Five Finds on Friday

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities. Below is a list of all of the finds to date.

Ann Dunn

Ann Dunn of Formula Complete Fitness. Dunn’s picks:

1) Gentle Green from The Juice Laundry. “This juice has ruined any other cold-pressed juice for me. Other juices do not stack up. It is the perfect balance of health and flavor, with a unique combination of kale, spinach, cucumber, grapefruit, and apple juices. It is light and refreshing. When paired with a protein, it is a great start to the day. Plus, I feel like I’m #winning when I get in my greens before 8 am.”

2) Breakfast Bowl at Guajiros. “When beans and rice are a staple in my diet, I feel really good. This dish is a special treat though. I love gallo pinto (Nicaraguan rice and beans), and the pico and cilantro aioli add a tasty touch. The bowl comes with plantains or queso frito (fried cheese) too. I’m from Wisconsin, so I usually choose the latter. Pro tip: don’t miss out on the cafe con leche, the most decadent way to get your coffee fix.”

3) Blue Slate from Greenwood Grocery. “If I am spending the day at one of our amazing local wineries, I love picking up sandwiches and snacks from Greenwood Grocery. The Blue Slate is a classic turkey, havarti, lettuce, and tomato sandwich served on country bread with a perfectly crispy crust. This simple sandwich has a welcomed, unique twist with an ancho lime mayo spread, making it a perfect pairing for the wine and views of the Blue Ridge.”

4) Kale Caesar Salad and Bolo Pasta from Luce. “This Caesar salad, made with kale, shaved brussels, and tomato confit, is one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted. The Bolo is on point, especially if you order it at Crush Pad. There, the staff can share their wine wisdom and offer a perfect wine pairing.”

5) Fries & Flip at Tavern & Grocery/Lost Saint. “If I had to pick a guilty pleasure, it would be of the potato and salt variety. So naturally, the hand-cut fries at Tavern are the best $8 I’ve ever spent. Thin and crispy, they come with homemade spicy ketchup and garlic aioli. Drooling. Make sure you save room for a Flip at the Lost Saint, a speakeasy beneath Tavern & Grocery. I’m not much for cocktails, but the PB&J Flip is peanut buttery, milkshakey goodness. A really fun way to cap off an evening.”

Sarah Trundle

Sarah Trundle, reader. Trundle’s picks:

1) Grn Street Single Veggie Burger from GRN BRGR. “I pop in to Dairy Market to grab one of these for lunch as often as I can. The burger patty itself is amazing, but the toppings are what keep me coming back. The bun is soft and simple and perfectly sized (i.e. non-mammoth), and it comes with ched’dar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles (the latter being a must-have for a burger in my mind), and the final piece de resistance, their “street sauce” – some kind of condiment amalgam perfection. The whole thing is just synergistic burger magic.”

2) Birthday Cakes from Chandler’s Bakery. “Granted I have a thing for layer cakes with buttercream frosting, but Chandler’s makes by far the best. Every reason to celebrate calls for a Chandler’s cake, perfectly moist, creamy, sweet without being too-sickly-sweet, and beautifully decorated. Shout out to their radio bars as well; like gourmet hostess ding dongs but a million times better. Plus it just smells so good in there, and the assortment of goodies behind their old school glass bakery case delivers a huge blast of nostalgia.”

3) Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social. “I’m always happy to order whatever the group wants when I find myself at Oakhart Social — it’s ALL good — but this item is a non-negotiable must-have for me. The natural sweetness of the carrots, the slightly smoky flavor, the creamy sauce, the little crunch of the nuts. This is one I’d prefer not to share with the table.”

4) Käsekrainer at Kardinal Hall. “Had to look up the spelling on that one! I don’t know much about sausages other than that I like them, but this one is other-sausage-worldly, and I’ve never tasted anything like it. Kind of savory, kind of sweet, kind of very delicious. Just get it. It comes on a roll but you can order it on top of one of their salads, which is what I do. Ser Guht.”

5) Farmers Bread with Meze Trio at Smyrna. “Really this is mostly about the bread. Order extra. And more extra. It’s lightly toasted/grilled, and just chewy, crusty, perfection that will transport you directly to the Mediterranean. The trio of dips – yogurt goat cheese/ hummus/ and charred eggplant – are amazing as well but they are really just a vehicle for bread. And even more bread. Best I’ve had locally.”

Jahnavi Wraight

Jahnavi Wraight of La Vie en Rose. Wraight’s picks:

1) Vietnamese Bún at Chimm. “I  could eat this every day, and actually do eat it every week. I wouldn’t be surprised if they recognized my name. It is delicious, can be made vegan, and is a wonderful fresh component to every takeout order.”

2) “Eriste” Pasta and Rom & Kola at Smyrna. “This new restaurant is amazing, so it was hard to choose, but this pasta dish is beautifully simple and satisfying, with asparagus and a poached egg to finish. The rom & kola is something I wouldn’t usually order but the housemade cola syrup is so good and gives a cherry cola taste without being too sweet.”

3) Summer Squash Pizza from Oakhart Social. “Duh, gotta shout out my husband and fave restaurant in town. But this pizza for real is truly something special, and will only be on the menu for another week or so. The combination of Appalachian cheeses, thinly sliced zucchini and squash with sunflower gremolata creates this beautifully dynamic flavor combination. Chef’s kiss.”

4) Ranch from Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “No need to explain. If you haven’t had it just go try it. They even sell it in massive jars, for nasty people like me who want to put ranch, especially this ranch, on everything. I’ll add a nod to the blue cheese as well from Dr. Ho’s as well because #buffalobills.”

5) Tres Leche Popsicle from La Flor Michoacana. “This little shop is amazing. I can’t speak to the food because I’m always so focused on the popsicles. It is a hidden treasure and I love trying a different one every time.”

Tasha Durrett

Tasha Durrett, founder of Black Women Who Wine. Durrett’s picks:

1) Caipirinha at South and Central. “This is my favorite drink in the entire city. A caipirinha is such a simple drink, but it’s hard to find a good one in Charlottesville. The one at South and Central is amazing and really the only drink I get there.”

2) Grilled Pineapple at Passiflora. “Let’s be clear. I love Passiflora. But the grilled pineapple is one of my favorite things I’ve ever eaten. I add the garlic citrus jackfruit. and it’s a perfect dish. I’ve tried to copycat it at home and it’s never quite the same.”

3) Pancit at Manila Street. “One of the things I miss most about living in Northern Virginia is Filipino food. Manila cures that longing. The pancit is comparable to any I’ve had, and the staff is always great here. Grab some after work and pair with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Vidal Blanc. Add on some lumpia and it’s even better.”

4) Country Ham Croissant at The Blue Ridge Pig. “I’m from Nelson County and I couldn’t be featured here without including my favorite item from The Blue Ridge Pig. Country ham was a staple of every Christmas celebration growing up. It’s expensive and salty, so you don’t want to have too much of a good thing, but when you do have it, it’s amazing. The sandwich is served with dill sauce, which adds to its overall uniqueness.”

5) Fried Chicken Steamed Buns, Spicy Garlic Sauce, House Pickles at Bang!. “Bang! has been nothing if not consistent since I first started going here back when I turned 21. It continues to have some of the best cocktails and small plates in the city. These buns are an homage to the menu of the earlier 2000s and give me a nostalgic feel. I’m happy Bang! is still around. It’s a gem.”

Danielle Stein

Danielle Stein of CBS19. Stein’s picks:

1) Key Lime Martini at Bang!. “There is no question that Bang! is my favorite restaurant in Charlottesville since the first week I came here. I love their rotating menu of small Asian-fusion tapas, and try to pick new things each time. While I do that, there is always one constant: the key lime martini. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and a little tart and a graham cracker crumb rim. Always fits perfect with any dish I order.”

2) Lamb Carpaccio at The Alley Light. “I dream about the lamb carpaccio at Alley Light. The most beautiful and intimate space features some of the more unique things I’ve ever tried. I’ve had other carpaccios like tuna and beef, but the flavor of the paper-thin lamb is so special and is such a star. So good on their bread with the aioli and arugula.”

3) Ka Pow Crispy Pork Belly at Monsoon Siam. “Anything with the words ‘spicy’ and ‘garlic’ in the description is going to call my name, and then with crispy pork belly? Game over. The sauce flavors and the spicy peppers make this dish great, and it packs some heat! Shout out to the Hell Fried Rice too.

4) Provoleta at South and Central. “It’s a skillet of hot, melty cheese that’s crispy and golden on top and makes for the ultimate cheese pull when you scoop it onto bread or with your insane steaks. Enough said. They have lunch special with the provoleta melted onto a steak as well for the best of both worlds. Beautiful space, and always check their steak special (if they have the bison ribeye, GET IT).

5) Cacio e Pepe Pizza at Luce. “Luce has changed me for the better. I love their pasta, but their pizza is just something else. You get all the joy of cacio e pepe pasta, but on a white pizza. This, quite literal, hole in the wall off the downtown mall makes for the perfect carryout meal, and I loved their tented live music summer series in the parking lot next door.”

Allan LeHew

Allen LeHew of Duck’s Cottage Coffee & Books. LeHew’s picks:

1) Seasonal Fruit Brioche at Albemarle Baking Company. “This delicate, light and fluffy brioche, filled with pastry cream and seasonal fruit, is perfect with your morning coffee, as an afternoon snack, or even for dessert.”

2) Jambon Beurre at Belle. “Belle’s take on this classic French sandwich is so simple yet so delicious. The house baked bread, using flour from Woodson’s Mill, is perfection. Finish your meal with one of Belle’s cinnamon rolls or chocolate chip cookies.”

3) Pig Mac at Little Star. “#11 on Simon’s 29 Sandwich list. A breaded pork cutlet with all the fixings to make it a Mac. Served on a brioche sesame seed roll. One of those thing I eat and days later think about and crave another.”

4) Quenelles de Brochet at Café Frank. “My wife Judy and I try to dine at Café Frank whenever we are in town. Nothing disappoints, but the standout so far has been the Quenelles. The pike dumpling practically melts in your mouth and the rich velouté is the perfect accompaniment.”

5) Ethiopian Qabballe Pourover at Mudhouse. “I’m partial to the fruit forward Ethiopian coffees and the pourover method really brings the fruit out. Leave the cream and sugar out, and enjoy the subtle nuances and mouthfeel of the coffee. You can’t go wrong with any of the single origin coffees Mudhouse has to offer.”

Casandra Rodriguez

Casandra Rodriguez of Vegan Comforts Soul Food. Rodriguez’s picks:

1) Pho and Crispy Rolls at Vu Noodles. “I get the crispy rolls just so I can dip them in the pho, and both together are so comforting, savory, and refreshingly delicious. I literally go here once or twice a week. Highly recommend.”

2) Portobello Philly at Firefly. “When I’m craving a Philly cheesesteak and don’t feel like cooking this is my go-to spot for it. It is so yummy.”

3) Creole Beans Platter at Pearl Island. “Wooo chile, this whole meal is the perfect combo. The creole beans are perfectly seasoned and the tostones with the sauce are to die for. Don’t get me started on the rice with the garlic kale. So so good.”

4) Won Ton Nachos at Botanical. “Ryan got me hooked on these nachos. They are so delicious. The cashew cheese sauce could pass for real cheese, first of all, and the toppings were so fresh and had the perfect crisp light touch. Def will be back for more.”

5) General Tso’s Cauliflower and Coconut Rice at Bang!. “Bring back the chickpea roll things, haha, no but seriously. My favorite dish from here right now is the General Tso’s cauliflower and the coconut rice. So comforting and filling.”

Ryan Becklund

Ryan Becklund of Botanical. Becklund’s picks:

1) Any Vegan Croissant from Bowerbird Bakeshop. “I can’t believe that vegan croissants exist in Charlottesville and on top of that, these ones are perfect. Flaky, buttery, and delicious. You would never know they are vegan.”

2) Vegan Tater Tachos from Firefly. “Firefly has an awesome vegan menu overall, but these are my favorite on the list. Who doesn’t love a good tacho, especially with some rich cashew cheese?

3) Chili from The Juice Laundry. “This chili is a showstopper. It is vegan, but it could stand the test against any traditionally made chili. Definitely get it with the jalapeño cashew cream.”

4) Sweet Potato Tempura Roll from Now & Zen. “There are tons of veggie sushi rolls on the menu and all are great, but this is my go-to roll. I could eat it everyday.”

5) Marinara D.O.C. from Lampo. “A pizza without cheese is the only way I eat pizza. Without the cheese, the sauce and bread are the stars and that is exactly the case on this comforting, satisfying pie.”

Jaclyn Shaffer

Jaclyn Shaffer of Jaclyn’s Cookies. Shaffer’s picks:

1) Basan Paitan from Basan. “Hands down the most delicious bowl of ramen that I’ve eaten. I’ve spent a lot of time stalking this food truck the past couple of years, and I can’t wait to see what Basan and Mama Bird do with their new space at Umma’s.”

2) Kao Soi Chicken from Chimm. “If you haven’t tried Chimm yet, you need to visit. I love this curry so much because it’s the perfect combo of spicy broth, rich dark meat chicken and crispy fried wontons.”

3) Financier from MarieBette.  “Everything from MarieBette is fantastic, but the buttery, crunchy outside and sweet, tender inside of their financier makes it my favorite.”

4) Funghi from Lampo. “I don’t even like mushrooms that much, but this pizza is the bomb. I always try to branch out when I visit, but I find myself coming back to this pizza every time. The earthy mushrooms with cream sauce and cheese, cooked in a woodfired oven is pizza perfection.”

5) Banana Bread from Green House Coffee. “I have to shout out my local Crozet coffee shop. Every time I’m there I can’t help ordering their addictive banana bread with an iced coffee.”

Dani Landi

Dani Landi of Kaas and Cure Board Co.. Landi’s picks:

1) The Hodgepodge from Public Fish & Oyster. “When my husband and I get a kid-free date night, we love to make reservations at Public Fish & Oyster. Last time we ate there I ordered a refreshing French 75 cocktail with The Hodgepodge. It includes all my favorite seafood. Virginia clams, mussels, oysters, shrimp, tomato, haricot verts, rice, lobster “Nantua” sauce. My husband is allergic to shrimp, so we never cook it at home. When I see shrimp on a menu, I order it.”

2) Filet Mignon with Chimichurri Sauce from South and Central. “It is nearly impossible for me to pick a favorite from South and Central in the Dairy Market. Every single time I have dined there my meal has been amazing. I love how the platillos (small plates) change often. They had these amazing tacos on the small plate menu once, and I secretly hope they are back on the menu every time we go. If you are reading this South and Central, please bring back those tacos.”

3) The Savory Custom from Iron Paffles & Coffee. “What’s better than a Paffle? Being able to customize your own. I am allergic to eggs, so it’s not often that I get to indulge in anything sweet and savory. Their puff pastry waffle sandwiches are available in vegan (egg free) and gluten free. I go all out, when I order. The more toppings the better. If you aren’t already following them on Instagram, you need to. Trust me.”

4) The Cowboy from Jack Brown’s. “One of my favorite places to go after attending a concert downtown is Jack Brown’s. My go-to order is always an IPA Dry-Hopped cider from Bold Rock and The Cowboy. The Cowboy is a Burger topped with BBQ sauce, Applewood Smoked Bacon and American cheese with a side of sweet potato fries.”

5) Grilled Pork Steak and Charred Carrots from Oakhart Social. “Dining at Oakhart Social is meant to be a shared experience, but I find it so hard to share. One time I went with a big group of friends, and we ordered almost every dish on the menu. I always end my meal there with a delicious after dinner drink.”

Liz Broyles

Liz Broyles, co-owner of Birdhouse. Broyles’ picks:

1) English Muffin from Cou Cou Rachou. “Best English muffin I’ve ever had. If you haven’t checked out Rachel De Jong’s baked goods yet, you gotta do it.”

2) Falafel Bowl from Otto. “This bowl is a treat. Falafel sits on top of roasted beets, white bean salad, red cabbage salad, sumac onions, Coban salad, fried eggplant and greens.

3) Bricolage from Patois Cider. “These amazing ciders made by Patrick Collins are really special, crafted with intention and care at each stage. Patrick scouts for apple trees in the mountains and harvests these ol’ timey varieties with the help of his partner Danielle LeCompte. Ciders are made without modification or added yeasts and are unrefined and unfiltered. Delicious.”

4) Marinara D.O.C. Pizza from Lampo. “San Marzano tomato, garlic, wild oregano, sea salt, olive oil. Nuff said.”

5) Cauliflower Sous Shu from Pearl Island. “The food at Pearl Island is full of flavor, healthy and fresh. Make sure you get an extra side of Pikliz.”

Megan Adams

Megan Adams, locak baker. Adams’ picks:

1) Spicy Honey Garlic Karaage from Basan. “This is everything you could ever want in a chicken nugget. Basan marinates, double fries, and sauces to perfection these sweet-salty-spicy nuggets. They can be eaten any time of day, even for breakfast.”

2) Kabocha Squash Brioche Tart with Cream Cheese from Baker No Bakery. “Chris had this brioche on her menu more than once, and that just felt like Christmas all October long. The pastry was soft, yet sturdy enough to hold the weight of a squash purée and cream cheese filling. I had no idea what I had signed up for but once I knew I had to go back for seconds and thirds.”

3) Tofu Caramelized Onions Noodles from Vu Noodles. “This dish is my go-to almost every time I’m having a bad day. I grab my bag, sit in my car, whip out the chopsticks and go to town on that box of noodles. And every time, without fail, I find myself happier with every bite. The ginger soy sauce just drenches the noodles and tofu and makes for the best pick-me-up meal.”

4) Za’atar Croissant from Bowerbird Bakeshop. “I fervently believe there is not a single sandwich condiment that cannot be put on this croissant. Veggies, pork belly and American cheese, egg and kimchi. Shoot, you could even do up a fancy avocado toast on this baby because it can literally handle anything. 10/10.”

5) Smash Burger from Basan. “I’m sorry to admit that in the 12 years of food service work I’ve clocked, I hadn’t had a smash burger until . . . THIS YEAR. Oh man was I missing out. These smash burgers are a special menu item only brought out during pop ups, so if you know . . . you know. I had built my own with egg, Mama Bird’s Napa Kimchi, avocado, comeback sauce, onion, and American chees, but I could have eaten it entirely plain and still had a 420/10 experience. The crust on the burger from being smashed and so quickly seared is unlike any burger your dad can pull off of his grill. Sorry Dad.”

Jen Pease

Jen Pease, reader. Pease’s picks:

1) Miso Chocolate Chip Cookie from Cou Cou Rachou. “My platonic ideal of a cookie: the perfect balance of crispy/chewy and salty/sweet. We are so lucky to live in a town with several amazing bakeries, and Cou Cou Rachou is a fabulous addition. (My kids also wanted me to mention their favorite treats: the Prezzant and the Stuffed Chocolate Shortbread, both from MarieBette.)”

2) Migas Taco from Brazos. “I first tried migas tacos while visiting Austin a few years ago, and I was thrilled to find them on the menu at Brazos. Egg, veggies, cheese, and tortilla chips? On a taco? Yes, please. Great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.”

3) Raspberry Triangle from Atlas Coffee. “Atlas is the epitome of the neighborhood coffee shop: the type of place where you always see familiar faces and the baristas start your order when you walk in the door. A latte and a raspberry triangle is my favorite way to start a workday.”

4) Beets from Oakhart Social. “My husband and I frequently have a hard time deciding which of the many great veggie dishes to order at Oakhart, but this one always makes the cut.”

5) Seabass Normandy from Café Frank. “One of the best dishes I have eaten this year. We love the atmosphere at Café Frank – another great addition to the Charlottesville dining scene.”

Charlie Xavier

Charlie Xavier, of Patch Brewery. Xavier’s picks:

1) Al Pastor Taco at Tacos Gomez. “I am a lover of Mexican Food, and when we discovered Tacos Gomez food truck, I was hooked. We try to grab dinner or lunch to go. The green sauce is the best.”

2) Smoked Turkey on an Everything with Lettuce, Tomatoes, Munster Cheese, Bean Sprouts, Avocado and Mayo from Bodo’s. “Love me some Bodo’s. When I am out between play dates with the boys, Bodo’s is a must.”

3) Any Taco from Brazos Tacos. “As mentioned before, I love Mexican food. When I am at the IX with the kids or as family, we will always grab some tacos at Brazos Tacos. I love the Tex-Mex influence.”

4) Chicken Cemita from Al Carbon. “I really enjoy the chicken at Al Carbon, and the cemita with the roasted chicken is just incredible. I really enjoy the fresh Oaxacan cheese, and the fresh bread. I discovered Al Carbon when next door they had Chew Chew Town – our oldest son used to love that place.”

5) Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company. “It is no secret that I love sweets, but the princess cake is the one that I must have on my birthday. My husband André already knows what cake I always want for my birthday. I can’t even explain why I like it so much. It is just the best cake in the world.”

Chris Martin

Chris Martin of Baker No Bakery Martin’s picks:

1) Café con Leche at Guajiros Miami Eatery. “The perfect balance of espresso, sweetness, espuma, and milk. And enough caffeine to fuel me for eternity. I drink this iced every single day I can.”

2) Taiyakis from Basan. “Basan is delightful because of their specials, and I’m personally obsessed with their taiyakis. There is typically always a red bean flavor, but there was a banana cream flavor that lingers with me to this day.”

3) Baleadas at El Ciruelo. “This restaurant has amazing flour tortillas, and they shine in any and all of the baleadas. My Honduran coworker introduced me to these and I can’t get enough.”

4) Ddukbokki at Kuma Sushi Noodles & Bar. “Their ddukbokki is perfectly spicy, with chewy rice cakes that I adore. Also the iced honey plum tea is *chefs kiss*.”

5) Biko from Manila Street. “I love sticky rice, and Manila Street’s traditional Filipino dessert called biko in the Dairy Market is so good. The chewiness of the rice, just sweet enough, and toasted coconut are super yum.”

Chase Davidson

Chase Davidson, son. Davidson’s picks:

1) Lumpia from Little Manila and Manila Street. “I’ve been eating these for a long time. When I was younger, I used to look forward to Saturdays because we would always go to the market and Little Manila would have a tent set up there. It’s one of my favorite foods, and it goes perfectly with the sauce.”

2) Marinara D.O.C. from Lampo. “It’s been a tradition for a while that every year on my birthday, I get this pizza from Lampo. I don’t typically like really cheesy pizzas, so this one is perfect for me. Another tradition we had was every Friday in the pandemic my dad would go out and get this pizza for me.”

3) Pan Tomate at Little Star. “I could consume a lot of these.”

4) Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream at La Flor Michoacana. “My dad introduced this place to me. My sister wanted to go to Chap’s but I wanted to try this place, and I’m glad I did because it is some of the best ice cream that I have ever had.”

5) Mini Corn Dogs at Riverside Lunch. “Anytime I travel for a swim meet, my dad tries to find places close to the pool with mini corn dog nuggets because I enjoy them so much. I have gone to many places but none are better than the ones that Riverside has.”

Kate Douglass

Kate Douglass, UVa swimmer and Olympic Bronze Medalist. Douglass’s picks:

1) Stumble Down Mac N’ Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Sandwich from The Virginian. “I can never choose between these two, so I usually get both. But they have the Mac N’ Cheese in an appetizer and meal size which is great.”

2) Pepperoni Pizza from Dino’s Wood Fired Pizza in Dairy Market. “My new favorite pizza place in Charlottesville. Also has amazing mozzarella sticks.”

3) Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Croissant from MarieBette Café and Bakery. “I love a good bacon, egg and cheese, but on a buttery croissant? Makes it ten times better.”

4) Chocolate Milkshake from The Nook. “A great breakfast spot on the Downtown Mall with amazing milkshakes. A chocolate milkshake at 9 am has never tasted so good.”

5) Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Biscuit from Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “I’m a big fan of breakfast spots . . . and biscuits . . . and this is one of my new favorites. The only thing that could possibly top a bacon egg and cheese on a croissant is one on a biscuit.

Elizabeth Pelly

Elizabeth Pelly, Co-owner and Creative Director of Merrie Mill Farm & Vineyard. Pelly’s picks:

1) Everything Baguette from MarieBette Café & Bakery. “This baguette is literally everything to me. Crunchy and flavorful on the outside, soft and light in the inside. I rarely make it out to the car without having a bite or home without eating half of it. It is even great the day after, if there is any left, toasted with a thin layer of cream cheese and avocado.”

2) Carciofo at Tavola (fried artichokes with whipped goat cheese and garlic aioli). “The ‘last supper’ my husband and I had before my second daughter was born was at Tavola. It was the only time I have eaten in the restaurant. We had a lovely dinner and then during COVID – while we have not been out much – we ordered take-away for our seventh wedding anniversary dinner. It can be risky ordering anything ‘fritti’ to take away but the artichoke was absolutely perfect and the goat cheese dipping sauce is divine.”

3) House Dressing from Take It Away. “Does a condiment count in this exercise? Doesn’t matter because I don’t care. First discovered in my university years, it is too good not to mention. A delightful mix of tangy and creamy, this is the perfect companion to a deli sandwich, and I have been known to dip plain bread in the house dressing as a snack.”

4) Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company. “I have only had two birthdays in our new home in Keswick, but the princess cake has featured at both. This cake is heaven. Who wouldn’t love marzipan with light fluffy white cake and decadent whipped cream filling? It is perfect for any special occasion, or actually I might have to order one now.”

5) Fried Chicken from Michie Tavern. “For the soft launch of our tasting room at Merrie Mill, we had tons of friends and neighbors come visit. A pretty big contingency stayed for dinner up at our house. I ordered fried chicken from Michie Tavern and everyone, including me, was blown away. If I had a dime for every time someone told me ‘this is the best fried chicken I have ever had,’ I would be buying a lot more fried chicken.”

Rachel De Jong

Rachel De Jong of Cou Cou Rachou. De Jong’s picks:

1) Huaraches from La Sabrosita in Waynesboro. “I know, it’s outside Charlottesville proper, but it’s my partner and I’s favorite day off lunch. It’s such a fun escape and the food is always wonderful.”

2) Patois Cider from Market Street Wine. “This is a double duty answer. I went to pastry school in Paris and, on a baker/student budget, crepes and cider were without a doubt one of my most frequent meals. Patrick’s cider is the best I’ve had this side of the Atlantic and I’m very excited about what he is creating and cultivating in the area – Virginia apples need this kind of love. Market Street Wine is definitely my happy place. Siân and Thad are wonderful humans who are also doing tremendous things for their industry and community, and I am very thankful to have a place I can go where I know the recommendations and knowledge of the product will be impeccable.”

3) Thai Tea Gelato and Honey, Goat Cheese, and Fig Gelato from Splendora’s. “PK is making such fun, wonderful, interesting things and I am so happy that we can still get her gelato in town. She’s one of the many reasons I’m delighted to be back in the Charlottesville food community.”

4) Korean Cabbage Kimchi from Sussex Farm. “In my fridge always. My favorite day-off breakfast and anytime addition to brighten up a meal.”

5) Hot and Numbing Shredded Tofu Skins from Peter Chang. “Ordered this so much throughout the quarantine takeout era. One of my go-to standbys, and I would eat it every day if that were a reasonable thing to do.”

Fernando Dizon

Fernando Dizo of Manila Street. Dizon’s picks:

1) Apple Galette from Bee Conscious Baking Company. “Patrick and Alexis just opened their new spot in Dairy Market and we couldn’t be happier for them. Also for our tummies because now we can get their goodies everyday. The Apple Galette is my favorite. Caramelized apples inside a perfectly crispy crust. Everything they make is delicious. Our boys love their cinnamon sugar donuts.”

2) Special Waffle at Milli Coffee Roasters. “This is our go -to spot for breakfast on Sundays. A Belgian waffle topped with brie, Granny Smith apple and honey. The waffle is always crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. I really need to know how they make their batter.”

3) Gambas al’ Parilla at Mas. “This is our go-to date night spot. Sitting on the patio with a pitcher of sangria and some delicious tapas is our happy place. The grilled shrimp are a must. Served grilled shell on sprinkled with sea salt on a bed of aioli.”

4) Complete dinner for Two at Afghan Kabob Palace. “Over the last year we’ve ordered a lot of takeout. Afghan Kabob has always done a fantastic job. The food quality and the service is always consistent. The complete dinner for two is so much food you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day. It comes with salad, two appetizers, two entrees and two kinds of dessert as well as a choice of coffee or tea. My favorite of the entrees is the Qabuli Palow- tender lamb with raisins and carrots on a bed of brown rice.”

5) Loose Goose Martini at Zocalo. “After trying all those good eats you can wash it all down with a Loose Goose at Zocalo, another favorite spot in C’ville. Hands down my favorite cocktail anywhere. I always order it with a jalapeño to add a little kick. Sipping on one of these at the bar or on the patio at Zocalo is a must try in C’ville.”

Claudia Cruz

Claudia Cruz of Dulce De Leche. Cruz’s picks:

1) La Familia Chicken from Al Carbon. “It is very nice to choose for the whole family. We usually order La Familia size chicken after having a long day from work. It reminds us of our rotisserie chicken from back home, Peru.”

2) East Coast from Burger Bach. “When looking for a place for a good burger there is no doubt there are multiple places in Charlottesville, but my favorite burger is located here. The flavors of this sweet and salty burger are out of the world. Not to mention with my favorite cheese, brie, mixed with my favorite fruit, blueberries. Say no more, I will be there in a blink of an eye if possible.”

3) Shrimp Tacos from Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant (UVa location). “I’m kind of embarrassed to say but I don’t venture out with tacos, I only order shrimp tacos in every Mexican restaurant. Therefore, the shrimp tacos from this restaurant are absolutely amazing, with fresh cabbage and crème cilantro lime sauce. Delish.”

4) Shrimp Tempura Sushi from Snowfox Sushi (Inside Kroger, Barracks Road). “It’s a little-known secret but the sushi in Kroger is actually made by franchise owners of Snowfox Sushi. This means that the sushi chefs are free to get creative and bring their knowledge when it comes to making the best sushi possible. One of our best friends owns this location and is one of the best sushi chefs we have ever met.”

5) BLT on Everything from Bodo’s. “Nothing like a good bagel with hot coffee to start your day. We enjoy this Charlottesville staple very much. No matter how long the line is, it is worth the wait.”

Alyce Johnson

Alyce Johnson of Sweet Jane’s KitchenJohnson’s picks:

1) Bee Bomb at Tonic. “Tonic is my favorite place to grab a drink. They strike the perfect balance between an upscale and a relaxed atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried there but I really love their Bee Bomb. It is perfectly tangy and not too sweet.”

2) Spicy Honey Garlic Karage from Basan. “My go-to snack when I’m working the market at IX park. When I recommend someone try these they’ll often roll their eyes and say something like ‘Chicken nuggets? Really?’. But they are always blown away, this dish is so tasty.”

3) Salted Caramel Apple Galette from Bee Conscious Baking Company. “Flaky, sweet, and perfect with a cup of coffee. Bee Conscious used to be our neighbor at the farmer’s market (which was dangerous), and I loved grabbing a galette before they sold out for the morning. Now we visit them at their new shop in the Dairy Market.”

4) Smoked Salmon Spread from Cold Country Salmon. “Another farmer’s market favorite of mine. Our family loves to bring a picnic when we go hiking and we’ll often have this spread with crackers or bagels. It’s also great as a snack or an appetizer.”

5) Milkshakes from Moo Thru. “We love visiting the Dairy Market because it’s so family friendly and an easy way to grab lunch that everyone is happy with. We like taking our meal across the street to Washington Park so the kids can play. We especially love the milkshakes from Moo Thru. Not to brag, but we consider ourselves milkshakes connoisseurs and these are some of the best around.”

Lauren Strachan

Lauren Strachan, proprietor of Harvest Moon Lodge and Retreat. Strachan’s picks:

1) Tinga de Pollo Tacos at La Michoacana. “I love tacos. Being in the travel and tourism business, I have spent quite a lot of time in Mexico eating authentic tacos and Mexican food. La Michoacana’s tacos and all of their food are as authentic and good as they get. With everything scratch made from the tortillas to the salsa, the tinga de pollo tacos are simply perfect. I also love how unassuming this taqueria is. No frills, great food.”

2) Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo. “I lived in New York City for 15 years. I have eaten my share of amazing Italian food and incredible pizza. This Charlottesville spot rivals them all. It was very hard to choose a favorite here because everything is great but my weakness is the porchetta sandwich. It’s created with their house-made porchetta, garlic aioli, broccoli rabe, calabrian chili, fior di latte and provolone. I mean, it doesn’t really get much better than this.”

3) Roasted Scallops at C&O. “I can’t get enough of the vibe inside this restaurant. When I want a more upscale meal, I go here. The appetizer dish of roasted scallops with whipped cauliflower and a golden raisin caper butter sauce is literally making me salivate as I write this. Also, I love nothing more than a drink at a cozy bar in just the right ambiance. Have a drink at the downstairs bar- you won’t regret it, unless you have one too many!”

4) Bocadillo at Mas. “My husband is half Spanish so we love going out for tapas. Bocadillo is freshly shaved jamon serrano on a sandwich with garlic aioli and manchego cheese. Let me just tell you, it is divine. The gambas is grilled shrimp in the shell with garlic aioli and is also incredible. Mas is the best place to have drinks and enjoy the evening as your tapas come out one or two at a time. The sangria and the margaritas are excellent.”

5) Ednam at The Market. “On our way to Harvest Moon Lodge and Retreat, our entire family loves stopping here at the Mill Creek location just off 64. The Ednam is made with maple turkey, bacon, havarti, avocado, lettuce, tomato and an herb mayonnaise on French bread. A Charlottesville staple, these sandwiches are made with quality ingredients and are delicious. Nuff said.”

Todd DeSorbo

Todd DeSorbo, head coach UVa Swimming & Diving. DeSorbo’s picks:

1) Burger with Bacon at Wayside Takeout & Catering. “This has become our staff’s go-to pre-Championship lucky lunch. The Monday prior to every ACC or NCAA Championship (including two weeks ago before our women won the National Title), we head to Wayside for a burger. If I had to pick a favorite food of mine, it’s for sure a burger, and Wayside does them right. Not to mention convenient to our place of work, the AFC pool.”

2) Piggie Smalls at Fry’s Spring Station. “If you’re sensing a theme in locations, it’s likely because when I first moved to Charlottesville I lived just behind Scott Stadium, and pretty much went from the house to the pool, and didn’t know much other than that there were several great food joints within walking distance. This turned out to be a family favorite and a staff favorite. We often have gathered here with all our swimming and diving staff and families to hang out. The pizza is phenomenal and the casual atmosphere is right up my alley.”

3) Black Coffee at Atlas Coffee. “Sorry to be sticking with the theme again here, but this was my go-to Thursday morning treat. It’s always been a goal of mine to be able to walk into a coffee shop (or bar) and be ‘regular’ enough that the barista knows what drink you want. I only went a few weeks in a row and they knew exactly what I wanted. I finally made it! Great coffee, great spot.”

4) Mother’s Day Roll at Tokyo Rose. “My family and I have eaten more sushi since the pandemic hit than probably in the previous five years. Likely because my 12 year-old son has decided he loves spicy tuna rolls, and Tokyo Rose’s are the best. Personally I love the Mother’s Day Roll. We haven’t been inside the restaurant in a year, but the takeout/delivery is just as good as dining in.”

5) Kimchi Pork Wrap at Beer Run. “This restaurant was introduced to us by the myth ‘The Charlottesville 29.’ This is a go-to for our family and friends. From family night out to champagne celebrations when our staff won our first ACC Title three years ago, Beer Run has been a staple in our eat out rotation. Great beer selection (almost too good), great food, and great casual environment. If you can’t tell, I like casual.”

Brittany Miller

Brittany Miller of Cakes by Rachel and Shenandoah Imagery. Miller’s picks:

1) Vegan “Crab” Cake Sandwich at Firefly. “You can’t tell it’s not real crab. And this is coming from someone who orders crab cakes whenever I see them on a menu. I would recommend Firefly to any vegetarian or vegan looking for delicious eats.”

2) Southern Fried Chicken at South Street Brewery. “A huge piece of perfectly seasoned chicken is complemented by pillows of mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s comfort food at its finest. Better than Grandma’s.”

3) Chocolate Sour Cream Cake from Cakes by Rachel. “Everyone who’s had Rachel’s baked goods can attest to them being the best in the area, but Rachel’s chocolate cake reigns supreme, and I’m not historically a huge fan of chocolate cake. Pro tip: order yours with the chocolate buttercream. Absolute heaven. Everyone wishes they were her official cake taster, but that’s actually part of my job. I’m very lucky to work there.”

4) Sigara Börek at Sultan Kebab. “Hot phyllo rolls filled with Turkish white cheese and parsley should tell you all you need to know. They’re like mozzarella sticks, but better. Having shot their whole menu, I can certify that the owners are really great people who are passionate about their food and you can tell. Every bite amazes.”

5) Chicken Paffle from Iron Paffles. “What exactly is a paffle? I’m not really sure. I just know those paffle sandwiches taste really freaking good. I recommend the chicken with the macaroni and cheese and sriracha. The chicken is tender and the paffles are perfectly flaky. Mac and cheese just rounds it out to make it a perfect sandwich. I can’t wait to go back.”

Mary Bridget Kane

Mary Bridget Kane, reader. Kane’s picks:

1) Ham Biscuits from JM Stock Provisions. “Absolute perfection and my favorite way to start a weekend morning. Also everyone who works there is just fantastic.”

2) Wessex from Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. “One of my favorite things about the Charlottesville area is that there are at least a half dozen truly fantastic sandwich places. After years of taste tests and an extensive Google Doc ranking system, I’ve concluded that Greenwood Grocery tops the list. It’s tough to choose just one from their menu but I keep coming back to the Wessex.”

3) Turkey and Swiss on Sourdough from Take it Away. “Couldn’t pick just one Cville sandwich. My go to is turkey and Swiss on their homemade sourdough with arugula, pickles, roasted tomatoes and of course extra house dressing.”

4) Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “Perfect combination of sweet, savory, crunchy. I think it’s the dates that make it.”

5) Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup from C&O. “Best served with a dirty martini and some late night gossip. Makes me feel like I’ve traveled back in time.”

Debbie Ward-McKeon

Debbie Ward-McKeon, reader. Ward-McKeon’s picks:

1) Grilled Local Pork with Spatzle, Kale from Petit Pois. “Local pork straight from Autumn Olive Farms. Follow Petit Pois online to see daily menus. If you see coq au vin, head over for lunch, dinner, or take out. Check out Land by Hand. I ordered the Chef’s Share for my kitchen. So many choices.”

2) Chiles Toreados y Cebollitas from Al Carbon. “It’s an art to elevate the vegetables. A side dish of whole spicy jalapeños grilled with fat white onion bulbs still attached to their green tops. Take home two orders. They are just as delicious the next day. You know about the Al Carbon chicken. I order enough dark meat for two days.”

3) Peasant Beef & Pork Bolognese from Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar. “Start with a Negroni made with Bombay gin, Dolin sweet vermouth, Campari, and an orange twist. Followed by angus beef & Duroc pork, pomodoro, chili flakes, and cream swirled into a Bolognese married to rigatoni. Finish with olive oil and rosemary cake with lemon curd and whipped cream. Select table side or curbside service. Sign up for Orzo emails which include the new Passport Menu.”

4) Melanzane Alla Parmigiana from Tavola. “I like Tavola’s courses served family style. Order takeout online and serve it up at home.

Antipasti misti for 2: a selection of artisanal cheeses and cured meats, olives, grilled artichokes and pickled sweet peppers.
Paste: Pappardelle Bolognese, a tender house made pasta, with a local beef and pork Bolognese sauce topped with grana padano.
Entrata: Melanzane alla parmigiana, layering of breaded eggplant, San Marzano tomatoes, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and basil.”

5) Apple Brioche with Pastry Cream from Albemarle Baking Company. “Apple brioche is always first on my pastry takeout list. Currant scones, baked currant doughnuts, and cinnamon buns follow the brioche. Throw in an oatmeal raisin cookie which is unlike any oatmeal cookie I have ever eaten. Pack it all up and take it home.”

Heather Broach

Heather Broach, reader. Broach’s picks:

1) Cantarito con Tequila from Little Star. “A little bit spicy, a little bit sour, a little bit sweet. This marg hits all the taste buds. Perfect for any time of the year.”

2) Flautas from Al Carbon. “These chicken filled fried rolled tacos are topped with cotija cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. These are my absolute favorites and I order them every time.”

3) Rainbow Bowl with Noodles from Poke Sushi Bowl. “I’ve been to Hawaii and lived in Southern California for 15 years. When I first tried this place I was floored by the authenticity of the flavors, the quality of the food, and the speed of the service. I always order the Rainbow bowl with noodles and add as many toppings as possible.”

