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: Melissa Boardman


Photo by Amy Jackson

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Melissa Boardman, Wine Director of Fleurie, which is celebrating Virginia Wine Month with a very special meal. On October 21, Fleurie welcomes Lovingston Winery for a multi-course feast by Chef Jose de Brito, paired with Lovingston wines. Details here. Braised beef cheeks, celery root, rigatoni stuffed with oxtail, red wine & cacao reduction with a pine nut & raisin condiment? Reserve at (434) 9710-1800 or Boardman’s picks:

1) Nachos and Margaritas at The Bebedero. “These nachos are a meal and a half. The chorizo meat topping is the way to go. The mornay cheese sauce is so flavorful. You can’t beat River’s selection of mezcal. I have him pick one for my margarita, which I also add jalapenos and cilantro to. The best part about all of this is that they serve a limited menu until 1 am. Perfect for an after-service snack.”

2) Foie Gras and Sauternes at Fleurie. “Chef Jose de Brito prepares this healthy portion of seared foie to perfection. It’s a great way to start a dining experience. You can also belly up to the bar for a quick decadent snack. However, it’s not foie gras without Sauternes. I’m loving the Sauternes from Rousset Peyraguey called Atropos. This unique, natural sticky spends six years in barrel before it is bottle. It’s a sweet treat that borders on savory.”

3) Sucuk Platter and a Glass of Emir at Sultan Kebab. “Sucuk is a Turkish sausage that reminds me of a spicy kielbasa, without the grease. In fact this sausage has a bit of a crunch. If you are really hungry or are there with a couple friends, add a plate of the Manti.  Turkish marinated ground beef dumplings served with homemade garlicky yogurt, drizzle of crushed red pepper butter sauce and dry mint. My meal here is not complete unless I have a glass or two of Doluca’s Emir. It’s a super dry, mineral driven white wine from Turkey.”

4) Weisswurst and Hefeweizen at Court Square Tavern. “I like the platter with their potato salad. This veal sausage is light, airy and heavenly. They have a great selection of German beers. Ask Jeff to pick you out a good one. Hefeweizen and weisswurst use similar spices in their recipes, so it’s a natural pairing.”

5) Cheese Plate and a Bottle of Vouvray at Tilman’s.  “I am a cheese freak! I could live on it (and wine) alone. I love Tilman’s because Courtney only picks the best of the best. I give the cheese monger on duty carte blanche to customize a plate for me. They know I like the powerful stuff. The other thing I love about Tilman’s is the retail pricing on bottles and minimal corkage fee.”

Five Finds on Friday: Kate Ellwood


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Kate Ellwood, GM of Citizen Burger Bar, who juggles a full-time restaurant job with being a mother to her daughter Avery. “Family is a big part of my life and what keeps me grounded in this industry,” says Ellwood. “My husband and my daughter are what keep me going. Avery is growing up in the restaurant world, and it’s so fun sharing this special lifestyle with her. She lights up my life.” Ellwood’s picks:

1) A.M. Biscuit at Beer Run. “My go-to day off spot. A place that feels like home. My daughter loves the basket of toys they keep on hand, and the kids’ menu is pretty awesome. The A.M Biscuit has been my breakfast staple for years. It’s a house baked cheddar scallion biscuit with scrambled eggs and your choice of cheese (the Gouda is amazing), and I always top it with bacon. They have a great selection of dark beers and, with the new addition of the back bar, there’s always a large selection of brews to choose from.”

2) Iced Mocha at Splendora’s. “I know it’s going to be a great day when it starts with a cup of coffee from Splendora’s. Most days I’m here twice a day. Coffee in the morning and an iced coffee in the afternoon. I had the iced mocha recently and it was out of this world. Of course the gelato is something special. I love when PK does the beerlato. From the bright yellow building on the way in and the friendly staff, I would challenge someone to leave there without a smile on their face.”

3) White Pizza at Vita Nova. “Favorite pizza spot on the mall. There’s never a long line and the staff is super-friendly and efficient. We order their pizza for our employee meetings, and our staff is hooked. They have this delicious white sauce, cheese pizza that is, hands down, the best slice of pizza I’ve experienced. It tastes like you’re eating pasta on a pizza.”

