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: Jill Myers

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jill Myers, the certified Olive Oil Sommelier who does a great service for Charlottesville by bringing us some of the world’s best olive oils, from places like Umbria, Greece, Spain, Sicily, and Tuscany. Find these rare gems at The Spice Diva, Foods of All Nations, JM Stock Provisions, Beer Run, Mona Lisa, Greenwood Gourmet, Gabriele Rausse, Chestnut Oak Vineyard, Keevil & Keevil, C & O, MarieBette, and Lampo. “Each one has a story connected to it,” says Myers, “and a producer who is practicing stellar methods at every point of production.” For a deeper look at olive oils, save the date – July 15 – for a special seminar and tasting at The Spice Diva. Stay tuned for details. Myers’ picks:

1) Charcuterie Board and 2010 Petit Verdot at the Library at Barboursville Vineyards. “At the Library at Barboursville Vineyards, I love the elegant wine flights, charcuterie boards, and seasonal appetizers accented with estate grown vegetable and herbs. The warm Italian-style hospitality created by Alyson Foldvary and others at the Library makes this an incredibly unique and memorable experience.”

2) Dreams of Beirut Tea at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar. “I love to cozy up during the cold winter months with a pot of Dreams of Beirut tea, a sweetened black tea with nuances of cloves and pepper. During the heat of summer, I like a rose milkshake garnished with petals on the quiet patio in the back. The drurrie/kilim pillows and the Middle Eastern style transport me to another place.”

3) Fromage Plate with Spanish Red at C & O Restaurant. “Although the bar for a cocktail is at the top of my list, the C&O patio is another favorite of mine. Dinner on the patio would include the fromage plate to start, followed by tuna crudo or beef carpaccio and ending with creme brulée. Wine, coffee or a digestive will never disappoint at the C&O.”

4) Viognier and Tim’s Fresh Bread with Olive Oil at Gabriele Rausse Winery. “The fresh bread that Tim Rausse bakes daily, paired with high quality Sicilian olive oil, while sipping Gabriele Rausse wines is a simple, yet beautiful tasting. This is a setting that causes one to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of good food and wine. I will return often.”

5) Qabuli Palow and Firnee at Afghan Kabob Palace. “I was introduced to this restaurant by Gabriele Rausse and have returned a number of times. The food is delicious. The bolanee kadu, maust-e-khiar soup, and naan are great for appetizers, followed by qabuli palow, chicken kofta and lamb tikka kabobs, and then firnee, a rose water and cardamom custard. My children love this restaurant and ask to finish up with the doogh, a yogurt shake garnished with mint. Writing this tonight, we may return this week!”

Guys’ Night in Charlottesville: A Guide

Guys’ night in Charlottesville is easy.  Here’s how to do it.

First, procure muffuletta bread from Albemarle Baking Company. You will need to call in advance to request it.

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Next, from JM Stock Provisions procure Tasso ham, and from Feast! procure thinly sliced salami, mortadella, provolone, and emmental, as well as olive salad.

Go home, slice your bread in half, and brush each half with olive oil.

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Add salami.

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Add Tasso ham.

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Add provolone and emmental.

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Add mortadella.

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Stir your olive salad . . .

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. . . and apply with more cheese.

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Voila.

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Now take your sandwiches somewhere, slice into sixths, and serve.

Beers.

The rest is choose-your-own-adventure. Play pickle ball, like we did. Or, play cards, golf, or another game you like. Or, if you prefer, talk politics, tell jokes, or discuss what it means to be a good man, a good husband, and a good father. Talk about your successes and failures, your friends’ successes and failures, and the guy who fell in the creek on the fifth hole.

Laugh. Eat. Drink.

Learn.

Five Finds on Friday: Kerrie Pierce

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Kerrie Pierce of Vitae Spirits, which has just released this year’s batch of Poptails — five different Pierce cocktails served frozen as popsicles in a tube. Collab & Cream, for example, is an astonishingly delicious blend of Collab #1 beer spirit, Orange liqueur, coffee vanilla syrup, milk, and malted milk ball pieces. Meanwhile, on June 21, Vitae is throwing a party to celebrate release of their Distiller’s Reserve Barrel-Aged Rum Batch #1, a blend of rums aged for over two years in Keswick Vineyard’s 2014 Cabernet Franc barrels and Smooth Ambler Old Scout bourbon barrels. Pierce’s picks:

1) Apricot Danish at Albemarle Baking Company.  “I enjoy devouring many things at Albemarle Baking Company, but this pastry is my top favorite and I will snag one every time I walk through the door. It was my favorite pastry when I was in France, and I love that I can get one whenever I want right here in town. Crispy, flaky pastry dough, creamy custard and a little poached apricot without being overwhelmingly sweet. What’s not to love?”

2) Moules Frites at Public Fish & Oyster. “You can’t beat perfectly cooked mussels in a delicious broth with frites and a glass of wine. A friend and I are making our way through all the broth options. It is a delightful quest, and a lovely way to spend an evening with a friend.”

3) Papas Bravas at MAS Tapas. “I order this every visit as long as they aren’t out! Pure comfort food. Sizzling hot yukon gold potato with aioli and grey sea salt? They disappear  too quickly, and then a little bread is needed to mop up whatever is left in the skillet.

4) Branzino alla Griglia at Tavola.  “I find it difficult to explore the rest of the menu because I want this every time. Tender and flaky sea bass with a parsley root puree, baby arugula and fennel with preserved lemon. The flavors all work so perfectly together and I could eat a giant bowl of the parsley root puree with a spoon it is so good.”

5) Tamales Oaxaquenos at La Michoacana. “One of my favorite dishes at Michoanaca, which again is difficult to pick because everything they make is so tasty! The masa is cooked perfectly and the mole sauce is one of the best I’ve ever had. I’ll always order a side of fried yucca if they have it on special too.”