4) Chicken Salad on an Everything from Bodo’s. “My absolute favorite thing to order is an everything bagel with chicken salad. It’s simple, yet so comforting. I’ve been ordering this since high school and every year I returned to visit my family, and continue to do so now that I’ve moved back.”

5) El Jefe from Roots. “I was first introduced to Roots through a colleague. Delicious bowls that are filling and very nutritious. I will typically order the El Jefe. It’s the perfect blend of flavors that I like and it keeps me full all day long.

Christina Fessler

Christina Fessler, reader. Fessler’s picks:

1) Brisket from Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “This was one of the first dishes I had after first moving into Charlottesville. The brisket was very juicy and full of flavor and the different sauces that Ace Biscuit & Barbecue had to offer further accentuated the rich spices and love that went into this dish.”

2) Chicken Nachos from El Puerto. “So simple but yet so satisfying. This dish has the right amount of queso to make anyone happy. This place is truly a hidden gem.”

3) Shrimp and Grits from Ivy Inn. “My only gripe about this dish is that there is not an unlimited supply of it on hand. The shrimp is always cooked perfectly, and the grits have the right amount of butter and cheesy goodness that you crave in your grits. I always want seconds after this and never do I want to share.”

4) The Balboa (AKA “The Italian Philly”) from Basil. “This is a dish that you need to share. Do not sleep on Basil’s sandwiches. Not only is the portion size fit for two grown adults, it is a heck of a value! But beware this sandwich can get messy.”

5) Fried Green Tomato BLT from Croby’s. “Not only is the food good at Croby’s, so are the people. The staff here genuinely love their job and it shows in their food. The fried green tomato BLT is something I crave on the daily. It comes with not one tomato, but two. Did I also mention the very generous bacon portions?”

Kelleigh Hughes

Kelleigh Hughes, reader. Hughes’ picks:

1) Bacon, Egg, and Cheese from MarieBette. “This is the best of both worlds. You can get it on a croissant or their famous prezzant which means you get to have your breakfast sandwich AND pastry. Can’t forget to grab a cup of coffee with it.”

2) Coliflor from Conmole. “I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect with this cauliflower dish but I am so glad I tried it. The green mole sauce with egg and cauliflower, mmm.”

3) 40 Mile Philly from Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen & Brewery. “I love a good Philly cheesesteak. This one never disappoints especially with all the beer cheese on it. To be able to pick up dinner and great beer from the same spot, definitely a win.”

4) Shrimp Scampi with Risotto from Vivace. “It was hard to pick just one dish from here, especially not a pasta one, but the risotto is to die for. Paired with the seared shrimp and asparagus, I can normally get 2 meals out of this.”

5) Fat and Sassy from Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “Cheesy, garlicky, deliciousness. Don’t forget to add a jar of their homemade ranch to go.”

Tiffany Nguyen

Tiffany Nguyen, reader. Nguyen’s picks:

1) Porchetta from Lampo. “Really, we love almost everything on the Lampo menu – Olives! Negroni! Hellboy! Oh my! However, a consistent order for me is the meaty sandwich paired with greens. It offers a balance I find hard to resist.”

2) Oxtail (Friday) from Pearl Island Cafe. “If you haven’t tried this, it’s a must: the flavors, fall-off-the-bone saucy goodness with some delicious plantains. Again, another restaurant where you cannot go wrong with anything from their menu.”

3) Manti from Sultan Kebab. “We first learned of this then-off-menu item from friends a couple years ago, and now we are hooked. Perfectly sized dumplings in a tangy yogurt sauce with a hot oil that offers just a small kick is a taste that I cannot recreate at home, and therefore a perfect option for takeout.”

4) Mochiko Chicken Platter with Watercress and Poke from Mochiko. “It’s hard to beat a generous portion of freshly and perfectly fried small bites of chicken with well seasoned greens and rice for around $10. I love to splurge a little and add poke as a side, and I never regret it.”

5) Paella from MAS. “At home date night felt extra special with a tasty paella that has smoky flavors, myriad of seafood, and plenty to fill you up. Add the sangria, and you almost forget you’re not eating out. Almost.”

Kate Asquith

Kate Asquith of Appalachian Beekeeping Collective. Asquith’s picks:

1) Scallion Bubble Pancake from Peter Chang. “My whole family is in love with these, but my six-year-old especially. She will tell anyone who asks that it’s her favorite food. It’s the main thing keeping my hope alive that she’ll be an interesting eater.”

2) Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich from Market Street Market. “I think this is a perfect sandwich. I also don’t understand how they can make such good salads for less than $5. Of all the things I have missed during the pandemic, I think I miss the Market’s deli the most.”

3) Morning Melt Sandwich on Everything Croissant from Bowerbird Bakeshop. “My second favorite sandwich in Charlottesville right now, and especially when they had fresh tomatoes this summer. I like to meet a friend here and then bring a box of their gorgeous pastries home for my family. Also a big fan of their rosemary almond croissant.”

4) Triple Pickle Taco from Brazos Tacos. “Honestly, I just go down their menu and pick all the tacos with the mushrooms bruja. This is my favorite.”

5) La Familia from Al Carbon. “A full rotisserie chicken and several sides. This is my go-to takeout. My children are probably 15% pollo al carbon at this point, we get it so often. My favorite side is the platanos fritos with the delicious cinnamon cream sauce. The rest of my family practically lives off yucca fries and yellow rice.”

Lizzy Hood

Lizzy Hood of Passiflora. Hood’s picks:

1) Donuts from Belle. “I tried the donuts from Belle a few weeks ago, and I’m not sure why it took me so long. These little guys are dangerous. They are a great start to a Saturday morning.”

2) Burger and Amaro Late Night at C&O. “During my time working in New York City, one of my favorite things to do was find that perfect dark and cozy bar to lose some time in. The downstairs of C&O brings that vibe back for me. I frequently go late night for an amaro and the burger.”

3) Kimchi Pancake from Sussex Farm. “The Kimichi Pancake from Sussex Farm at the City Market. After I stumbled upon this dish, I made it a priority to go every Saturday. But truly you can not go wrong with anything Jen Naylor is cooking.”

4) Lunch Special from JM Stock Provisions. “I spent a brief time working at Stock Provisions when I moved to Charlottesville in 2016. Since then, I know to keep an eye out for Ben Moore-Coll’s lunch special out of the butcher shop. It is always damn good.”

5) Everything Prezzant from MarieBette. “Buttery, flakey, salty. Not much to say here other than if you haven’t tried these yet, go.”

Lee O’Neill 

Lee O’Neill of Radical Roots Farm. O’Neill’s picks:

1) Coco Verde Acai Bowl from The Juice Laundry. “The ultimate treat after a long day of farming and making deliveries.  Nutritious, hydrating and a meal in itself.”

2) Coconut Macaroons dipped in Chocolate from Albemarle Baking Company. “Sweet and savory all wrapped up in one.  I love these for a nice gluten free treat.”

3) Peach Sorbetto from Splendora’s. “Any in season fruit is amazing, especially with a touch of basil or mint. Refreshing on a hot, summer day.”

4) Spicy Salmon Sushi Roll from Now & Zen. “I love fresh sushi and any roll from Now & Zen is amazing. Combined with shrimp spring rolls and a bowl of miso soup . . . perfection.”

5) Drunken Noodles from Pad Thai. “Perfect on a cool autumn day to warm you from the inside out.”

Noah Comarovschi

Noah Comarovschi of restaurants like Oakhart Social, Public Fish & Oyster, Bizou, and Brookville. As remembered by friends:

1) Cabeza Tacos at El Tako Nako and Tacos Gomez. “We all loved Noah and we are all heart broken. He was such a fun, loving person and truly part of our Oakhart family and DNA. He was the kind of guy who let everyone know how much they meant to him. When I think about Noah, I think about us laughing a lot. I think about us arguing about whether El Tako Nako or Tacos Gomez has the better cabeza. I think about listening to the Jesus Lizard way too loud and sharing a hidden a box of cornstarch in the walk-in (IYKYK). I think about us having a couple too many shifties after long, hot services. One particular memory that stands out, because of how it encapsulated his love of family and of food, was the day that he brought in a few beautiful Cherokee Purple tomatoes from his dad’s garden. He was so proud of these tomatoes and of his dad who he was very close with. Honestly we all agreed that they were the best tomatoes we had all tasted that summer. He cut them up, sprinkled a little Maldon, cracked a little black pepper on them and insisted that we all try them. Then there was the mayo pairing. Hellmans? Not a f-ing chance. Dukes or Kewpie, nothing less. He beamed with pride sharing his dad’s ‘maters and it was a really happy afternoon. He is loved and missed.” – Tristan Wraight

2) Bagels with Lox and Herb Cream Cheese from Bodo’s. “We are far from a religious family, but Sunday meal was always sacred to us. As Pops always says, ‘It is not a Comarovschi get-together unless there is too much food.’ Those family dinners are some of my favorite memories with my brother. It didn’t matter what we were noshing on, as long as we were all together. The simple stuff like a spread of Bodo’s bagels with herb schmear and lox, or a heaping pile of all beef Hebrew National hotdogs were just as enjoyable as a decadent pork belly or butter braised ribeye.
I think at times he saw being the chef in the family as a blessing and a burden. He always volunteered to man the grill, or slice the turkey and ham at Thanksgiving, or pick the restaurant that we would go to when he and I went to shows in other cities. And even when his annoyance at a request to cook our step-mom’s steak to well done was palpable, Noah still did it because he knew we appreciated his culinary prowess and he just wanted to contribute something that everyone could enjoy.” Anna Comarovschi

3) Sesame Chicken at Ming Dynasty. “The classic Ming Dynasty of the 1990s was a favorite spot for Noah and I back in the day. I remember he always got the sesame chicken. We would go there after we got paid working at Cooper and Seacrest doing political surveying. All the old crew worked there at one time or another.” Jaison Burke

4) Empanadas at Guajiros Miami Eatery. “We went later in the evening towards their closing time. No one was in there but us. We pored over the menu and couldn’t decide, so naturally we ordered half of the menu. While we were waiting we began to chat with the owner. Noah may have been a chatterbox — never met a stranger — but I am certainly not. The owner was so friendly and kind that we ended up just talking for another thirty minutes after our order was ready. Even though we ordered half the menu, I forgot to try their fried cheese, and upon mentioning this the owner went and dropped some in the fryer for us to munch on while we waited. Noah was very excited about the Maduros served with crème fraiche, and they were great. We also got the Cuban and Pan Con Croqueta, all great. But what really blew us away were the empanadas. What makes these empanadas truly spectacular is that they are both crispy on the outside but the dough remains perfectly soft. The texture, filling and the house made sauces are all flawlessly executed and wonderfully brought together to bring the best empanada I have ever had, and one Noah could not work out an equal. Truly a rare feat. – Robbie Hall

5) Traditional Chinese at Yuan Ho. “Noah absolutely loved Yuan Ho when we lived together in the early 2000’s. They were the first Chinese restaurant where I ever encountered the ‘Non-Western’ menu. Noah knew the owners personally, and they would let us in the back area where the kitchen was. It was my first time seeing a few traditional Chinese dishes and my first time seeing chefs use a wok station and a cleaver. That sparked my obsession with Asian culture and cuisine, and I’ll always remember that day.” – Mitchell Beerens

Elizabeth Irvin

Elizabeth Irvin of The Women’s Initiative. Irvin’s picks:

1) Chicken Sous Poulet, with kale salad, plantains and pikliz at Pearl Island Cafe. “At The Women’s Initiative we all love that this exceptional food is just steps away from our satellite office at the Jefferson School City Center, and appreciate their years of catering our Family Barn Party.”

2) Ginger Lemongrass Noodles at Vu Noodles. “I used to be so torn between Pearl Island and Vu Noodles when they shared the Jefferson School space. Now Vu is on Water Street, and I am all about their healthy and delicious options.”

3) Charcoal Rotisserie Chicken at Al Carbon. “The chicken is absolutely delicious and we love supporting this local, family owned business.”

4) Turkey on Everything w/ Pepper Spread at Bodo’s. “A parent’s dream restaurant. For maximum enjoyment, add potato chips and a Coke and head to Walnut Creek on a Saturday morning for some stand-up paddle-boarding.”

5) Dulce de Leche Gelato at Splendora’s. “They will be closing this weekend (then hoping to reopen at a new location so keep your eyes out!), but I will get by there to order one last scoop on the downtown mall. They’re also raffling off free gelato to folks who make a donation to local mental health services—including The Women’s Initiative—through this Sunday. I’m doubly grateful for the goodness they bring to our community.”

Martha Stinson

Martha Stinson, of Stinson Vineyards. Stinson’s picks:

1) Hunt Brother’s Thin Crust Pizza from Piedmont Store in “downtown” White Hall. “You can add toppings such as pepperoncinis, but plain cheese is great. Perfect for pool days at the Inn.”

2) Collard Greens at Smoked Kitchen & Tap. “Practically a whole meal by itself. Cooked in the Southern style, with a mix of their meats.”

3) COVID-19 Wine Flights at Stinson Vineyards. “These were a group design effort – we used my husband’s architectural drawing software to make the printouts.

4) Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese at Bodo’s. “Warm, soft and chewy. Would make New York jealous.”

5) Soup of the Day from l’étoile Catering. “My all-time favorite is the seafood bisque – every bite is different.”

Madison Horn

Madison Horn of Clover Top Creamery. Horn’s picks:

1) Korean Ramen from Sussex Farm. “This is the best bowl of food I’ve ever eaten. Perfect Saturday morning breakfast on City Market days.”

2) Halloumi Appetizer at Orzo. “Fried cheese + butter + garlic + crusty bread = perfection.”

3) Kao Soi at Chimm. “This is a close second for best bowl of food I’ve ever eaten. Especially obsessed with the pickled mustard greens.”

4) Virginia Morning Breakfast Pie from The Pie Guy. “Another reason to miss City Market is the the Virginia Morning Breakfast Pie. A class combo packed into these pies hits the spot.”

5) Mamey Paleta at La Flor Michoacána. “All their paletas are amazing, but there’s something about the mysterious almost pumpkin-y flavor of mamey that I adore. Try the mamey ice cream too.”

Kate Lynn Nemett

Kate Lynn Nemett of Potter’s Craft Cider, which has relaunched events like live music, food trucks, and more. Nemett’s picks:

1) Kale Salad at Feast!. “I know kale salads were all the rage about five years ago, but I just can’t stop (won’t stop) eating them. The kale salad at Feast! is my idea of perfection: massaged kale, shaved parmesan, huge crusty croutons, and lemon tahini dressing. Adding a scoop of chicken salad makes it even more delightful.”

2) Dry-Fried Mushrooms at Peter Chang China Grill. “Eating at Peter Chang’s is always a complete revelation. It’s one of my favorite places to take out-of-towners because a) it blows your expectations for Chinese food out the window, and b) can you believe there’s mind-blowingly authentic Sichuan cooking in central Virginia? I have to order the dry-fried mushrooms every time I go. They’re so light and crispy – never greasy – but pack a huge flavor wallop from scallions, chili flakes, and numbing powder sprinkled on top.”

3) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light. “I’m an up-for-anything kind of drinker—when I’m in good hands. I’ve never had a cocktail at The Alley Light that hasn’t been delightful. Micah and his crew are at the top of their game. While I could pore over every drink description on the menu, I usually just go with the Dealer’s Choice and let the bartenders flex their mixology muscles. I’ll inevitably like it.”

4) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “I imagine Lampo must top 90% of these lists. Everything that comes out of their kitchen is just so good. But this mushroom pizza is really impossible to pass up. The combination of wood-fired mushrooms, garlic, thyme, and sharp white cheeses is savory, creamy, and earthy all at once. It’s a really struggle to not eat the entire pie in one sitting, by myself.”

5) Chai Latte at Lone Light Coffee. “Some might think a chai latte is a chai latte—but not at Lone Light. Their in-house chai spice blend is aromatic, slightly spicy, and a million times fresher than the stuff that comes out of a box. Sitting down with a giant, steaming mug of this warming drink is one of my favorite indulgences, especially on a chilly or rainy morning. Or afternoon. Or really anytime. I’ve shared many a good conversation over this magical elixir.”

Ludi Avagyan

Ludi Avagyan of Double H Farm.  Avagyan’s picks:

1) Lemon Meringue Pie from Albemarle Baking Company. “You can’t beat this perfect combination of sweet and tarty goodness. The lemony flavor is just right with a hint of sweet meringue on top. It’s the perfect treat.”

2) Iced Vanilla Latte from Petite MarieBette. “Every time I’m downtown, I find myself grabbing a latte from MarieBette. It might just be my favorite iced vanilla latte in town, and that’s saying a lot because lattes are my choice of drink at any coffee shop. I usually grab a plain baguette on my way out too.”

3) Don Juan Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “They have the best pies, a must try for all pizza lovers. Topped with oven roasted tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, and three varieties of cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, and feta) this makes for the perfect pizza. I also love to add pepperonis for an extra kick of flavor.”

4) Kale and Walnut Salad from Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. “A great vegetarian option and a healthy treat. This refreshing kale salad also includes strong flavors of dried cranberries, feta, with walnut balsamic vinaigrette.”

5) Local Chicken Salad Sandwich Melt from Feast!. “I love a good chicken salad, and Feast! has perfected it with gouda cheese and crunchy romaine lettuce on ciabatta bread I’d suggest adding bacon on top and grabbing a fruit salad as a side.”

Norkeita Goins

Norkeita Goins of Caked Up. Goins’ picks:

1) Frozen Lime Margarita at Guadalajara Downtown. “Hold the salt! One of life’s happiest moments in a glass. The lime flavor is so sweet, bitter, and sour. Plus tequila. It pairs so well with their Burrito California (with steak).”

2) Queso Frito at Guajiros Miami Eatery. “Sweet, crispy fried cheese that will melt in your mouth served with the best dipping sauce. They are so amazing. Don’t plan on sharing these because you will want them all to your self.”

3) Pecan Bun at MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. “This is my go-to treat from MarieBette. It’s so buttery, flaky, and sweet with just the right amount of pecans.”

4) Blueberry Pancake Bake from Plenty Cville. “OH MY GOSH! When the blueberry pancake bake was an item on Della’s weekly menu I had to try it. I’m not a huge fan of blueberries, but Plenty Cville has changed this for me. Moist, tender, cake like pancake with fresh blueberries and drizzled blueberry maple syrup. The berries were so sweet and that sauce was fire. If it’s ever placed back on the menu, you will not be disappointed.”

5) Double Stuffed Baked Potato at Royalty Eats. “There’s so much that goes into this ginormous potato. It’s loaded with your choice of meat (chicken, steak, or shrimp), broccoli florets, loads of cheese, and sour cream.  It’s so good on a comfort food day.”

Courtenay Tyler

Courtenay Tyler, co-founder of Tilman’s. Tyler’s picks:

1) Tuna Avocado Carpaccio at Now & Zen. “This is probably the one dish in Charlottesville that I crave the most. It’s packed with big chunks of fresh tuna, avocado, and my favorite, tobiko. The wasabi dressing is always light, and the salad is perfectly dressed. My husband and I will wait in line for all of Chef Toshi’s small plates, but this is always the first thing that we order.”

2) Deonjang Jjigae at Maru. “Steven and Kay Kim are my next door neighbors at Tilman’s, and boy, did I luck out in that respect. They are incredibly nice. Kay has a sharp wit, and best of all Steven is an amazing chef. I love this Korean miso stew (don’t ask me how to pronounce it). It’s a big umami bomb, which I love. It has tofu and veggies and is a little spicy, and I always get it with clams. It comes with their homemade banchan, which has kim chi and other interesting things I can’t identify until I ask. I’m really happy if there’s pickled burdock that day.”

3) Any Soup at Bizou. “I have no idea how every single soup I have had from Bizou is amazing, but it is. Their shrimp bisque is actually the very first meal I ate here in Charlottesville, when I moved here in 2014. A mention on their specials board will definitely make me stop in. They have the butternut squash bisque on their to-go menu this week, and they are on my list for take-out. When things were ‘normal,’ they provided a much needed respite after a long day at Tilman’s. I enjoy sitting at that bar, and chatting with Rachel about her wine list. She has a great palate and point of view. And, she writes the best wine descriptions in town.”

4) Triple Citrus Pie at The Pie Chest. “Rachel’s pies aren’t super fancy. They are simple, and homey, and made with love, and in that, reflect Rachel’s personality. Her triple citrus is sublime. That texture! It’s such a treat.”

5) Chocolate Gelato at Splendora’s. “PK’s chocolate gelato is like no other. Deep, dark, intense. It may sound plain, but I promise you, it is not. It’s dangerous that PK is now delivering. All I have to do is call or text, and next thing you know I have my fix.”

Liz Nabi

Liz Nabi of Alight Flower Farm. Nabi’s picks:

1) Vegetable Board at The Alley Light. “We don’t get out for date night often, but when we do, The Alley Light is our go-to. From the intimate atmosphere to the delicious drinks (the mule for me, the gazossa for him), it’s a winner. But, it’s the Vegetable Board that’s kept us coming back since they opened. The whole platter of seasonal veggies in so many variations – pickled, roasted, marinated, raw – is an adventure.”

2) Brioche Feuilletée at MarieBette. “Weekends in the off-season, we walk to MarieBette for pastries and La Colombe coffee. I love the brioche feuilletée – the flakiness contrasts with the denseness of the chocolate and hazelnut, topped off with a dusting of granulated sugar. It can’t be beat (well, unless the filling of the day is vanilla cloud creme).”

3) Moules Frites Mariniere at Public Fish & Oyster. “For nights out with friends, we head to Public. Steamed mussels, broth, and fries. What’s not to love?”

4) Vegetable Lasagna from Mona Lisa Pasta and Molasses Cookies from Breadworks. “Before COVID-19, when we had company coming and didn’t have time to cook, we loved to grab a lasagna from Mona Lisa Pasta’s freezer and then walk across the lot to Breadworks for cookies (an assortment for the guests, but with plenty of molasses for us).”

5) Waje Sushi and Gazpacho at Foods of All Nations. “There’s ‘grocery’ sushi and then there’s Waje Sushi – fresh, buttery salmon and perfect rice every time, very reasonably priced. We can’t wait for summer because that means that Foods’ house-made gazpacho will be back in the grab-and-go section. Refreshing and finishes with a nice kick.”

Megan Garvin

Megan Garvin, co-owner of Moe’s Original BBQ – Water Street. Garvin’s picks:

1) Pickled Ramp Martini at The Alley Light. “I’m a sucker for an extra dirty martini and this one takes the cake. The perfect amount of saltiness every time. This is always a stop on the list when friends are in town or if we need a private wind down after a long day at work.”

2) Kale Tortellini at Bang!. “I finally understood the phrase ‘melts in your mouth’ after having the kale tortellini with brown butter. It’s always so hard to pick just a few dishes at Bang!, but you can guarantee that this one always makes the cut.”

3) Wait a Minute Sauce at The Continental Divide. “I’m addicted. Since my first visit at Continental, I’ve gotten the same order every time. A fresh house margarita to start and Red Hot Blues covered in Wait a Minute Sauce. Just enough heat to make your mouth water but not so much that it overpowers the dish. Perfection.”

4) Double Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch North. “If my husband and I can’t agree on where to go for lunch, chances are you’ll find us at Riverside North. Best greasy smash burgers around. Double cheeseburger with grilled mushrooms and onions with a basket of fries and onion rings, and we’re both happy campers.”

5) House Acai Bowl at Corner Juice. “When I’m in a hurry and crave something healthy in the morning, Corner Juice is my go-to. Their acai bowl is light and fresh but has the perfect amount of substance. Julie has turned me on to their home-made almond butter. You never turn down the almond butter.”

Melissa Meece

Melissa Meece of Firefly. Meece’s picks:

1) Rustic Rosemary English Muffins from Orange Dot Baking Company. “I start my day off right with a local egg on a flavorful gluten-free muffin from Orange Dot Baking Company. It’s hearty and delicious. A couple of times a week I also treat myself to their chocolate chip biscuits and I can’t wait to try their new flatbread.”

2) Spring Rolls from Vu Noodles. “I’m thrilled that Vu Noodles will be re-opening later this month at the Flat on Water Street so I can get Julie’s fresh and delicious food again. Her menu is a vegetarian’s paradise.”

3) Bread Pudding from Moon Maiden’s Delights. “Since I prefer to eat mostly gluten-free and plant-based, I absolutely love that I can get any treats from Moon Maidens in York Place and not need to look at the ingredients. Her bread pudding is dense and flavorful – a meal unto itself – but doesn’t leave me feeling gross like a glutinous and sugary bread pudding would. It’s not always available, though, so try something else if she doesn’t have it.”

4) Catfish Po’Boy from The Southern Crescent. “When I feel like cheating on my (mostly) gluten-free and vegetarian diet, I want a catfish po’boy from Southern Crescent in Belmont. Something about their crispy cornmeal batter and the perfectly seasoned remoulade. Add a Zombie Punch cocktail to-go, and you’ve got the perfect meal. Like so many Cville restaurateurs, Ian and Lucinda are doing a great job quickly adapting and keeping us all fed during the quarantine.”

5) Undorn Mead from Skjald Meadworks. “My beverage of choice is mead, aka honey wine, and I love that there is a meadery right here in Charlottesville. Delicious at room temp or over ice, you can also use it as a cocktail ingredient. I also highly recommend their Sumarmal or strawberry mead, when in season.”

Shantell Bingham

Shantell Bingham, Program Director of Food Justice Network. Bingham’s picks:

1) Creole Beans from Pearl Island. “I’m a North Carolinian to my soul. And while I didn’t grow up with Caribbean cuisine, tasting Pearl Island ignited something in my spirit. Their bean stew is a savory heaven anyone can enjoy. Paired with tostones and a dash of garlic sauce, it hits the belly like a hug from home.”

2) Chocolate Chip Beignets from Blue Moon Diner. “It feels good to live in the Blue Moon neighborhood. But even if I didn’t, their chocolate chip beignets, lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a side of warm chocolate sauce — if you dare to dip — is pure bliss.”

3) Beef Noodle Soup from Café 88. “I’ll be honest. I would be a full blown pescatarian if it weren’t for their beef noodle soup. I’ll cheat for it every time, especially during the cold months.”

4) Mac & Cheese from Soul Food Joint. “I’m not sure many people realize how delicious mac & cheese tastes when it’s baked. It’s as though that extra step is the piece of the process that infuses the heart into the dish, and Soul Food Joint does this to a science. Their baked mac & cheese is done just enough so the top is a little crispy but the inside cheesy and sharp.”

5) Red Snapper with Cherry Tomatoes at The Whiskey Jar. “This is one of those places with seasonal treats worth waiting for. Their red snapper with cherry tomatoes is my weekend celebration. And when the red snapper season ends, the bourbon bread pudding is more than enough to guarantee my visit year-round.”

Susan Sweeney

Susan Sweeney, of Cake Bloom. Sweeney’s picks:

1) Tarta de Santiago at Quality Pie. “Rich, flavorful and unfussy, with just a dusting of powdered sugar, this is one of those stellar cakes that always satisfies. A slice with coffee is a perfect breakfast in my book, but I wouldn’t turn down a midday or late night sliver either.”

2) Food and Wine Pairing at Gabrielle Rausse. “Having recently moved from Sonoma, California, I’ve done a fair bit of wine tasting in my life, and this one was a standout. I think it was a combination of that brilliant light pouring onto the bar through the trees on a crisp winter day, the crusty loaves of house-made bread coming out of the oven, and the comforting tiny plates of stewed chickpeas that won me over. The fire pit and wine only added to the experience.”

3) Chocolate Ice Cream at Brasserie Saison. “This isn’t the kind of thing I’d normally order or go out of my way to seek out, but my sister brought me to the bar one night just for this chocolaty treat. I believe it’s listed as ice cream on the menu, but it has the richness and density of a gelato. Order it for the perfect finale to a yummy dinner of moules frites, or do as we did: just go straight for dessert.”

4) Sloppy Jose at Ivy Provisions. “If you had a little too much fun the night before, the Sloppy Jose is all you need to set you straight. Chorizo, egg, english muffin. Need I say more?”

5) English Muffins at Belle. “I’m a big fan of English muffins, and great ones are hard to find. That is, unless you go to Belle. Just the right combination of chewy nooks and crannys, plus a crisp, perfect crust. The generous size makes them perfect for sharing.”

Natasha Lawler

Natasha Lawler, co-founder of Feed The Frontline. Lawler’s picks:

1) Deep-Fried Flounder at Duner’s. “Not only is this the most epic whole fish presentation, but it is so tender and delicious. They layer in all kinds of fresh herbs and aromatics. And I love to order things that I wouldn’t make at home: hello massive deep fryer and a vat of hot oil.”

2) Shrimp Tacos at Plaza Azteca. “These tacos have a yummy secret sauce. And I love how nice the staff is to my kids. Don’t miss the tableside guacamole, whenever it is that we starting dining in again.”

3) Almond Croissant at MarieBette. “My sweet husband gets me one every Saturday morning, and they mark the weekend. The contrast of the gooiness of the almond paste with the crispness of the croissant. Jason and Patrick have the best pastries this side of the Atlantic.”

4) Kimchi Pancake at Doma. “So much umami. So much acid. So much heat. These satisfy a deep primal need in my soul.”

5) Sugar Cookie Mixed Box from BreadWorks. “Made by local members of our community with disabilities, these cookies are so good. Love the variety and how the middles are soft and chewy. Someone gave me a box when I had a baby, and they kept me going. My kids also adore them.”

Nikki Flannery

Nikki Flannery, reader. Flannery’s picks:

1) Alpha and Omega at Tavola Cicchetti Bar. “Perfection in a glass. I love this drink so much that my husband John and I served a version of it at our wedding. The brown-butter washed sherry is unreal. Delicate, warm, and bright at the same time.”

2) Hawaiian Plate with BBQ Chicken, Mac Salad, and Cucumber Kimchi from Mochiko. “I grew up in southern California, and one thing I miss about it is its proximity to Hawaii. That’s why I was so excited to hear about Riki’s stand at the market (and eventually his brick and mortar at 5th street station). You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the BBQ chicken is my favorite. I always ask for extra furikake seasoning on the side—and grab some Hawaiian Sun punch and spam musubis on the way out.”

3) Da Vinci Sandwich from Mona Lisa Pasta. “The real star of this sandwich is the three-seeded baguette coated in what I’m pretty sure is a mixture of fennel seeds, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds (though I always eat it too quickly to know for sure). A perfect balance of salami, soppressata, provolone, tomato, greens, house dressing, and sun-dried tomato pesto. In a town with a lot of amazing sandwiches, it’s my favorite one to introduce to people.”

4) Garganelli Alla Zucca at Tavola. “I actually learned about this dish on a recipe blog, someone visiting from Texas had eaten this at Tavola and created a recipe inspired by it. Once I ordered the original in person I fell in love. The crispy sage and caramelized red onions take it over the top.”

5) Almond Pave Cake from Paradox Pastry. “Four simple ingredients – almond flour, butter, eggs, sugar. Dense, buttery goodness. It’s my birthday cake every year and I have been known to eat it for breakfast.”

Margo Bulka

Margo Bulka, designer of Bulka’s picks:

1) The Bill at Brazos Tacos. “‘Mashed potatoes on a taco?’ My skeptical out of town visitors will always raise an eyebrow. ‘Just trust me.’ With potatoes and mushrooms smothered in zingy honey jefe topped with cilantro, The Bill has the natural joy of a taco but with a kick. Unexpected but amazing.”

2) Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “Around an evening dinner table, a friend shared a rumor about this salad – supposedly, it was once voted the best in the world. The whole world? Crisp fresh fennel, sweet crunch of fresh apple, parmesan dressing. Heavenly. Pass it on.”

3) Margarita D.O.C. at Lampo. “I can’t tiptoe around it. Picking a favorite on the Lampo menu is next to impossible (the Hellboy, the Abruzzo . . . the Cavoletti Di Bruxelles) but the Margarita D.O.C. wins the crown. The simplicity of fresh, bubbling mozzarella di bufala after a trip inside the wood-fired oven makes it unforgettable.”

4) Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam. “Curry, brothy, noodle-y goodness topped with crispy egg noodles and cilantro. A remarkable symphony of savory and sweet against a soft crunch. What is even happening in that bowl? Unclear, but it’s fantastic.”

5) Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at MarieBette. “You’ll have to zoom in early on Saturday mornings to beat the line, but the weekend alarm is worth it. I love this stack of fluffy pancakes followed by the morning nap that often ensues.”

Chrissy Benninger and Kyra Miller

Chrissy Benninger and Kyra Miller – the mother-duo daughter behind Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. Benninger’s and Miller’s picks:

1) Princess Cake at Albemarle Baking Company (both). “This cake has been our family’s favorite for years, especially for birthdays, and it even made an appearance as Kyra’s wedding cake. I would break my strict autoimmune diet any day of the week for a piece of Princess Cake.”

2) Volcano Roll at Now & Zen (both). “Now & Zen is one of our ‘special dinner’ places to go. We’ve had numerous plates there but the one we love the most is the Volcano Roll. Everything there is fresh and huge, and the staff is amazing.”

3) Cinnamon Maple Twist at Paradox Pastry (Kyra). “I have had the pleasure of working with Jenny, and was able to try many of Paradox’s buttery, sweet, delicious pastries. The cinnamon maple twist is incredible and possibly one of the best sweets I’ve ever had.”

4) Campechano Tacos at Tacos Gomez (Kyra). “The closest you’ll get to a traditional Mexican street taco. The homemade tortillas and sauces are amazing! My husband I always order the campechano tacos. And make sure to get a horchata, if you’re lucky enough to go when they are serving them.”

5) Roasted Chicken at Al Carbon (Chrissy). “I had a different choice in mind and then, for some reason, I thought about this chicken. It is literally the best chicken I have ever had. The. Best. I can eat half a chicken by myself. Whatever they do to that chicken is something blessed by culinary angels.”

Jessica Fake

Jessica Fake of Sussex Farm. Fake’s picks:

1) Spinach Saag, Sundried Tomato Oil, Cauliflower and Paneer Pizza from Pye Dog Pizza. “They regularly change their offering at each farmers market, so it’s always interesting, but also near impossible to pick a favorite. I have to call out their spinach saag pizza, which has spinach saag, paneer, cauliflower, and sun-dried tomato oil. Also, their mojo pork pizza, which has mojo pork, red curry bbq, pickled onion and queso fresco. It’s hard to go wrong with any of their pizzas, especially with their crusts, which are the true stars of the show.”

2) Greg Brady from Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. “My favorite burger in town. This yummy comfort meal comes with wagyu beef, mac n’ cheese, and bbq chips to add the perfect crunch.”

3) Hazelnut Latte and a Pastry from Petite MarieBette. “I say Petite rather than the original, because both will blow you away with pastries, but Petite MarieBette makes their hazelnut lattes with real nutella and it is delicious. Add an everything pretzel croissant, pain au chocolat, or petite canelés to that latte order, and treat yourself.”

4) Fried Rice at Kama. “If you go to Kama on Sundays you’ll be treated to a chef’s special of fried rice. It’s everything you want fried rice to be, chock full of flavor and ingredients. The rice itself has a wonderful texture, somehow managing to be both soft and perfectly crisped. If you aren’t able to make it on Sundays, you can’t go wrong with their house-made udon noodles.”

5) Almond Dark Chocolate Macarons from Bowerbird Bakeshop. “They’ve completely converted me. I was not a particular fan of macarons before, but I think it is because I haven’t truly had good ones prior to theirs. My favorite so far was their almond dark chocolate ganache with sea salt macaron. I’m always looking forward to what flavors they are bringing to the market each week.”

Maureen Scott

Maureen Scott, Chocolatier and Lead Baker at Gearharts Fine Chocolates. Scott’s picks:

1) Stollen at Albemarle Baking Company. “When I read Gerry Newman’s beautiful story about the way he perfected his stollen over the years, I knew I had to run up to Albemarle Baking Company the next morning. I became addicted. I wait patiently every year to hear it’s arrival in the bakery.”

2) Cville Ham Biscuit at JM Stock Provisions. “The most buttery biscuit I’ve ever had. Tasso ham. Hot sauce. Honey. So simple. So perfect.”

3) Chicken and Waffles at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “When my sister and brother-in-law were visiting from up north, I wanted to show them a true southern breakfast. Buttermilk fried chicken, fluffy waffles, maple syrup and hot sauce. Add a rib biscuit, grits and sweet tea. Best way to start the day.”

4) Duck confit, celery root purée, apple gastrique at Holmes Dinner Club. “I talked about this dish for weeks to anyone who would listen. So tender and delicious. Just incredible.”

5) Truffle Chèvre at Caromont Farm. “I love this with beef tenderloin and asparagus, and also with just a spoon like a bowl of ice cream. It’s that good.”

Robin Fetter

Robin Fetter, author of The Real Vegan Housewife. Fetter’s picks:

1) Veggie Iron at Iron Paffles & Coffee. “You can catch me eating here at least once a week. If I am not trying out their weekly vegan specials at lunch, I am usually ordering the Veggie Iron for breakfast because when it’s served with their equally amazing Cafe Americano, it really sets my morning off right.”

2) Pineapple Jerk Cauliflower Wings at Champion Grill. “This place has won me over in the short amount of time it has been open, and these wings have the perfect sweet and spicy balance that goes well with their incredible beers. I personally suggest pairing this with their True Love Mexican Style Lager.”

3) Vegan Wonton Nachos at Firefly. “This place has become quite the vegan staple over the years, and they are always adding something new on their menu for the plant based patrons, but these nachos will always call my name. Besides, who can say no to a plate of fully loaded fried wontons?”

4) Tofu Bibimbap (without egg) at Doma Korean Kitchen. “I promise you that you will not miss the egg. This dish is so full of flavor, and still has a lot of the elements of a traditional bibimbap.”

5) Tomates Asados (Smoked Roma Tomatoes) at MAS Tapas. “MAS Tapas is surprisingly more vegan friendly than one might think, and this dish in particular may not sound like much when you see it on the menu but I gotta warn you, it’s addictive. I could seriously eat these tomatoes by the bucketful, but if you order these with their hummus which also comes with their amazing house made cold fermented bread, guaranteed – you’ll thank me later.”

Nina Promisel

Nina Promisel of Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. Promisel’s picks:

1) Stir Fried Cabbage at Pad Thai. “Probably the single dish I think about more than any other in town, because it is so simple and perfect. Santi and family’s Thai food is delicious and authentic, and the hospitality is outstanding.”

2) Dumpling Soup from Sussex Farm. “It is my regular habit to reward myself on Saturday mornings for getting to the Charlottesville City Market early enough to get back to Greenwood in time to open up the store. If there’s no soup that day, the Breakfast Bowl (add avocado and kimchi!) also makes me feel victorious.”

3) Sauteed Escarole and a Negroni at Lampo. “At the other end of the day, I love
to score a seat at the bar at Lampo and have one of their perfect Negronis
along with an order of the escarole, and anything that’s on the specials list.”

4) Merguez Sausage and Winter Greens from Double H Farm. “We buy all kinds of amazing produce and meats from Ara and Gayane for the store, but for my own quick and delicious dinner, a pan full of the Merguez and a pile of whatever greens they are offering this week is hard to beat.”

5) Pulpo at Comal. “Finally made it to Comal, and was so impressed with our whole meal (basically one of everything on the menu), but the pulpo was so perfectly cooked and accompanied that it really stood out as a special dish. Can’t wait to go back.”

Lindsey Nielsen

Lindsey Nielsen, GM of Oakhart Social. Nielsen’s picks:

1) Mushroom Toast at Common House. “As a pescatarian, this smoked mushroom toast totally hits the spot. There’s a depth of flavor that’s often missing in vegetable dishes.”

2) Pretzel Croissant (Everything) at MarieBette. “Oh, how I love these. I often plan on saving half for my husband, but end up eating the whole thing in my car. Also, my favorite espresso in town.”

3) Cabbage with Black Vinegar at Taste of China. “It was hard to pick one dish from Taste of China. You’ll often find me and a bunch of industry friends here on a Sunday night. I think this one is off-menu, but the tofu in hot oil and the green beans with garlic are also awesome.”

4) Cozze ai Ferri e Pane at Tavola. “The whole dining experience at Tavola is so enjoyable. It feels like Cheers every time I go, and I know I’m going to get excellent service. Few things make my night like Collin bringing over a plate of steaming garlicky muscles. Extra bread please.”

5) Whole Flounder at Oakhart Social. “As a friend recently said, this fish is ‘stupid good.’”

Kay Pfaltz

Kay Pfaltz, founder of Basic Necessities. Pfaltz’s picks:

1) Mile 842 from Devils Backbone Brewing Company. “Sometimes all a wine shop owner wants is a good beer, preferably on tap, with a little patch of sunshine. Hike the AT, then hop off at milepost 842 for a well-deserved beer. Hoppy, with great flavor.”

