado and it’s even better. I’m also a sucker for their tabouli.”