4) Hand Pie w/ Scrambled Egg, Yukon Potato, Cheddar, and Gravy at The Pie Chest. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the sweet pies, the dark chocolate cream pie especially. I would eat it for breakfast at least once a week. Then I discovered the breakfast hand pies and that was a game changer. The Yukon potato, cheddar, gravy, & egg is my fave! Super delicious. It always brightens my day to see Tina and Rachel in the shop. Great people, great pies.”

5) Double Bass Chocolate Stout from Starr Hill Brewery. “My favorite brewery in town, since the beginning. I love visiting the tap room in Crozet on my days off. It’s a short drive, and a nice escape. Their Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout is my favorite seasonal beer. They do this fun seasonal Box of Chocolates 12 pack. It’s released in November, and I’ll be drinking those for the next few months.”

In Good Company: C-VILLE Dinner Guests

Tony BennettOne of the great privileges of writing a restaurant feature for C-VILLE Weekly is the company of so many fascinating guests, who invariably enrich the articles with a perspective that I lack. Thank you to all who have joined me over the years, and I look forward to many more to come. Here they all are, with their bio at the time, and links to articles describing our experiences.

  • Brian Ashworth (Chef-owner, Ace Biscuit & Barbecue), Vu Nguyen (Chef, Brazos Tacos), Ivan Rekosh (Chef-owner, Zocalo), Andrew Silver (Chef-owner, Zocalo) at Pad Thai
  • Tony Bennett (Head Coach, UVa Men’s Basketball) at Maya
  • Brian Boland (Head Coach, UVa Men’s Tennis) and Brian O’Connor (Head Coach, UVa Baseball) at Blue Moon Diner
  • The Chhabra Family (Greatest people in the world) at Milan
  • Jose De Brito (The Alley Light) at Petit Pois
  • Michael Davis (The Wine Guild) and Evan Williams (The Wine Guild) at Kyoto
  • Roberto Donna (2012 Esquire Magazine National Chef of the Year) at Palladio
  • Adam Frazier (Owner, The Local) and Pat Simpson (formerly, C&O) at C & O
  • Laura Galgano (Blue Moon Diner) and Scott Smith (Bodo’s) at Tavern & Grocery
  • Maria Gracia (El Tepeyac) at The Bebedero
  • Matt Greene (JM Stock Provisions) at Riverside Lunch
  • Bill and Kate Hamilton (Hamiltons’ on Main) at Oakhurst Inn
  • Craig and Donna Hartman (The BBQ Exchange) at Clifton Inn
  • David Heilbronner and John Maloy (Master Certified Barbecue Judges) at Smoked Kitchen & Tap
  • Christian Kelly (Chef-owner, Maya), Wilson Richey (Owner, The Alley Light, Revolutionary Soup, The Whiskey Jar, The Pie Chest, The Bebedero), Angelo Vangelopoulos (The Ivy Inn), and Tucker Yoder (Clifton Inn), at El Tepeyac
  • Jeremiah Langhorne (The Dabney) at The Ivy Inn
  • Michel Le Borgne (Founding chef, New England Culinary Institute) at The Alley Light
  • Michael Lewis (Chef-owner, Mono Loco) and Rachel Willis (Cakes by Rachel) at Bizou
  • Mike London (Head Coach, UVa Football) at Aberdeen Barn
  • Dorothy McAuliffe (First Lady of the Commonwealth of Virginia) at Public Fish & Oyster
  • Loren Mendosa (Lampo) at Tavola
  • Jennifer Naylor (Sussex Farm) and Kelsey Naylor at Maru
  • Jason Oliver (Devils Backbone Brewing Company) and Jerome Thalwitz (Bavarian Chef) at Kardinal Hall
  • Ian Redshaw (Lampo) at Sultan Kebab
  • Ettore Rusciano (Chef-owner, Menomale) at Lampo Neapolitan Pizza
  • Tom Sietsema  (James Beard award-winning food critic, Washington Post) at Parallel 38
  • Dr. Leni Sorensen (Virginia food historian) at Commonwealth Restaurant
  • Tyler Teass (Brasserie Saison) at Oakhart Social
  • Ben Thompson (The Rock Barn) at Timbercreek Market