2) Clean Green at The Juice Laundry. “Going to the other end of the beverage spectrum, I love anything The Juice Laundry makes. Sometimes I’m in the mood for Clean Green (kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, ginger, and lemon), sometimes, Spicy Green, sometimes Rinse & Refresh, and always the nut milks, which are wonderfully addictive. I was thrilled when The Juice Laundry first opened and glad to see the rise of vegan restaurants. And you can slip over to The Juice Laundry after you’ve bought C’ville’s best and freshest (and mostly local) produce at Integral Yoga.”

3) Edmond Fallot Walnut Dijon Mustard at Feast! “Add a scoop of the walnut mustard to your vinaigrette, instead of plain dijon, and your friends start oohing and exclaiming: ‘Ahh, there’s a secret ingredient . . . oh, I know it . . . but what is it?’ Somewhat similar taste to using walnut oil but less pricy.”

4) Marinara D.O.C. Pizza at Lampo. “From antipasti to pizzas to their excellent and unpretentious wine list, Lampo is my go-to restaurant. The Marinara D.O.C. is pure, vegan, simple, and delicious. Next best thing to a ticket to Naples.”

5) Almond Pavé at Paradox Pastry. “When I returned to Virginia in the early 90s after more than ten years in Paris, good pastries, bread, and chocolates were the things I missed the most. Not all pâtisseries in Paris carried pavé aux amandes, but I’d buy one when I saw it. At Paradox, buy it by the slice, or do like I do now and buy the whole cake and freeze. Be forewarned, you may eat it so quickly, there’s no need to freeze. Moist, dense, and delicious. I eat chocolate after lunch and dinner (Hello, Gearharts) and, well, sometimes one just needs a change of pace. Four simple ingredients: almond flour, butter, sugar, and egg . . . so gluten-free, as they say, by default.”

Elaina Mangione

Elaina Mangione, co-owner of Mangione’s on Main. Mangione’s picks:

1) Happy Hour Oysters and Clam Chowder at Public Fish & Oyster. “Bert and I love going here for happy hour and having one each from ‘The List’ and a glass of ‘Oyster Wine.’ I love oysters on the half shell, and they serve up such an amazing variety each week. And, the clam chowder is so delicious and comforting on a cold day. If we are lucky, we get to sit at the end of the bar and chat up the shucker and John all night.”

2) Cotoletta di Matale alla Milanese at Tavola. “Yes! I do go to other Italian restaurants. Tavola was one of the first restaurants I visited when I started coming to Charlottesville before moving here. I love everything about this restaurant – the European feel, the smell of mussels smoking up the joint, and of course the Cicchetti Bar. My go-to there is the Alpha & Omega, which Steve or Rebecca start making as soon as they see me walk through the door.”

3) Pot de Crème at Oakhart Social. “This is hands down my absolute favorite dessert in Charlottesville. The textures of this dish meet all of my requirements for a great dessert.  When I am having a case of the mean reds, the only thing that can fix me is their Pot de Crème. And if they ever remove it from the menu they may as well be Sicilian dead to me.”

4) Prime Rib at Aberdeen Barn. “Who doesn’t love a hometown, old world steakhouse that serves up a delicious prime rib? It is always spot on. We eat at the bar, hang out with our friends, chat up everyone there, and drink good wine. This is definitely our go-to hang out when we just want to go for comfort food and great people.”

5) Dumplings at Duner’s. “Chef Laura Fonner is our current local celeb, and she deserves all the accolades. Not only is she an awesome chef, she also gives back so much to the community. I have had her dumplings every time we have been there, and watching her make them in less than 30 minutes on the game show has put me more in awe of her abilities. The flavors are so bold yet somehow incredibly delicate and composed. Now, if she would only make them as a meal . . you know . . . like 20 dumplings per serving.”

Whitney Matthews

Whitney Matthews of SpiceSea Gourmet. Matthews’ picks:

1) Garlicky Greens Kraut from Farmstead Ferments. “I (and my mother) love this kraut. It goes with everything – eggs in the morning, sandwiches for lunch, or straight out of the jar. It’s always crisp and full of flavor. There is always a jar in my refrigerator.”

2) Canelés from MarieBette. “This is my extra special treat. Canelés are not a typical pastry to find, but MarieBette always has them and they are always delicious. Biting through the thick caramelized crust into the custard center is my favorite part.”

3) Cabernet Franc Reserve from Montifalco Vineyard. “This wine is wonderful. Not too heavy, lovely mouth feel, and pairs great with a steak. One of my favorite wines from the region. Also, the atmosphere at Montifalco is perect – welcoming, calming, small, and charming. The owners take special care to make sure each guest has an exceptional experience. They also bring in wines from around the world to add to their tasting flights. A great, small batch winery.”

4) Classic Tomato Sauce from Nona’s Italian Cucina. “Such a versatile sauce. I’ve used it for classic pasta dishes, baked with zucchini and mozzarella, and as a dip for baguettes. I always imagine a little Italian nona standing over a stove stirring her pot when I open a bottle. I love that you can taste the garlic and parsley shining through the tomato. The wife and husband team are frequently at the City Market and they take the time to give samples and talk about the sauce.”

5) Fried Chicken Paffle from Iron Paffles & Coffee. “First, all the sandwiches from Iron are amazing, but there’s something about the crunch of the chicken that keeps me coming back. You can build your own chicken paffle to fit what you desire – pepper jack cheese, aioli, and arugula for me. Also, their Instagram page is great. All those beautiful pictures of specials and desserts. It’s mouthwatering.”

Mita Tembe

Mita Tembe, Bakery Manager of MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. Tembe’s picks:

1) Spanish Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake at Orzo. “My friend and I meant to share but we got two instead. Best accident ever.”

2) Santa Fe Enchiladas and a House Margarita .at Continental Divide. “I love the pumpkin muffin on the side, and you can never go wrong with a CD margarita.”

3) Belgian fries and aioli at Public Fish & Oyster. “Hands down the best fries in Charlottesville: hot, salty, crispy. Also, the fried brussels sprouts, with that same aioli, are incredible.”

4) Torta Brava at La Michoacana. “Super super spicy and absolutely delicious.”

5) Grilled Banana Bread at Bizou. “I have attempted to recreate this at home to no avail. Bizou does it best.”

Sean Chandler

Sean Chandler, Director of Retail Operations for Champion Brewing Company. Chandler’s picks:

1) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “I love shrooms, and this is a beautiful combo of flavor on top of that amazing crust.”

2) Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese at C&O. “Kind of a cold weather tradition for me. The ultimate comfort food of rich creaminess. I love having a Gibson with it. The tang of the onions is a nice counter point. If I’m really lucky, Anthony will play some Classical music for me.”

3) Fried Brussels Sprouts with Sweet and Spicy Pepper Jelly at Champion Grill. “I know this is a shameless plug, but these vegan nuggets from Phil are going to change the way you think of sports bar food.”

4) Pork Belly at Côte Rôtie. “Anything that Côte Rôtie does with pork belly.”

5) Kimchi Jjigae at Maru. “Tangy and spicy, this is comfort food that you can feel good about.”

Trish Dombrauskas

Trish Dombrauskas, chef of Riverbirch Restaurant. Dombrauskas’ picks:

1) Pupusas Revueltas at Mi Canton. “I discovered Mi Canton a year or so ago and have made it a regular stop of mine. There are so many delicious items on their menu, it is difficult to go wrong. But I always go back to the very first dish I had at Mi Canton, the pupusas revueltas. They are thick, Salvadorian tortillas stuffed with cheese, pork, and beans and served with a delicious fresh salad called cortido, a vinegary cabbage slaw that makes the dish perfection. The owners always make you feel welcome and you can tell they are proud of their products.”

2) Sicilian Style Pizza at Fabio’s in Gordonsville. “I moved to Gordonsville three years ago this past September and the first place I ate was Fabio’s pizza. Their pizza is phenomenal. My father grew up in New Jersey and as a kid I ate great pizza. Fabio’s in Gordonsville has great pizza, but I feel like the hidden gem is their Sicilian style pizza. The crust is thick, and they top it with the best cheese and toppings around. They even slice their sausage for their pizzas which is just the way I remember it as a kid. I love to chat with the owners, old school guys who know the importance of old school pizza. I always have a laugh while I’m there, because they remind me of my uncles back in New Jersey.”

3) The Fat and Sassy at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “Indulgent is the best word to describe this flatbread/cheese bread crossover. It is covered with full cloves of roasted garlic and served with the best house made ranch dressing around. Every time I visit it is a must for me to purchase a jar of their ranch dressing to take home. Dr. Ho’s has a fabulous menu, but every time I am drawn into the Fat and Sassy and it never fails how delicious it is.”

4) Potato Salad at Mel’s Cafe. “Mel’s potato salad is a simple mayonnaise, mustard, onion-based potato salad. It is simple, but delicious. It is the perfect side for any of their sandwiches or burgers. Mel’s potato salad reminds me of the potato salad my mom’s best friend makes, and ultimately it reminds me of home.”

5) The Black Beauty at Livery Stable. “The cocktails at the Livery Stable are well thought out and quite delicious. The ambience of the Livery Stable is what makes it an interesting spot to hang out. The Black Beauty is my favorite with raspberry vodka, cassis, and topped with ginger beer. It is bright and delicious. Be sure to sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders. They make the experience interesting to say the least.”

Jess Martin

Jess Martin, reader. Martin’s picks:

1) Pad See Ew + Chicken Wings + Wonton Soup at Chimm. “When I heard Jay Pun was going to be a part of another restaurant venture (with Thai Cuisine and Noodle House), I was already sold. Pad See Ew lately has been my go to Thai dish but this is the best I’ve ever had. Next time I’m in town I need to try something else on the menu, but this is my favorite killer combo.”

2) Nasty Chicken Biscuit at Miller’s Downtown. “If you know me, then you know this may have a little bias. But it doesn’t. Okay, maybe a little. Miller’s has a kitchen the size of your bedroom but is one of the largest and busiest spots, pumping out food on the downtown mall. All of their food is made fresh – soups, dressings, chicken, etc. This dish is a stunner and filler whether it’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or late night. It’s also totally shareable.”

3) Dry Fried Eggplant at Peter Chang China Grill. “When it comes to snacks and appetizers I typically go for meats. This dish is also made with pork belly but I really dig the eggplant because it’s a nice light flavorful start to your meal and allows space for more of the delicious food there.”

4) Mac n’ Cheese with potato cake at The Virginian. “I often drove to Charlottesville from Nelson County or Harrisonburg when I was a teenager until my late 20’s and then I finally moved there. Any rainy day (or any excuse really) I’d go to The Virginian for this dish. Total comfort food, filling, and cheap. It’s top of my list on my next trip back to Cville.”

5) Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo. “You don’t need to be a giant shiny restaurant to execute the best food ever. Lampo is top notch, and Charlottesville is lucky to have a place like it. The atmosphere is comfortable and the menu is easily shareable among two people. With this sandwich, you get your protein and delicious veggies. Can’t go wrong.”

Nathan Hatfield

Nathan Hatfield, Executive Chef of the Tasting Room & Taphouse at Mount Ida Reserve. Hatfield’s picks:

1) Cortado at Lone Light Coffee. “Wonderful locally roasted espresso, milk steamed just right. Not to mention the staff is great too (at both locations). We used to live right around the corner from the High Street location and were there several mornings a week.”

2) Vongole Pizza at Lampo. “It’s hard for me not to order this every time we go to Lampo, and we go too often. Lampo is awesome, everyone knows, but if you haven’t gotten this pie, go on, now’s the time.”

3) Kale Caesar at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. “One of our favorite go-to spots on days off. Some of the best sandwiches in town and an awesome wine and beer selection. Their super lemony kale salad hits all the right notes and will keep me going out of my way to come here.”

4) Sazerac at The Alley Light. “Most Sundays after work you can find me and my wife at the bar. It might be my first drink, it might be my last; either way, there’s a good chance I’ll have a Sazerac. The version Andrea makes in one of the best I’ve had.”

5) Beef Back Ribs at Little Star. “We’ve been going to Little Star since they opened and this dish we find ourselves ordering again and again. The rib meat is cooked just right, the sauce is bright and spicy, and there’s a fresh herb salad to balance it all out. It’s good. Get it.”

Jeff White

Jeff White, sports writer for the University of Virginia. White’s picks:

1) Hot Sicilian at Durty Nelly’s / Wayside Deli. “The GOAT when it comes to sandwiches. I’ve been placing the same order at Durty Nelly’s/Wayside Deli for 30-plus years and hope to continue doing so for another 30. It’s a heavenly combination of Genoa salami, turkey, provolone, onion, peppers and mayo on rye, all heated.”

2) Greg Brady at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “The burgers at Jack Brown’s are, to me, the perfect size –– not too big, not too small ­–– and complementing the beef on this delicacy are mac and cheese, Martin’s BBQ potato chips, and a blend of American and cheddar cheeses. The fries are great, too, as is the selection of beers from around the world.

3) Burrito Michoacana at La Michoacana. “This low-key restaurant on East High Street was once a hidden gem, but its excellence has been common knowledge around town for years now. Keep the option of a post-lunch nap open after eating one of these burritos. You may need it.”

4) Ragin’ Cajun at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “I’m a sucker for andouille, and this pie also features Creole-spiced shrimp, green peppers, roasted red peppers and mozzarella. Dr. Ho’s, of course, has Blue Moon ties. Its founder, Jerry Danner, ran the diner after buying it from John Grier.”

5) Cookies and Cream Milkshake at Crozet Creamery. “A group of us in the athletic department has a tradition we hold dear. When one of the UVa teams we support (as writers, videographers, photographers, etc.) picks up a significant win –– almost any conquest of Virginia Tech qualifies as such – we celebrate by treating ourselves to milkshakes. My victory shake of choice is one of many fantastic offerings at my local ice cream parlor, whose other options include the (Jack) Salted Caramel.”

Portia Boggs

Portia Boggs of The Local Food Hub. Bogg’s picks:

1) Thai Tofu Wrap at Revolutionary Soup. “Rev Soup has been a favorite spot since I first moved to Charlottesville in 2012, and this sandwich is my go-to. On chilly days, I like to pair it with the Spicy Senegalese Peanut Tofu soup for a meal that is equal parts hearty, spicy, and warming. It’s no coincidence that both dishes use locally-made Twin Oaks Tofu, the best tofu I’ve had in my 12+ years of vegetarianism.”

2) Mushroom, Leek, and Gruyere Pot Pie followed by Dark Chocolate Cream Pie at  The Pie Chest. “I could have gone with anything the Pie Chest offers – they make a range of sweet and savory pies, rotating with what is in season. I’ve never had a bad experience, and am typically first in line to try the new releases. Mushroom, Leek, and Gruyere and Dark Chocolate are available year-round, and are consistently phenomenal. They share a space with Lone Light Coffee, whose latte goes perfectly with a warm piece of fruit pie.”

3) Mexican-Style Street Corn at Junction. “The only thing better than freshly-picked, grilled and generously buttered corn is Mexican street-style corn, and Junction does it perfectly, with a spot-on balance of flavor. Their housemade queso and guacamole are another must whenever I go.”

4) Migas Tacos at Brazos Tacos. “These crunchy, cheesy, egg-y tacos are worth the early-ish wakeup time and wait in line they often require. The Migas is my favorite, but all their tacos are incredible. As an added bonus, you can get them with Ula Tortilla’s, a local tortilla company that knows their stuff!”

5) Lacinato Kale Salad at MarieBette. “This salad, paired with a cafe au lait, followed by one of their amazing pastries (pretzel croissant, anyone?) is a dream lunch. Their second location, Petite MarieBette, is right by the Local Food Hub offices, making it an ideal easy, fast, and delicious last-minute lunch.”

Amy Worrell 

Amy Worrell of Cavalier Produce. Worrell’s picks:

1) Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social. “I’m pretty sure that this has been mentioned before, but the charred carrots at Oakhart Social are simply amazing. Need I say more.”

2) Fish and Chips with Hydraulion Red at Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen and Brewery. “I usually order the fish and chips with the Hydraulion Red, an Irish-style ale brewed as a salute to UVa’s historic fire brigade, as well as to firefighters everywhere. Their newer space at the Ix Park has an airy feel, featuring an open kitchen where you can watch your food being prepared.”

3) 2016 Meritage at Montifalco Vineyard. “Some friends introduced me to this little hide-away in the hills just south of Ruckersville, recently opened by a winemaker transplanted from the California wine country. Sipping wine outside while sitting between the farmhouse and the vines feels like visiting a small family vineyard in the French countryside. Aged in Bordeaux oak, the 2016 Meritage is a well balanced full bodied red with soft, not overly assertive, tannins.”

4) Grilled Corn at Chicano Boy Taco. “For meChicano Boy Taco in Staunton is a must before or after hitting nearby Redbeard Brewing. The food, in the style of the San Francisco Mission District, is always vibrant and fresh. I usually get the grilled corn, chips with house-made guacamole, and an assortment of tacos, which you can mix and match to hit all your senses.”

5) Rose at Moss Vineyards. “Moss Vineyards is a hidden gem, a hilltop winery with excellent wines and panoramic views. If it’s available, you should try the Rose. It’s a perfect place to bring a picnic including your favorite cheeses and enjoy the mountain scenery.”

Zack Worrell

Zack Worrell of Monolith Knives. Worrell’s picks:

1) Rice Pudding from Foods of All Nations. “A local favorite, using a recipe that’s hasn’t changed in over 45 years. Foods has been offering their signature rice pudding on their deli shelves since I was four years old. It has the right amounts of everything: butter, sugar, rice, raisins, nutmeg and sweet southern style indicative of older Charlottesville. Pretty much the whole damn deli counter is a museum of tried and true recipes that make Foods of All Nations such a great place to shop.”

2) Steak Chinois at C&O. “This steak is C&O’s signature dish and most likely the longest lasting item to ever grace their menu. The steak is rare and delicious, served with Swiss gruyere and delicious potatoes and scallions with a tamari ginger sauce. This entrée is even better with their Boston Bib salad and bread. The C&O has a fantastic environment and wide selection of fabulous wines making it probably one of my top three places to eat out in Charlottesville.”

3) Bacon Wrapped Dates at Quality Pie. “Chef Tomas Rahal is a local favorite of Spanish infused culinary mastery. His bacon wrapped dates are to die for. They are so delicious and utterly addictive. Tomas has so many other delicious goodies at Quality Pie that there is more than enough to choose from to suit any taste. A wonderful staff and awesome family atmosphere make Quality Pie a big favorite of mine.”

4) The Hellboy at Lampo. “Sitting in the coolest little building in Belmont, Lampo is a must for pizza aficionados and lovers of Mediterranean and Italian inspired dishes with flare. The crew at Lampo have one special bad ass pizza there called The Hellboy. A traditional Neapolitan dough recipe with spicy honey drippings over pepperonis, red sauce and mozzarella create the most awesome fusion of hot and oh so tasty. Make sure to get the shaved Brussels sprout salad and you will be vanquished. A great selection of wines and knowledgeable staff will make your meal a real experience. Do make sure to give an extra 45 minutes of wait time, but it’s worth every minute.”

5) Bacon, Egg, and Cheddar on an Everything at Bodo’s. “Bodo’s is a staple of Charlottesville. Established over 30 years ago, Bodo’s has grown to three locations serving up amazing bagel sandwich creations of any kind. I have been asked to ship Bodo’s bagels to people who have left Charlottesville because the addiction was that good. My favorite, the morning ritual I call it: bacon, egg, and cheddar, on an everything. Even people who don’t like bagels like Bodo’s I sometimes have been known to eat Bodo’s 3-4 days a week. It’s an institution of Charlottesville.”

Becca Lesnoff

Becca Lesnoff of Brasserie Saison.Lesnoff’s picks:

1) That’s My Yam or The Solid on corn tortillas at Brazos. “It is one of my favorite taco shops in one of my favorite areas of town. I feel like I am back in Asheville when I sit down outside of Brazos surrounded by art at IX. It’s a first choice to meet friends for lunch and bring my pup.”

2) Honey, Sausage, Goat Cheese and Egg Hand pies at The Pie Chest. “These breakfast/anytime meals are perfect when I am running around and need something hot, delicious and totally unique. I am often sent on a Pie Chest run from the staff at Brasserie, as it is something we all agree that we love.”

3) Frijoles Pupusas at Super Amanecer. “This place is truly a secret that I stumbled upon while looking for pasilia chillies for my partner, Jacob, to make homemade tamales. This has become a favorite after playing disc golf in Charlottesville.”

4) Crispy Scallops at Brasserie Saison. “I know it sounds like a cop-out to go with a dish from a restaurant I work at, but I feel like it should actually speak so much louder. This is the original dish that we opened the restaurant with that comes with the most delicate celery root puree, rice flour seared scallops, julienne celery root and benne seeds. It just came back onto the menu and I know that I am not the only person who is stoked.”

5) The Heavy Hand at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “This is one perfectly greasy pie layered with sopressata, capicola, italian sausage, onions, mushrooms, basil, and three cheeses. Their signature Dr. Ho’s ranch and a cold beer are the only things necessary to complete this indulgence. Another disc golf tradition after Jacob and I play a round at Walnut Creek.”

Scott Meynig

Scottt Meynig of Family Ties & PiesIn tribute to Meynig, some of his favorites, as remembered by friends and family:

1) Breakfast Brioche from Family Ties & Pies. “My fondest memories of Scott and food always lead me back to Family Ties & Pies breakfast brioche. It always made me smile to see him snacking on one as Donna and I would join him and reminisce about the four years that we worked together in Fossett’s and Keswick Hall. He was one of the finest hospitality leaders that I have ever worked with, but more than that, he was a true friend.” – Craig Hartman 

2) Fall Wood-fired Pizzas at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. “Every year Scott was enthusiastic when we started our Fall wood-fired pizza offerings at Pippin Hill. He checked first thing on the shift for each week’s offering and raved about them all, from the simple Three Cheeses to Hen of the Woods Mushroom and Basil. For Scott, it marked a seasonal equinox moment.” – Dean Porter Andrews and Lynn Easton

3) Chipotle Chocolate Gelato at Splendora’s Gelato. “Anytime Scott walked through the door at Splendy’s, I knew he was going to go straight for the bottom right corner of the first case, where Chipotle Chocolate would be if we were offering it. He would always cluck his disappointment if we were out, but get a small or a medium of other flavors anyway. There was one day where I had a front of house shift but the Chipotle Chocolate was going to be made as soon as I was through. Of course, he came in an hour too early. So, I brought him a cup to Red Pump as soon as it came out of the machine. What a great laugh that was. I’m going to make some Chipotle Chocolate today.” – PK Ross

4) Guests and Staff at Keswick Hall. “Scott really seemed to have no favorite dishes, just favorite guests and staff. He rarely sat down for a meal but would gather with the cluster of Keswick employees over lunch or dinner, dishing out amazingly creative one-liners with a marksman’s precision. He spent a lot of time meeting with the staff, individually or in groups, constantly endeavoring either to enhance the scope of their professional abilities or to give intelligent counsel on their domestic squabbles. When Scott was running the banquet department I loved to throw him ‘ringers’ that would challenge him. Scott: ‘Did you really promise the bride that the groom could ride in on a white horse dressed in armor’? I would just reply that I was trying to up-sell the event. Scott: ‘The horse and armor are fine but where are we going to get a lance?’
Scott really enjoyed our weekly wine-trainings and it was the only time he really sat and relaxed. One week we were doing New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and, as usual, I was coaxing the staff to come up with appropriate descriptors. Scott blurted out that he though they tasted like cat pee. That was a common remark, I stated. Scott replied that they all tasted like a cat’s pee and wondered if the cats were all from the same family? There was never a dull moment with Scott and sometimes those moments were long and arduous as he worked late into the night making sure that a particular rehearsal dinner ended correctly. And then, next morning, at the City Market he was there early, sometimes napping on the back of the car, but always ready to jump up to greet a friend or help his family sell their pies and ties.” – Richard Hewitt

5) Coconut Custard Pie from Family Ties & Pies. “Scott was an extraordinary team player, peacemaker and darn good all around nice guy in his life and in the culinary world. Loved by so many, he always was ready, willing and able to help in the kitchen of our business, Family Ties & Pies. I am at a loss of words but he was my best friend, the father of our amazing children, a lover of fine dining, mentor to countless young restaurant workers, and the ultimate peace and pie maker. We love and miss you.” – Lynette, Chelsea and Max Meynig

Kathryn Saul

Kathryn Saul, of Vivace. Saul’s Picks:

1) Chorizo Tacos and Shrimp Tacos at Al Carbon. “You get four to an order, so I always get two of each. Al Carbon is a family favorite and I swear we are there at least every other week. I always get the spicy green salsa to go with it. Delicious.”

2) Panang Curry at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House. “I get chicken and medium spice. Something about the coconut curry sauce with the green peas is my comfort food. They have such a delicious and diverse menu that there is always something for everyone.”

3) Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside. “This is probably my favorite thing/place to eat.  Everyone is so welcoming the food is everything you want it to be.”

4) Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social.  “I have to get these every time I go and honestly I do not love cooked carrots, and would have never ordered these on my own if it wasn’t for the sharing plates there, but now I’m hooked. Those sweet and spicy pecans with the buttermilk ranch are the perfect combination.”

5) Tortilla Espanola at MAS Tapas. “Thinly sliced, perfectly cooked potatoes and egg with crusty bread and the crunch of sea salt. Melts in your mouth. MAS is a favorite date night spot and it is so hard not to get everything on their menu.”

Bo Stockton

Bo Stockton of Michael’s Bistro and Tap House. Stockton’s picks:

1) Hellboy Pizza at Lampo. “When I’m feeling down and need a pick-me-up, I remember how April revived the Ninja Turtles . . . pizza. Master Splinter says Hellboy and then Mitchell Shredders the cheese. A must in Cville.”

2) Breakfast BBQ at Blue Moon Diner. “The fact that they are back makes me want to dance. I have had everything from business meetings to dates to hangover cures feasting on their brunch menu. For me, always the pulled pork over English muffins with onion straws. So happy they re-opened.”

3) English Muffins at Belle. “This spot is new to Belmont but already feels like home. Grab a cup of Joe and get an English muffin made in house. How can you go wrong? I like egg and cheese on mine. They make whatever, and have a perfect place for the family.”

4) Fresh Rolls at Monsoon Siam. “If you haven’t had the fresh rolls to start and followed them with house hot anything, then you haven’t lived. Hands down my go to jiggity jam. Tell them Bo sent you if you want it hot.”

5) Fried Chicken from Brown’s. “So many arguments over the ‘best fried chicken’ in Cville. Stop arguing, head to Brown’s. Crispy, greasy, hearty and everything else but healthy. Yum.”

Rachel Snogles

Rachel Snogles, GM of Kama. Snogles’ picks:

1) Linguine Alla Carbonara at Tavola. “The quality of the pasta and attention to flavors in each dish are impeccable. Every pasta I’ve had has been fantastic, but a particular favorite is the linguine alla carbonara. Takes me back to Italy with every bite.”

2) Seven Hills Beef Tartare in The Coat Room at Brasserie Saison. “Whenever my family and I want a special night where we don’t have to think about making decisions, we always go to The Coat Room. They take it out of our hands and send food and drinks that suit our mood, though we always get the steak tartare with grilled oyster aioli when it is on the menu.”

3) Croque Madame at brunch at Commonwealth Restaurant. “I love brunch and rarely get to go, so when I do I want somewhere that does more than just bacon and eggs. At Commonwealth they nail it from classics like Eggs Benedict with Surryano ham to something more unique like the Dutch pancake with citrus chive marscapone with macerated berries. A personal favorite is the croque madame with the runny egg and delicious bechamel. It’s perfect for when I cannot decide between lunch and dinner.”

4) Margherita Pizza at Lampo.  “When it comes to wanting more than just a slice of pizza, Lampo is an obvious choice. A perfect crust makes the margherita pizza a treat every time. Save space for their cheese selection too.”

5) Pastry from MarieBette.  “Whether I am craving a canele, a chocolate almond croissant or simply want some good bread, MarieBette never disappoints.  It takes all my self control to not be there daily.”

Javier Figueroa-Ray 

Javier Figueroa-Ray of Pearl Island Catering and Cafe. Figueroa-Ray’s picks:

1) Banh Mi at Vu Noodles.”Being in the kitchen for so many hours, appetite is hard to find. But whenever it comes, I really crave a banh mi from Vu Noodles. I love the crusty bread, 5 spice Tofu, the fresh cilantro and even the pickled daikon radish. Julie does a great job with this sandwich. I think it’s a must have for any foodie in town.”

2) Coming Home Tea by Wild One Herbs. “I’m a sucker for drinks. You could say I’m a “drinkaholic” (I walk around the kitchen with a gallon of water everyday). I love drinks. This particular tea blend by local tea maker/ herbalist Kayde Fen embodies the phrase ‘Coming Home.’ The balance among holy basil, nettle, spearmint, oatstraw licorice and lavender really agrees with my palate. Calming and sweet but not too sweet. Perfect tea for me hot or cold.”

3) Spam Musubi  from Mochiko. “Growing up in Puerto Rico, spam was a family favorite. My mom would make it in every conceivable way. Then I found Mochiko in Charlottesville. Their Spam Musibi, or what I like to call Spam Sushi, with their spiced rice and marinated spam wrapped in seaweed, is the perfect bite after long hours of the city market or a late night of cooking with my favorite beer.”

4) Water Kefir Soda from Farmstead Ferments. “Like I mentioned before, I’m a drinkaholic. And every time that I can catch these guys at the Farmer’s Market, I can’t help but have two or three bottles of any flavor they have available that day. No matter how long the line is for Pearl Island, I have to get this magnificent elixir. The perfect drink to balance mind and spirit under the pressure of the hot sun of the market. Can’t have enough of it.”

5) Cold Hot Chocolate from Cocoa & Spice. “Jennifer’s delicious Iced Hot Chocolate is one of my favorite things to get at the Thursday market on Hospital Drive. Really nice balance of chocolate and sweetness makes this beverage for this particular drinkaholic a must have.”

Elise Walter

Elise Walter of The Flat Crêperie. Walter’s picks:

1) Almond Milk Cappuccino from Lone Light Coffee. “Creamy, house-made almond milk, and espresso made to perfection. Now serving in two locations, one of them dangerously near to where I live.” 

2) Black Raspberry Kombucha from Blue Ridge Bucha. “So many places around Charlottesville carry this, it’s amazing. I like to get it on tap at Rebecca’s Natural Food, or drink my own stock that I carry at the Flat. I love every single one of their flavors, but this is my current favorite. The Blueberry Hops is also amazing.”

3) Cake of the Day at Moon Maiden’s Delights. “There’s nearly always a new flavor of amazing, plant-based cake awaiting at this cute little bakery downtown, and a slice is always delicious and filling.” 

4) Vegan Pho from Vu Noodles. “The broth is rich and flavorful, and somehow so comforting. Usually available only on Tuesdays and Fridays, I believe.” 

5) Oysters at Public Fish & Oyster. “I love oysters, and they have a variety, some of them rather local, and all definitely delicious and fresh tasting. I loved being able to try so many different varieties: some delicate, sweet and buttery, some tasting like a salty storm on the high seas.” 

Millie Winstead

Millie Winstead, Director of Development for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Winstead’s picks:

1) Atun a La Parilla at MAS. “I would go to MAS any and every day. The menu changes all the time and everything they make is so good. But, one thing that I always include in my tapas choices is the tuna. It is perfectly cooked (rare) and is seasoned with just the right amount of grey sea salt.”

2) Fruit Focaccia at Albemarle Baking Company. “Another place I would visit every day, in my perfect world, is ABC. Our family’s Saturday morning would not be complete without a stop at Gerry’s. After a stroll through our city’s wonderful farmer’s market, we always visit ABC to get my fruit focaccia, a variety of pastries for the rest of the family, and a baguette for a future weekend meal.”

3) Watermelon Salad with Crab at Little Star. “This is a new find and I can’t wait to go back and have more. The flavors were unexpected – who would think to put those two things together? I’m so glad they did because the sweet and savory combination was perfect.”

4) Dealer’s Choice at Lost Saint. “This place feels special, kind of like you have to be from here to know it even exists. Tucked away within Tavern & Grocery, it is a perfect get-away with a friend or date. And, the bartenders know their business. Let them guide you and teach you, and sit back and enjoy.”

5) Weekly Soup from l’etoile Catering. “I miss having Mark at a physical location I can go whenever I want, but this is the next best thing (unless you want to invite me to a party you have him cater!). Working for the food bank, I travel throughout central and western Virginia. When I find myself passing through Crozet, I stop to see what Mark has put in his cooler on his porch, a.k.a. what will be my family’s dinner that night. I know it will be delicious.”

Matt Beck

Matt Beck of Oakhart Social. Beck’s picks:

1) Uni, Ankimo and Otoro Nigiri at TEN. “The quality of the fish and the temperature of the rice are just a few of the small details that make sushi extraordinary, and the crew at Ten always nails it. If I had to pick three pieces that they do exceptionally well I would always choose Uni, Ankimo and Otoro, but you really can’t go wrong regardless of what you order.”

2) Dealer’s Choice at Tavola. “Rebecca and Steve and the rest of the wonderful staff do an excellent job of serving delicious seasonal cocktails without unnecessary pretense. It’s always a pleasure to pick their brains. I generally get a Dealer’s Choice and let them have some fun.”

3) Bamboo Pork at Cafe 88. “It’s not on the regular menu, but if it’s being run as a special it’s a must get. A delicious stir fry of pork, bamboo shoots, chilies and ginger. It’s probably one of my favorite lunches in town.”

4) Porky Things at Little Star. “I’ve tasted most of the menu, and everything is delicious and thoughtful and you should order it all. But, I always get charcuterie from Sylvanaqua. Chris from Sylvanaqua is raising and curing some excellent products. Try to save a little room for dessert though.”

5) Wednesday Night Bar Menu at Prime 109. “The price and ambiance on Wednesday night are pretty great. Eat a sandwich or another of the specials that they offer at the bar, listen to some live jazz, and order a cocktail, and you’re bound to have a good time.”

Jeff Bloem

Jeff Bloem, founder of Murphy & Rude Malting Co. Bloem’s picks:

1) Pork Milanese at Tavola. “What makes this dish so list-worthy is that I don’t even think it’s because of the pork. Don’t get me wrong, the pork is incredible – locally sourced, perfectly seasoned, breaded, and sautéed – but it’s the balance of the background of Meyer lemon, capers, Roma tomatoes, and sautéed arugula that makes you ponder ordering another one. And so consistent.”

2) Grilled Radicchio Salad (add Salmon) with Allagash FV13 at Beer Run. “This one is my victory set — one of those quick and simple but arm twisting go-tos for good moods. The acidity of the Flanders-esque farmhouse ale is a delicious contrast to the bite and richness of the salad. No FV-13? Sub Collaboration 29. Collaboration 29 offseason? Grab a Belgian from the hallway to the back bar, middle shelf.  Remember, you did good.”

3) Four-egg white Greek omelet, no bread, home fries with black coffee at Tip Top. “Before I opened the malt house I worked from home for nearly seven years. I didn’t get out much. Kid drop-offs were my commute and I used this favorite to stretch it out a bit while I was ‘driving home.’ Nothing fancy, but man, hits the spot. Regardless of what you order, go big and leave a 40% tip. Those guys and gals are the hardest working staff in town.”

4) Fried Bologna Sandwich at Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen. “I grew up on these things and while Miracle Whip (don’t hate, I’m a Midwestern transplant) would take it up a notch, they nail it here. I’m not sure anything Harrison Keevil touches lacks a component of back-home authenticity, but this one really makes me smile as I inhale it in my car before even turning it on.”

5) Egg & Chorizo Burrito at Sunoco on 5th Street Extended. “The back half of the Sunoco gas station on 5th Street Extended (across from Fifth St. Station development, next to Burger King, soon to go back to a Shell station) has long been utilized as a commercial kitchen for a small, often unknown, pop-up restaurant. This occasion is no different. I have no idea what the name of the Mexican place is that currently holds it down but it’s a gem.  Authentic, homemade, and cooked-to-order. There is La Michoacana and then there is this place.”

Jamie Barrett

Jamie Barrett of Bellair Farm. Barrett’s picks:

1) Shan City Chicken from Peter Chang’s.  “I love everything at Peter Chang’s but this dish is always part of my out-of-control take out order. Salty, spicy and perfectly crisped bits of chicken surrounded by chili peppers. I always try to taste just a little on the ride home and end up slopping the whole thing up by hand while I drive. It’s a spectacle.”

2) Cabrito Tacos Mexican Style with hot salsa from La Michoacana. “It’s so good and it’s hot enough to make me hiccup. I eat 4 of these on the ride back to the farm. See, there’s a theme.”

3) Bloody Mary at Hamiltons’. “This is my wife, Kelly’s, favorite Charlottesville restaurant. A Bloody Mary is like a whole farm season crammed into a glass with vodka and anyone who’s been through a farm season knows that a little vodka never hurt. It’s got the right amount of grit and pep without being over the top.”

4) Bellissima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s. “This is a farm crew favorite and on special occasions we’ll make the trek over there together, us and about ten pounds of Bellair dirt. We’re a motley crew but the folks at Dr.Ho’s have always treated us right.”

5) Creamed Spinach at Downtown Grille. “I’m a sucker for creamed spinach and I love the big booths at the bar here. My three girls and I like to sit in the booths and watch people walk on the mall. They love the Shirley Temples.”

Melissa Stefaniak

Melissa Stefaniak, founder of Single Baked Sweets. Stefaniak’s picks:

1) Cheeseburger at Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. “The ultimate comfort food to me is a simple, delicious cheeseburger and Jack Brown’s does not disappoint. Soft bun, melty cheddar cheese and wagyu beef patty – nothing else needed. Add a side of their Jack Brown’s sauce and it becomes a new addiction. Pairs well with a draft beer and good company.”

2) Chocolate Almond Croissant at MarieBette. “I’m not even a huge almond fan, but this pastry is one of my favorites in the world. Classic flaky, buttery croissant with a surprisingly sweet almond paste and chocolate center, topped with powdered sugar. It’s divine, indulgent and oh so sophisticated.”

3) S’mores Bread Pudding at Oakhart Social. “Not even sure where to begin to describe my own surprise, delight and gleeful satisfaction with this dessert. Nothing like what you would expect and 100 times better than your wildest dream. It’s deconstructed bread pudding. Puffy, fried dough, meets chocolate, meets brûléed marshmallow peaks and puppy chow crunch. Don’t order one to share, you’ll regret it – order one just for you because it’s so worth it.”

4) Chicken Wings at Doma. “You can get them in a variety of yummy flavors, and I recommend you order at least 20 in a variety of sauces. All are delicious, crispy and crave-able. Stay also for their dolsot bibimbap – full of fresh flavors and crispy rice.”

5) Orange Wines at Tavola. “Great atmosphere and great food, but what I love is their wine selection. If you haven’t tried one of their orange wines, it’s a must. Not only is orange on brand with UVa (wahoowa), but it’s a unique take on classic varietals. Perfect for sipping and enjoying the local scene.”

Maya Hood White

Maya Hood White, Early Mountain Vineyards Associate Winemaker and Viticulturalist. White’s picks:

1) Patatas Rancheras at Little Star. “I know I will love just about any (vegetarian) dish that Ryan Collins at Little Star makes, but the Patatas Rancheras is one of my absolute favorites. It’s a tad spicy from the ranchera sauce, with the aioli cooling it down and the potatoes are always perfectly cooked and crispy. I don’t think I could ever eat at Little Star without ordering this.”

2) Marinara D.O.C. at Lampo. “I grew up vegetarian and my mother is a vegan, so I’m pretty familiar with scanning menus to see what I can eat. Aside from the many delicious reasons to love Lampo, it is one of the places that you can easily have an amazing vegan meal without even realizing it. Their Marinara D.O.C. pizza has notably few and straightforward ingredients, but they come together in the most perfect way.”

3) Fried and Raw Brussels Sprouts (made vegetarian) at Brasserie Saison. “The first time I ate at Brasserie Saison, I ordered this salad, and have ordered it nearly every time since. The texture of the raw and fried leaves is great, but what really makes the salad is the sun-dried tomato marmalade. It is slightly sweet to balance out the acid of the tomatoes and a great complement to the earthy Brussels sprouts.”

4) Tofu Red Curry with Broccoli at Thai 99 II. “Thai 99 II, luckily for me, is on my way home, so it is definitely my most frequented takeout spot, with the Tofu Red Curry being my favorite dish.  I’m somewhat obnoxiously picky about bell peppers, and they are are always very accommodating about swapping out the peppers with broccoli. Their tofu is always light and fluffy, and the curry wonderfully rich and concentrated.”

