The Charlottesville 29

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

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Five Finds on Friday: Megan Kiernan

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Megan Kiernan, Product Development Chef of Feast! and founder of the roaming dinner series Forage. The next Forage event is Cocktails with the Kennedys, March 10 and 16 at Estouteville, the “Camelot of Albemarle County.” Details and tickets here. And, to receive updates about future events, register here. Kiernan’s picks:

1) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “I’m a sucker for all things mushroom. As a forager, mushrooms are by far my most prized discovery out in the woods. Lampo’s pizza is the perfect combination of cheesy mushroom goodness on that irresistible Lampo crust.  I love many items on their menu, but the Funghi Pizza is the one item I order every single time I go.”

2) Salmon and Avocado Rolls at Tokyo Rose. “While there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles with these rolls, they are endlessly satisfying and delicious. The sushi chefs  do a wonderful job of balancing the rice quantity to the salmon and avocado, and the quality of the fish is always great. As a native of Charlottesville, I’ve been a longtime fan of Tokyo Rose, although I was never cool enough to go to the punk shows in the basement when I was growing up.”

3) King Trumpets, Blue Oysters and so many more mushrooms from Mush Luv. “I first met Charlie as a teacher in a mushroom foraging class at Living Earth School. He and Nina forage and grow mushrooms, and they seek out local species to clone, so the mushrooms that you buy from them are incredibly special. They’ve introduced me to many delicious mushroom species, and they’ve inspired me to dig deeper in my own mushroom foraging.”

4) Greek Goddess Dressing from Feast!. “When I started at Feast eight years ago, this was already an item they made in house. It’s one of the most versatile dressings I know.  I dilute it with water and rice wine vinegar and use it as a salad dressing, I toss farro or rice in it and serve under chicken or fish, and it’s a great dip for vegetables or tortilla chips. The ways to use it are infinite. Eight years in, and I still go back for seconds every time we sample it.”

5) Pelure de Pomme, Hewes Crab and Farmhouse Dry Potter’s Craft Cider from The Cider Garden at the Bridge. “Potter’s Craft Cider has been a long time favorite of mine.  Full disclosure, I did marry one of the owners, Tim Edmond, but I was a big fan of his products long before we were dating. Tim and Dan started their business right around the time I returned to Charlottesville, and I was an uber fan of their super dry, refreshing ciders straight out of the gates. That I know have a lifetime supply of cider at my fingertips is an enormous perk of the marriage!”

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Mush Luv mushrooms

Five Finds on Friday: Ashley Malcolm

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Ashley Malcolm of Malcolms Market Garden, the Staunton farm she and her husband operate, whose CSA Farm Share resumes this spring. What’s a CSA Farm Share? Short for “Community Supported Agriculture,” it involves members buying all of a farm’s produce for the growing season early in the year, well before the harvest. Once harvesting begins, each week members receive bags stuffed full of the farm’s current best fresh-picked produce. Drop-off locations for Malcolms Market Garden farm share include Charlottesville, Crozet, Waynesboro, Fishersville, and Staunton.  Visit the website for info and registration.  Malcolms’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken at Wayside. “Skip all of the mediocre fried chicken out there and just go for this great chicken. Perfectly crispy and tender. When I’m on this side of town, it’s an easy choice for picking up dinner.”

2) Chicken Salad on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s. “Everyone has ‘their sandwich’ that they usually order from here, and this is mine and has been for decades. Add some sprouts for more texture and freshness.”

3) Chocolate Praline Crunch Dome from Albemarle Baking Company. “Everything crafted by ABC is authentic and delicious and made with love and precision, but this is the type of dessert that will have you dreaming about it for years. The magic of the textures and layers beneath the ganache dome make for the most decadent individual portion.”

4) Two Eggs, Bacon, Home Fries, and a Biscuit at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. “I’ve waited hours of my life to eat here, as all should, because it is just that good. This is great diner food at its best. The biscuits are a dream.”

5) Shishito Peppers at Citizen Burger Bar. “Obviously the burgers and fries are spot-on here, mainly because of their emphasis on local fresh ingredients. The shishito peppers are a real treat because they showcase the beauty and simplicity of the vegetable. With hardly any (spicy) heat, perfectly charred, completely dip-able and addictive, they are a favorite.”

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Introducing the Deli-Egg Roll

When it comes to food, some people are just different. You think about your next meal during your current one. You perseverate for hours about lunch. In your day job as a pharmacist, you daydream of opening your own restaurant. Food is on your mind, always.

One recent Sunday night, when I should have been sleeping, I instead was thinking about food. I sent an email to Justin Vesser, the UVa pharmacist behind The Tennessean Steakhouse, the passion project he operates a few times a year for charity. I wrote: “I’ve never tried doing it, but you could be just the man for the job. Deli-Egg Rolls. The ingredients for a Bodo’s Deli-Egg (without the egg) inside an egg roll.” He replied the next morning: “Well if that’s not a ‘eureka moment,’ I don’t know what is. I’ll take it to the test kitchen.”

Fast forward two weeks, and voila.

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Deli-Egg Rolls
by Justin Vesser

  • Approximately 1 lb. Bodo’s Deli Meats (Pastrami, Corned Beef, Ham, Salami, Capicola)
  • 4 slices each: Muenster, Aged Swiss, Provolone
  • 1 Tbsp Everything Bagel Spice
  • 1 Package Egg Roll Wrappers
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Peanut oil

Go to Bodo’s and order one plain bagel with pastrami, corned beef, ham, salami and capicola. It’s all going to get chopped up at home, so save one stroke and ask for it to be cut in half. Prepare to have the cashier give you the hairy eyeball, and to be judged by the person ordering next to you.

Finely mince all of the meat and cheese slices, and thoroughly mix with bagel spice in a large bowl.

Beat egg in a small bowl and use a brush or your fingers to wet the edges of an egg roll wrapper. Plop a generous amount of the deli mixture in the middle and fold one corner up over the mix. Fold each side in, pinching to make sure there is a good seal and finish by rolling over the remaining corner.

Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep pot  to 350 degrees.

Gently drop egg rolls into oil in small batches, turning frequently until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 2 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

A deli-egg needs egginess and creaminess, so I served it with a fresh hollandaise sauce for dipping.

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