5) Rinse and Re-Beet at The Juice Laundry. “I’ve always loved carrot juice, but the addition of beet and cucumber makes this my favorite at The Juice Laundry. Their juices are cold pressed, organic and very flavorful. If I feel a cold coming on, I’ll grab one of their fire shots and drink it with this juice and keep my fingers crossed.”

Lee Welch

Lee Welch, FOH Manager of Revolutionary Soup. Welch’s picks:

1) Quad Shot Iced Mocha made with Old World Espresso from Shenandoah Joe. “If I want to have the most productive day possible, it starts here. The coffee is always delicious, consistent, and highly effective. Wonderful and inviting staff in a cozy setting.”

2) Burrito del Dia at The Bebedero. “Always a different burrito and always amazing food complemented with inventive cocktails. The team behind the artistic collaboration that is The Bebedero strives to make each guest experience as beautiful as the atmosphere.”

3) Rib-Eye Steak & Cheese at Miller’s. “Some of my best memories are set on the patio of this ‘Oh-So-Charlottesville’ establishment with great friends, awesome food, and straightforward drinks. They shave the steak in house and serve it with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and jalapeños on an authentic Amoroso roll with melty white American cheese.”

4) Biscuits & Gravy at Barefoot Country Store. “Scottsville’s best kept secret is this quaint gem where you can enjoy a bottomless cup of coffee with the best biscuits and sausage gravy I’ve ever had. They locally source their ingredients, offer vegan/vegetarian options, and manage an inventory of antiquated toys, old fashioned candies, and even ammunition in their nostalgic shop.”

5) Apple Cider Donuts at Carter Mountain Orchard. ‘These mouth-watering donuts are as quintessentially Charlottesville as Marco & Luca’s and Bodo’s. It’s one of those things you miss dearly when you leave town and can’t get enough of when you come home.”

Laurel Bennett

Bennett’s picks:

1) Pappardelle Bolognese at Tavola. “If you haven’t had it, just go get it.”

2) Any Meal at Pico Wrap. “My most frequented restaurant. Any meal, make it your way. My vote for friendliest, too.”

3) Trout and ANY Two Sides at Maya. “Eat every bite. Makes me feel right at home with my southern roots.”

4) Grilled Sea Scallops at Duner’s. “They are always cooked to perfection. And there’s room for dessert.”

5) Brownie A La Mode at Continental Divide. “Confession: I often make a pit stop here just for dessert. Amen.”

Nikki Fayolle

Nikki Fayolle of Blue Ridge Pizza Co. and No Limits Smokehouse. Fayolle’s picks:

1) Tofu Soup at Monsoon Siam. “Monsoon is a must for me. The tofu soup and pad Thai are my faves. I honestly probably eat there too much, but I can’t help myself. The staff is always welcoming also.”

2) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light. “The Alley Light is a no brainer for that slamming cocktail list of theirs. My go-to is the Dealer’s Choice. I enjoy the surprise and delight element I get when I order it. It’s always on point and absolutely amazing.”

3) Honey Gelato from Splendora’s. “Splendora’s hits my sweet tooth every time, especially when she runs the honey flavor. I seriously wait until the season hits so I can stuff my face full of that gelato. If people wouldn’t judge, I’d probably rub it all over my face. Yeah, it’s THAT good.”

4) Red Hot Blues at Continental Divide. “Continental Divide is my numero uno for margaritas and the Red Hot Blues. You can never just have one of those margs, like EVER. I also love that the girls there always know that I love the goat cheese and forever ask for extra. (Love you P-nut and Margie).”

5) Sotol at The Bebedero. “The Bebedero is creeping up on my new fave list also. They carry this liquor called Sotol. We had it when we went to Austin in January and let me tell you, the stuff is awesome. They carry all sorts of it, and the bartenders there are incredibly knowledgeable.”

Amanda Welch

Amanda Welch of Grubby Girl. Welch’s picks:

1) Vegetable Tacos from Ignacio & Maria’s Mexican Tacos. “At the City Market and around town in their truck, I love their vegetable tamales and bean tacos, with everything and the hot sauce. It’s my favorite breakfast at City Market.”

2) Vegetarian Pho with tofu and vegetables at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House. “Comfort in a bowl!”

3) Oatmeal Crunch Bread from Albemarle Baking Company. “In our house, the staple bread is this Oatmeal Crunch. It’s perfect for sandwiches, for making toast with honey, all the things! I used to bake our own bread, but why bother when this is available?”

4) Truffle Chèvre from Caromont Farm. “Another market neighbor has my next weakness, Caromont Cheese. I love them ALL, but that truffle chèvre is the MOST.”

5) Petit Kouign Aman from MarieBette. “For when I really want to treat myself. I can’t pronounce it, so I just point. The caramel goodness and that little piece of fruit at the bottom are the perfect combination.”

Cheley Napoli

Cheley Napoli of The Bebedero. Napoli’s picks:

1) Wasabi Roll at TEN. “I love seafood, especially when it comes to sushi. The wasabi roll is always my go-to because I love tuna and spicy/hot foods. It’s the perfect amount of heat, especially when you pair it with a great cocktail to cool you off. This is one of my favorite places to visit regularly as the staff, ambiance, and food are always great.”

2) Pepper and Garlic Shrimp at Peter Chang’s. “Is my absolute favorite! The steamed snow peas, hot peppers, leeks, red bell peppers, and asparagus make it spicy, light, and earthy. I always feel good after that particular dish. I love the Nigori Cold Sake with it. Perfect combination.”

3) Vegetarian Omelette at Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar. “Commonwealth is one of the best places to go to brunch. I love Chef Shanesy’s new brunch menu. The vegetarian omelette (with a side of bacon) is one of my favorite brunch dishes. I like vegetables, but I am by no means a vegetarian, so it’s a great balance. Pair that with a Bloody Mary and you have a well-balanced meal.”

4) Smoked Chicken Wings at The Whiskey Jar. “I love The Whiskey Jar because I am a hard-core bourbon fan. I love trying the different varieties and being able to get flights. They also just started barreling their own bourbons with Elijah Craig, which is super cool. Their wings are the best wings in Charlottesville hands down. It’s great place to just chill and feel comfort.”

5) Braised Lamb Shank at The Bebedero. “I am not trying to be biased but The Bebedero is the most beautiful, and passionately driven restaurant I have ever been a part of. From River’s art, incredible bartending, and beautifully crafted cocktails, to Chef Kelvino’s gorgeous and delicious plates it is a place unlike any other. My favorite things from here are the mezcals, one of my favorites being the Del Maguey Pechuga, and chef’s Lamb Shank. I love lamb, and he knocks it out of the park. So tender, it falls right off the bone. Yum. I also enjoy a scorpion shot every now and then. Feels like vacation whenever I am there.”

Whitney Foster

Whitney Foster, co-GM of Brasserie Saison. Foster’s picks:

1) The Hungry Norman at The Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. “Unless you arrive when they unlock the door, you’re probably going to have to wait for a seat at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. It is worth it. The Hungry Norman is such a treat. It combines blackberry jam, sausage links, eggs, and goat cheese to create this mouthwatering dish that just melts in your mouth.”

2) Branzino at Brasserie Saison. “The Fish of the Day on Brasserie’s dinner menu always hits the spot. More specifically, the branzino. They open up the branzino and lay it skin side down on the grill so the skin gets crispy but the meat stays tender.  If that wasn’t enough, they pair it with seasonal vegetables and purees, such as a cauliflower or beet puree, combined with grilled veggies, sometimes pistachio butter, sometimes a fennel/arugula salad.  The combinations they come up with are unique and always take your mouth on an adventure.”

3) Late Night Burger at C&O. “There are only a select few restaurants that serve late night food, let alone amazing late night food. The C&O burger is a sigh of relief after a long day at work, and it’s affordable. Bless them.”

4) Iced Almond Milk Latte at Lone Light Coffee. “Lone Light recently started roasting their own beans, which is badass. They’ve always made their own almond milk. Their creamy nutty espresso paired with their almond milk is the best way to get each morning started, no sweetener required.”

5) Anything Pork at Brasserie Saison. “I recently experienced the best pork I’ve ever had. Followed immediately by the best pork I’ve ever had. Straight off the pig’s head and into my hand, Chef Devin knows what he’s doing. Try any pork on the menu. I dare you.”

Eva Solano

Eva Solano, sous chef of Little Star. Solano’s picks:

1) Tacos de Lengua at El Tako Nako. “It is not hard to know why I love tacos. Tacos are a part of my heritage and roots. As well, this food truck is open until midnight and is convenient. After working a long night in the restaurant, I want to get something fast and yummy.”

2) Ankimo at TEN Sushi. “For some reason, I like to eat liver. The technique used at TEN Sushi when poaching the liver and preparing the components that form the dish work well. It is a very unique and yet simple dish.”

3) Pollo at Al Carbon. “As a working mother, when I was not able to cook for my family, I would always get the pollo from here. My fiance always jokes that I cook all day for other people, but am not able to cook for my own family. We love this pollo. It reminds us of the times we lived in NYC and had all the cultural influences. This pollo is prepared in a traditional Peruvian style and is a family favorite.”

4) Menudo at Super Amanecer. “If you ever want to recover from a hangover, this stew made from cow’s stomach and red chili pepper can save you! This is again very traditional after a long celebration. It reminds me of what my mom would make after holiday parties.”

5) Mole at Little Star. “The first time Chef Ryan said we were going to make mole, I was concerned as it is one of the most difficult, signature Mexican sauces. Sometimes it can have more than twenty different ingredients and takes us two days to create. I have been a chef for fine dining French, Japanese, and Italian cuisines, and I am so excited to make such an authentic sauce from Mexican cultures that is used for celebrations. When I tasted it, I was impressed with the results. Chef makes me proud to show Charlottesville that Mexican ingredients and techniques can compare with fine-dining cuisines of the world.”

Nick Leichtentritt

Nick Leichtentritt, owner of Milli Coffee Roasters and Sicily Rose. Leichtentritt’s picks, as remembered by his firends:

1) Lamb Carpaccio at Fleurie. “A couple of years ago when I worked at Fleurie, I’d be sitting near the window in the afternoon, preparing for service. Every day around 3:30, I’d see Nick walk by with Jesse on his shoulders. Once in a while, they’d come back for a snack when we opened for dinner. Even as a 2 year old, Jesse was a foodie. His favorite thing on the Fleurie menu? Lamb Carpaccio with Haricot Vert and Cumin Oil! (My child pretty much only eats mac n cheese). It was precious watching Nick and Jesse enjoy that dish. Another time, Nick had arranged for us to prepare Lobster Bisque at three different temperatures— too hot, too cold, and just right, to really drive home the Goldilocks story Jesse has just learned.” — Erin Scala

2) Beef Cheeks at The Alley Light.  “In the last year or so, most of my meals and discussions with Nick were when we were cooking together. He was one of my group of ‘wine guy’ friends and we met quite often on the weekends to cook, eat and drink great wine. But I remember first getting to know Nick, too. He was one of the first regulars at The Alley Light when it opened. He came all the time, often alone. I loved to watch him eat because when he really loved a dish it was like a religious moment for him. He would take a bite and lean back a little and sort of close his eyes in awe and nod and then simply hover over the dish for a while before slowly going back to it. If you stopped him to ask if everything was alright he would pause before saying, ‘This is incredible, I can’t believe it.’ Once, in our first three months, Jose’s entire kitchen staff called out sick so I was going to cook with Jose and it was going to be barely doable with just the two of us. I had only just gotten to know Nick, but when he came in early for a drink and I told him what was happening, he asked if I would like for him to cook with us and I said yes. The three of us put out a flawless service, and I actively pursued him as a friend ever since. I remember the beef cheeks dish as one that was particularly amazing to Nick. Jose made it quite often. It had a rich and wonderful sauce that he would spend days on. One couldn’t help but be carried away by the dish, and Nick understood every nuance. He was one of the few people who really took the time to appreciate what went into the food. We will miss him dearly.”- Will Richey

3) Grilled Octopus at Parallel 38. “‘Let’s try to cook octopus,’ he said as he mopped up the last bit of sauce with hot bread freshly made from the oven of Parallel 38. Exotic, challenging, and high-risk high-reward all fit Nick. He introduced me to the grilled octopus at Parallel 38. We talked about it as a metaphor for how we like to function. We shared it carefully. Thoughtfully. Perhaps selfishly. That plate is a simple but balanced dish that makes a difficult thing look easy. We cooked a few octopuses together at my house with great joy and a grand sense of mischief reminiscent of boys trying to catch fish with their hands. But we came back to Justin Ross to understand octopus, And with each bite, try to understand ourselves a little more.” – Jake Busching

4) Amari at Brasserie Saison. “We ate decadent, over-the-top meals together that themselves are worthy of an entry, but I keep coming back to the quiet, the end of the meal, the end of the night, the contemplative moments we shared over a glass of something bitter. Late nights on the patio, talking about life, talking about family, complaining about the industry, complaining about how much we loved the industry, those are the moments that I carry with me. Nick loved all sorts of amari, loved how the various flavors came together to become more than the sum of their parts and that’s how I’ll remember him: father, husband, community pillar, friend. Much more than the sum of his parts.” – Will Curley

5) Squid Ink Risotto with Chorizo at Fleurie. “Nick and I met about ten years ago in Tidewater Virginia where we shared a similar job and a love for food and wine. Over the years we’ve shared wonderful meals and fellowship. Whether it was a home made paella, fresh Chesapeake oysters from probably every raw bar between Va Beach and Charlottesville, or four courses at a fine restaurant, I knew we would be enjoying a great meal and lots of laughs whenever we got together. A few weeks ago, I took my family skiing at Wintergreen. We decided to stay the night in Charlottesville rather than up on the mountain. I’m so glad we did. I called Nick to see if he wanted to meet up. It was Saturday night of restaurant week. Everywhere was packed. Nick seemed to know everyone in the Charlottesville food scene. He managed to get us a 10 pm seating at the bar at Fleurie. Nick recommended the first course, a squid ink risotto with chorizo, paired perfectly with a wine by the fine staff at Fleurie. Our last supper together was a memorable one. Eat, drink and be merry my friend.” – Javier Fuentes

Megan Kiernan

Megan Kiernan, Product Development Chef of Feast! and founder of the roaming dinner series Forage. 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 Ciderfrom 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!”

Ashley Malcolm

Ashley Malcolm of Malcolms Market Garden.  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.”

Carolyn Stromberg Leasure

Carolyn Stromberg Leasure of Righteous Cheese. Leasure’s picks:

1) Cold Brew Latte (made with cashew milk & cold brew coffee) from The Juice Laundry. “I really appreciate good coffee, and I get to feel like I’m being healthy when I drink this. Unlike a lot of juice places, The Juice Laundry is 100% organic, which I appreciate. Their Cold Brew Latte is creamy and nutty with a hint of cinnamon and a great start to the day.”

2) Fried Chicken and Onion Rings at Mel’s Cafe. “We cook at home almost every night, but when we are too tired and want something fast, it’s often Mel’s fried chicken. Even with takeout, it stays crispy, the onion rings are the apex of the genre, and even the breast meat is juicy. Though, of course, the best way to eat it is at Mel’s, with chicken straight out of the fryer, while chatting with the folks behind the counter.”

3) Hot and Numbing Shredded Tofu Skins at Peter Chang’s. “I love to order tofu when dining out, since making it at home never turns out quite as good. The Hot and Numbing Shredded Tofu Skin almost has the texture of al dente pasta: thinly shredded, toothsome pieces of tofu skin seasoned with chili pepper, chili oil, sesame oil, fresh cilantro and a host of other spices and seasonings. While not the spiciest dish at Peter Chang’s (which means you can eat more!), it leaves a pleasant, buzzy tingling on your lips. Yum.”

4) Eggs and Pancake Special at Tip Top Restaurant. “With a two-year old toddler/tyrant living in our house, my chef-husband and I don’t get out often for dinner, but we take breakfast seriously. I am a bit particular (read: annoying) about my eggs, and prefer them over-medium, apparently the hardest way to cook them. The number of times my eggs are cooked properly – with firm whites and a soft yolk – at most restaurants is few, but the kitchen at Tip Top has never disappointed. Eggs are always perfect, and there’s nothing wrong with the pancakes and bacon (ordered extra-extra-crispy for me). The relaxed dining room is bustling but it doesn’t take too long for a table, they have crayons for my kid, and the staff is the perfect mix of gregarious, surly, and at the top of their game.”

5) Budino at Lampo. “I love absolutely everything at Lampo, and my standard order is the kale salad, a cheese and charcuterie board, and the Margherita DOC pizza. The perfect dish for me, though, is the chocolate budino. Chocolate and olive oil are one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations. The budino is silky and rich with a savory drizzle of olive oil, a salty, crunchy, caramel-y top, and nutty crushed hazelnuts, all of which come together for an ideal balance of flavors and textures.”

Hannah Deal

Hannah Deal of Hannah’s Homemade. Deal’s picks:

1) Roasted PEI Mussels at Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar. “I have eaten just about every dish at Orzo and while they are all incredible, their mussels appetizer is one of the best they’ve got. While I can no longer consume dairy as of 2017, I still dream about this dish and used to order it nearly every time I went. As a side note, I studied for a semester in Belgium (a place known for mussels) and couldn’t find any as good as Orzo’s. If that isn’t a testament to how good they are, I don’t know what is.”

2) Crab Soup at The Local. “Crab is a favorite food of mine, and since my family frequents the beach for vacations, I have had more than my fair share of crab soup over the years. I still remember where I sat when I took my first bite of The Local’s crab soup. It manages to be rich and creamy while not taking attention away from the most important ingredient; crab. As a bonus, you don’t feel like you’ve gained ten pounds after eating it. Similarly to the last dish, I can’t eat this one anymore, but I will still recommend it to anyone.”

3) Green Curry at Thai 99. “You can’t really go wrong when ordering green curry, but you can end up with a mediocre curry that you’ll forget about the next day. Thai 99’s is anything but mediocre and contains a blast of flavor and spice in each spoonful. As a bonus, this one works for all of the gluten-free and dairy-free folks out there! I could eat this every day during the winter, and then some.”

4) The Mayweather at Roots. “Roots is my go-to lunch place if I’m out working all day. I have eaten their Mayweather bowl so many times that the total is probably embarrassing, but their food is delicious and leaves me satisfied each time I go. I do make a few substitutions to create a dairy-free and gluten-free dish, but this is easy to do, and the staff are always so friendly. If you’re reading this and work at Roots, thanks for feeding me!”

5) Adam’s Apple at Revolutionary Soup. “This is the best sandwich I have ever had, period. Rev Soup takes some of the best, classic ingredients such as bacon, goat cheese, and apple, and puts them in between two slices of locally made bread slathered with homemade garlic aioli and local apple butter. You really can’t get better that! And while this sandwich is not allergen-friendly, most of their options are, which makes it a great place for just about anyone.”

Sarah Sargent

Sarah Sargent of The Catering Outfit. Sargent’s picks:

1) Nutter Butters from Found. Market. “When I discovered Found. Market on the other side of our parking lot, I was beyond thrilled. And I started shopping for larger pants. If you haven’t been before, you must check it out for lunch. The quiche of the day or the turkey & muenster on house focaccia with pickled onions are my favorites, followed of course with that darn, dream worthy Nutter Butter. I’ve known the owners of Found. Market for quite a while, as chef Walter has bought lamb from their family farm (Retreat Farms) for years. The entire family (I think!) owns and operates this thoughtful market  and bakery. Son Elliot makes the most amazing treats, like apple crumb coffee cake and chocolate cake with chocolate merlot ganache icing . . . Are you still reading this, or driving there now?!”

2) HAY! Straws at Continental Divide. “First and foremost, I’m a California girl. A couple years ago, San Diego county passed a law making people pay ten cents for a plastic bag at local retailers, encouraging the community to use reusable bags and kick that nasty plastic to the curb. This past year they passed a measure outlawing straws in restaurants. We’ve all had that uncomfortable, soggy, wet, paper straw in our mouths at some point and I think we can all agree – it’s no fun. So when I wrapped my lips around the HAY! Straw poking out of my house margarita at Continental Divide the other night – I was thrilled. Plus Continental Divide has my other California staple: good Mexican food. It took a minute, but I’ve officially embraced Tex- Mex instead if wishing it was Baja Med. The spinach and mushroom enchiladas with smoked gouda are always on point, and you can’t lose when ordering the carnitas. Throw in a house margarita with that wonderful sea-turtle-lovin’ HAY! Straw, and you got yourself a fiesta.”

3) Witchcraft at Tavola’s Cicchetti Bar. “Steve Yang has made such a lovely cocktail menu at the cicchetti bar. It is one of my favorite places to just take a breath after work on a weekday, especially a Monday. Many of us in the industry take Mondays off, but not all of us. After I survive a Monday like a boss, I like to slip around the corner for a slow drink and bite. I’m not always a gin fan, but the liquore strega, sesame falernum, house tonic, and pretty lime garnish makes for a very revivifying mouthful. I love the cicchetti bar’s food specials too. The other night I enjoyed polenta fries with a spicy marinara. It is definitely my spot to experience la dolce far niente.”

4) Flaming Boodie Sauce from Hip Hop Hill. “If you like hot sauce, this is your lover. I like me some hot wings now and then, but this honey hopenero hot sauce is one of my favs because it also doubles as a marinade. Last summer I spent many nights grilling under the stars, and this sauce made it onto a lot of my local chicken and steak. I also spent a good part of my summer trying new ways to use hops in the kitchen, like popping a few fresh nuggets into my homemade dill pickles. Hip Hop Hill is a hop farm out in Free Union (hence the honey “hop”enero) that is out to prove that hops aren’t just for beer. The Hill also happens to be the home of a fully licensed commercial kitchen and bottling warehouse. Owner Alessandro Valmarama has teamed up with Mad Hatter Foods, offering them a permanent home bottling facility, and I can’t wait to see what else these guys have in the works. You used to have to ‘know a guy’ to try this stuff, but luckily you can now pick up a bottle at Beer Run, JM Stock Provisions, or The Shebeen.”

5) Margherita D.O.C. at Lampo. “I know, it’s not that exciting. And there have been several late night, wine fueled arguments over the D.O.C. vs ‘regular’ margherita pizza–can you even taste the difference? My vote is, totes. And if there were ever a find to get excited about, it’s Lampo pizza. I don’t always have that much time to eat out, yet it’s one of my favorite things to do. Every time I get a night out with my girlfriends I want to go to Lampo. Something about sitting at a tiny table right off the sidewalk on a boisterous patio, sipping delicious Italian wine, picking at marinated olives, and giving ourselves the ‘go ahead’ to eat an entire loaf of bread before eating an entire pizza all to ourselves (it only comes in one size). Reminds me of vacations in Roma, where nights are long and the wine is endless. It’s just a perfect night out in my book.” 

Stephanie DeVaux

Stephanie DeVaux, of The Alley Light and Holmes Dinner Club. DeVaux’s picks:

1) Tamarind Margarita at Milan. “Though I’m generally attracted to a more bitter profile when ordering cocktails, the Tamarind Margarita at Milan remains my most marvelous exception. It’s a wonderful balance of sweet and sour and provides an ultra-refreshing respite to some of the heat from my favorite Indian dishes there.”

2) La Chicana Burger at The Bebedero. “I have a thing for burgers, and after a personal, multi-year-long journey of citywide consumption, I really do have to settle on the La Chicana Burger at The Bebedero as the top of my list. It just gives me everything I want in a burger: locally sourced beef from Timbercreek, just enough spiciness without being overwhelming, lots of fat (in the form of guacamole and a super creamy mayo), acidic pickled veg to balance it out, and a generous dose of cheese.”

3) Mr. Rech at The Alley Light. “I may be biased since I’ve also worked in Chef Robin’s kitchen, but the Mr. Rech objectively remains the best dessert I’ve ever eaten in Charlottesville. Two dacquoise cookies surround a hazelnut semifreddo and the entire thing is drenched in hot chocolate sauce. It is the most elevated ice cream sandwich in town, and hands down the most delicious.”

4) Reserve Wine Pairing at Fleurie. “Most people already know that Fleurie is French fare at its best, but what I find even more standout than their food alone is its added nuances alongside the perfectly paired beverage. The reserve wine pairing option with their tasting menu is nothing less than a transformative experience, which I think most wine pairing programs try to be, but few actually succeed. In this case, the wine is excellent and the food is excellent, but together they change so much in their depth and intensity in the most stunning ways.”

5) Two Poached Eggs with Home Fries and Toast at Tip Top Restaurant. “There are a seemingly unlimited number of amazing breakfasts in Charlottesville, but I never crave anything like I crave a classic diner-style breakfast, so Tip Top is a frequent stop on my weekly breakfast rotation. It’s exactly what you expect it to be, so it’s partly the casual consistency I love most, but it’s also the buzzing, no-nonsense atmosphere there on weekend mornings. I will unabashedly push my breakfast partner into getting the biscuits and sausage gravy (so I can steal a bite), but my tried-and-true is the classic: two poached eggs with home fries and toast with butter.”

Ryan Davidson

Ryan’s picks:

1) Parker House Rolls at Prime 109. “When I go to a restaurant, I always like it when they have bread. But, Prime 109’s Parker House Rolls are not just ordinary bread. You can smell them coming from the other side of the restaurant. And when you get them you can’t stop eating them. We always end up ordering a second one! They are warm and have a nice salty taste when eaten with butter. They are also almost as good at home! And, Prime 109 is the place where I’m going today for my birthday!”

2) Fried Chicken with Waffles and a Vanilla Milkshake at Smoked Kitchen & Tap. “Chicken, waffles, and syrup. There are so many flavors and I like how they fit together. Smoked is also where I had my first milkshake. I love vanilla, and when I heard vanilla ice cream was in that milkshake, I was really excited! Their milkshakes are creamy, sweet and, best of all, taste exactly like vanilla! I’ve had more milkshakes, but that one is still my favorite! Their chicken always comes out nice and hot, and the waffles freshly made. It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s totally worth it!”

3) Lumpia from Little Manila. “Ever since I was young, my brother and I would go to the market on Saturdays. And every Saturday, my brother would get what he called ‘egg rolls’ from Little Manila. Then he introduced them to me and I loved them. They have great flavors on their own, but even better in the sauce.”

4) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light. “Sometimes after swimming at ACAC, I like to go to The Alley Light for a mocktail. Every time I go, Micah always makes a different one for me. But, the parts I like most are the fruity flavors and the tiki glasses.”

5) Kale Caesar at Chopt.  “After a soccer game, for me, the best thing to eat is a Kale Caesar from Chopt. I love salad, not only because it’s so healthy, but because of how many different types there are. My favorite by far is the Kale Caesar because I love kale and the dressing they use. I also think that one bonus is how they chop it. They chop it up so small, so that everything is mixed together.”

Marijean Oldham

Marijean Oldham, author of the 100 Things to Do in Charlottesville Before You Die. Oldham’s picks:

1) Meatless Bolognese at Prime 109. “When I tell people a steakhouse is one of my new favorite restaurants, they are extremely surprised, because I don’t eat meat. And, while I could make a meal of a cocktail and Parker House rolls, the bolognese is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.”

2) Nachos at Beer Run. “Get the nachos your way, with meat, beans or both, add extra jalapenos, and avocado if you like. They get a highlight in a chapter of my book. They’re that good.”

3) Truffled Mushroom Ragout at The Local. “It’s possible I’d eat a truffled shoe, I love the flavor so much, but this dish with the house made fettucine, white truffle oil, dozens of local mushrooms and a just-right amount of parmesan cheese is the standard order every time I’m at The Local.”

4) Tofu Caramelized Onions from Vu Noodles. “This is one of those dishes I crave on a regular basis. Mostly it’s as takeout through the tiny window shop called The Spot on 2nd Street, to be eaten on a park bench if its nice or back at my desk if I’m busy. (Vu Noodles has a second location at The Jefferson School). Vegetarians crave umami, the category of taste that exists outside of sweet, sour, salt, and bitter. It’s hard to get when you don’t eat meat but the combo of rich caramelized onion, the texture of the tofu, and the noodles gets right to heart of that hunger spot.”

5) Deviled Egg Dip with Savory Waffles and Crispy Potatoes at Brasserie Saison. “I’m not ashamed to admit I had this dish two days in a row last winter. It is comfort food wrapped in a snuggly blanket. Next time I order it, I might even share.”

Sarah Humphrey

Sarah Humphrey of Fellini’s. Humphrey’s picks:

1) English Muffins from The Bread Basket. “Ginny from The Bread Basket has a lot of fans. She is particularly known for her beautifully twisted baguettes which are featured in several restaurants. But have you tried her English muffins?  Heavens to Betsy!  They have the same glutinous, dense quality as some of her other breads, and are slightly salty, and just wonderful.  I adore the whole wheat version. My husband and I have used them in the past for brunch, and they are a fantastic foundation for all sorts of Eggs Benedict dishes.  They make a great egg sandwich.  They are perfect for big, gloppy burgers because they stand up to all the juices and goo without breaking down like brioche. And I love them with just a little unsalted butter and blackberry jam.”

2) Almond Pave from Patisserie Torres. “I love most almond desserts, but this is my new favorite.  It’s made with cake soaked in almond syrup, and the interior is light and fluffy but soooo soft and moist. The exterior is slightly crackly, with almond cream coated in sugar and sliced almonds.  t’s a sweet pastry, for sure, but not cloyingly so. It’s more decadent and less messy than an almond croissant. This new patisserie has a lot of gems and I’m excited to have them here!”

3)  Chicken Liver Mousse (or any appetizer) at Petit Pois. “I mean, I’d be content to sit inside or outside of this charming restaurant with a glass of sparkling wine and just eat Albemarle Baking Co. baguette and butter. The service is always perfect.  And the appetizers!  If they have steak tartare available, order it!  It is sublime.  The French Onion Soup is nearly over the top, it’s so thick and rich and flavorful. The mussels are always plump and perfectly cooked and there’s a ton of mirepoix left in the bowl for you to spoon up. The escargots are exactly what you’d hope for, bathing in butter with a generous amount of parsley and garlic.  I have to get them almost every time I’m there.  My favorite might, however, be the chicken liver mousse.  It’s served with crostini, but it’s so rich I prefer it with plain baguette.  The mouse is gorgeously seasoned with cognac and it’s impossibly smooth and refined,  It’s practically a condiment.  Have you tried it on corn on the cob?  Seriously, I brought some home and it was awesome. Sorry, Chef.”

4)  A tie (Thai! no pun intended!) between Yum Woon Sen and Guay Tiew
Tom Yum at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House. “This is my favorite cuisine, and my favorite Thai place in town. I cannot decide between these two dishes, but I feel that both of them are often overlooked. For appetizers, people gravitate toward fried items or fresh rolls, but Yum Woon Sen is a great cellophane noodle salad. It strikes the perfect balance or sour, sweet, and spicy, with ground pork, cilantro, red onions, peanuts, and fish sauce. I love it hot, cold, or room temperature. My other choice is a Thai noodle soup.  It is so, so elegant. If you wanna be really cool, ask for sen mee instead of the rice noodles. This broth is pretty sweet, so I add a lot of sambal and jalapenos in vinegar. It’s great with meat, but I also enjoy it vegan with fresh (not fried) tofu and vegetarian broth, and I add extra veggies. Almost nothing makes me happier.”

5) Chocolate Truffle Torte at Duner’s. “Pastry Chef Linda Steiner is amazing, and Duner’s is so lucky to have her. Everything she makes blows me away. This dessert is not always on the menu, but it can be found fairly often. It is a great gluten-free dessert option to those who are tired of crème brulee. It’s super rich and fudgy, like the interior of a chocolate truffle. The best part, really, is the crust–it’s all nuts and I’m wild about it.  There’s a touch of cinnamon which really elevates this torte. Duner’s serves it with whipped cream, berries, crème anglaise, and raspberry coulis, but all you really need is two bites of the torte. I can’t rave about it enough.  If you’re full from dinner, get a slice to go.”

Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca Edwards of Tavola Cichheti Bar’s. Edwards’ picks:

1) Wedge Salad at Oakhart Social. “I walk into Oakhart and I’m immediately in my happy place. Most of the time I’m there with my coworkers to get drinks after a Saturday night shift, but when I do get in there at normal people dinner hours, the wedge salad is an absolute must. The combination of the creamy poppy seed dressing with the everything bagel spice is heaven when paired with the pickled red onion and the crunch of baby gem lettuce. My fiancé, Steve, is essentially a carnivore and even he consistently craves this salad, so this dish is kind of a miracle.”

2) K.I.S.S. Caprese at Ivy Provisions. “As a vegetarian in a super meat-loving town, I eat A LOT of caprese sandwich variations. The K.I.S.S. Caprese is the one I consistently crave—even though I sometimes eat it multiple times in one week! Their fresh mozzarella is buttery and melts in your mouth, and it perfectly contrasts with the bitter kick of the arugula. I like to add avocado; it makes for a messy and delicious lunch feast.”

3) Vesper Martini at Lost Saint. “Colin and his team have a wonderful cocktail menu all around, but one of my favorite aspects of this place is their huge foundation of classic cocktails. Vespers have kind of fallen out of style in recent years (maybe because they’re shaken instead of stirred) but as far as martinis go they’re my absolute favorite. Boozy yet deceptively smooth, a Vesper is always a great end to a long bar shift. I usually leave the gin choice up to Colin—he almost always has a new product I’m excited to try.”

4) Burrata and Artichoke Ravioli at Tavola. “This one might be cheating because it’s a special and Chef Dylan only runs it once every few months, but I’m including it because this is truly one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. (I’m not the only one—my mom has me text her every time it’s on the specials board!) House-made ravioli stuffed with burrata cheese and artichokes, topped with truffle butter, roasted artichokes, grana padano and chives. It’s a dish that reads as incredibly rich, but it ends up being decadent yet light at the same time. Paired with a glass of Catarratto, every bite is an absolute dream.”

5) Tofu and Veggie Drunken Noodles at Pad Thai. “This is another one I’ll sometimes order multiple times a week. When I eat Thai food I usually prefer a sinus-clearing level of spice, and this dish definitely delivers. The noodles are cooked perfectly and there are a generous variety of veggies to add crunch. Definitely my favorite Thai food in town!”

Bridget Meagher

Bridget Meagher of Catbird Kitchen. Meagher’s picks:

1) Skillet Roasted Mussels at Tavola. “I’m not the first person to say these guys have the corner on quality mussels and a la minute preparation. The simplicity of the ingredients belies the pure magic as they come together with high heat, technique and timing. I wish it weren’t so hard to get a table.”

2) Ham Biscuit at J.M. Stock Provisions. “As a New Orleanian by birth with deep SW LA roots, I’m kind of skeptical about guys in Virginia taking the leap into tasso, of all things. It’s sad to say, but so many folks just don’t get Cajun charcuterie right, but J.M. Stock has done it. Not only are the smoky flavors spot on, the quality of the cut puts it into premium category. And shaved onto that warm biscuit—it is heavenly.”

3) Fried Oysters with Aioli at Duner’s. “Long before I met and got to know the talented Laura Fonner, Duner’s was our go-to for fried oysters – plump bivalves, perfectly breaded and fried. In LA (that’s Louisiana not the other LA), fried oysters are a daily staple and these can compete with the best. Since Duner’s is only 5 minutes from our little farm, this is neighborhood comfort food at its best. But now I’m looking at her Parmesan Bread French Toast, Steak, and Tomato Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc-yum! Maybe she might consider using Vahotcha Sriracha for that sauce?”

4) Local Rabbit, Andouille & Chipotle Étouffée, Dirty Rice, Crispy Crawfish Tails, Fried Okra at Junction. “Ok, so I’m on a Gulf Coast roll here. Melissa creates magic with any dish, but smothered rabbit is a favorite of mine and this dish really shines.”

5) Shenandoah, Light Roll, and Baguette from Albemarle Baking Co. “To me, these are some of the standouts in a solid line up of superior baked goods. The Shenandoah, with the pears, is just sublime. The baguette has been such a mainstay in town for so long that people might forget that there was a time when real baguettes were hard to come by, and Gerry changed all that. I’ll take one home to break and enjoy with my stash of Caromont Esmontian. The light roll, buttered and toasted on the flat top, rounds out one of the best burgers you’ll ever taste. Made with Seven Hills ground beef and doused with my Vahotcha BBQ Sauce, I call it The Catbirger.”

Natalie Siler

Natalie Siler, chocolate peanut butter ball maker. Siler’s picks:

1) Black Bean Nachos at Continental Divide. “On paper, they might not sound like anything out of the ordinary, but when you add the squeeze bottle of Wait a Minute sauce and one of Matt’s margaritas, it is unpretentious and wonderful. If I have room, one of the daily specials from Seven Hills never lets me down. I like to sit at the curve of the bar and come early.”

2) Italian Sub at Anna’s Pizza #5.  “I grew up in Charlottesville and many of my favorite dishes and spaces exist only in memory now, but 34 years later, the Italian Sub at Anna’s Pizza #5 has stayed happily identical to how I remember it tasting after a swim meet on a Wednesday night. A satisfying crunch, the tangy house dressing and one of the best beer pitcher deals in town. Don’t change, Anna.”

3) Honey Ginger Martini at Bang!. “This drink makes me think of my sister. Her name is Ginger and she lives in Austin, which is where I was first introduced to Tito’s Vodka. (My dad claims to have played cornhole with Tito himself). And, this drink is perfect for a kick in the pants to get you going for a show downtown. House pickles and sweet potato gnocchi always follow.”

4) Cheese from Caromont Farm and Our Lady of the Angels. “I’m a sucker for a cheese plate. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite one, but Pippin Hill and The Local come to mind. I’m always excited to see Caromont Farm on the menu. After my snuggle session with the goats last year, I always like to think I played some tiny part in making it taste so good. But I’m always looking for that bright red wax wheel that covers the gouda from of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. It’s made in the mountains near Crozet and if anyone is not sure what I might want as a gift, the two pound wheel will do just fine.”

5) Tuna Avocado Carpaccio at Now & Zen. “The first time I ordered this and the almost-table length salad was placed in front of me, I giggled like a small child. It hit all the marks for me. Protein. Spice. Greens. Texture. I always over order here, but I can never not get this salad.”

Della Bennett

Della Bennett of P L E N T Y. Bennett’s picks:

1) The Boss Wings with celery, Ranch, AND Blue Cheese at Wild Wing Cafe. “You can take the girl out of the wing joint, but you can’t take the wing joint out of the girl. To this day, The Boss wings are the only wings I’ll ever love, from the first job I ever had. At just shy of 5 feet tall, barely 18, ex-hostess turned only girl in the kitchen, I was slinging wings from the expo station. I think it was there that I learned to speak up and ask for what I wanted in life, which turns out, was equal parts boss wings on the fly AND respect from all the male cooks I looked up to. The Boss Wings are unlike any other wing you’ll find at WWC: marinated first, fried at least once, and then tossed in a top-secret spice blend while they’re still piping hot. That’s it. No sauce. A wing with no sauce? Trust me on this one. And I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or what, but I’ve always liked the ranch and blue cheese here.”

2) Cavoletti Di Bruxelles at Lampo“So, I guess I’m the girl who prefers the green over everyone’s favorite pizza. I’ve tried to recreate the Lampo salads for my clients but nothing quite compares to the real thing. The Brussels sprout salad is my pick: shaved Brussels and fennel, perfectly dressed, and then piled high with a lot of fluffy pecorino and the perfect amount of crunchy hazelnuts. Dreamy. And while I’m at it, I’ll also have the kale one that has all the crispity crunchity things on top (I know, they’re parsnips). Double INSALATE, hold the PIZZE, and a high five for every single person working there because they’re some of the coolest in town and make me feel all warm and fuzzy from the moment I walk in.”

3) Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls at Feast!. “I don’t always get the chocolate covered peanut butter balls when I go to Feast!, but when I do, I get the 6-pack. Okay, and that first part was a lie. I always always always get them. Every single time. They’re made with love, with the perfect chocolate to peanut butter ratio, by my friend, Natalie. (aka @zoonybug) and they’re ONLY available at Feast!, unless you are lucky enough to run into her at a dinner party because she always brings them and no one is ever mad about it.”

4) Panang Curry at Tara Thai. “This is the only time that tofu is my protein of choice – maybe it’s because my girlfriend is vegetarian and I don’t have a choice, maybe because it’s fried, but most likely because it is the best, most absorbent vehicle for the SAUCE. The sauce in this dish literally makes me weak in the knees and I am not too good to turn the bowl up and slurp it. Beautiful as it is creamy, a coconut milk-based broth with fresh basil and tiny pieces of peanut and bell pepper. If I’m being honest, the tofu/veggies/rice are just for looks.”

5) Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social. “Maybe it’s the fourth Smokey Rose talking, but this dish is my #1, my ride or die. It’s as if ‘carrots + ranch’ came back to school after summer break, and now they’re all grown up, with a deep voice, and a rather sophisticated mustache. From the craggy bits of charred stem (newsflash, you need to be eating this part of the carrot if you aren’t already) down to the tender sweet carrot, perfectly charred and caramelized in the wood-burning oven. If you’re dining with me, I probably already helped myself to all of the candied pecans. My bad. Another set of high fives to the overall vibe here. They get it.”

Gisela Carradero Rivera

Gisela Carradero Rivera, Chef de Cuisine of Oakhurst Inn Cafe and Espresso Bar. Rivera’s picks:

1) Aburi Salmon at Now & Zen. “A former chef of mine introduced me to Now & Zen back in my Keswick days and I can’t seem to stop going back, definitely a go to. The Aburi Salmon was on of his favorites and my husband and I always get it. Never changes and it is always delicious.”

2) Num Tok and Thai Tea at Monsoon Siam. “Can’t ever go wrong with cilantro, red onions, basil and all of the amazing ingredients in the Num Tok dish. Or any dish at the restaurant. Definitely my favorite Thai spot in town.”

3) House Sausage Pizza at Oakhart Social. “Let’s be honest, I love every dish I’ve ever had at that place. I think they do an amazing job! But the one thing I always get is the house sausage pizza. Love it.”

4) Mary Lou Mule at The Alley Light. “I love Mules, but the Mule at The Alley Light has been number one for me since the first time I drank it.”

5) Chocolate Praline Crunch Cake at Albemarle Baking Company. “It’s amazing. I find any reason to try and buy it for someone’s birthday although I try to eat it by myself.”

Yvonne Cunningham

Yvonne Cunningham of Nona’s Italian Cucina. Cunningham’s picks:

1) Fried Chicken at Michie Tavern. “For a lil taste of 18th Century cooking, Michie Tavern is a must. Every time we have guests in town, we either begin/end with Michie Tavern of course before/after we have toured Jefferson’s Monticello. The staff is outfitted in 18th Century clothing to make your experience complete. From the home style southern fried chicken (best I have EVER tasted and they sell the breading so you can make it at home) to the homemade peach cobbler (to die for), Michie’s definitely does not disappoint. I love the buffet style set up, but if you would like more the staff kindly bring it to you. So get on over to the Ordinary for a lovely afternoon.”

2) In Bloom at Oakhart Social. “Just discovered this gem! The food and staff are amazing and I love the location. I am a people watcher! What really sticks out for me is the In Bloom cocktail. WOW, just WOW! So flavorful and delicious. I mean with lavender infused vodka, crème de violet, elderflower and rose water, how can you go wrong? A match made in heaven.”

3) The Birdwood at Bellair Market. “Now, Bellair Market and I go back a ways. Remember the derecho of 2012? We had been living in Crozet since 2007 and must have driven past Bellair thousands of times and just never stopped. Fast forward to late June of 2012. The derecho blasts through Crozet and Charlottesville, and we are without power for days, but miraculously Bellair Market had power and was feeding the masses. The line was out the door! I said what the heck lets see what the hype is about (plus we were starving) and stepped inside. It smelled like a bakery, as the ovens had been running non-stop baking fresh bread. I stood in line and ordered one of many choices they have of sandwiches. They also make homemade soups and salads are made fresh daily. I was so impressed. What I thought was a gas station/mini mart was actually an extraordinary kitchen, making amazing quality, healthy products. My favorite sandwich is the Birdwood, yup named for the golf course right across the street. French bread with a delicious herb mayo, Havarti cheese, roasted turkey breast, red onions, peppers and romaine lettuce. I have a difficult time deciding on which sandwich, I haven’t tried them all, but all I have tried have been phenom!”

4) Donuts at Chiles Orchard. “Very close to my home and my heart. I spend a lot of time at the orchard from late spring, picking strawberries; early summer, picking cherries; mid summer, picking peaches and hopes of grabbing some of those delicious figs they get from another local farmer; fall for apples, cider and of course pumpkins. Going out to Chiles Orchard is like visiting family. Lisa, one of the employees at Chiles, and I really struck up a friendship. She is great and is always so helpful and answers all my questions about the fruit that is in season. Favorite thing at Chiles: apple cider and peach donuts, yum!”

5) Artichoke Pate at Early Mountain Vineyards. “Not only is the drive beautiful as is the view of the mountains once you arrive, but the wines and food are scrumptious! My personal favorite is the artichoke pate, I know right? Creamy, garlicky and loaded with artichoke hearts, served with cornichons, roasted red pepper and New York style crackers. Oh My! Another favorite is the charred carrot salad: charred carrots and parsnips, feta dill crema, and arugula. The feta dill crema totally brings the salad together. Also, the Early Mountain Vineyard Rose, is light crisp and very satisfying, one of my favorite wines!”

Franesca Black

Francesca Black, chef of Continental Divide. Black’s picks:

1) Late Night Burger with a Salty Dog at C & O. “I usually get fixated on one aspect or one ingredient of a dish so, for me, an exceptional food experience happens when that fixation isn’t easy to discern — a temporary whirlwind sets in because it is that good. C&O late night does that for me. I am rarely free during regular dinner hours, so after work we sometimes head over for that divine burger. The crispy bun, the crunchy lettuce, that perfect first bite. It all becomes complete with their salty dog, the delicious classic with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a salted rim. It’s a great way to end a long work day.”

2) Masala Dosa from Desi Dosa with Turmeric Lassi from Planet Earth Diversified at the City Market. “If I can make it Saturday morning, the City Market rules. I love the Southern Indian vendor Desi Dosa. They focus on letting the intensity of their spices speak for themselves in simple dishes like the masala dosa, a thin stuffed pancake. Speaking of bold spice, the turmeric lassi from Planet Earth Diversified really wakes you up and goes great with spicy the food.”

3) Octopus Tempura and Hot Sake at Now & Zen. “Although hard to choose food favorites, octopus is absolutely up there, and when tempura fried, it’s a whole different level! I could eat Now & Zen’s octopus tempura everyday — it’s perfectly fried, salted and served with spicy mayo. Then with some hot sake — enough said.”

4) Half Chicken and Green Rice with Aji Sauce at Al Carbon. “I was definitely late to the game to visit Al Carbon on 29 but a friend got some take out one night, let me taste it, and I was instantly hooked. The flavors, especially in the homemade sauces, are unbelievable. I like to get the half chicken, break it up into the green rice and cover it in aji sauce, their medium, garlicky wonder.”

5) Fried Chicken and/or Meta’s Burger with Crushed Ice Soda at Mel’s Cafe. “Of all the delicious restaurants in Charlottesville, I think Mel’s might take the cake. Mel’s cures a bad day and makes a good day that much better. I can never choose between the chicken or Meta’s burger, both of which instantly fuel a tingling sensation even at the thought. Continental is so close, too –we are very proud and lucky to have them as our neighbors!”

Lisa Reeder

Lisa Reeder of Local Food Hub. Reeder’s picks remembered by her friends, husband, and son:

1) Rosso from Gabriele Rausse Winery. “Lisa loved and championed many things, but supporting local producers, celebrating outstanding craftsmanship, and enjoying a good red wine with a meal were all very high on her list. A perfect synthesis of these loves can be found in the wines of her friend, Gabriele Rausse. At a table with Lisa, a bottle of Cab Franc or Red blend was often accompanied by anecdotes of the friendship and meals shared with the Rausse family over the years.” – Chelsea Hoyt

2) Red Hot Blues at Continental Divide. “Lisa and I started working at the Divide in college but our love affair with the ‘careful top plate is hot’ delicacy and a side of ‘wait a minute’ continues. Lisa always ordered fresh tomatoes on top and you can’t go to the Divide without a margarita on the rocks with salt. It feels like home in those booths, ordering from the tequila list that will forever be Lisa’s chalkboard to me.” – Marlena Simon

3) Pierogie and Mettwurst and Jägerschnitzel Dinner at Augustiner Hall and Garden. “Lisa loved all things German, with food being near the top of that list. She and I had these pierogies twice in the past month. The first was to-go while dancing to her favorite local band, We Are Star Children, at the Pavilion. But two weeks ago, we had a proper meal at the restaurant. She split the pierogies and the jägerschnitzel dinner with my husband, and raved about them both. Plans were quickly made to try her own hand at schnitzel with my daughter Francesca, her often sous-chef. We’re going to keep that promise and continue Lisa’s legacy of food exploration and experimentation.” – Jen Oppenheimer

4) Heritage Apples from Vintage Virginia Apple. “Lisa loved all things apple. She taught classes about apples. She coordinated apple festivals. She looked forward to the fall harvest every year. Her favorite apple event was helping to hand out apples at schools for Farm to School Week through the Local Food Hub. She truly believed: An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away.” – Geoff Shaw, Lisa’s husband

5) Nachos at Beer Run. “I am Lincoln, Lisa’s nine-year-old son. My mom and I would always walk to Beer Run and have date nights sharing nachos that my Dad couldn’t eat because he can’t have dairy. We did this a lot and always enjoyed it.” – Lincoln Shaw

Melissa Boardman

Melissa Boardman, Wine Director of Fleurie. 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.”

Kate Ellwood

Kate Ellwood, GM of Citizen Burger Bar. 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.”

Angelic Jenkins

Angelic Jenkins of Angelic’s Kitchen. Jenkins’ picks:

1) Devil’s Pass Pasta at Sedona Taphouse. “The best tasting pasta. It has fennel, which I always told my husband I didn’t like, as well as chicken, onions and veggies in a delicious creamy sauce with a mild spice. I’m not a spicy eater but I can definitely enjoy this pasta dish.”

2) Salted Caramel Mini Cupcakes at Sweethaus. “I love the mini cupcakes. The cake is always fresh and moist, and the variety of icing and toppings is awesome. My favorite is the Salted Caramel. I can actually eat these everyday.”

3) Cucumber, Tomato, and Red Onion Salad at Sticks Kebob Shop. “The chicken, beef and pork kebobs are very flavorful and tender and come with a choice of sauces. The cilantro sauce is delicious. But I really love the cucumber salad. The flavor satisfies all of my taste buds.”

4) Blue Cheese Dressing at Wild Wing Café. “I love love love the homemade blue cheese dressing! I guess I can say I eat the Wild West Ranch Wings with my blue cheese. I always get my wings extra wet for more of the delicious flavor of the sauce.”

5) Sausage Pizza with Garlic Crust from Marco’s Pizza. “The pizza sauce is sweet and tangy, the cheese is cooked perfectly, the sausage is very flavorful and the garlic crust option is a must! The best pizza in town. Oh, and you have to try the thin crust, too. Just yummy.”

Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams of Tavern & Grocery. Williams’ picks:

1) Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social. “I can’t get enough of these. Something about them just hits all the right chords. They are still crispy, and charred, and richly seasoned, all at the same time. Bold, balanced, perfect.”

2) Skillet Roasted Mussels at Tavola. “Whenever I go to Tavola, I have to order the mussels. Skillet roasted with just some garlic, they are indulgent and just plain FAB. Throw in a good crisp Italian white wine, and I’m good.”

3) Santa Fe Enchiladas at Continental Divide. “I can’t even think about going to Continental Divide without ordering the Santa Fe Enchiladas. I mean, as many times as I try to order something else, I just can’t do it. And with the pumpkin muffins on there, just doesn’t get better. (Not to date myself, but I’ve been ordering this for close to 20 years, and they are perfect every time.)”

4) Turkey on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s. “A simple turkey sandwich on an everything bagel at Bodo’s is beyond a must. Lettuce, tomato, onion, light mayo, and you’ve done it. I lived in NYC for ten years and there was that deli that always just got it ‘right.’ Bodo’s gets this right, on another level. And how it’s less than $5 and you get it in less than 5 minutes . . it’s a simple miracle and gets me through a tough morning every time.”

5) Tuna Tartare at Now & Zen. “I don’t know how Toshi puts out food as good as he does in such a tiny spot, but he does. Now & Zen delivers with the tuna tartare. Fresh, seasoned perfectly, and beautiful. Any time I think of sushi, this is the dish I want.”

Shelly Robb

Shelly Robb of Prime 109. Robb’s picks:

1) Marinara D.O.C. at Lampo. “The light char, San Marzano, garlic, and oregano lend to a perfectly balanced pizza. I love spicy, so I often add a side of Calabrian chili. It is so simple and addicting.”

2) Hop Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider. “I remember the first time I tried their cider. I was the general manager at Bizou and Tim brought by a sample of their Farmhouse Dry. I’ve since been hooked on pretty much everything they make.”

3) Pinot Noir from Ankida Ridge. “One of the first Virginia wines I fell in love with. I am so excited to try their Brut Sparkling as well.”

4) Palak Paneer or Vegetable Vin D’Alho at Milan. “Indian hot with a side of garlic naan. A once a week must.”

5) Dry Aged Steaks at Prime 109. “Ian has done an amazing job with our dry aging program. It is honestly the best steak I’ve ever had.”

Chrissy Smith

Chrissy Smith, Wine Buyer at Beer Run. Smith’s picks:

1) Margherita D.O.C. & Polpettine with any of the fabulous Italian reds at Lampo. “I’m not sure how many times Lampo has graced these lists, but I’m about to give them another notch on The Charlottesville 29 post. The talented crew there has created my personal perfect pizza — a crust that is just thin and doughy enough with the perfect amount of char and bite. My favorite combination is the Margherita D.O.C. and meatballs (you have to save that sauce for dipping the crust) with any of Andrew’s carefully-curated selections. Although, my preferred glass of red with this combo is anything of the Piedmontese persuasion. I’m a Margherita pizza lover in general, and since they offer two variations, my fiancé and I did a side-by-side comparison of the standard Margherita & the D.O.C., and while both are utterly delicious, the Mozzarella di Bufala adds a creamier, meltier, more flavorful sensation to the D.O.C. that steals my heart every time.”

2) Boquerones with/ an extra squeeze of fresh lemon, Pan de Casero, and a Manzanilla Sherry at MAS Tapas. “While there are many dishes I drool over at Mas, one of the simplest combinations are the boquerones (Cantabrian white anchovies marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic) with a little squeeze of lemon, the slow-fermented, hearth-baked bread, and a Manzanilla sherry, especially of the En Rama or unfiltered variety. The sea air brininess & freshness of this sherry from the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda make it a quintessential match to the fresh and powerful flavor of the marinated anchovies.”

3) Uni Nigiri & Chirashi Don with Junmai Daiginjo Sake at TEN Sushi. “Super fresh Uni (sea urchin) over perfectly prepared sushi rice is one of my favorite sushi pleasures, and TEN provides not only the highest quality fish in town, but also the best rice–a touch warm and just sweet & vinegary enough. The purity & freshness of a Junmai Daiginjo is a delightful counter to the creamy, ocean flavors of great Uni. But one cannot survive on Uni alone! And I love the variety in the Chirashi don, which is basically a bowl of chef’s choice sashimi over sushi rice, which is both filling and extremely delicious.”

4) Salmon Linguine with Sparkling Brut Rosé at Beer Run“While I have many go-to dishes at Beer Run, whenever I’m there once the dinner menu begins, you can almost always find me enjoying the Salmon Linguine. It’s a generous filet of perfectly-cooked Atlantic salmon with wilted spinach, garlic-compound butter, and capers over linguine. One of my favorite pairings is the Treveri Brut Rosé–an organic, Washington state sparkling rosé made in the Champagne Method from the Syrah grape–which cuts through while also enhancing the decadent flavors of the salmon and butter.”

5) Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas with a Reposado Tequila, Cointreau Margarita with salt at Continental Divide.”I love the Continental Divide. If I could, I’d cozy up to the bar, eat comforting food, and chat with the amazing staff every night! If I absolutely had to choose one dish from my usual meal line-up (I like to make it a three-course deal), it would be the Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas and a margarita with a reposado tequila, Cointreau, and a healthy salt rim. While this might be a sacrilegious treatment of enchiladas to some, I like to chop them up a bit with my fork and mix all the goodies together to ensure an even distribution of deliciousness in every bite.”

Jennifer Mowad

Jennifer Mowad of Cocoa & Spice.  Mowad’s picks:

1) Chicken Pad Thai & Thai Iced Tea from Thai Fresh. “As soon as I finish setting up my tent at Friday’s After Five, I walk to Thai Fresh and am greeted with a big smile and warm hello from the owner. I opt for the not spicy version and am never disappointed. While I’m devouring it back at my tent my customers always comment on how delicious it looks. And the iced tea is so flavorful & refreshing on a hot summer night!”

2) Banana Nut Bread from Green House Coffee. “I’ve become addicted to this banana nut bread! Every time I re-stock my display at the Crozet Artisan Depot I stop by Green House and snag an end piece (it’s bigger than the middle piece…shhh). It’s not too sweet and has a great texture!”

3) Filipino BBQ Platter from Little Manila. “Most weeks you can find us both set-up at the UVA Hospital Market, Sprint Pavilion events, & the City Market. Lucky for me, Fernando and his family are keen on my brownies and chocolate drinks and I can often trade a few of those for a platter of his delectable food – marinated pork belly, chicken, pancit, & lumpia. I also love their Instagram page, especially the videos of the chicken or pork belly caramelizing on the grill!”

4) Cheese Pizza from Fabio’s. “I moved to Charlottesville from northern New Jersey and love a NY style pizza. After a long day at my shop on Stewart Street I head right around the corner to Fabio’s and snag a slice of cheese pizza. When I’m extra hungry I treat myself to the White Gourmet – broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, white sauce, garlic, & mozzarella!”

5) Trifecta from Pearl Island and Banh Mi from Vu Noodles. “Since they share a spot at the Jefferson City School I’m selecting a dish from each and counting it as one of my five! Pearl Island’s entrees are all so delicious it’s hard to pick just one. The trifecta combines their pork, chicken, and beans, not to mention a generous portion of rice, kale salad, and the fried plantains. Javier will often trade for one of my iced hot chocolates at our Thursday market! . . . A roll can make or break a banh mi sandwich – one bite of Vu Noodles’ vegan version and I’m transported back to Vietnam.”

Kristyne Bouley

Kristyne Bouley, Pastry Chef of The Ivy Inn. Bouley’s picks:

1) Bulgogi Sliders with Sunny Side Up Egg from Sussex Farm at The City Markets. “I love the farmers’ market and one of the first stops is to visit with Jenny! I love everything about this — sweet, savory, and a PERFECT sunny side up egg. My favorite part of the slider is that once you pick it up you are committed to eating it, there is no putting it down because you’ll never be able to pick it back up again without a fork. I can also eat the kimchi straight from the container.”

2) Fish and Chips with a 40 Mile IPA at Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen & Brewery. “The Fish and Chips is by far some of the best batter fried fish I’ve had since leaving Maine fifteen years ago. My favorite thing about the obviously fresh fish and crispy fries is that it is piping hot – I love the steam that bursts out of freshly fried fish. I always get the 40 Mile IPA with the fish. It lightens up the meal and is one of my go to beers even at home.”

3) Brownies from Cocoa & Spice. “Chocolate chunks in a dark fudgy brownie, there is nothing that can possibly be bad about this. I always buy two, claiming one is for my children. I like to take one and put it in the freezer and in the middle of the week dig it out and eat it frozen. I am the parent that hides sugar from my kids . . . sometimes I do share.”

4) Cherry Limeade Popsicle from Wiffle Pops at The City Market. “I spend most Saturday mornings at The City Market with my children, and this is their favorite and one of mine. Kenneth usual gets Cookies and Cream with the surprise of a whole Oreo in the center and Florence gets Grasshopper. I get the sweet and tart Cherry Limeade. It’s an adult popsicle  being on the tart side which is perfect for the summer.”

5) Angels on Horseback and PFO Pan Roast at Public Fish & Oyster.”The first time I went here with my husband there was almost a fight over the Angels on Horseback. Bacon and oysters are perfect together, and lightened up with the lime makes it better for a summer night.”

Courtney Hildebrand

Courtney Hildebrand of The Catering Outfit. Hildebrand’s picks:

1) Mexican Street Corn at Junction. “In a town with lots of new street corn options, Melissa still has my favorite! It’s one of their shared plates so you can enjoy a small order by yourself or get a large to share with your friends. The chili-lime dressing is amazing.  Junction also has my favorite cocktails in town. I love to try anything Alec creates. My current favorite is Rum Communion with brown butter rum and notes of pineapple & lime. It’s hard to have just one of these yummy cocktails!”

2) Spicy Shrimp Dishes at The LocalBang!, and The Shebeen Pub and Brai. “I am a sucker for a great shrimp dish. I have a three way tie for the best shrimp dish in town, as I will always order these if I am at one of these establishments. My picks are the Crispy Shrimp at The Local, the Firecracker Shrimp at Bang!, and the False Bay Crispies at The Shebeen Pub and Braai. They are all so tasty and it is just too hard to narrow it down to just one pick!”

3) Green Giant Roll at Now & Zen. “Now and Zen is one of my favorite spots to go to dinner with a small group of friends. Everything on the menu is mouthwatering, but the Green Giant Roll is always a pleasant surprise for friends who shy away from vegetarian dishes. This giant roll with sweet potato tempura, avocado & cream cheese stands up to any of their other signature big rolls.”

4) Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo. “My sister and I love to go Zocalo for dinner when we can make time to have a night out together. We always start with the cheese fritters & raspberry-chili glaze, and then split the salmon dish for our entrée. The entire menu always sounds amazing, but we rarely stray from these picks on our sister dinner date. Zocalo also offers margarita flights which is always a good start to a night out!”

5) Big Baby Sake from North American Sake Brewery. “They have not quite opened their doors yet, but I have had a chance to try the new Big Baby Sake from the soon-to-be-open North American Sake Brewery. Andrew Centofante’s creation is one of the best sakes I have ever tried. I am excited for what he & Jeremy have in store once they open their doors next week.”

Ellie Grinspun

Ellie Grinspun, of Ellie Cooks. Grinspun’s picks:

1) Blueberries from The Berry Patch in Free Union. “A tradition that began 18 years ago, picking blueberries with my son, and still continues. When he was younger we would read ‘Blueberries for Sal’ at bedtime in preparation for our morning adventure. As he surpassed me in height it became a competition to see who could pick the most – me, but he definitely eats the most! Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!”

2) Coppa Pork Steaks salted and thrown on the grill from JM Stock Provisions. “Ask the boys, Alex and Ben, to cut it thick! Serve it with a huge seasonal salad and enjoy. Oh, and their tasso ham sliced to go or served on their flaky biscuits with honey and hot sauce. Don’t forget to follow Autumn Olive Farms on Instagram and watch videos of their adorable piglets running and grazing!”

3) Farmers in the Park at Meade Avenue. “This is my idea of a perfect market – low key, shaded, local fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, drinks, desserts, and food. No crowds means you can chat with the vendors and really get to know them!”

4) Scallops from Seafood @ West Main. “Lately, I like them raw! Slice them horizontally and layer them on a serving platter with chunks of local peaches, paper thin slices of cucumbers, drizzle with a shallot white balsamic vinaigrette and a sprinkling of Maldon flakes, and top with torn pieces of fresh mint. Simple and fresh.”

5) Ending an evening out with a Chocolate Pot de Crème at Orzo. “Think chocolate pudding marries crème brûlée. Or, the deconstructed s’mores bread pudding and a whiskey sour prepared with an egg white at Oakhart Social.”

Gay Beery

Gay Beery, of A Pimento Catering. Beery’s picks:

1) Whole Grain Rye from Little Hat Creek Farm. “A recent pleasure of mine (or should I say obsession) is the whole grain rye from the kind people at Little Hat Creek Farm. I think of this bread as more of a kornbröt, dense with moist grain, hinting at a custard-like texture, just crying out for butter (I oblige). Though, I also slather it with fromage frais from Caromont Farm (thank you, Gail). I do love all slow-risen, high-moisture breads and this provides. This is definitely one of my ‘desert island’ foods – it could keep despair at bay for at least a week or two, and conveniently would likely be almost as good the fourteenth day.”

2) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “Does this really need any explanation? Probably not. But I will say that no matter how many times I’ve had this, I still want more. Thankfully, Lampo has a wine list that always entices and I’m pretty sure I’ve never ordered the same wine twice – so there’s that. And I’ll order escarole off any menu that offers. Glee.”

3) Coupe Maison at C&O. “C&O has owned a piece of my heart for one reason or ten for the last two decades. In their care, I’ve celebrated weddings and funerals (yes, they were celebrations), birthdays and just having seen the baddest band at The Rose (it was always okay to arrive here at 1:30 AM and know you could stay a while). For all those years, the C&O has offered some comfort and love on white china and white linen. Respect. Their bartender roster is as notorious – if more skill-based – as the Parking Lot, with some overlap. Out of everything on the menu, I think the most lasting impression has come served in a tall glass – the Coupe Maison. Too much for me, but I like to watch.”

4) Vegetables at Oakhart Social. “So far, Oakhart Social has yet to leave me NOT amazed. The thrill of reinvention is alive and well in this kitchen, especially if you like to dig into a meal rich in vegetables. Crisp or fork tender, braised or fried, with or without the adornment of animal protein, every dish from this kitchen sings. I always order the flatbread special, I never tire of their shaved salad (dates, yes), and whatever they do with a carrot, you know it’s going to exceed your expectations. (I’ve had a real thing for carrots this year, the high of which I experienced at the eponymous Via Carota in NYC. If you’re in the city, just do it.) Their meat dishes are all fabulous, indeed, but I most often eat just the veg here, because there is more than one could want, and that is a sincere pleasure. Great cocktails! But as someone who can really only manage one and a half glasses of the average wine pour, I love the incremental ways you can order wine here, without the emotional burden of waste or overindulgence.”

5) Fried Chicken from Wayside Takeout . “My husband, who is sitting with me right now, is demanding I include the Wayside, as their fried chicken (and my favorite, fried gizzards) are our last-minute go to when we are too tired to cook and teetering over the hangry edge of a day. We recently learned the limits, though, on a sad Sunday when we both had to work and each held out the carrot (there’s the carrot again, ha), and discovered, mid chicken skin fantasy, that they are civilized and observe their Sundays away from the shop. Bless ‘em.”

Brooke Ray

Brooke Ray of the International Rescue Committee. Ray’s picks:

1) Som Tum at Pad Thai. “I love Santi’s version of papaya salad. It’s fresh and bright and spicy. The papaya, peppers and peanuts pack so many textures and flavors into one refreshing little salad. I like it with a cold beer and a Tom Yum Noodle Bowl. Pad Thai is so under-rated and I kind of hate to blow it up, but it’s my secret go-to for a good selection of well-priced draughts and take-away beer. And Jay, Santi’s son, has great taste in music to boot.”

2) Super-Style Tacos at La Michoacana. “I usually order the vegetarian tacos super-style from Edgar, but if you are so inclined the meat tacos are all also stupid good. The super style come topped with chopped onions, cilantro, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. They are bursting with flavor without being soggy or overly-loaded. I always order the spicy pickled onions and carrots to load on top and add a splash of their avocado salsa.”

3) Tomato Bisque at Orzo. “I have to say, I have loved every meal I have ever eaten at Orzo and really appreciate that the team puts as much care into their salads as they do into their main dishes. If I had to mention one thing though, it would be the tomato bisque made with lamb broth. Eating it was a revelatory food experience for me. Tomato bisque is something we’ve all had and we expect it to taste a certain way. But this one (which I think is a seasonal offering) is so comforting and rich and unexpected. It’s an adult version of one of my favorite, childhood, rainy day meals.”

4) Mango Chili Popsicle at La Flor Michoacana. “Can you tell I like spicy food? Our farm crew often makes a detour for this spot on the hottest days. The popsicle selection is extensive- I recommend making your way through all of them. The Mango chili is sweet and fresh in the right way with a pleasant heat.”

5) The Bellissima at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “My favorite Sunday ritual is to go biking at Walnut Creek and then head over to Dr. Ho’s for their Bellissima pizza. The crust is flavorful and perfectly crunchy-chewy and it’s topped with so much good stuff- roasted tomatoes, shaved ham, aged parmesan. But most importantly they pile and entire arugula salad on top of it.  And it is REAL arugula – spicy and bold and often local – not the California clamshell stuff that has no flavor. I don’t know what they add to that vinaigrette in the salad but I can’t get enough of this pizza. It’s a good thing it’s 40 minutes from my house.”

Deirdre Armstrong

Deirdre Armstrong of Harvest Thyme Herbs. Armstong’s picks:

1) Whippoorwill Crowder Peas in Ham Broth at The Shack. “These heirloom crowder peas were a gift to Chef Ian Boden from Dr. David Shields, English professor, author and seed saving pioneer at University of South Carolina. Ian passed them along to us, and once I tasted this dish, I could see why he was so eager for us to grow them. Served with pickled Fresno chiles and schmaltz cornbread, to mop up the insanely good ham broth, these rich, savory peas are a revelation.”

2) Doe Hill Pepper Bisque at the Ivy Inn. “Phil was known for his hot peppers, but Angelo makes this impossibly creamy soup from a golden yellow sweet pepper that is a pre- 1900 family heirloom from the Doe Hill area in Highland County, Virginia. Summer sunshine in a bowl.”

3) Wild Mushroom Risotto at Maya. “Risotto is always a wise choice at Maya, but this umami- rich variation hits just the right note with woodsy Sharondale wild mushrooms and Greg’s special magic.”

4) Shrimp Tacos at Chicano Boy Taco. “Chilled shrimp makes this taco so refreshing to me. Topped with roasted corn, grilled onion, cabbage, cojita cheese and tangy chipotle mayonnaise, all wrapped in a perfect handmade corn tortilla, it is a healthy summer standout on a menu that’s chock full of tempting choices.”

5) Fig Chocolates from Santiago Chocolates. “Jim Dutton is a self- taught chocolatier, and his mastery of the art is evident in his unique flavors, gorgeous stenciling, and insistence on only the finest ingredients. Opening a box of his chocolates takes my breath away each time. If forced to choose a favorite flavor, I would have to pick the decadent fig filling, with port wine and anise. Best savored with a glass of port, of course!”

Stacy Miller

Stacy Miller of Good Phyte Foods. Miller’s picks:

1) Fresh Basil from Twin Oaks Community Farm. “Their genoa basil is the BEST. Tom, their head flower grower and the one you’ll meet at City Market, will tell you it’s because the basil plot is right adjacent to an old cattle barn and the plants get lots of good nitrogen to fuel leaf growth, but I’ll tell you it’s just plain heaven to smell and that it makes our pesto crackers possible. I am also working on developing a new pesto proton (grain-free crouton), so will be getting a lot of their basil this summer!”

2) Warm-from-the-bush Blueberries at Seaman’s Orchard. “Spending a Sunday afternoon in July picking blueberries with my son is a treat I look forward to all year. I picked blueberries with my mom as a child at our local orchard, and I look forward to continuing the tradition by picking excessive quantities, gorging myself for weeks, eventually using them to make my son’s birthday cake, and then plaguing our freezer with plump ziploc bags through the winter.”

3) Fresh Jersey Milk from my milk share at Windy Hill Farm.  “At the end of the day, I fill a coffee mug with granola and whatever chopped fruit I can find  (Gold Rush Apples or the rarer Shizuka from Vintage Virginia Apples are my favorites) and granola (usually the “well-done” chunks of magnolia crunch), and sloppily pour from one of our half gallon ball jars until it overflows onto the counter. If I’m lucky, I get to open a fresh jar– one with 3-4 inches of cream at the top, and intentionally do a crappy job of shaking it up, so that I mostly get cream in my mug. There is no better comfort food than homemade granola and raw Jersey cow milk, in my book.”

4) Kombucha on Tap from Mountain Culture Kombucha. “The Ginger, Coconut Turmeric, or Blueberry Lemongrass are my favorites, especially at the end of a market day in the summer. We barter good phyte bars for their bucha at City Market, and I chug it sloppily before breaking down our booth after six hours standing on asphalt!  I only wish it were available on tap at more bars in town!”

5) Monster Lacinato Kale from Whisper Hill Farm. “Their greens are absurdly large and are ideal for dehydrating for our bars since they lay so flat on the trays. Their kale and chard are great for getting creative with wraps or rolling and slicing to make long shreds in a salad. I am so impressed with certified organic farmers who manage to grow flawless vegetables with ease — I’ve never seen them sell a single leaf with flea beetle damage, which is hard to do!”

Alicia Simmons

Alicia Simmons, sous chef of Tavola. Simmons’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken Sandwich at The Fitzroy. “Charlottesville has no shortage of good fried chicken, but this sandwich is a stand-out. The chicken is always perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, but the lemon cayenne aioli really takes this sandwich to the next level. It has the perfect amount of kick to it without being overbearing.”

2) Salted Dark Chocolate Sorbet at Brasserie Saison. “If I’m on the downtown mall, I always try to stop into Brasserie to try whatever flavor of gelato or sorbet is on special. There is always a new and inventive flavor I want to try. That being said, I love the salted dark chocolate sorbet in particular. As a chocolate lover, I really appreciate when a kitchen can take what seems to be a simple concept but then perfectly executes it—in this case, chocolate sorbet that is silky, rich, and balanced with the hint of salt at the end.”

3) Fried Catfish at Oakhart Social. “I love Nashville, and the Nashville hot sauce on this dish brings me straight back to one of my favorite cities. There’s nothing like perfectly fried catfish that melts in your mouth. This dish has a great amount of heat that is balanced with the napa cabbage and apple salad—not to mention the addition of pimento cheese, one of my favorite Southern classics.”

4) Wings at Doma. “I can’t choose just one flavor. I usually go for both the Korean Hot and the Sweet Chili. One of the things I love about these wings is that they’re just as good on the go as they are when you’re dining in. They’re definitely one of my cravings on a busy work day when I don’t have time to cook (for myself!).”

5) House Gin and Tonic at Tavola’s Cicchetti Bar. “I always look forward to the Cicchetti Bar’s Gin and Tonic at the end of a long shift. The house made tonic is packed with citrus, so it almost feels like I’m drinking something healthy. The way they add a little vermouth to the mix really smooths out the bite that’s usually associated with gin. This drink is a must have for summer nights.”

Jill Myers

Jill Myers, olive oil importer. 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!”

Kerrie Pierce

Kerrie Pierce of Vitae Spirits. 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.”

Jen Naylor

Jen Naylor of Sussex Farm. Naylor’s picks:

1) Strawberry Jam by Jam According to Daniel. “I have to say that this jam is simplicity at it’s best! One spoonful brings me back to my childhood, where things were made with simple ingredients and nothing more. It’s great on toast of course or as a pastry filling but my favorite thing to do is to eat it right out of the jar.”

2) Yeast Rolls by Ant On Cottage Creations. “I eat one and can’t stop. It’s soft, light and the smell of the rolls are truly addicting. I love the smell of these rolls so much that I just want to put my face in them! They make perfect breakfast sliders for my Today’s Menu at City Market as well.”

3) Brioche by MarieBette. “I have a very hard time resisting this buttery, melt-in-your-mouth brioche loaf from MarieBette. I get one every Saturday morning at City Market. If I haven’t eaten the whole loaf by Sunday, this brioche makes the most amazing french toast for Sunday breakfast!”

4) Kettle Corn by Freckles ’N’ Friends. “By far the best kettle corn ever! I love kettle corn but after tasting Freckles ’N’ Friends, I became a kettle corn snob. Light, crispy and a perfect touch of flavors and sweetness! An opened bag is soon an empty bag.”

5) LG’s Elixir by Lesly Gourdet. “This amazing juice made with turmeric, fresh ginger, garlic, lemon, lime, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, honey, onion and habanero peppers taste great! It works great as a marinade as well. One shot and you feel healthy already!”

Carrie Hodgkins

Carrie Hodgkins, co-founder of Women Involved Through Charlottesville Hospitality (WITCH), and Managing Director of The Elysium Honey Co.. Hodgkins’ picks:

1) Tofu Banh Mi at Vu Noodles/The Spot. “A recent discovery, and my latest obsession. The tofu is perfectly seasoned, and the texture of the bread is perfect.”

2) Melanzane alla Parmigiana at Tavola. “I make a really good eggplant parmesan at home, but this dish takes it to another level. The delicate thinness of the eggplant, and the balance of the acid from the tomatoes with the ricotta cheese is spectacular. This paired with whatever Steve Yang and Becca Edwards are serving up at the Cicchetti Bar, and I’m happy as can be.”

3) Fried and Raw Brussels Sprouts at Brasserie Saison. “I have loved the Brussels at Brasserie since they opened their doors. The texture and abundance of flavor make this a dish I can eat multiple times a week. This paired with whatever the stellar staff suggests I drink that day and you’ve got a shining example of what makes this place The Charlottesville 29 Best New Restaurant.”

4) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “My brothers played on a soccer team sponsored by Lampo, and the back of one of their jerseys said Funghi. It made me hungry just reading it. This pizza is always accompanied by a glass of the Otto Uve, the only wine I drink on a regular basis.”

5) Affogato at Splendora’s. “PK is a flavor genius, and the gelato at Splendora’s is amazing whichever way you choose to enjoy it. But, when I’m feeling the need for a true treat, I love mine drowned in espresso.”

Kit Ashi

Kit Ashi of Monsoon SiamMonsoon Siam Togogo, and Urban Bowl. Ashi’s picks:

1) Passion Fruit Cheesecake at The Alley Light by Chef Robin. “I like the softness and smoothness of the cream cheese, and the crust is perfect. The cream cheese is not too sweet, salty or sour. And, the lemon and orange zest on top goes well with the passion fruit aroma.”

2) Margherita Pizza at Lampo. “I love the thin pizza crust and the smoke from the charred dough. The sauce is perfect, too. I always have it with a spritz, which makes my lunch or dinner delightful. All of the chefs are so talented, and I can’t wait for their steakhouse to open.”

3) Lad Na at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House and Lemongrass. “This is a Thai’s dish. It is not a popular dish that people know here but it is one of my favorite dishes. I used to have it three time a week. We do not serve this at Monsoon Siam, but Thai Cuisine and Lemongrass are the places I go for it. It is wide noodles with bean gravy and Chinese broccoli. I love to order it with pork and add squid. The right way to eat it is to ask for the spice tray. Add one spoon of chili powder, three spoons of vinegar, mix it, and enjoy.”

4) Seafood Puttanesca at Bella’s. “I love seafood pasta in red sauce. The sauce here is not too thick, and its spicy and tart flavor goes really well with seafood. I can finish a family size by myself.”

5) Kao Mok Neua at Monsoon Siam. “It would be so wrong not to talk about this dish, my new favorite that I put on the menu. Meltingly tender braised beef in Thai southern style curry, rich in flavor and aroma. The sauce goes very well with jasmine rice stir fried in turmeric and curry powder. Crispy fried shallots add texture, while spicy mint sauce adds flavor contrast. It’s going to be the next best curry for Charlottesville.”

Julie Vu Whitaker

Julie Vu Whitaker of Vu Noodles. Whitaker’s picks:

1) Fish Tacos at The Bebedero. “While there are lots of fish tacos out in the world of Latin cuisines, I like The Bebedero’s. I just love the taste of corn tortilla and the simple balance of savory, sweet/tangy salsa and a zing of jalapeno tartar sauce. A plate of the fish tacos and a margarita is perfection!”

2) Creole Beans and Rice at Pearl Island Foods. “You may be surprised that being Asian growing up, I mostly skipped the rice. The best days were noodle days. However after having Chef Javier’s Creole Beans and Rice, oh my gosh! I can’t have enough! And, the tangy kale salad (with mushrooms and watermelon radish) brings excitement to the meal.”

3) Seared Scallops at Hamiltons’. “I can eat my weight on this starter. Simple quality ingredients and colors, this dish has it all for me. Perfectly seared caramelized sweet scallops, and geez, the divine combo of Greek yogurt and jalapeno oil! Not to mention the texture of nuts and seeds. It’s gone way too fast!”

4) Roasted Veggie Bowl at Grit Coffee. “You can find me at Grit almost daily. I get my dark roast there when I’m working at The Spot. When I have time, my favorite breakfast and lunch is the Roasted Veggie Bowl. Oh my! Sweetness you get from roasted vegetables and then my all time favorite protein, hands down the incredible edible egg! The egg here is fried, crispy white and soft yellow. It is exactly how I love my fried egg.”

5) Cumin Tofu at Taste of China. “The menu is pretty extensive, with hot pots and hardy soups. Most times when I have been there, it looked like a lot of Asian people eat here so I’m thinking that this might be the real deal. Outside from my own tofu that I make for Vu Noodles, this place has my favorite tofu. It is the Cumin tofu. Quite simple, but oh so so good! The tofu is deep fried with a layer of a cumin seasoning. Served with plain white rice. That’s it! Not much to it! Doesn’t require much to please me though.”

Eric Breckoff

Eric Breckoff, Culinary Arts Director at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Breckoff’s picks:

1) Carne Asada Gorditas at La Michoacana. “Tragically, only three gorditas come to an order, and my wife and I have to share one and supplement with our second choice tacos: also carne asada, Mexican style. Frankly, you can’t go wrong with anything here.  Simple, down to earth, family-run restaurant that takes pride in their food.  Did I mention the margaritas?”

2) Kofta Kabob with Chick Peas at Afghan Kabob Palace. “My wife and I both love Middle-Eastern food, and Afghan Kabob Palace never fails to please. When it’s cool outside, the aush soup is comforting and warm. For starters, we love the samosas and the bolanee gandana. Crispy, delicious turnover packets of love. My go-to entrée is the kofta kabob and my wife loves the vegetarian plate (make sure you get the pumpkin and the chickpeas).”

3) Moules Frites at Brasserie Saison. “I could eat this every day the rest of my life. Perfectly cooked. Perfectly seasoned. Just the perfect food made with love and care.”

4) Piggie Smalls Pizza at Fry’s Spring Station. “A perfect restaurant to sit outside on a Friday after work and enjoy well crafted, delicious food made with love. A Piggie Smalls  pizza and a beer with the crispy gnocchi & beet salad makes a perfect meal.”

5) Sausage, Egg, & Cheddar on an Everything at Bodo’s. “Ok, I know everyone puts Bodo’s on their list. Why? It’s that good. An everything with egg, cheese, sausage is my morning go-to. Some might say I have a problem. I say I can stop anytime I want to, but why would I want to?”

Collins Huff

Collins Huff of Gryffon’s Aerie. Huff’s picks

1) Aged Prosciutto at Lampo. “Sliced on their Berkel Heritage meat slicer. The blade on this hand-powered marvel turns slower, thus cooler, and allows the exquisite fat to render on your tongue, not on the blade.”

2) Albacore Sushi by Toma at Foods of All Nations. “This humble warrior is a Samurai when it comes to his craft. This is my go-to fast lunch when I have to be in town. Try the Albacore. It’s always super fresh.”

3) Scrapple at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “Where I come from, we call it ponhorse. Whatever you call it, Brian’s version is unique and awesome.”

4) Hot Dog from JM Stock Provisions. “Alex and the team make these weekly from local meats. It just so happens you can get one at Gryffon’s Aerie at PRN, topped with Farmstead Ferments classic kraut braised in beer. I understand it pairs well with Pro Re Nata’s session Pilsner.”

5) Revolving Ceviche at RockSalt. “Travis Croxton’s team changes it up and gets it right every time.”

Siân Richards

Siân Richards. Richards’ picks:

1) Egg, Cheddar and Salsa Hand Pie at The Pie Chest. “I love going into The Pie Chest. I love the space and the smell of chai, and I love looking at all the beautiful pies laid out for sale. My real Pie Chest addiction is the vegetarian breakfast hand pie. I have eaten way more of those than is probably advisable in these last weeks while we have been getting the shop ready to open. They are beautifully made, delicious and filling. Stopping to pick one up feels more like a special treat than a meal to go.”

2) Tofu Vegetable Pho at Thai Cuisine and Noodle House. “The tofu pho at Thai Cuisine was a really pleasant surprise. I am always on the lookout for a super tasty bowl of noodles without meat and I was thrilled to find that theirs was fragrant and savory and really good.”

3) Sauteed Escarole and Margherita Pizza at Lampo. “I love going to Lampo. I am really impressed that they are able to balance offering a meal that is carefully prepared, in a comfortable atmosphere, and at a very reasonable price. I always feel like I have had a nice meal out without a scene or a big bill. Their small wine selection is equally balanced.”

4) Grilled Cheese To-Go Wrapped in Wax Paper from Timberlake’s. “A grilled cheese and a bag of chips from Timberlake’s has some kind of sensory/memory mojo for me. The smell, the gooey cheese and the feel of the wax paper. Perfect.”

5) Asparagus from Crazy Farm at City Market. “I am not a morning person but 7 am City Market grocery shopping is where it’s at. Before the crowds. I always feel so rich walking home with my bags bursting.”

Jessica Hogan

Jessica Hogan of Farmacy. Hogan’s picks:

1) Buttermilk Pancakes at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “MarieBette is one of my favorite places to go, especially for breakfast. In my opinion it’s the only place to get good buttermilk pancakes with strawberries. Quality ingredients are what make the difference. Delicious!”

2) Chicken Salad at Feast! “Feast has many things I like, but my favorite is their organic chicken salad. It’s perfect on a salad or in their chicken salad sandwich made on fresh ABC ciabatta. It is the perfect consistency and spice and tastes great. I am also a fan of their concept – a grocery store supporting our local artisans and farmers. I am all about supporting local and eating organic food.”

3) Pupusas at Beer Run. “Sunday Brunch at Beer Run is amazing. I have worked there for five years and yet I have even chosen to have my birthday brunch at Beer Run before! Where else would I go? The food is local, organic, and incredible. The pupusas and the strata are two of my brunch favorites, but in all honesty you can’t go wrong any day of the week. It’s just so tasty, and is actually why I wanted to work there to begin with.”

4) Gnocchi with Truffled Mushroom Ragout at The Local. “The Local has great food,  and my favorite dish of theirs is gnocchi. Since I don’t eat beef, they are very accommodating and let me put their truffled mushroom ragout on them instead, and it’s absolutely lovely! I love that they use three kinds of mushrooms in it from Sharondale farm.”

5) Chocolate Praline Crunch Cake at Albemarle Baking Company. “Albemarle Baking Company has so many things I like. Hard to name a favorite. The chocolate praline cake is so moist and delectable, with its layers of chocolate and praline. It’s creamy and crunchy, and made with some of the finest ingredients.”

Jim Winecoff

Jim Winecoff, chef-owner of Mona Lisa Pasta. Winecoff’s picks:

1) Dry Fried Eggplant at Peter Chang’s. “This is the reason I go to Peter Chang’s, but I always find delicious food there. The crispy eggplant fries are creamy in the middle with just the right amount of spice – the perfect prelude to bang bang shrimp or eggplant in spicy garlic sauce.”

2) Fresh Oysters, French Fries and Sauvignon Blanc at Public Fish & Oyster. “It is so nice to sit at the bar and let them shuck oysters from around Virginia for me while enjoying hot salty fries and a cold citrusy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.”

3) Pate de Campagne at JM Stock Provisions. “Alex’s pate is the best! Crackers or crispy toasted baguette rounds spread with pate and perhaps a few cornichons and a glass of Barbera di Alba is all I need for a beautiful spring dinner. Matt, James and the boys at JM Stock make all kinds of excellent charcuterie and really know how to cut meat. It’s all local and delicious, and you gotta try the smoked pork chops!”

4) Financiers at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “These little almond ‘muffins’ are so good and perfect with my morning latte from Shenandoah Joe’s Dark Horse Espresso Blend. They are not too sweet, chewy with a sprinkle of fruit. All of their pastries are excellent and the breads too. I can’t seem to get past the counter and have never sat down for breakfast, at least yet.”

5) Fat & Sassy at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “I love this pizza/flatbread with roasted garlic, a sprinkle of cheese, and olive oil. It’s light and delicious. I make and eat pizza every day and still have to get my Fat & Sassy fix when too lazy to cook at home.”

John McMahon

John McMahon of Schuyler Greens. McMahon’s picks:

1) Ponch Burger at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “After a long week on the farm, nothing beats a cold beer and a Ponch Burger (or two) at Jack Brown’s, which is only available on Fridays.”

2) The Bellissima at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “When you combine country ham, arugula, lemon vinaigrette, and shaved parmesan on a pizza, what is not to love? Pro tip: Wash down with a Three Notch’d Pomegranate Gose (when seasonally available).”

3) Enchiladas Rancheras at La Michoacana. “It is borderline stressful to order only one dish at La Michoacana. The food is that good.”

4) Cheesy Bacon Potatoes at Smoked Kitchen and Tap. “Although known for excellent BBQ and home to the biggest burger I’ve ever eaten (#thanks Charlottesville29), make sure to order a side of the cheesy bacon potatoes. It might be the best ‘hash’ I’ve ever had.”

5) The Dude Abides at Fry’s Spring Station. Great food across the board but the Dude Abides = comfort food in pizza form. They also have a huge craft beer menu that constantly changes, so it pays to visit often.

Jeff Latchum

Jeff Latchum of wine importer Williams Corner Wine. Latchum’s picks:

1) Jamón and Rancio Sec at MAS Tapas. “Yes I’m shilling for something we sell and writing my entire piece about wine. Catalan tradition of completely oxidized, non-fortified wine that pairs well with literally anything salty and savory, from jamón to seafood. Ask for Domaine de Rombeau.”

2) Shad Roe and German Riesling at Tastings. “Tucked away from the hoi polloi, have a glass or two from the dozens of open bottles or grab a bottle off the rack and enjoy it for a small corkage. Idiosyncratic and proud of it, also the best place to buy a special occasion or specific vintage wine. He might even still have shad roe to nibble on with a dry German Riesling (ask for Ulli Stein or Peter Lauer).”

3) Meatloaf and Champagne at Bizou. “An often overlooked list for thoughtfully chosen wines at a reasonable price, especially the Champagne and you should be drinking more Champagne! It will make you look (or at least feel) dreamy scarfing down a delicious plate of meatloaf.”

4) Ham Biscuits and Chenin Blanc from Foods of All Nations. “You’ll need a full case of wine, and Tom and Frankie can help. The Wine Store to explore! Make sure to start looking at the back label and becoming fluent with the importer. I am certain you will find kinship with a handful, as many are doing excellent work. It’s never been better to be a consumer of wine! While there, I suggest buying a MarieBette olive baguette, ham biscuits, and some fried chicken, for friends, or just you, the dog, and the case of wine. For ham biscuits and fried chicken I would suggest Chenin Blanc from Domaine aux Moines, Savennieres Sec 2015.”

5) Tuna Nicoise and Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “Five Finds has found and celebrated many wonderful things about MarieBette, but did you know that they have an affordable bistro wine selection to complement the long list of lovable superlatives? JasonPatrick, and Will are the best, made all the more adorable with a glass of Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc. My pairing for either is the Tuna Niçoise.”

Ysabel Devitt

Ysabel Devitt, sous chef of Lampo. Devitt’s picks:

1) Pork Belly Banh Mi at Three Notch’d Kitchen and Brewery. “Always love a good Banh Mi. For me the key is the right balance between the salty and savory of the meat and the bright acidity of the pickled vegetables and the fresh flavor of the cilantro. This one is also excellent with the tofu instead of pork belly and I always love seeing good vegetarian options.”

2) Torta Michoacana at La Michoacana. “Despite not being able to pick up this sandwich-as-large-as-my-face, I found that I didn’t care and devoured every bite.”

3) Jalapeño Popper Burger at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “When I’m looking for late night snacks, this is often my go to. If I’m looking for a little extra kick I’ll add fresh habeñeros making it a little more like The Shocker, another favorite of mine (though not for the weak of heart, or those with sensitive palates).”

4) Fried Bologna Sandwich at 1221 Market Street (formerly Holly’s). “Thick cut Bologna, Havarti, fried egg, Dijon, Duke’s, and crispy onions on grilled bread. Hits the spot (especially when paired with happy hour specials)!”

5) Chicken Shack at Ivy Provisions. “I’m a sucker for pimento cheese. Put it on a baguette with fried chicken, bacon, and pickles and I’m completely sold. Though, when I do go to IvP I make sure to look over the specials board and their rotating ‘secret menu.’”

Alex Bryant

Alex Bryant, Project Manager & Food Coordinator of the Tom Tom Founders Festival. Bryant’s picks:

1) The Big Bad Wolf at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. “Nobody does bennys better than Bluegrass, and the Big Bad Wolf is always a winner. Bacon Jam cream cheese and chipotle hollandaise – it is so worth the wait!”

2) Pretzel Bites at Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen & Brewery. “What better partner to a cold brew than a warm soft pretzel. Pro tip: slice that bad boy in half and slather on the warm gooey cheese and the spicy brown mustard!”

3) Fried & Raw Brussels Sprouts at Brasserie Saison. “An easy to overlook plate, the raw Brussels float wonderfully over the rich roasted notes of the fried ones, and just wait until you find the fresh tomato puree hiding at the bottom – a complete harmony of flavors!

4) Ceviche at The Bebedero. “Who doesn’t like fresh scallops and fish? The spice of the jalapenos and the tang of the lime are a perfect compliment to this already wonderful dish.”

5) Bora Bora Latte from Mudhouse. “My new go to for an after dinner coffee – the nutty hazelnut permeates every sip of this delightful blend of foam and rich espresso.”

Justin Vesser 

Justin Vesser of The Tennessean Steakhouse. Vesser’s picks:

1) Spicy Fried Calamari at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “The Fat & Sassy was our gateway food for Ho’s with that salty ranch dressing and those little garlic bombs, but the calamari is the sleeper hit, and my single favorite dish anywhere. The squid rings are great, but the little heady tentacle pieces, soaked up with all the spicy Thai sauce, are just a killer bite of food.”

2) Heaven on a Bun at The Barbeque Exchange. “The Heaven isn’t on the regular menu, but rather is taped to the glass along with the Hell and the Purgatory. I get mine with chopped brisket instead of pulled pork, and it is a total knockout punch with lettuce, tomato, a sunny egg, baconaise, two giant pieces of sticky love bacon, and the secret weapon, a single, house-made waffle cut potato chip. Add a few dabs of Poltergeist sauce and tell Saint Peter I said ‘Hello.’”

3) The Hungry Norman at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. “The combination of English muffins with blackberry jam, spicy sausage links, goat cheese, perfect poached eggs and immaculate hollandaise sauce sounds totally crazy, but it is the definitive breakfast food for me. Plus, the place is very cool for families with little, crazy kids.”

4) Cavoletti Di Bruxelles at Lampo. “With all the stellar food and creativity at Lampo, it may sound odd to go with a vegetable. However, it’s the one thing we get every single time. Four-ish perfect forkfuls of crunchy, bitter shaved Brussels sprouts with a tangy dressing. It makes you feel better about attacking a meatball sandwich, to boot.”

5) Meat and Cheese Board from Feast! “The Feast crew obviously love their jobs, and enlisting their help in putting together the perfect charcuterie for a big crowd, or more likely for just one big guy, is always a blast. I have turned so many people on to my Feast discoveries like the Pig & Fig Pate, mole salami, and well-aged gouda, loaded with crunchy crystals.”

Carol Davidson

Davidson’s picks:

1) Chicken Liver Pate at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. “Three pates dominate my list. First, the chicken liver pate at Pippin Hill is not just good to eat but comes elegantly served in its own glass container. Paired with one of their outstanding white wines on their beautiful patio, it makes for a heavenly lunch. Once I asked if I could take one with me for a train ride to Florida. They kindly obliged – but only on the condition that I return the container to them in due course; good reason to go back for more!”

2) Chicken Liver Mousse at Petit Pois. “Then, the pate at Petit Pois has always been a must when I visit Charlottesville. I don’t think I have ever missed an opportunity to enjoy it, and it is especially nice when the weather is good enough to sit outside on the patio on the downtown mall watching the crowds go by.”

3) Foie Gras and Passionfruit Mousse at Fleurie. “Pate de foie gras is, maybe, my favorite food. At Fleurie it is outstanding, particularly when Jose makes some for Simon to bring as an extra Christmas present for me to enjoy in Connecticut. I don’t know if it’s a staple on the menu but, if it is, it is not to be missed; and, if it isn’t, request it!”

4) Bacon and Egg on a Plain Bagel at Bodo’s. “No visit would be complete without breakfast at Bodo’s – a Charlottesville institution and, to my taste, the best anywhere.   Just a simple egg and bacon bagel hits the spot every time.”

5) Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company.  “Finally, for something sweet, the marzipan covered Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company is absolutely delicious. But you have to like marzipan, of course!”

Alicia Walsh-Noel

Alicia Walsh-Noel, Manager of Brasserie Saison. Walsh-Noel’s picks:

1) Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam. “This dish is an ultra comforting curry noodle soup. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of flavor and texture: the sweet curry to the funky pickled cabbage and onions and then the slurpy egg noodles to the crunchy noodle garnish. There’s a reason it’s not available from their to-go-go location – you have to eat it in the restaurant for the full experience. I crave this whenever it’s cold outside or I have a cold or when Antarctica is cold.”

2) Peanut Butter Pie at The Pie Chest and an Almond Latte from Lone Light Coffee. “If you didn’t already know about this place, when you’re walking up 4th St., the aromas will lure you into their door. When you enter, it’s as if you’ve been transported into a quaint New England town –there aren’t many places in Charlottesville that can do that. Tucked within The Pie Chest is Lone Light Coffee, which makes incredible coffee drinks and their own almond milk in-house. The stuff is delicious! I seriously have a hard time getting coffee anywhere else. Rachel Pennington, the owner/baker of The Pie Chest is incredibly talented. You can’t go wrong with any of her sweet or savory pies but I really dig the peanut butter because it’s a little of both. The real deal-sealer is that the crust is PERFECT every time.”

3) Commander Chicory Blue Cheese from Twenty Paces. “So apparently studies are saying that cheese addictions are a real thing? I always blamed it on my French heritage but now even my doctor is telling me to stop! Le sigh. I first had this cheese at Lampo. Then again at Lampo. Then again. And then…well, my husband runs the kitchen at Champion Taproom and he put it on…get this: CHICKEN WING TACOS. OMG. I die now. Anyway, it’s stinky and smoky and I would most likely have it as my last meal.”

4) Whatever Lumpia is on Special at Champion Tap Room. “Speaking of my husband, Jon Bray has this move where he puts things into Filipino egg roll wrappers and then fries them. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. His original has ground pork and dates that he serves with garlicky vinegar sauce. But lately he’s been getting a little wild, making Cheeseburger Lumpia for a kids event and a Buffalo Chicken version another time. This week, it sounds like he’s going with a more traditional pork and shrimp version that should be tasty. Maybe it’s cheating to put your own spouse on this list, but if this is about a memorable and emotional connection to food, Jon’s super-creative twists on Filipino classics are both seared into my memory and make me so happy!”

5) Oyster Mushrooms and Grits at Oakhart Social. “I couldn’t possibly write a Five Finds without mentioning Oakhart. This place is like home to me and I’m stoked at the love they have received so quickly from the Charlottesville community. It’s rare to find a chef that can execute vegetable dishes with the skill that Tristan does and these mushrooms are one of my faves! They make a delicious star of the show with pickles, buttery grits, and crispy, fried chickpeas. Follow that up with all the Fernets and hugs for a foolproof Oakhart evening.”

William Darsie

William Darsie, GM of MarieBette Cafe & Bakery. Darsie’s picks:

1) Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo. “Sandwich is my favorite food, and this, undoubtedly, is the best one. There is a reason this place is considered by many to be the best restaurant in town. I could eat this sammy every meal, everyday, for the rest of my life and die a happy camper.”

2) Vegetables at Oakhart Social. “Oakhart is my happy place. Owners Ben and Tristan clearly know what they’re doing. The concept, the execution, the food and the vibes are all I want from a restaurant. I never thought I’d only eat vegetables for dinner and be thoroughly satisfied at the end: Brussels sprouts, shaved salad, and the charred carrots (please bring them back) to highlight a few. And who could forget the Barman, Albee Pedone. He gets the classics right and the cocktail and beer list are evidence of his experience, knowledge and insanity. But, to be honest, the dude just makes a bomb slushy.”

3) Goat Cheese from Caromont Farm. “Caromont Farm is more than just scenic countryside and goat cuddles. Gail, Daniel and Izzy are also making some bangin’ cheeses. My personal favorite is their hometown homage, Esmontonian. Put it in a salad, grate it on some pasta, or just eat it by the wheel.”

4) Pulled Pork Platter from The BBQ Exchange. “Coming from the West Coast I was never exposed to any ‘real’ barbeque, and I am thankful those dark days are over. The pulled pork melts in your mouth, the sauces are on point, and I love all their sides the same. The South can debate BBQ all they want, but the conversation stops here. Always worth the trip to Gordonsville.”

5) Ham Biscuits at JM Stock Provisions. “Did I mention sandwich is my favorite food? Sliced-to-order Tasso ham and some honey hot sauce stuff on a fresh biscuit is all you need to start your day off right. One is good, but do yourself a favor and shove two of these in your face. These things filthy, thank you gentlemen.”

Erin Scala

Erin Scala of In Vino Veritas. Scala’s picks:

1) Tomato Bisque at Milli Coffee Roasters. “Served with grilled toast points. This is my winter treat— it’s a super rich, heartwarming tomato soup.”

2) Kouign Amann at Bizou. “Each Sunday brunch service, Vincent makes just a few of these classic pastries from near his hometown in Brittany. You can find a few different versions around town (like the kouignette at MarieBette) but Vincent’s is closer to the large, rustic bread the dish’s inventor, Yves-René Scordia (Douarnenez), made in the late 1800s. The crispy, buttery, sweet edges are the perfect pairing with just about anything from Bizou’s value-priced bubbles list. Vincent says ‘it’s all about the butter.’”

3) Heirloom Tomatoes from Radical Roots Farm. “When the farmer’s market is active, I make a beeline to their tent and fill up a basket with delicious things to eat— but it’s always mostly tomatoes. With a little olive oil and sea salt, they are the best!”

4) Bread at Back 40. “Chef Tucker Yoder has a sourdough that’s been going for years. It’s especially awesome when he makes homemade butter to go with it.”

5) Sweet Tea Caramels from La Vache Mircrocreamery. “Warning: you can’t eat just one.”

Wiley Kimball

Wiley Kimball Partner in Parallel 38.  Kimball’s picks:

1) One-Eye Burger from Mel’s Cafe. “This is, to me, the perfect burger. Just the right size, just the right amount of grease, and topped with a fried egg. I get mine with grilled onions, mayo, and hot sauce. Mel’s is a great spot for a casual lunch and the service is some of the friendliest you’ll find anywhere. If you haven’t been, you need to change that ASAP.”

2) The Rocket from Snowing in Space. “I can get down with just about everything from Snowing in Space but I always gravitate to this take on a Mexican hot chocolate. The Rocket is their cold-brew espresso mixed with milk, cinnamon, and a touch of chili powder. I usually drink my coffee black but something about this creamy, slightly spicy concoction always hits the spot.”

3) Literally Any Beer from Three Notch’d Brewing. “I wracked my brain trying to narrow this down to even only three favorites and I couldn’t. Their beers are just that good, especially the seasonals and collaboration brews. Special shout out to their collab with Oskar Blues, the Black & Goldings black ale. If you want something a bit more adventurous, stop by the Sour House on Preston (in their original taproom) and embrace the funk.”

4) Dry-Fried Eggplant at Peter Chang China Grill. “I could easily do this list five times over with only dishes from Peter Chang, but this is my hands down favorite. Light, crispy, savory, and with just enough spice to wake your palate up (and build up to some of the other dishes!). You hand me a couple orders of this and a tall Sapporo and I’ll be the happiest person on the planet.”

5) Wine and the View at Brent Manor Vineyards. “If I need to get out of town, this is my go-to. Tucked away just off 29 in Nelson County, this small vineyard is run by the lovely Jorge and Tracie, who not only make their own lineup of wines including a beautiful Chambourcin, they also stock a rotating selection of Portuguese wines and “winetail” specials that are always surprising and refreshing. All of that, paired with some beautiful VA scenery, makes for a perfect lazy afternoon. They’re closed for the season now but look out for them to reopen in the spring – you won’t be disappointed.”

Daniel Kafuman

Daniel Kaufman, owner of Public Fish & Oyster. Kaufman’s picks:

1) Boquerones at MAS Tapas and Parallel 38. “Perhaps it is cheating a bit to mention two places here, but I love what both restaurants do with these perfect little fishes. Mas takes a traditional approach serving these vinegar-and-olive-oil marinated white anchovies with lemon and garlic. P38 takes them in a different direction adding a touch of Maras red pepper which adds a welcome hint of spice. Either way, they are probably my favorite snack food.”

2) Xiao Long Bao (Steamed Pork Soup Dumplings) at Taste of China. “I am a dumpling junkie, and was so happy to see someone local doing real Soup Dumplings. Taste of China serves them perfectly steamed and filled with the most delicious molten-lava-hot broth just waiting to scald the hell out of your mouth. Every bit worth the pain involved.”

3) Scallion Bubble Pancakes at Peter Chang’s China Grill. “The first time I saw these delivered to a table, I thought it was the most ridiculous looking dish I had ever seen. Two basketball-sized balls of fried dough served alongside some brownish-yellowish sauce. I was in love the first time I had them. You have to eat them before they get cold and when you do, they have the most amazing chewy texture that comes to life when dipped in the sweet curry sauce served along side.”

4) Mexican Street Corn at Al Carbon. “Street corn has shown up on countless menus in the last year, but I haven’t tasted one that tops these guys. They make theirs with fresh cotija cheese and a spicy/sweet mayonnaise concoction and finish it with a hint of lime juice which adds the perfect hint of acidity to the creamy sauce. The perfect accompaniment to their amazing chicken.”

5) Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “This is the best salad I have ever had, and I know I’m not alone on this one. Dates, apple, arugula, watermelon radish, fennel, toasted breadcrumbs. Sweet, bitter, crunchy, tart, creamy all works together harmoniously. I’d happily go vegetarian if I got to eat this every day of my life.”

Derek Mansfield

Derek Mansfield, co-owner of Tilman’s. Mansfield’s picks:

1)  Tacos de Lengua, Mexican Style at La Michoacana. “The most authentic taco place in town, and truly the only place I’ve had good lengua anywhere in the area. The whole menu is fantastic, but I have to say I go for three tacos (always one lengua) more often than anything else.”

2) A Dozen Oysters and a Glass of Chablis at Public Fish & Oyster. “Delicious, fresh shucked, interesting oysters that rotate regularly enough to keep the interest piqued. All this provided by an extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff in a San Francisco wharf-like atmosphere.  Unique and fantastic!”

3) Manhattan followed by the BBQ Platter at The Whiskey Jar. “Come for the bourbon, stay for the great local food, and stay longer for the entertainment. All in a warm welcoming environment. I bring the family, go with out of town guests, or just stop by for a drink and a chat with the awesome team there.”

4) Anything Savory at The Pie Chest. “Thank goodness for Rachel and The Pie Chest!  They have brought a great new concept to Charlottesville, and I love finding out what’s in the case. Pro tip: go early enough to not miss out because when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

5) Steak Bavette at Bizou. “Classic French bistro meal in a classy bistro setting. Great room, great buzz, phenomenal wine list, and a friendly team that’s happy to hang for a second at your table and have a chat about what’s happening in C’Ville.”

Sara Goldsmith

Sara Goldsmith, manager of Feast! Truck at Main Street Market. Goldsmith’s picks:

1) Rotisserie Chicken at Al Carbon. “They have stayed consistent with their incredible recipe from Day One!”

2) Beef Brisket at BBQ Exchange. “It is totally worth the drive to Gordonsville. Tender and beautifully seasoned.”

3) Salmon Nanban appetizer at Now & Zen. “Spicy and cooked to perfection. I order this as my meal, and am always satisfied.”

4) CB&J Smoothie at The Juice Laundry. “Cashew butter, dragonfruit, and bananas are just a few of the delicious organic ingredients. Great as a meal or a snack any time of the year.”

5) Nicoise Quinoa Bowl at Feast!. “High grade tuna, Nicoise olives, and boiled local eggs on a bed of well-seasoned quinoa. It is so simple and fresh. I am addicted.”

Mike Perry

Mike Perry, co-chef of Brasserie Saison. Perry’s picks:

1) Roast Lamb at Ivy Inn. “Having worked with Angelo for years, one thing he always has on his menu is lamb and it’s always fantastic. I remember taking part in events he’s hosted, roasting a whole lamb or goat over a pit and to this day these are some of my most fond food and community experiences.”

2) Bellissima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “My thinking on this is… THIS PIZZA. It’s their house margherita with the addition of shaved country ham, arugula and aged parmesan. ‘Nuff said. Oh, and Michael Wayne’s BBQ –some of the best I’ve ever tasted in Virginia.”

3) Rotisserie Chicken at Al Carbon. “It’s not a secret and I love it. I get takeout and my family crushes it.”

4) Tasting  Menu at Back 40. “I’m definitely biased here because Tucker is my homie. His courses are interesting and thoughtful from beginning to end and it feels like more than just dining.”

5) El Fuego Wrap and IVP Banh Mi at Ivy Provisions. “The El Fuego Wrap is this breakfast burrito that barely fits in your hand. It’s dripping with magic chorizo grease and it’s nostalgic to the burritos I used to eat when I was growing up in Colorado. I never blink about ordering it. Everything they do in that shop is really well done. They just nail the banh mi and whenever I eat it, I wish there was more, even though it’s enough to feed two people.”

Alex Toomy

Alex Toomy of Ragged Branch Distillery. Toomy’s picks:

1) Timbercreek Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and extra mayo at Citizen Burger Bar. “No better place to watch my favorite sports event with friends than at this downtown mall burger joint.”

2) Prime Rib – rare – at Aberdeen Barn. “The side dishes are legendary, just like the wait staff.  Might not need to eat for a couple of days.”

3) Fried Oysters at Duner’s. “Crazy for the oysters, veal scallopini and homemade bread at this Ivy go-to. Sometimes after a long week,  we need a place ‘where everyone knows your name’ and the staff remembers our favorites. And if we have to wait for a table at the bar, it is always worth our while.”

4) Ragged Branch Ribeye at Back 40. “Super cool new place at Timbercreek Market ~ nothing quite like feasting on the fruits of our labor and then shopping for the week. That’s a good thing.”

5) The Bar at Hamiltons’. “Ragged Branch Bourbon at the bar. This is how we like to start a weekend.”

Lindsay Dorrier

Lindsay Dorrier of Bold Rock Hard Cider. Dorrier’s picks:

1) Dealer’s Choice at Cicchetti Bar at Tavola. “It’s been mentioned before but worth mentioning again: the Cicchetti Bar at Tavola features the best cocktails in town. I mostly drink hard cider followed by wine and some beer but Tavola’s Maiale Milanese wouldn’t be a complete meal without a Dealer’s Choice cocktail from the Cicchetti Bar to start. The talented bartenders are always able to take my vague suggestions on taste (something fresh, vodka, maybe a touch of sweetness) and turn it into an amazing cocktail. Fellow Scottsville Elementary School alum and longtime friend Christian Johnston did an awesome job building the Cicchetti Bar from the ground up, and Steve Yang has ably grabbed the torch and continued to push it forward. Kudos to both for running an operation that is distinctively next level in terms of quality and even showmanship with their approach to crafting the cocktails.”

2) Made To Order Mozzarella at Fry’s Spring Station. “I live a stone’s throw away from Fry’s Spring Station and am grateful to have such awesome food and ambiance in my backyard. One of my new favorite appetizer’s is the Made To Order Mozzarella. If the mozzarella is Batman then the flatbread is Robin. They go perfectly together and I’m confident I have not had better flatbread. Top with roasted tomatoes and you are cooking with gas.”

3) Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “The perfect start to any culinary adventure at Oakhart where you literally can’t go wrong with the menu selections. The shaved salad has varied textures, tastes and colors that combine together to create a beautifully simple yet complex dish. Arugula, watermelon radish, medjool date and a few other interesting veggies tossed in a creamy garlic dressing will keep you going back for a second or third scoop. Make sure you order more than one for larger groups!”

4) Sweet Heat Wings at Fardowners. “Just a touch outside of Charlottesville but worth the drive, Fardowners in Crozet dishes out an amazing house made wing sauce in the Sweet Heat which has a perfect dose of habanero spice blended with a delicious honey and raspberry sweetness. The wings are never scrawny or dried out and always thoroughly coated with this sweet and fiery deliciousness. I don’t dream about wings too often but my mouth has definitively started to water just thinking about this dish.”

5) Chili Dusted Sea Scallops at Zocalo. “I’ve had a longstanding aversion towards seafood, which is why extra weight should be given to the Chili Dusted Sea Scallops at Zocalo making this list. These scallops are flat out amazing, perfectly seared and served on a bed of sautéed spinach and fried plantains. I’ve tried to replicate them at home but have come to realize that there is just no matching this excellence at Zocalo.”

The Dennisons

Reader drawing winner Rebekah Dennison and her husband Mark. The Dennisons’ picks:

1) Smorgasbord of Slices To-Go from Downtown Christians Pizza. “After a long week this is our ultimate Friday night treat, the key is to have someone to share a few slices with so you get to taste as many of their incredible combinations as possible. Our current favorites to share are Chicken & Black Bean, Fresh mozz/tomato/basil, buffalo chicken & blue cheese, and spinach/artichoke/pesto.”

2) Hummus on an Everything bagel with Sprouts, Cucumber, Onion, Feta spread, and Kalamata Olive Spread, Cut from Bodo’s Bagels. “There are so many sandwiches that we could have picked from Bodo’s, but this Mediterranean spin, a mouthful to order and to eat, always seems to make it on our tray.” 

3) Quiche from MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. “The perfect breakfast is only a three minute walk from our house. Each variety is amazing but when the mushroom quiche is available we can’t resist getting a slice every time we swing by for our favorite morning coffee, a large iced red-eye.”

4) Grilled Salmon at Zocalo. “We had our wedding reception here 8 years ago, so Zocalo has a special place in our hearts.  We still go back to get this piping hot dish which the kitchen will split perfectly for two, served with green chili and goat cheese couscous.”

5) Spam Musubi and Pork Lau Lau from Mochiko. “Riki Tanabe is always cooking up amazing Hawaiian street food that is the perfect City Market treat. Mark always goes for the Spam Musubi while Rebekah gets the Pork Lau Lau  platter accompanied by the best mac salad ever.”

Jason Boorman

Jason Boorman of Kardinal Hall. Boorman’s picks:

1) Pastrami, Swiss and Mustard on Everything Bagel at Bodo’s. “You can put just about anything on a Bodo’s everything bagel and I will eat it, but I will wait in line on a Saturday morning for this sandwich!”

2) Tuna Tartare at Zocalo. “One of my favorite things to do is app hop on the downtown mall and it always starts with the tuna tartare. I’ve tried to duplicate this at home and gave up.”

3) Capellini Frutti Di Mare “Fra Diavolo” at Tavola. “Seafood is fresh, pasta is cooked perfectly, and that sauce . .. . my favorite pasta dish hands down. Order a side of bread with it, because leaving any sauce in the bowl is an absolute sin!”

4) Porchetta Panuozzi at Lampo. “I could do a five finds on just Lampo, but I’ve had dreams about this sandwich before. The house made porchetta is phenomenal, house bread is the perfect vessel and the crunch from the broccoli rabe ties it all together. If you haven’t had it yet, go there now, it will change your life.”

5) Nachos with Beef and Extra Tomatillo Salsa at Beer Run. “I started dating my girlfriend right around the time Beer Run opened. This was the first dish we had there and now we can’t go there without ordering it. It’s pretty bad when the bartender doesn’t even have to ask how you want them.”

Sidney Hall

Sidney Hall of Moon Maiden’s Delights. Hall’s picks:

1) Colima Volcan De Fuego Coffee from Shark Mountain Coffee. “I don’t wake up for anything except this glorious sweet coffee nectar that brings me to life.”

2) Sous Poulet from Pearl Island. “The farmer’s market is a super fun place to work. Especially fun when I get a free moment and can mow down some delicious and aromatic, tomato-y stewed chicken with a heaping side of vinegared kale and watermelon turnips…or is it radishes? Anyways, I know what you’re thinking.”

3) La Cura Loca from The Bebedero. “Scorpion infused mezcal, limoncello, and brown ale. Being a server at The Bebedero granted me a lot of amazing opportunities to taste interesting cocktails. This one was so damn good.”

4) Late Night Pork Tacos from C&O. “These seem like a long lost distant memory to me, as I keep baking hours now, so no more staying out past 11. But, I might do it just one more time for these juicy beauties topped with vinegar dredged slaw.”

5) Quail Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pistachios, Sauteed Endive, Quail Jus from Fleurie. “This is definitely the way to start off a meal. Such rich flavors and enjoyable textures. Pistachios plus mushrooms plus quail is a heavenly bite each time.”

Wilson Richey (2)

Wilson Richey of Ten Course Hospitality. Richey’s picks:

1) Meatloaf and Good Beaujolais at Bizou (b. 1996). “I wanted to say ‘Tim and Vincent at Bizou’ but I’m not sure everybody gets to see them when they go. I often do, and a friendly smile from Tim or a story from Vincent will make me feel better about my life and my day. There is perfection in simplicity and that perfection is delivered every service at Bizou. I could eat at Bizou every day. The dishes are balanced, never too heavy, always flavorful and with apparent attention to detail. Every time I eat there I remark at how crisp and well dressed every leaf of lettuce is. A quick conversation with Vincent will yield a tremendous wine selection and, more often than not, some really good advice about managing your restaurant. Like John and Lynelle from Mudhouse, Vincent has helped me grow and think about my business far more then I will ever be able to thank him for. There is always a great Bistro wine selection at Bizou that you will not find anywhere else in town. Often these are from my favorite fringe wine regions in France like Jura, Savoie or the often overlooked but not fringe region of Beaujolais. A good Cru Beaujolais and the classic Bizou Meatloaf is just good, unpretentious enjoyment, a perfect lunch for this time of year in the Fall when the patios on the mall are the best place to be in town.”

2) An Elegant Glass of Wine and Some Perspective at Tastings (b. 1990). “When I moved to town in 1997, I tried to get a job at Tastings because for me it was obviously the best business idea in town. I did not get the job but I bought a case of wine hand selected by Bill Curtis every other week for the next year to learn about wine. At the time I thought Bill was a grumpy, contrary, rough old dude. Twenty years later I still think that and I love it. Bill Curtis is one of the straightest shooters in the business. He and his business are among the most authentically Charlottesville things about Charlottesville. I always go to Tastings, and I send everyone I know to Tastings, to find a good bottle of wine with a little age or character to it. I try to stop and have a great glass of wine when I can (he is one of the few people to open exceptional bottles to pour by the glass), and listen to Bill’s perspective which can be more refreshing than the wine itself. I don’t get to do this often, but it is a personal goal for me to get over there more.”

3) Lobster Bisque and The Full Experience at Fleurie (b. 2001). “Back in those days, around the time when I was buying a case of wine at Tastings from Bill up the street, I would also take myself to dinner alone at the newly opened Fleurie, every other week or so, to learn something about food. I was waiting tables at the time and was single and in my early 20’s. I had money to burn and I burnt it on learning from the right places. I have always loved Fleurie for its classic French cuisine, but ever since Erin Scala took over the dining room and wine program she has added another layer of appreciation for this always excellent experience. And now, with Jose De Brito’s return, and an already complete experience is heightened, though seemingly impossible, to a level beyond. Think about it: Brian Helleberg’s Fleurie is a tremendous classic French restaurant, Erin Scala has brought the hospitality and wine program to an unprecedented level in this town and possibly in the state of Virginia, and now Jose de Brito is back in the kitchen . . . I mean Good Lord in Heaven . . . I really can’t put into words how good this is. Anyway, if I had to pick one dish from Fleurie it would still be the lobster bisque because it is exceptional and complex and excellent with a good White Burgundy. But really Fleurie is about the total experience and everything they do is of note.”

4) A Light Dinner Alone at TEN Sushi (b. 2007). “Going to Ten makes me feel calm and collected. I often go when I am trying to collect my thoughts or I want to feel particularly together as a person. This is also my favorite restaurant in town to go to alone. The cocktails are elegant and well made, there is always a good and reasonably priced Champagne on the wine list, and the fish is always of the finest quality. One bite of the rice and you know someone took the time to make sure it was excellent. I have many favorites here but I most often will order the Wasabi Roll and the Wasabi Wagyu Skewer together with a house recommendation of Sake. People think of Ten as expensive but it does not have to be. Like any great restaurant, you can make it a pricey splurge or you can order a few items that still fill your hunger (like the amazing tempuras). Even when you order light, like I usually do, you still feel uplifted and refined by the experience.”

5) Coupe Maison late night at C&O (b. 1976). “I used to go to C&O’s basement bar late night all the time. It is classy, warm, and comfortable. C&O for late night is another standard bearer for living in Charlottesville. This is where my wife and I would go when we were dating, for late night ice cream and champagne. Often I would order some sort of Campari based drink and sit long into the evening. This is where I first heard The Olivarez Trio and was blown away by Rick, Dave and Jeff’s rendition of some of my favorite music. I love the C&O for many reasons. The sweetbreads with greens peppercorns is another favorite dish, but the Coupe Maison, late night, at the bar, with Champagne, with a beautiful woman (like my wife) and a few late night Campari based cocktails hopefully with the Olivarez Trio playing in the back ground, is a perfect Charlottesville moment to be enjoyed. We still get out for this ritual every chance we get.”

Clare Terni

Clare Terni of Ten Course Hospitality. Terni’s picks:

1) Paletas from La Flor Michoacana. “Chamoy Mango is the best.”

2) Cinnamon Toast Crunch S’mores Bars from Foods of All Nations bakery. “They started making these a few months ago. My inner fat kid pretty much died and went to heaven.”

3) IVP Banh Mi at Ivy Provisions. “I can’t eat a whole one, but the pate and cabbage combo is excellent.”

4) Cheese Sauce on nachos at The Bebedero. “I totally want to die in a vat of that cheese sauce, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas style.”

5) Egg Salad Sandwiches at home made with Weber’s Horseradish Mustard from Wegmans. “That mustard is a game-changer for so many foods. It makes egg salad taste like the best damn deviled eggs you ever ate.

Albee Pedone

Albee Pedone, bar manager of Three Notch’d Brewing’s new brewpub. Pedone’s picks:

1) Espresso at MarieBette. “My morning doesn’t get going until I have some good espresso, and for that I head to MarieBette. Not only the best espresso in my opinion, but also the best pastries, and pretty much everything else they make. Whether I have time for a leisurely breakfast or I just need to stop in and grab something quick, I always love visiting my friends, JasonPatrick, and Will and having some incredible treats to start the day, which definitely keeps me on track for long hours of work.”

2) Rotisserie Chicken at Al Carbon. “Their chicken is unbelievably moist and juicy, with a perfectly crispy skin – the only rotisserie chicken better than Al Carbon is in Tulum, Mexico as far as I’m concerned. And the spicy guacamole is delicious too. Always friendly and welcoming, this is a must have, on a weekly basis for me.”

3) Smoked Tri-Tip at Oakhart Social. “Now, when it comes to dinner, first on my list is Oakhart Social. Owners Ben Clore and Chef Tristan Wraight really know how to make a restaurant work. Add to that mix an incredibly talented staff like Bar Manager Brendan Cartin, whose cocktails are nothing short of inspired genius in a glass, and Sous Chef Todd Grieger, who brings the perfect blend of execution and creativity to your face hole, and you are in for a real treat. Chef Tristan is by far one of the best chefs I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a meal from. His wizardry makes me love things I would normally never eat (like Brussels sprouts), and makes things I love better than I thought they could be. In addition to the smoked tri-tip steak, some of my other favorite menu items currently are the shaved salad, grilled shrimp, and the pepperoni pizza. But really, anything that comes from that kitchen and bar are enough to make me happy. Everything about this place is perfection. And while the name rings of the social aspect of going out to eat, to me it’s family.”

4) Shishito Peppers at Parallel 38. “Next is a new-old-favorite. Parallel 38 has (thankfully) reopened, and the new digs are nothing short of enlightening. This place feels like it has been there forever, and any memories of previous establishments disappear as soon as you walk in. Kudos to Steve Pritchard, Justin Ross, Cara Ward, and Chef Johnny Garver for all their hard work making this new place even better than the original. I was simply floored by every dish that came out. My favorites there so far (and I didn’t exactly get through the entire menu, but I’m close) are the blistered shishitos (the best preparation of this kind I have ever had), sirloin (mouth watering and so tender it falls apart before the fork even hits it), and the octopus (which reminded me of Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house). I couldn’t be happier to see these guys in action again, and I couldn’t be happier that I no longer have to drive to the other side of town to do so. Welcome back guys, it’s been too long.”

5) Marinara d.o.c. Pizza at Lampo. “Last, but most certainly not least, is Lampo – another place that makes me feel like I am walking into a family member’s house for dinner. Intimate, charming, and oh the smells. This place blows me away every time I go there, and seeing the smiling faces of Mitch BeerensAndrew ColeLoren Mendosa, and the rest of the staff, I know I’ve come home. These guys know good food, and being an Italian from Brooklyn I like to eat good food, especially pizza and this place helps me forget that I am hundreds of miles from my hometown every time I eat a pie from their oven. My favorite is the Marinara d.o.c. – the simplicity of this pizza is unlike anything I’ve had – garlic, marinara, oregano, salt and olive oil – it’s all the best parts and is absolutely amazing. Other favorites are The Hellboy pizza, roasted cauliflower, and if I’m lucky they have a cannoli or two left when I get there. Their slogan should read something like: Lampo, making Italian New Yorkers feel at home since 2014.”

Dr. Kelly Davidson

Dr. Davidson’s picks:

1) Italian Cream Cake at Paradox Pastry.  “Four layers of cake with coconut, pecans and a yummy cream cheese frosting. If you love coconut, this is the cakefor you.”

2) Smokey Dokey at The Alley Light. “The mix of smoke from the mezcal plus a little heat and citrus is just right.”

3) Labneh at Parallel 38.  “I love, love, love this. I could and would eat it on almost anything. When P38 closed, I tried to make it . . big fail. Now that they have re-opened, I can’t wait to get my fix!”

4) Everything Bagel w/ Cream Cheese from Bodo’s with Face Bacon from JM Stock Provisions. “My traditional birthday dinner for years is a childhood favorite: a bagel with cream cheese and bacon. After many versions, I think we finally perfected it: Bodo’s everything bagel with plain cream cheese, topped with plenty of face bacon from JM Stock. Makes getting older a lot more bearable.”

5) The Fat and Sassy at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “Sunday plan: wine at Pippin Hill followed by a stop at Dr. Ho’s for this delicious mound of cheese and garlic atop Dr. Ho’s pizza crust dipped in ranch. Not a day to wear your skinny jeans.”

Steve Yang

Steve Yang, bar manager of Tavola Cicchetti Bar. Yang’s picks:

1) Torta Al Pastor at Tacos Gomez.”If you’ve ever talked tacos with me you’ve probably heard me rave about the cabeza tacos. But if you haven’t tried their tortas, you’re really missing out. They are probably the best sandwich in Charlottesville. Shout out to the late Luke Smith for introducing me not only to this place, but to a deep love for tacos.”

2) Steak and Fromage at Tavern & Grocery. “If you need any more indication of my opinions on this sandwich, I had two of them for brunch last Sunday. The staff upstairs at Tavern & Grocery and downstairs at Lost Saint are all fantastic and can always guarantee a good time. I also seem to have a reputation as a giant eater there. When I asked for a box last time I had dinner there, I could hear cheering from the kitchen.”

3) Chicken Philly at Beer Run. “This has to be my most eaten item on this list. I live right around the corner from Beer Run, and it’s an easy and delicious item to grab before I head into work. Plus, it was my first restaurant job in town and I can always see people I know when I go there. As a bartender, I know I have many bars I frequent but sitting at the Beer Run bar always feels like home.”

4) Milanesa Cemitas at Al Carbon. “People rave about the chicken and for very good reason, but the cemitas (a specific type of torta) are fantastic, especially when papalo is in season. Also, don’t miss out on their two styles of street corn. They just moved into their new location next door and everything about an already great experience is now even better.”

5) Polpettine Panuozzo at Lampo. “The beauty of a place that serves food until midnight is that I get off work before then in the early half of the week. If I haven’t had enough staff meal or am just particularly hungry after a shift, the meatball sandwich always hits the spot. My girlfriend and assistant bar manager Rebecca Edwards is particularly attached to the Margherita Pizza with a side of calabrian chili oil.”

PK Kamath

PK Kamath, co-owner of Fry’s Spring Station and Ivy Provisions. Kamath’s picks:

1) Pork Rib Chop at The Ivy Inn. “The pork rib chop is my go-to, but the amuse bouche that magically appear at the table are also part of what takes this place from great to really special. Add Angelo and Farrell’s personal touch and well, it’s as good as it gets.”

2) Tuna Nori Roll at Bang! “Ok, here’s the thing. It has NOT been on their menu in a while. I’m bringing it up here, with the simple hope of someone at Bang seeing it, feeling terribly regretful for the mistake they have made (sarcasm!!) and putting it back on the menu (not sarcasm!!). In all seriousness, this is our go-to weekday date night spot. The menu is filled with great flavors and textures and the dressed vegetables/salads in most of the dishes are what makes it for me.”

3) Kibbeh Platter with Fire-roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Eggplant and Sesame Green Beans at Sticks. “The entire menu is delicious and it’s simple food, done right. Without question, my 11-year old daughter’s favorite restaurant, from even before she had a full set of teeth (hummus is amazing).”

4) Peri-peri Wings with a side of Peri-peri sauce at The Shebeen.. “Hot, spicy, meaty, spicy delectable goodness. Walter’s wings and an ice-cold Narragansett Lager put me in my happy place. I’m pretty sure my spirit animal is a chicken wing.”

5) Taiwanese-style Pork Chops with Scallion Pancakes at Cafe 88. “Although this place is very unsuspecting, Li is about as talented as it gets, and she cares about what she’s feeding her customers and it shows. Really damn good. Really, really damn good.”

Corry Blanc

Corry Blanc of Blanc Creatives. Blanc’s picks:

1) Fried Chicken Lunch at the Shell Station on Preston Avenue. “Breast, thigh, mac n cheese and collard greens for the win. There’s always a debate in town on who has the best fried chicken. While other places have good chicken, what kills it here are the sides! As a Georgia boy, I grew up eating chicken eight days a week and this place reminds me of home.”

2) French Fries at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “For the past eight years, I’ve lived on the south side of town and have had the chance to enjoy Ho’s without too much of a drive. There’s no bad dish in the place. My weak spot is definitely the fries though! Fresh cut, piled high on a large plate.”

3) Smoked Tomatoes and Gambas al Parilla at MAS Tapas. “Both dishes are as simple as it gets and deliver so much flavor. Super smokey tomatoes swimming in olive oil and plump shrimp slathered in alioli and salt. What more can you say?”

4) Chef Sandwich at Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen. “My workshop has been located in the Belmont neighborhood for the past five years. Belmont is an amazing part of town for food once the sun goes down. Not so much for lunch though. Until, Harrison and Jennifer opened up Keevil & Keevil.  The lunch selection is pretty extensive with sandwiches and whatever new creations Harrison’s playing around with that day.  My go- to (at least a few times a week) is the Chef Sandwich. Simple, classic, working-man-size roast beef and turkey.  Everything a sandwich needs to be.”

5) Dinner at Lampo. “It’s really a rare occasion that my wife and I go out to dinner. We both enjoy to cook and keep ourselves busy most of the time. On that rare occasion we go out it’s usually to Lampo. There’s so much talent crammed into that little kitchen. We like to start out with a Boulevardier or two, get an order of the Brussels sprouts and kale salads, usually go for the Diavola and Funghi pizzas and try our damnedest to polish of a round of zeppole dipped into the budino (chocolate pudding).”

Patrick Carruthers

Patrick Carruthers, sous chef of Junction, which has just released a new menu. Carruthers’ picks:

1) Burger at Riverside Lunch. “There is a lot of great food in Charlottesville but you can’t beat a fresh burger with bacon, lettuce, and mayo between two buns, especially when it comes with a basket of shoestring fries covered in Lawry’s seasoned salt.”

2) Ricotta Gnocchi with Duck Confit at C & O. “Served with duck cracklins, it is the perfect amount of savory and sweet. Just eating it will make you feel rich.”

3) Anything in a Crepe at The Alley Light. “Coming from someone who has personally rolled out more of theses crepes than I can count, I have never lost appreciation for how amazing each and every combination comes together from pigs head with mushrooms and sherry vinegar to guinea hen with salsify and parmesan cheese.”

4) Happy Hour at RockSalt. “$1 oysters with a shot of bourbon and a cider at their outdoor bar is a go-to for me and Nicole when we aren’t in the kitchen at Junction.”

5) Biscuits and Red-Eye Gravy at The Pigeon Hole. “When The Corner clears out for summertime, The Pigeon Hole is a great brunch spot to grab a bloody mary, a patio seat, and some fluffy biscuits smothered in gravy. Plus, there is a handsome bartender who works there with a phenomenal head of hair who I am lucky to call one of my close friends.”

Tres Pittard

Tres Pittard, sous chef of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. Pittard’s picks:

1) Orecchiette, House Sausage, Broccoli Rabe from Vivace. “First of all, I really like the outdoor seating here. The pasta and the atmosphere definitely tie in together, and all in all it is a very comforting experience.” 

2) Ham Biscuit from JM Stock Provisions. “How did I not know about these sooner? I enjoy everything about these and always contemplate if I’ve gotten enough of them on the walk to the car.”

3) Mexican Street Corn from Junction. “This was ridiculously good and I actually had to order another round to come out with the meal.”

4) Spinach, Goat cheese, Egg and Honey Pie from The Pie Chest. “Another thing I was recently introduced to but can’t seem to stop thinking about. And, the thought of these being available Saturday mornings at Draft for soccer is starting to blow my mind a little. Just that good.” 

5) Chicken Francaise from Bella’s. “Athough Bella’s serves family style, I could definitely have this one to myself. The entirety of the dish was on point, and I can see why this one usually sells out.”

Josh Zanoff

Josh Zanoff, Partner in Ten Course Hospitality. Zanoff’s picks:

1) Vibe at LW’s Livery Stable. “I know Five Finds is supposed to be all about the food but to me there is a close relationship among the food, the aesthetic, and the feelings that any eatery evokes. Livery gives me that good feeling. It comes across in the food and in the cocktail program. It comes across in knowing that the building and business have been in the same family since 1849. It’s our cool quiet local joint where the bartenders know your name and where you leave feeling taken care of.”

2) Cavolfiore Caramellato at Tavola. “The best cauliflower I’ve had anywhere, ever. The transformation of ordinary ingredients to extraordinary plates is a magical power of a great chef. This transformation at Tavola, similar to when chefs like Harrison Keevil roast a humble chicken, keeps me coming back for more just like their wine program does. It’s a place to go to get inspired.”

3) Large Iced Americano at Splendora’s. “If I start my day at The Whiskey Jar or The Bebedero then it’s our Trager Brothers blend of course, but it really depends on which way I walk to work. Sometimes it’s Java Java, or Lone Lightinside Pie Chest, or Mudhouse but I usually try to aim right for Splendora’s. The Illy blend they use makes the Americano look right, smell right, taste right, and it gets you feeling right whether or not you throw in a couple ma’amoul.”

4) Beer Cheese Tots at Draft Taproom. “I crave food that comforts. Food that feels like a warm hug from places that feel like home. Riverside has always filled that niche very well, but lately I’ve also been drawn to Draft Taproom. I would never have imagined a joint with 65 taps would have a scratch kitchen. I assumed freezer to fryer but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d never heard of anyone doing potato tots from scratch before I started eating there.”

5) Southern Hospitality as formerly served by Romaine Brooks at The Whiskey Jar. “While it is not something that we order or pay for or eat with a fork, it is something that feeds our soul. We all know we can get a burger and some fried chicken and an Old Fashioned just about anywhere around here, even at our gas stations. What you can’t get anywhere are people who really care like Romaine. What sets one restaurant apart from another isn’t only the food but how that restaurant makes you feel overall. Romaine Brooks made you feel good. He made you feel like you were a part of something. He made you feel important and he made you feel taken care of. He was a part of our lives for many years at The Whiskey Jar and at Parallel 38 where his brand of hospitality will be missed dearly.”

Julia Minnerly

Julia Minnerly, Space Lab Commander at Snowing in Space. Minnerly’s picks:

1) Ham Biscuits from JM Stock Provisions. “I struggle not to get a biscuit from here every day of the week. Thinly sliced, high quality ham with honey and hot sauce on biscuits made fresh everyday, so delicious!”

2) Cheesecake Berry Swirl Ice Cream Sandwich from Wonderment​ Bakeshop and Creamery​​. “Stephanie makes incredible baked goods and ice cream, in a plethora of flavors. Put them together into a jam-packed homemade ice cream sandwich? Unbelievably tasty!”

3) Chicken Lunch Box from Doma​. “Such a great go-to lunch for me. Quick service, great ingredients, and a healthy portion of Korean-style veggies and meat, it’s always amazing!”

4) The Hangover Burger from South Street Brewery. “This burger is an undertaking to be sure, with bacon and a fried egg on top, but it is a must try. Definitely the best of it’s kind in the area and consistently cooked perfectly!​”

5) California Turkey Sandwich from Green House Coffee. “Love the avocado mayo on this sandwich, with sprouts, bacon and roasted turkey. For sure a yummy favorite!”

Jin Bang

Jin Bang, Chief Aloha Officer of Mochiko. Bang’s picks:

1) Vegan Chili at The Juice Laundry. “This is one hearty soup! Great for lunch or dinner. I’ve even warmed up leftovers from the night before as breakfast. I love that this chili has a balanced texture and mouth feel. It may be vegan, but it’s not lacking in flavor.  Vegan food still gets a bad rap, but when it’s done well like this chili, there isn’t a lot of room for criticism. It comes topped with your choice of plain or jalapeno-accented cashew sour cream. Simply delicious.”

2) Beet Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette and Chevre at Bang!. “If you like roasted beets, this dish is sure to delight.  It features beets of different varieties and the resulting colors are unexpected. The beets come in a lightly ginger flavored broth topped with a little bit of crunch and goat cheese. I admire the finesse of this dish. I love when chefs find ways to elevate and highlight the simple beauty of high quality ingredients. This may not be the dish that jumps out at you amidst all of the other edibles on the Bang! menu, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.”

3) Panna Cotta Gelato at Splendora’s.  “I don’t think this needs any explanation.  Splendora’s kills with this one! Not too sweet, not too mild, just right. For anyone who enjoys light, rich, and creamy, the panna cotta gelato satisfies cravings for all of the above.”

4) Tom Kha Soup at Pad Thai. “When I get soup at a Thai place, I usually opt for the spicy version with lemongrass- Tom Yum. Everything at Pad Thai tastes magically of home.  I’m not Thai, but the flavors of the broths here remind me of the soup dishes my grandmother used to make for us at home. You can taste all of the time, labor, and love that goes into the food here. What I dig about the Tom Kha is the surprising acidity that cuts through the rich sweetness of the coconut. I was skeptical the first time I ordered it, in part because I expected the coconut would be cloying. Much to my delight, this soup was something I’d never expected to taste in a soup. It’s the right amount of rich, sweet, salty, tangy – it pretty much hits all of the flavors you might want in a soup. It’s not spicy, but you can always add your own spice. To this day, it is comfort in a bowl on a rainy day or when I’m feeling under the weather- and who am I kidding. Sometimes I just crave it for no reason at all because it’s that kind of good.”

5) The Mayweather Salad at Roots Natural Kitchen. “This salad combines all of the things I like in a salad. Not only does it have roasted beets and goat cheese, it also comes with sweet potatoes. Honestly, I customize my bowls so I don’t usually get the onions or bulgar- but both of those things come with this filling bowl too. I think what I love is that I can add avocado, or swap out my proteins. Depending on my mood, I can ask for tomatoes or a different kind of dressing. Every time I order this bowl, it looks a little different, but that’s what I love about Roots. Salad becomes an expression of self in the moment.  Who would have guessed ordering salad could be such a mindful practice?”

Joy Ting

Winemaker and Head Enologist at Michael Shaps Wineworks. Ting’s picks:

1) English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich at Timbercreek Market. “Made with a house-made English muffin, a farm fresh egg, breakfast meat (bacon or sausage, depending on the day) and cheese, this is a great way to start the weekend. It is a Saturday ritual in my family to stop at Timbercreek for breakfast on the way home from the Farmer’s Market. My husband and I are in withdrawal since they have been closed for remodeling, but we are excited to see the newly redone space.”

2) Ma La Fish at Taste of China. “My first experience with tongue-numbing ma la spice was at Taste of China, and it was a revelation. It is used in many dishes there, but the fish is my favorite. Its perfectly fried to be crispy outside, warm and tender inside, with ma la energizing the whole thing.”

3) Fried Chicken and Collards at The Whiskey Jar. “I love the relaxed atmosphere at the Jar, and although I have tried pretty much everything on the menu, it is all I can do not to order this every time.  Some things are classics for a reason.

4) Pairings at Fleurie. “This is where my husband and I go for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. The food is great, no matter what we order. Erin Scala and her team pair unique and delicious wines with each dish, enhancing the flavors and the experience.”

5) Fleur de Sel Caramels from La Vache Microcreamery. “These caramels are just the right texture with just the right balance of sweet and salty.  They are beautifully packaged and make great gifts. There are other flavors (like milk stout, lavender and honey, and sweet tea), that are all delicious, but again, I like the classics.”

Janey Gioiosa

Janey Gioiosa of Sweet Jane’s Pies. Gioiosa’s picks:

1) Pork Nachos w/ the Spice-a-Rita Margarita at Mono Loco. “Mono Loco has one of the best atmospheres here in town and you’re always bound to run into someone you know. I always get the Spice-a-Rita, and I am not ashamed of the joy that a large plate of corn chips topped with tender pork, cheese, jalapeños and beans brings me.”

2) Five Grain Bread from MarieBette Cafe & Bakery. “Just do yourself a favor and buy a loaf of this bread, get the mini one if you must, grab a libation of your choice and go sit and indulge. Do it.”

3) Green Machine Smoothie from Integral Yoga Natural Foods. “Simple, to the point, spot on every time. How they make blended fruit taste so good? I do not know.”

4) Chicken from Pearl Island. “Pearl Island just opened to the public when I was finishing up the Culinary Program at the Jefferson School. They also happened to open up when I was no longer taking classes that required cooking, so it worked out quite well. I would get a heaping plate of tender chicken, rice and beans, kale salad and twice fried plantains. Its one of those dishes where you can mash everything up together to create that perfect bite.”

5) Kettle Korn from Blue Ridge Kettle Korn. “Those who love me will tell you my obsession with this popcorn. I have been known to go on the hunt for it when its sold out at certain stores, which then prompts me to buy two very large bags of it.  What really sent my obsession into a tizzy is when I was able to get it warm at a festival. Never had a popcorn kernel so fluffy with that perfect sweet and salty combo. I shall now go buy some.”

Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill, Lampo sous chef. Hill’s picks:

1) Ham Biscuit with honey and hot sauce at JM Stock Provisions. “It’s everything I want: perfectly baked biscuit, hot , sweet and savory. I want it all the time including weekends holidays and by the tray.”

2) Pistachio Popsicle from La Flor Michoacana. “It’s a favorite spot for me and my son, and if you know us personally you know we always have a popsicle at hand. And, La Flor just knocks it out of the park. Reminds me of my childhood, so good.”

3) Watermelon Gose from Three Notch’d Brewing Company.  “Can’t think of a better beverage to beat the heat with. Love the balance.”

4) NacHos at Dr Ho’s Humble Pie. “My all-time favorite thing from Dr Ho’s! No other nachos comes close to scratching the itch. Poblano lime cream fresh corn salsa and slow braised beef just drowning in melty goodness. Ho’s knows.”

5) Fried Chicken and Waffles at buffet brunch at The Fitzroy. “My list wouldn’t be complete without it. Something has got to be said about endless fried chicken and maple syrup (and hot sauce).”

Mark Fulton

Mark Fulton, co-founder and Director of Brewing Operations of Reason Beer. Fulton’s picks:

1) Ace Burger at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “This is my favorite burger in town.  The ground brisket is perfect, the pickles are tangy and fantastic, and it is topped with Charlottesville’s best pimento cheese.”

2) Hot and Numbing Combination in Hotpot at Peter Chang China Grill. “This dish fundamentally changed my perception of what spicy can be.  Far from a simple two dimensional heat scale, the hotpot embarks on strange new voyages in spice.”

3) En Fuego Wrap at Ivy Provisions. “It’s a greasy mess, but it’s the cure for what ails you on a slow morning.  IVP’s chorizo is the star here, mixed with green chili sauce and pepper jack cheese.”

4) Nachos at Beer Run.”My favorite place in town to grab a pint and a giant plate of nachos. Bring a friend (or two), and go all in with beans and beef, extra jalapenos, and bacon.”

5) Brown Butter Crumble Donut at Miso Sweet. “This thing is a little circle of heaven.”

Zach Miller

Zach Miller, co-owner of Timbercreek Market. Miller’s picks:

1) Falconer Hoppy Wheat Ale from Champion Brewing Company. “You can always find a Champion at our house, but this beer is at the top of my list. Hunter’s beers are all great which is why we are collaborating on a special release with Champion for our new restaurant. We will grow the crops and Hunter will create a magic beer.”

2) The Steakhouse Burger at Citizen Burger Bar, served rare. “Shameless self promotion? Yes. But what is there not to like? So many great flavors in between the greatest bread in town – an Albemarle Baking Company brioche.”

3) F8 by Jake Busching Wines. “Jake’s wines are great! The F8 is not only great but the grapes are grown by my friend Carl Tinder, so knowing the farmer makes it a win and it’s really good to top it off!”

4) 434 Summer Pale Ale from Three Notch’d Brewery. “Another find in our kitchen. It is a delicious light drinking summer beer that our beer buyer, Maggie Slinkman, has made a staple at the market for the summer.”

5) Spicy Peanut Tofu at Revolutionary Soup. “This is my go-to spot for lunch when I am downtown. If I eat lunch it needs to be light and quick and Rev Soup delivers every time.”

Priscilla Martin

Priscilla Martin, General Manager and Wine Director of Tavola. Martin’s picks:

1) Sausage, Goat cheese, and Honey Hand Pie from The Pie Chest. “Growing up with an English father, savory pies were one of my favorite parts about winter visits to my grandparent’s house. The hot and flaky breakfast hand pie from The Pie Chest has all the good things about a savory pie but with a delicious modern twist. Walking the Downtown Mall in the winter with one of these and a cup of coffee is a great Charlottesville treat. Also it means I get to eat pie for breakfast – so let’s just say I ‘brexit’ one of these from the shop pretty frequently.”

2) Chicken Liver Pate at Oakhart Social. “My best friend is, ironically, the pickiest person in the entire world. I took her to Oakhart Social and she almost stabbed me for the last piece of what she referred to as meat butter.”

3) Beet Salad at Brasserie Saison.My fiancé is a manager here and so I am not exaggerating when I say that I eat this salad at least twice a month. I normally love roasted beets but something about Chef Tyler’s combination of creamy stracciatella cheese, crunchy puffed rice, and tart pickled red onions make it my all time favorite beet salad. Paired best with the Chenin Blanc by the glass from Wine Director Will Curley’s excellent wine list.”

4) Tacos Al Pastor from Tacos Gomez. “Coming from Chicago, my first question when I asked when I moved to Charlottsville was: ‘Where do I get good Mexican food?’ Our bar manager Steve Yang referred me to the food truck Tacos Gomez. Specifically, the al pastor tacos are my absolute favorite – perfectly cooked and extraordinarily flavorful. Since then, Steve brings them to me almost every Thursday for manager meeting and consequently has just been voted ‘best human alive’ in C-Ville’s ‘best of’ awards.”

5) Albarino from Afton Mountain Vineyards. “As a sommelier, one of the best parts about moving to Charlottesville is living in a wine making region. It’s been absolutely fantastic becoming friends with wine makers and actually seeing the ins and outs of the production. The wine itself here isn’t bad either, and my favorite summer white is the Albarino being produced from Afton Mountain. It’s a perfectly crisp and high acid white wine for the summer but with some great orchard fruit and floral notes that add complexity.”

Will Curley

Will Curley, Wine Buyer for Ten Course Hospitality and Manager at Brasserie Saison. Curley’s picks:

1) Maiale Milanese at Tavola. “Call it comfort food, fat kid food, or just happy food, this is the dish that I think about days in advance of any meal at Tavola.  The grilled lemon sauce with peppery arugula and a perfectly fried pork cutlet hit all the high notes and are best paired with whatever Wine Director Priscilla Martin wants to pour that day.”

2) Al Pastor Tacos at La Michoacana. “Moving from Chicago to Charlottesville has brought some amazing things; a role at a great new restaurant, the chance to meet people inside and outside the wine & restaurant world, and a gorgeous, historical town with an amazing food & drink scene.  What I miss most, however, is the breadth of Mexican food options that were available to me in Chicago. From Nayarit-style seafood to Oaxacan moles, the varieties of delicious, affordable food there are seemingly endless.  Overall, The Bebedero is top-to-bottom my favorite Mexican in town, but sometimes you want filling, cheap and quick, and La Michoacana is all three.”

3) Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “Chef Tyler Teass introduced me to this Charlottesville staple recently, and I’m still upset at him for not showing me sooner.  Smash burgers > pub burgers.  Cheap beer and the friendliest wait staff.”

4) Frisee Salad at Petit Pois. “My favorite and most-visited restaurant in Chicago was a tiny neighborhood bistro, and I was happy to discover that same soul at Petit Pois.  Classics are classics for a reason, and the combination of egg yolk, lardons, frisee and a perfectly balanced mustard vin make a great light lunch.  Pro tip: combine with chicken liver mousse, escargot and a bottle of rose, and kiss your afternoon goodbye.”

5) Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit from Timbercreek Market. “Chef Tucker’s light, fluffy, gigantic biscuit sandwich is the perfect way to start your day, even more so when your day starts at 11 am after a long Saturday night service. Plus, Tucker is always happy to talk shop and give advice on the restaurant scene here in town.”

Ben Moore-Coll

Ben Moore-Coll of JM Stock Provisions. Moore-Coll’s picks:

1) The Humble Pie at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “The only pizza I ever crave, the Humble Pie is the best everything pie there is: bell peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and Italian sausage are layered with cheddar and mozzarella and a perfect ratio of sauce and crust. Order to go and enjoy a pint while you wait — well worth the excellent North Garden vibes.”

2) Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social. “The carrots, slightly burnt and richly sweet, are decked with cool and creamy buttermilk dressing, fresh and crunchy pea tendrils, and spicy candied pecans. This provides a balance of textures and flavors for a dish perfect year round.”

3) DIPAs at Champion Brewing Company. “On a tap list filled with winners, the DIPAs at Champion routinely stand out. Bright, juicy, and often explosive hoppiness is complimented by malt backbone that never finishes too sweet or boozy. From Fruitless to the Golden One, you can’t go wrong.”

4) Fried Chicken with all the sides from Wayside. “It all starts with a couple bone-in thighs, juicy with a crunchy breaded exterior, but the meal isn’t complete without potato wedges: crispy and creamy all at once, delicious with chipotle ranch. The proper meal is then bolstered with ‘slaw, baked beans, mac ‘n cheese, and collards (my mom’s favorite). This meal is family, childhood, and comfort.”

5) Migas Plato with Chorizo at Brazos Tacos. “There is not a more accessible, hearty, filling, but not heavy nor food-coma-inducing breakfast in town. The three DIY tacos come with mashed potatoes, re-fried beans, chorizo and the delectable migas (scrambled eggs loaded with onions and peppers). Combined with tacos, there is no better breakfast to start a groggy weekend morning or fuel for a long day in the shop.”

Jon Bray

Jon Bray of Champion Brewing Company. Bray’s picks:

1) Karaage at TEN Sushi. “Japanese style fried chicken thigh nuggets. When Chef Pei first introduced this dish to me, it reminded me of an elevated version of the wings and nuoc cham sauce at the now defunct Saigon Cafe. It’s the kind of dish that’s so delicious, it’s stressful to be around if you’re the server who has to run it to tables all night. It’s only available as a special, though, so be on the look out.”

2) Grilled Shrimp with XO Sauce at Oakhart Social. “Chef Tristan Wraight is the most talented size medium chef in Charlottesville. There aren’t many places in town that are executing his level of flavor balance, and this dish nails it. Shrimp, salty Chinese sausage sauce, sweet Japanese mayo, fresh herbs and citrus zest. This, followed by a shot or six of Fernet Branca with Chef, which he describes as ‘Jaegermeister’s cooler, older, brother that rides motorcycles and respects women,’ makes for a classic night in Midtown.”

3) Bacon, Egg, and Cream Cheese on an Onion Bagel from Bodo’s. “It’s hard to single out my favorite combination, so I’m going with my childhood favorite. This, paired with Saturday morning cartoons was basically the ceiling of joy for me as a fourth grader.  Well, that and boobies.”

4) Sausages from JM Stock Provisions. “These meat scientists just love to play by their own rules, and fortunately, the result is a bunch of slam dunks. Recently, I had the Fiipino style Adobo sausage, and being half-Filipino I was thrilled to see it in the case.  The general rule of thumb as a Filipino is that nobody makes a better adobo than your mom, but my mom never made adobo sausage! Touche, dudes. Dunk=slammed.”

5) Panda Pineapple IPA from Champion Brewing Company. “This is the beer that Hunter and his team made for my wife and my wedding in 2014, and every year since for our anniversary. Some call it the greatest beer of all time, others call it the greatest beer of all time.”

Carlos Cruz

Carlos Cruz, sous chef of Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. Cruz’s picks:

1) Tacos al Pastor from Sabor Latino (food truck on 29N). “I worked with Elias & Fragoso at Dr. Ho’s for a couple of years. Nobody’s more serious about tacos than these guys. Their tacos al pastor are the real deal and the Jarritos are always ice cold.”

2) Nance Ice Cream from La Flor Michoacana. “Not many people have heard of nance and this is not your typical ice cream. Go and you will be glad you did. This family makes a very unique and special product.”

3) Pupusas Revueltas at Super Amanecer. “The pupusas revueltas are the best I have found anywhere. These are filled with pork and cheese and topped with pickled cabbage a simple salsa. I see no reason to make pupusas when you can find them this good. I am also crazy about the caldo de res! It’s the biggest bowl of beef soup you could imagine.”

4) Chicken Salad (or is it turkey?) on an Everything with lettuce, tomato, and onion at Bodo’s Bagels. “Delicious, fresh and FAST!”

5) Shrimp with Vegetables from Asian Express. “I love the food from Asian Express. The jumbo shrimp with fresh vegetables, stir fried in a brown sauce, is my go-to dish. Pair that with super-fast delivery and my whole family is a happy as can be!”

Janna Hackworth

Janna Hackworth, owner of Revolutionary Soup on The Corner. Hackworth’s picks:

1) Meat from Barefoot Farm.  “One of the things that excites me most about taking over Revolutionary Soup on The Corner is the ability to continue to support local farmers and purveyors. We’ll be buying our pasture raised pork and beef from Kira and Mike Shifflett at Barefoot Farm in Keene. They’re opening a store in Scottsville, Barefoot Country Store, slated to open in July.”

2) Chicken Liver Toast at Brasserie Saison. “I love the contrast of the crunchy pickled celery and the creamy chicken liver paté. The hazelnut shaved on top is such a fantastic accent. I can’t stop thinking about this dish!”

3) Dumplings at Marco and Luca. “Simple and perfect- the ultimate comfort food, year-round. Soon to be our next-door neighbors on The Corner!”

4) Passionfruit + Mango Caramels from La Vache Microcreamery. “Stephanie makes the best caramels. My favorite is the seasonal passionfruit + mango, but you can’t go wrong with the classic fleur de sel. (Now that I’m no longer at the Wine Guild, you might be able to find them in stock. Ha ha.)”

5) Fried Oysters at Maya. “Anything on their from-scratch menu works for me. They’ve been consistently great for over 10 years now, but I always have to have the fried oysters. (I met my husband there, so it holds a special place in my heart.)”

Anna Gardner

Anna Gardner, cook at Junction. Garnder’s picks:

1) Radish Top Kimchi from Sussex Farm. “There’s nothing like that bite to wake me up on a Saturday morning at the City Market. Not to mention, Jenny is a sweetheart.”

2) Elvis Ice Cream Sandwich at Blue Moon Diner. “Banana pudding ice cream. Chocolate peanut butter cookie. Don’t lie to yourself, you want the full portion.”

3) Fried Chicken at GoCo on Cherry Ave. “There’s nothing quite like the terroir of a heat lamp. Don’t talk to me about Wayside, GoCo is where it is.”

4) Capellini Frutti di Mare “Fra Diavolo” at Tavola.  “Simple, classic, delicious. Best I’ve ever had.”

5) Brioche Feuilletée with pastry cream from MarieBette. “Say pastry cream and I’m there. Stuff pastry cream inside of bread that’s more butter than flour and I’m in love.”

Andy Hannas

Andy Hannas, cider maker at Potter’s Craft Cider. Hannas’ picks:

1) The Italian Stallion from Hunt Country Market & Deli. “Potter’s Craft Cider runs on cold cut sandwiches from here, and the Italian is the long running staff favorite. It’s also a great opportunity to pick up beer for after work, and check in and see how our cider is selling. When local tomatoes are in season, this sandwich gets even better.”

2) Brioche Feuilletée from MarieBette. “Laminated brioche dough with pastry cream filling (passion fruit is my favorite) and an iced coffee out on the sidewalk patio is the start to my ideal Saturday morning.”

3) Tonkotsu Ramen at Lemongrass. “Whether from Kokoro, Mican or their new home inside Lemongrass, the ramen by Yoshihiro and Yukiko Tauchi  has always been killer. Ramen is only available at Lemongrass on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5:00, so make sure to set a reminder on your calendar. Once summer hits and The Corner clears out, I plan on being there every weekend possible.”

4) Sushi at Tokyo Rose. “Perfectly cooked and seasoned rice at the optimum temperature is what sets good sushi apart from mediocre sushi for me. The rice and the maki rolls are always spot on here, but just as importantly, so is the service. I would eat dinner here every day if I could. As an added bonus, I love the history of punk shows in the basement.”

5) Brut from King Family Vineyards. “Honestly this should say ‘anything that Matthieu and his team are putting into a bottle out in Crozet.’ But, as a cider maker, I have a real love for sparkling wine. Not only is Matthieu making excellent wines, but he is also an incredibly generous source of knowledge. With help from him, Emily from Veritas, and Damien from Afton Mountain, we have been working on some really cool wine/cider hybrids that should start seeing the world this year.”

Morgan Hurt and Gabe Garcia

Morgan Hurt and Gabe Garcia of Kitchen Catering & Events. Hurt’s and Garcia’s picks:

1) Fried Calamari at Vivace. “This is at the top of our list. Perfectly fried and crispy, with those fried hot peppers and marinara sauce, delicious! And you really can’t beat their patio — the best in town!”

2) Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “Always good, fast and cheap, and the sweetest waitresses in the world. Recovery food, for sure!”

3) Nachos at Beer Run. “Simply the best nachos in town. However, The Bebedero’s are pretty amazing too!”

4) Turkey Dip at Ace Biscuit & BBQ. “Amazing! Sometimes you want BBQ, but you just don’t want pork, you know? The turkey dip is smoky, drippy, and delicious.”

5) The Big Schloss at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “A perfect pizza!  All of their pizzas are perfect, but we’ve just been featuring this one at our house recently.”

Brandon Wooten

Brandon Wooten, co-founder of Grit Coffee. Wooten’s picks:

1) Carne Asada at MAS Tapas. “I’ve probably had dozens of steaks since the first time I had the carne asada (8 or so years ago), and have still yet to have a better steak dish in this town or really anywhere else in the world. It’s that good.”

2) Rotisserie Chicken and Fried Yucca at Al Carbon. “Their rotisserie chicken is something special, as is everything else I’ve had there. I love sauces and theirs are exceptional.”

3) Cuban Sandwich at Grit Coffee Downtown. “Hopefully this doesn’t read as self-promotion because we can’t take any credit for the local iteration of this sandwich. (That honor goes to Tony Jorge of Cafe Cubano fame). All we’ve tried to do is carry on the legacy of what we think is the best Cuban sandwich outside of Florida.”

4) Red Hot Blues and a House Margarita at Continental Divide. “I know I’m not alone in coveting either one of these, but for me they are inextricably linked (and a necessity at least once a month).  I think often of the Wait-A-Minute mango habañero sauce – probably more than I should.”

5) Double Bacon Cheeseburger and Fries at Riverside Lunch. “My dad used to take me and my brother to Riverside back in the days when it was just a counter in the back of a laundromat. There’s just no beating the simple perfection of their burgers and fries. It’s a Cville tradition I’m more than happy to pass on to my two boys.”

Novi Beerens

Novi Beerens, Instore Coordinator at Wegmans. Beerens’ five insider picks at Wegmans:

1) Marathon Bread. “Great, healthy breakfast to start my day. It is made with organic flour, banana, carrot, apple and sunflower seeds.”

2) 1916 Aged Goat Cheese. “A soft goat cheese, slightly tangy and creamy.”

3) Calamari. “A popular happy hour item from our Pub by Wegmans, the calamari is lightly battered, fried with capers and Tuscan herbs, and served with lemon and marinara sauce.”

4) Myojo Chukazanmai Instant Ramen. “I love the soy sauce flavored. Yes, it is instant ramen, but it has still got a chewy texture like fresh ramen.”

5) Champion 5th St IPA. “An IPA that Champion Brewing Company brews exclusively for our Charlottesville store Pub.”

Kathryn Matthews

Kathryn Matthews of Iron Paffles & Coffee. Matthews’ picks:

1) Prosciutto Pizza at Lampo. “I was blown away when I first tried Lampo’s pizza and I have been an avid customer since. The prosciutto pizza is my favorite. The meat is sliced fresh and the lemon is a very nice touch.”

2) Chocolate Almond Croissant at MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. “I usually have a hard time choosing between a chocolate or an almond croissant, but MarrieBette has it all in one! And it is divine!”

3) Avocado Toast at Beer Run. “Avocado on a thick piece of MarieBette multigrain bread? Yes, please! And I always add bacon to boot.”

4) Paramount Bramble at The Alley Light. “I’m originally from England and we love our brambles. So I was very excited when The Alley Light added this cocktail to their seasonal menu. It’s the perfect combination of sweetness with a punch, and a perfect accompaniment to any of their dishes.”

5) Appetizers at Sultan Kebab. “I spent three years in the Middle East where Turkish food (or variations thereof) is common in local restaurants. Sultan Kebab hits the nail on the head with their appetizers and I could not pick just one. The kisir, dolma, halloumi, and baba ghanoush are all fantastic.”

Erica Hellen & Joel Slezak

Erica Hellen and Joel Slezak, of Free Union Grass Farm. Hellen’s and Slezak’s picks:

1) Potter’s Craft Cider. “Any of them, all of them. In a region dominated by wine and beer, their perfectly dry libations pair with everything and work year-round. The Farmhouse Dry is such a crowd-pleaser that we went through five pony kegs at our wedding!”

2) Ham Biscuit at JM Stock Provisions. “Seriously, it’s perfect. It’s moist and flaky and lofty, and sticks to your ribs without sticking to the roof of your mouth. Add a little peppery honey and a pile of their Tasso ham and baby, buckle up. We like to buy them in twos – one for now, and one for pretty much right after that.”

3) Chicken Salad at Feast!. “You know it, we know it: Feast is the OG. They’ve been sourcing locally since before it was even a thing, and they’ve been using our chickens for their chicken salad for years now. It’s our go-to lunch on delivery day and is perfect hot or cold.”

4) Baguette at MarieBette. “It’s hard to nail something so seemingly simple, but Marie Bette has done it. Who knew bread could be so elegant? #westilllovegluten”

5) Al Fresco Lunch at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. “It’s the perfect pit stop on the way to Seven Oaks Farm, our satellite duck operation. We grab one of the aforementioned baguettes, a stick of salami, and a soft-ripened cheese. We spread it all out at a table under the trees, eat every last crumb, and wash it down with a ginger beer so potent you can feel it up in your nose.”

Reggie Calhoun

Reggie Calhoun, chef of Draft Taproom and Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. 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.”

J.R. Hadley

J.R. Hadley, owner of Boylan Heights and Cho’s. Hadley’s picks:

1) Cavolo Nero at Lampo. “This may be the best $7 you can spend in town. I’ve been to Lampo more times than I can count, dating back to when Loren, Drew, Ian and Mitch first opened this gem. I’ve tried everything on the menu, and always look forward to Drew’s educated wine recommendations at the bar. But this often overlooked salad in Charlottesville’s hottest pizza joint is a great example of how talented these guys are. Pickled mustard seed, Tuscan kale, apple cider vin, and candied almonds? Yes please.”

2) The Southern at Roots Natural Kitchen. “I love Roots. Co-owner Jung Kim worked for me at Boylan Heights when he was an undergrad here at UVa and I am so proud of what he has done. In just over a year, Roots has become a staple on The Corner and rightfully so. Not only is it healthy, but its fresh, and flavorful. Most people don’t know they had the guys over at ZoCaLo help design their menu and recipes. Try The Southern if you haven’t already. The house made BBQ tofu is incredible, along with the signature brown/black rice, kale, chickpeas, roasted broccoli and pickled onions.”

3) Greens of the Day at Integral Yoga Natural Foods. “I’m a juice freak. Mainly because it makes it easy for me to get all the fruits and veggies my Mom tells me I’m supposed to eat every day. At Integral Yoga they use fresh, organic fruits and veggies and they are always so friendly and anxious to help you find the perfect juice or smoothie. Plus, it’s right across the street from Cho’s which makes it even more dangerous for me. My go-to is the Greens of the Day. It’s packed with kale, cucumber, cabbage, celery, and I usually add echinacea and Vitamin-C powder. And when you stayed out a little too late? Get the Liver Flush. It works ;)”

4) Tagliatelle w/ Ragu Alla Bolognese at Vivace. “I grew up in Ivy, and went to WAHS with fellow restaurateur Landon Saul. Since taking over Vivace, Landon has taken the menu from good to great. Landon’s parents owned a family grocery store and butcher shop when we were kids, and its no coincidence that Landon brings that same passion for local ingredients to the Vivace menu. After training in Calabria, Italy he brought that simple, authentic Italian style back to Vivace. We’re lucky to have Vivace in little ole Cville and the tagliatelle embodies that best in my opinion. The pancetta is seasoned and cured in house, and the house sausage and grana padano is perfect.”

5) Fried Chicken Sandwich w/fries at The Fitzroy. “There’s another menu item at The Fitzroy named the Perfect Sandwich. I disagree. This is the perfect sandwich. I think about it almost daily. Buttermilk battered chicken, cayenne lemon aioli and pickles. Boom. Owners Kelley Tripp & Richard Ridge are the best in the biz. Kelley helped me open up Boylan, created our menu, and his unique tutelage is a big reason for my success in this business. I’ve known Rich since high school and we were lucky to have him bartend at Boylan for years when he moved back home from NYC. The two of them together are a restaurant dream team. Only a perfectly battered fried chicken sandwich and shoe string fries can compete with them.”

Linda Steiner

Linda Steiner, pastry chef at Duner’s. 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.”

Ryan Collins

Ryan Collins, Executive Chef of Early Mountain Vineyards. Collins’ picks:

1) Marañón Paletas from La Flor Michoacana Ice Cream Shop. “With my kids, I normally get a fruit-based one like Guanábana (soursop) or Piña Colada. When I don’t have to share with my kids, I get the Marañón flavor (cashew). All of them are great but that is my favorite.”

2) Pickled Shrimp at Oakhart Social. “This dish hits on all points for me. It’s salty, sweet, spicy, acidic, oily and herbaceous with lots of textures. I can eat it with my hands, a fork or just make little lettuce tacos with it. I love this dish.”

3) Spam from JM Stock Provisions. “So it’s spam, but not like what you think. It’s made from beautiful Virginia pork, and the care that is taken to make this spam is not like what you get in a can (although I’m not knocking the canned stuff either). It’s made by hand with attention to detail and attention to flavor that comes from meat instead of mounds of salt. Now that you’re okay with spam, I like to get it with a jar of Gordy’s pickles and some bread from Marie Bette and bring it home to make a sandwich. I slice thick slices and use plenty of mustard. If you are feeling fancy then feel free to crumple some potato chips on top of the sandwich.”

4) Crispy Tacos at Barbie’s Burrito Barn. “I go here not necessarily craving the traditional Mexican tacos on hand-pressed corn tortillas but the crispy tacos.  Her pork, chicken and beef fillings are all great – but with the crispy tacos I always go with the beef filling.  It’s like the best version of the ground beef taco filling you grew up with. I get the tacos with everything on them – I want all the sliced radish, cilantro and lettuce you can give me. I put some crema and Tapatió on top and crush everything with my fork and eat it like a taco salad. I crave the taco salad nostalgia. With Barbie’s fried daily tortillas and awesome meat and salsas, I really can’t get a better version of this any other place in Cville.”

5) Martinez at Tavern & Grocery. “I don’t know if this is printed on their cocktail menu, but they have the best cocktail program in town so I order whatever I want. That doesn’t mean I go crazy, but I like to order a classic three-ingredient drink called a Martinez (gin, sweet vermouth & maraschino liquor) and they make it perfect. I might have three or four of these and an order of the caviar service with extra house-made chips. It’s a great start or end to my night in Cville.”

Mike Hollar 

Mike Hollar, sous chef of ZoCaLo. Hollar’s picks:

1) Foot-long Hot Dog, Old Bay Fries, and a tall Dr. Pepper at Jak’n Jil. “My father used to work there back in the 60’s and one of my earliest food memories is going to Jak’n Jil and eating two or three hot dogs with my father and grandfather.”

2) Boquerones con Ajo at MAS Tapas. “Little fishes drizzled with olive oil, little lemon, and some salt. Really simple but awesome.”

3) Polpette at Vivace. “Just the meatballs (one may want to add pasta but it’s not needed) made with pork and beef, seared perfectly and served with probably the best marinara in Charlottesville.”

4) Novum 2013 from Early Mountain Vineyards. “Great bottle of wine. Zocalo management and I toured the facility back in November and then had a tasting. All the wines were great but the Novum is, in my opinion, the best.”

5) Chicken Wings from Red Lantern. “This is a great Netflix and chill food. Just want do some couch sitting on a Friday? Curl up with your loved one and chow down on these gems.”

Laura Fonner

Laura Fonner, head chef at Duner’s. 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.”

Ivar Aass

Ivar Aass, owner of Spirit Lab Distilling. Aass’ picks:

1) Head Cheese from JM Stock Provisions. “Delicious porcine goodness. You don’t know what meat is supposed to taste like until you’ve tried something from Matt and team, but the head cheese is an especially fun find.”

2) Open-faced Chicken Fried Octopus Sando at Oakhart Social. “Chicken. Fried. Octopus. Unbelievably tasty and tender. I could eat a dozen of these in a sitting.”

3) Meat Lovers Pizza from Fabio’s. “A staple for movie night at home. After living in NYC for eighteen years, I can tell you that Fabio’s gets pizza.”

4) Fried Chicken at Brown’s. “My favorite fried chicken in town with crispy, sinful skins and juicy meat.”

5) Canelés from MarieBette. “Caramelized crusts with custardy, vanilla-rum centers. Makes me nostalgic for Paris. Fun personal challenge: tell yourself you’re just stopping by MarieBette for a baguette and see if you can leave without a box of these.”

Patrick McClure

Patrick McClure, General Manager of Tavern & Grocery and co-owner of Lost Saint. McClure’s picks:

1) Iced Coffee from Splendora’s Gelato. “I hope PK will forgive me for hipping more people to this, but the iced coffee from her shop is absolutely the best I’ve ever had. I’m a regular to the extent that most of the folks behind the counter will start pouring mine as I’m coming through the door. A simple recipe and the cold Toddy method of brewing produce a rich but mellow brew with low bitterness and a mild nuttiness. I drink it black, and try to start every work day with one. Their gelato is pretty amazing as well.”

2) Magical Mystery Tour Pizza from Mellow Mushroom. “I know, I know, everybody loves Lampo. Me too! Luckily for me, my favorite pizzas are like apples and oranges, and I don’t have to compare them. The wonderfully spongy and heavily parmesan-dusted crust Mellow consistently delivers is my style, and the combination of pesto, mushrooms, jalapenos, spinach, feta and mozzarella cheeses is perfect. I sometimes add bacon to this vegetarian pie.”

3) Malt Whiskey from Spirit Lab Distilling. “Charlottesville’s oldest distillery is the one you probably haven’t heard of yet, and Ivar Aass is producing some great distillate. He’s patched together a solera-style barrel aging system that has produced (only) 94 bottles to date of handmade single malt that is rich in toffee and vanilla notes with a smoky backbone that I can’t wait to enjoy again.”

4) Ham Biscuit from JM Stock Provisions. “I have only had this twice. The early risers usually buy all of them before I can get to JM Stock, especially since I think pre-noon is early morning. The perfect biscuit, tender tasso ham, honey and just enough hot sauce to wake you up are worth setting my alarm for.”

5) Cocktails from my Favorite Charlottesville Bars: Oakhart Social, TavolaCicchetti Bar, and The Alley Light. “My peers around town (and my teammates at Lost Saint) are producing cocktails on the level of the great cocktail bars in the country, and I’m excited for more people to find this out. Go see Albee or Brendan at Oakhart Social, Steve at Cicchetti, Micah at The Alley Light or Carrie and Colin here at Lost Saint, and you’ll be treated to excellent service and a bevy of delicious and balanced flavor combinations that will open your eyes to the great American history of cocktail culture.”

Nick Moon

Sous chef of Brasserie Saison. Moon’s picks:

1) Carne Asada at MAS Tapas. “The best steak in Charlottesville. Period. Perfectly balanced with smoked tomato alioli and a duck fat tortilla, it really doesn’t get any better than that. Throw in an amazing staff and it creates an atmosphere that will keep you coming back again and again.”

2) Polpettine al Forno at Lampo. “Succulent pork and beef meatballs showered with pecorino. Pair that with their house bread and it sets the entire tone of your visit. Great date spot, but come early because Lampo is popular for a reason!”

3) Pimm’s Cup at The Alley Light. “Pimm’s cups are not just light and refreshing in the summertime, but a drink for year round. Watching master mixologist Micah whip up a drink is a true sight to behold. Make sure to check out the amazing nightly specials that Chef Robin has as well, because what is a great drink when not paired with an amazing meal?”

4) Sausage Béchamel at Petit Pois. “Creamy rich béchamel with local sausage over potatoes with perfectly poached eggs and hollandaise. Couple that with a cozy space and great service and you’ll be ready for an evening of leisure.”

5) Cheese Steak Hoagie at Revolutionary Soup. “This is the real deal, sirloin topped with onion, peppers and provolone. Being constantly on the go, I live off of the quick service and the locally sourced goodies that they have. My guilty pleasure after lunch? Chocolate chip cookies by Rachael Pennington.”

Rowe Webster

Rowe Webster, Partner and General Manager of Smoked Kitchen and Tap. Webster’s picks:

1) Pork Tacos at C&O. “I’ll begin where I often end my nights: the late night menu at C&O, most notably the pork tacos. We all know that C&O is a Charlottesville mainstay and for great reason. None is more apparent than the menu they are able to maintain after serving a busy dinner crowd. It’s always a pleasure to walk in there and have the New York Times crossword waiting by the fish tank and know that food is not only available but reliably delicious. The work that Anthony, Amanda, Jenn and Dustin put into making amazing Manhattans is always appreciated and quite welcome after a long night. Abe’s Bud and Beam combos are not to be passed over either, especially if you can play dice.”

2) Roast Pork with Fennel Sandwich at Greenwood Gourmet. “After one of those late night meals, nothing pieces me back together quite like a sandwich at Greenwood Gourmet. If you can manage not to buy the first thing you see in the deli case, glance up to the specials board. The roast pork with fennel has been a go-to of mine for as long as they have had it there. David, Nina and Rufus have obviously put as much time and thought in the menu as they have with every other aspect of this store. It really is a pleasure of mine to interact with them as often as I’m able. Put that up with popups from Potter’s Craft Cider, Michael Lewis, and Polina Chesnakova and you have gold on the footsteps of the Blue Ridge.”

3) Hangar Steak and Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “In the rare occurrence that I have a weekend night on my hands, my girlfriend and I head straight to the bar at Oakhart Social and order the shaved salad with the Hangar Steak. Tristan has the kitchen dialed in to a tee. Salads have been tough to win my heart but this one has it. Pair that with Albee and Brendan behind the bar and it’s a winning combination every time. From a bartender’s point of view, Albee is the best in the business. His drink menu and knowledge are unparalleled and all served with a little salt. Albee rarely puts the buggy before the horse. Toss in a few Cub hats in the kitchen and I’m always happy.”

4) Banh Mi at Lampo. “Before beginning this journey I had the pleasure of working with some great friends of mine at Lampo pizza. The fact that almost every single Five Finds on Friday list, not to mention dish of the year, features these guys is a testament to the time that they put in on a daily basis. With so many dishes to choose from at a Neapolitan pizzeria, I’ll go with what everyone expects to see on the menu; the banh mi. It was a special that the boys ran a year ago and it quickly became one of my favorite things. From watching Loren bake French bread from scratch to watching the guys toss out one iteration after another until they perfected, it really shows their combined passion and dedication to what they do. Throw a Shelvis on the floor and the most knowledgeable sommelier behind the bar and it’s no wonder they have garnered the attention and success that they have.”

5) Oysters Rockefeller at The Fitzroy. “From day one, Kelley Tripp has been the guy that I have learned from and the guy that continues to surprise me on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that when he teamed up with Rich, Kevin and Rooney to open a space downtown that my last dish comes from them. I truly believe that the oysters Rockefeller from the Fitzroy on the downtown mall is my favorite bite in Charlottesville. Pair it with the pork chop and a cocktail from Sommertine Cline and you have a true classic. The atmosphere that Jeannette Andamasaris designed and Hector Zamora built really made me feel at home, which is something that I feel as a person in the service industry we all strive for.”

Alec Spidalieri

Alec Spidalieri, bar manager of Junction.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.”

Eric Bein

Eric Bein, of Jack’s Shop Kitchen. Bein’s picks:

1) Virgindia Pale Ale from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.  “With the craft beer scene touting over-the-top IPAs, Hardywood shows true craftsmanship in this well balanced, citrusy IPA using Virginia hops.”

2) Pie in the Sky at Pie in the Sky. “Their namesake dish,  an Italian Grinder stuffed inside of a whole cheese pizza.  What else needs to be said?

3) Beef Brisket at BBQ Exchange. “The true measure of a great pit master, Chef Craig’s brisket, with its dark bark and pink-hued smoke ring, is a tender, succulent vehicle to slather on their signature sauces.”

4) Bavarian Sausage Platter at The Bavarian Chef. “Wiesswurst, Bauernwurst, Bratwurst… I’m not sure who Chef Jerome kidnapped from Germany, but these are expertly crafted sausages, most certainly to be washed down with a dry German pilsner.  Bring your appetite.”

5) Apple Donut from Donut Kitchen. “With a cult like following wherever they are, this food truck prepares their donuts fresh daily. The perfect ratio of dough and apple filling, tossed in cinnamon and sugar, it’s an ethereal experience.”

John Hoffman

John Hoffman, Executive Chef of Keswick Hall. Hoffman’s picks:

1) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “Lampo is our ‘Happy Place’ as my wife says. From Chef Loren to all of the service staff, they make your experience feel welcoming. The Funghi pizza with Sharondale Farm mushrooms and the house made N’duja are my go-tos.”

2) Ol’ Dirty Biscuit at Ace Biscuit and BBQ. “We went to Ace on a recommendation and it instantly reminded us of being back in Charleston, SC.  The Ol’ Dirty Biscuit is our breakfast staple.”

3) Empanadas at The Bebedero. “When my wife and I are having trouble deciding on a dinner date, we always seem to agree on The Bebedero.  The drinks are great and the food seems to be bursting with freshness.  The empanadas or if you’re lucky enough to catch pozole as a special are some of our favorites.”

4) The Farm at Oakhurst Inn.On lazy Sundays mornings we like to roll into the little cottage known as the Oakhurst Inn for brunch.  The Farm is always seasoned perfectly and the pickled jalepenos add just enough kick to get you moving.”

5) Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll at Now & Zen. “I met Toshi while working an event at Keswick. The next week we had to stop by with some friends to check it out. The big rolls are something we’d never seen before. Our favorite is the crunchy Spicy Tuna but anything with eel is a plus.”

Dave Warwick

Dave Warwick, Founding Brewmaster of Three Notch’d Brewing Company. Warwick’s picks: 

1) Pastrami Sandwich at Kardinal Hall. “In-house pastrami, McClure cheese, and rye bread from Albemarle Baking Co. Wash it down with a Ghost of the 43rd APA from Three Notch’d Brewing Co.”

2) Scrapple, Egg and Cheese Biscuit at Ace Biscuit and BBQ. “Available after Pig Roasts. I grew up in Maryland, scrapple is a delicacy there, and Ace does it right! Gotta get pimiento cheese on it!”

3) Cheese Curds at South Street Brewery. “Just amazing. Beautifully paired with Mitch Hamilton’s My Personal Helles Lager.”

4) Ham, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich at Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen. “Cheesy, gooey, egg yokey goodness. All Virginia-sourced ingredients. Made to order or grab one out of the hot box if you’re in a hurry to get to work. They also have cold-brewed coffee on nitro from Charlottesville’s Snowing in Space Coffee Co. You can even take a growler of it to the office with you.”

5) Crazy Legs at LW’s Livery Stable. “Pork shanks marinated in jerk seasoning, paired with their Headless Horseman cocktail.”

Dan Frosaker

Dan Frosaker, Head Chef and Kitchen Manager of Feast!. Frosaker’s picks:

1) Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya. “After moving from the Northwest and never having pimento cheese or pepper jelly, this dish was a revelation. The crispy, salty fried cheese fritters topped with sweet pepper jelly and served with chive sour cream is a perfect blend of flavors and textures. Another offering at Maya that rivals the pepper jelly is the country ham gravy which goes well on anything.”

2) Mosaic Pale Ale at Random Row Brewing. “Coming from the intense beer culture of Portland, OR, I am happy to see the growth of the local beer community here in Central Virginia. Random Row is a great addition to the current offerings. Their tasting room is inviting and their Mosaic Pale Ale is very refreshing.”

3) Porchetta Panouzzo at Lampo.  “I’m not the first person to be impressed with Lampo and their excellently made pizzas and sandwiches. I have gone back for the porchetta sandwich many times. I love the bitter char on the bread and the tender pork, cheese and broccoli rabe. Recently, I had a special shaved beef sandwich that blew me away.”

4) Rotisserie Chicken at Al Carbon. “Another dish that needs no introduction is the chicken at Al Carbon. The perfectly cooked chicken is great on its own, but when you pair it with the Aji Sauce and the Jalapeno and Cilantro Sauce it is truly exceptional. A side of green rice and fried Yucca rounds out a great meal.”

5) Deli Egg on an Everything at Bodo’s Bagels. “There is nothing better than a freshly baked bagel with cream cheese in the morning, but the Deli Egg is pretty close. The chopped up end cuts from the deli meats mixed with an egg and piled on an everything bagel is a great sloppy start to the day.”

Chris Long

Chris Long, UVa Football Legend. Long’s picks:

1) Cornmeal-crusted Fried Oysters at Maya. “Perfectly fried. The house remoulade makes it.”

2) Thick Cut Pork Chop at The Fitzroy. “The biggest, baddest pork chop in town. Get it with the roasted cauliflower.”

3) The Blaze at The Juice Laundry. “Perfectly spicy.”

4) Semisweet Chocolate Pot de Creme at Orzo.  “I’ve eaten three in one sitting and could’ve had more.”

5) Key Lime Free Range Chicken at ZoCaLo. “Longtime favorite.”

Ian Glomski

Ian Glomski, founder of Vitae Spirits. Glomski’s picks:

1) Ol’ Dirty Biscuit (customized with an egg sunny-side up on top) at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “Being raised a Yankee, I’ve surprised myself with how much I have embraced Southern food tastiness. The ODB’s fried chicken, pimento cheese, sausage gravy, and flaky biscuit touch my soul… maybe I was Edna Lewis in a past life.”

2) Kouign Amann at MarieBette. “When I moved back to the US after a stint living in Paris, I thought I’d never taste this ‘croissant on steroids’ again. A true Breton masterpiece, the kouign amann has only five ingredients, there is nothing to hide behind, so each of those ingredients as well as the execution has to be impeccable.”

3) Linguine alla Carbonara at Tavola. “It is very rare for me to ever order a dish more than once at a restaurant, yet here I am time and time again drawn to eating this creamy pancetta-y linguine cooked perfectly al dente Tavola. I can’t quite explain it…it’s just so satisfying!”

4) Carolina Jumbo Shrimp and Grits at Hamiltons’. “Once again my inner Edna Lewis makes me weak at the knees when it comes to Hamiltons’ shrimp and grits. There’s something so right about the combination of the sea mingling with the smoky tomatoes and creamy grits.”

5) Ramos Gin Fizz at The Alley Light. “This is the drink I use to test whether a cocktail bar is up to snuff. Who would think a cocktail made with cream and egg whites could dance so lightly on your tongue when mixed just right? Those Alley Light folks got it down pact.”

Yannick Fayolle

Yannick Fayolle, of Blue Ridge Pizza Co. and Fayolle’s Table. Fayolle’s picks:

1) Noodle Beef Soup at Monsoon Siam. “With the traditional Thai flavors, this has got to be one of my favorite soups. Light yet so flavorful. Top it with some of those amazing green chilis and this is one for the books.”

2) Pork from Mount Rouge Farm. “Can’t put into words how awesome this pork is! Josh Hatter feeds his animals with seasonal veggies, so tender and juicy. I love to smoke the butt roast in our wood fire oven to throw on top of some of our pizzas for Blue Ridge Pizza Co.”

3) Lamb Rogan Josh at Milan. “Only the best thing on the menu! The flavors bring me back to my island life in Mauritius. I really enjoy the blend of spices that complement the lamb . . . and the garlic naan. You can never go wrong with naan! Just an added bonus.”

4)  Prosciutto Pizza at Lampo. “Being in the pizza business myself, I love what these guys over at Lampo do! They have the science behind the dough and flavors down! This is a very classic Italian pizza whose flavors are very well balanced on a perfectly baked crust.”

5) Nitro Coffee at Shenandoah Joe. “Probably one of the greatest inventions of all time! The idea of coffee coming-out in the consistency as Guinness beer is probably the best thing every! I am one serious coffee fanatic. I must have my early morning fix of caffeine.”

Jerome Thalwitz

Jerome Thalwitz, chef-owner of The Bavarian Chef.Thalwitz’s picks:

1) Ceviche at La Finca Grill. “A gorgeous Peruvian ceviche of shrimp and white fish in tangy leche de tigre with sweet potato and hominy. Save room for the Tres Leches cake!”

2) Deviled Eggs at Jack’s Shop Kitchen. “These aren’t just any deviled eggs. The yolk filling is so velvety smooth, and they are accompanied by fresh avocado and melt-in-your-mouth pork belly with just the right crisp on the outside.”

3) Gambas al’ Parilla and Sangria at MAS. “MAS is my favorite date night spot with my wife. These jumbo shrimp, salty and fresh off the grill with garlic alioli, are a must-have on your list of tapas and raciones. Hook it up with a carafe of sangria and let the good times roll!”

4) Spice Rubbed Brisket Sandwich and Rothaus Pils at Kardinal Hall. “Tender smoked beef brisket on an original Philly hoagie roll with red cabbage slaw taps into my German tastebuds. Perfectly paired with one of the world’s best pilsners, Rothaus Pils hailing from the Schwarzwald.”

5) Guinness Chocolate Cake at Paradox Pastry. “Stout beer, dark chocolate and Irish cream—this always puts me in my happy place.”

Brian Geiger

Brian Geiger, co-founder and Head Judge of the Cville Pie Fest. Geiger’s picks:

1) Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo. “This is a rich sandwich that you’re going to want to either split with a friend or save half to eat cold the next morning, but it’s incredibly flavorful and worth the temptation. Wood fired bread, delicious pork, and bitter broccoli rabe to balance.”

2) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light. “Let’s face it: making decisions is a lot of work, and not having to make them is awesome. Especially when there are so many possibilities for tasty drinks that you don’t even know about. Skip the hard work and let the bartenders at The Alley Light choose for you. They give you the opportunity to choose gin or whiskey, but I just put it all in their hands, and I have never been disappointed.”

3) Sour Cream Doughnut at Chaps. “If you’re looking for a cake doughnut that’s perfect in its simplicity, drop by Chaps and hope they have some available.”

4) Financiers at MarieBette Cafe & Bakery. “Almond pastry is one of my favorites, and MarieBette’s version is consistently great. While I’m there I might occasionally pick up another $30 or so of assorted pastry, if I’m being honest.”

5) Peach and Pork Pie from The Pie Chest. “Just had one of these for the first time last week and it’s everything I want from a savory pie. Loaded with flavor, just a tiny bit sweet, and all of the skill that The Pie Chest brings.”

Jeff Deloff

Jeff Deloff, chef of Threepenny Cafe. Deloff’s picks:

1) Berkabaw from Autumn Olive Farms. “With an excellent ratio of meat to fat, it offers meat with lots of intramuscular fat. The fat is a meal in itself, either render it down for cooking or leaving it on to give the pork a succulent flavor.”

2) Beef from Wolf Creek Farm. “What more is there to say about grass fed beef that’s raised humanely, and sustainably? Nothing. Wolf Creek is an excellent example of farm stewardship, which offers a superior product to corn fed beef.”

3) Ducks from Free Union Grass Farm. “Pastured raised ducks that offer crispy skin and beautifully rendered fat, as well as hearty breast meat and flavorful leg meat.”

4) Bone Marrow from The Alley Light. “With everyone’s desire for high priced steaks it’s nice to see a place offer bone marrow. And to top it off, it comes with braised snails! A rarity in itself to see on a menu, but prepared beautifully.” (Note: this was the 2014 Dish of the Year.)

5) Skate Wing from Fleurie. “It’s not everyday you see skate. So when I read it was on their menu, I was more than excited to have it!”

Kevin McElroy

Kevin McElroy, Brewer and co-founder of Randow Row Brewing Co.. McElroy’s picks:

1) Vella Jack Cheese Fritters and Black Bean and Corn Relleno at ZoCaLo. “The cheese fritters are crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, and come with an awesome raspberry chili sauce and I save the leftovers for the rest of the meal. Each time you get the relleno, the spice level of the pepper varies, so its a different experience each time. Beer pairing: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale to go with the spiciness of everything.”

2) Plain Bagel with Turkey and Veggie Cream Cheese at Bodo’s. “If I’m feeling adventurous I’ll add tomato and sprouts. Hands down the best bagel in Charlottesville.  With the brewery across the street, I eat plenty of meals here. Haven’t gotten tired of it yet. Beer pairing: all the beers at Random Row that I ‘have’ to test each day. Someone’s gotta do it.”

3) Cheese Pizza at Vita Nova. “Having two toddlers and a third baby on the way, I use the excuse that it’s for the kids, but Vita Nova is the best pizza in town for your money. Won’t break the bank and is a good New York style pizza with a creamy cheese topping. Beer pairing: Six pack of Hydraulion Red from Three Notch’d.”

4) Pulled Pork Sandwich with Fries at Ace Biscuit and BBQ. “As you can probably tell, I have a pretty simple palate. But the pork here doesn’t need much else. A dash of Carolina style sauce and it’s good to go. Beer pairing: PBR or Natty Boh.”

5) Red Hot Blues with “Wait a Minute” Hot Sauce at Continental Divide. “Just the right amount of heat to start your meal. Every entree I’ve had here I’ve been impressed with. Beer pairing: Sierra Nevada Pale ale, followed by one of the best margaritas in town!”

Kelley Tripp

Kelley Tripp, chef and co-owner of The Fitzroy. Tripp’s picks:

1) Pastrami Reuben at Smoked BBQ Co. “I have been a fan of Justin since his days of crushing lunch at The Carving Board with his wife, Candice. Needless to say I was pretty excited to hear about his new venture a couple of years ago with the food cart on the mall and the driven attentiveness he gives his food. He never skips corners, and makes miracles happen with his smoker and cart. My favorite is the house cured pastrami with homemade 1000 island and sauerkraut. The meat is perfectly cooked and the smoke seems really to stand out in this perfectly balanced sandwich.”

2) Maiale Milanesa at Tavola. “Nothing quite brings me back to my mother’s cooking faster than a perfectly breaded thin cut of pork. The fact that I can then head to the back and experience the wizardry of Christian Johnston and his Cicchetti Bar is something that will always get me in the door. I have had the pleasure of watching and working alongside Christian, and seeing the fruits of his labor couldn’t make me more proud of his accomplishments and subsequent amazing reviews.”

3) Nachos at The Bebedero. “I think most of us hold a special place in our heart for the perfect plate of nachos, and I can’t say that I have had better than the one they serve at The Bebedero. Paired with one of the house margaritas, the combination of the longaniza, house pickled peppers, and rich cheese sauce make this truly as comforting a dish as I can recall.”

4) Tonkotsu at Mican. “Living downtown means I’m always just a short walk away from some rewarding ramen. I have tried most of the ramen at Mican, and each is fantastic but this one stands out to me as their finest. Both chicken and pork in a perfectly seasoned broth really makes any day a little bit better.”

5) Sherwood Farm 150 Day Dry Aged Tartare at Lampo. “Cutting out after work and enjoying some food and drinks at Lampo is one of my weekly mainstays. The four-headed monster of Loren, Mitch, Andrew, and Ian are seemingly always pushing the envelope on their specials and I love to get a hold of them when I can. This particular dish, prepared in a ‘classic’ approach, is one of the finest small plates I have had the pleasure of tasting. Perfectly balanced, with sea salt, capers, and the other usual suspects, it makes for an exceptional experience. Their extended hours of dinner service allow for a late meal, perfect cocktail, and an unsolicited Cubs score.”

Landon Saul

Landon Saul, chef and co-owner of Vivace Italian Restaurant. Saul’s picks:

1) Tacos Al Pastor at Al Carbon. “As many of my friends and family know, I am obsessed with tacos (after four trips to Mexico). Slow roasted pork shoulder rubbed with dried chiles, pina, salsa verde, cilantro and onions on light-as-air tortillas. Also, the cemitas with coal roasted local chicken, avocado, jalapeno, oaxaca cheese and salsa roja on fluffy torta bread is everything a sammie should be. Pro tip: order it spicy with a negro modelo. The elote con mayonesa (street corn) and the frijoles charros (brown beans) are also not to be missed.”

2) Polpettine al Forno and Peroni at Lampo.  “Andrew Cole is cultivating a fantastic cocktail, beer, and wine list from the Aperol Spritz with prosecco, draft Peroni, and Brunello. Loren Mendosa and crew crank out wood fired local beef and pork meatballs with mozzarella and pecorino that are simply delicious. Ian’s cavolo nero (kale salad) and cavolfiore al forno (roasted cauliflower) are perfect to round out the meal. Did I mention you can also have the meatballs as a pizza or panuozzi? That’s what I call winning and these guys do it every day.”

3) Bocadillo Jamon at MAS Tapas. “Mas is my wife’s and I’s go-to when we want to celebrate life and indulge. Boquerones (white anchovies from Spain), the bocadillo with jamon, manchego and alioli on hearth baked organic bread, artichokes on the plancha, carne asada, and a fantastic bottle of Rioja makes my life complete. Chefs Tomas and Mike use the best imported and local ingredients simply and perfectly.”

4) Cocktails and Housemade Gnocchi at Parallel 38. “Ask the bartender what he recommends. You won’t be disappointed. I had a barrel-aged Manhattan that was simply magical.  Also, the ability to sample wines by the ounce is a nice feature. Housemade flat bread with labneh is my go-to along with the gnocchi, chorizo potatoes, local chicken skewers, and the wonderful array of artisanal meats and cheeses.”

5) Bottle of Coke and a Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “This is my birthday lunch every year. Perfectly seared and seasoned beef smashed on a flat top in all its glory with all the fixins. Shoestring fries and a bottle of coke fly me to the moon. I’m in heaven. (When I want a more gourmet burger I head to Boylan Heights with organic beef and of course tots! Also the best beer specials in town.)”

Johnny Garver

Johnny Garver, chef of Parallel 38. Garner’s picks:

1) Grey Dove Oyster and Lion’s Mane Mushrooms from Bear Dog Farm. “If you enjoy local mushrooms at their highest quality and also reasonable prices, these are your guys. All you need is a little butter, salt, pepper,  and your favorite herbs. Quickly sauteed and you have mushrooms at their finest.”

2) Duck Breast Prosciutto from MeatCrafters at Stonefield Farmers Market. “Every Saturday from 9:00 a.m.until 2:30 p.m., you can catch them offering up samples of their cured meats. Their duck breast prosciutto is my absolute favorite. Sliced thin, it melts in your mouth and I actually prefer it to traditional prosciutto. They also have a few others worth sampling, such as the Chesapeake and the Black Truffle salamis.”

3) I Don’t Even Own *A* Gun from Twenty Paces. “This cheese is one of my local favorites and I always keep some on hand for my personal stock. You can find Twenty Paces tucked away towards Scottsville on the other side of Bellair Farm. The cheese is 80% sheep’s milk and  20% cow’s milk that has been washed in Champion Violator and aged 3 months resulting in a rind similar to Tomme. This semi-soft cheese is great for everyone because of it’s full flavor without being strong, sharp, or pungent.”

4) Beef Carpaccio at C&O. “It’s the perfect summer snack when it’s hot and I’m in downtown Charlottesville. It’s not too heavy but ends up filling. Chilled, thinly sliced seasoned beef, peppery arugula, Manchego, hash, and truffle aioli that always makes me smile. Also if you haven’t had their veal sweetbreads, you’re in for a treat.”

5) Feel Adventurous? at Tavola Cichetti Bar. “My favorite place to sit is always the bar and if you choose this option the bartender will guide you through your own personally crafted cocktail to fit your taste or mood. I’ve never been disappointed. While you’re there also try their baked little neck clams appetizer. Rustic Italian that you won’t to want miss out on!”

Kelsey Naylor

Kelsey Naylor, sous chef of Timbercreek Market. Naylor’s picks:

1) Radish Kimchi from Sussex Farm. “By far the best and most authentic kimchi in Virginia. You can find them at the city market every Saturday and they introduce a new type of kimchi every week.”

2) Blueberry Donuts from Spudnuts. “There is nothing better than one of their blueberry cake donuts with a cup of coffee in the morning.”

3) Oh Toro at TEN. “Fatty Tuna is one of my favorite things in the world and Ten definitely does it right.”

4) Crispy Beef at Taste of China. “Crispy Beef and Scallion Bubble Pancakes are by far my favorite, but I’ve never had anything there that I didn’t love.”

5)  Hellboy Pizza at Lampo. “The perfect pizza to go along with a Narragansett Tall Boy. It really doesn’t get any better than that.”

Frank Paris

Frank Paris, chef and co-owner of Miso Sweet. Paris’ picks:

1) La Familia at Al Carbon. “A beautiful whole roasted chicken with three sides. When the wife asks me what I want for dinner, I always say the same thing, La Familia. For the sides, Elote con Mayonesa (Corn on the cob with Mayonnaise), yellow rice, and Camote (wood fired sweet potato), with lots of ahi sauce and chipotle crema. You can’t go wrong with this meal and sometimes we are lucky enough to have leftovers. Sometimes.”

2) Grandma’s Favorite at Pad Thai. “The husband and wife team behind this gem are the epitome of a family owned and operated restaurant. And the food proves it. Everything here is great, and that is why it usually takes me forever to decide on what to order. If there are any restaurant owners in Charlottesville who my wife and I want to emulate, it’s these two.”

3)  Fried Chicken from Wayside. “What more can I say? I love fried chicken and they are doing it right, plus they are within walking distance from my house. A short walk there, eat all I can, and then a short walk home, makes me feel good about eating their crispy fried greatness.”

4) Gold Nugget Ice Cream from Chaps.  “I said, Chaps, Gold Nugget Ice Cream.”

5) Linguine alla Carbonara at Tavola. “This luscious dish after one of their insalata verde is a perfect meal for me.”

Jason Tesauro

Jason Tesauro, writer, speaker, sommelier. Tesauro’s picks:

1) Brioche Feuilletée at MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. “Buttery, flaky, golden brown, finger-lickin’ French sublimity paired with an off-the-menu Cortado.”

2) Pimentón Padron at MAS Tapas. “Green and blistered black, these firecrackers and a bottle of Albariño take me right back to Galicia, Spain.”

3)  Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo. “Broccoli rabe, aged provolone and bread baked to order. Super fresh with a little char, it’s Little-Italy-NYC good.”

4)  Crispy Shrimp at The Local. “Washed down with Champion suds, Chef Matty’s sweet and spicy app sends me to my Asian-hued happy place.”

5) Fried Oyster Po’Boy at Southern Crescent. “Save yourself the Frequent Flyer miles. These are true Leidenheimer baguettes with a crisp crust and fluffy center.”

Matt Wolf

1) Valleé Brebidoux from Flora Artisanal Cheese. “Probably my favorite 8 feet or so of case space in Charlottesville. Nadjeeb “NaCheese” Chouaf is the owner and head cheesemonger of Flora Artisanal Cheese which is located inTimbercreek Market. Take it from me, he knows what’s Gouda. From Vermont to Normandy, pungent to tame, soft to hard, he has a cheese for any taste or application. My favorite of his current stock is Valleé Brebidoux, a Basque sheep’s milk that tastes like milk and honey had a baby. Oh, and the Marinated Isle of Lesbos Feta is pretty good too. If you’ve had it, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I recommend getting over to 722 Preston Avenue as fast as physically possible.”

2) The Importance of Being Earnest at Public Fish & Oyster. “Brad ‘The Juicer’ Langdon is Head Barman at Public Fish & Oyster on W. Main Street nestled right up against Oakhart Social (if you didn’t know). A true student of the game is Langdon, a virtuoso of sorts behind the wood that separates patron from Patrón. Well versed in every aspect of mixology, you can’t go wrong with anything he makes. However, “The Importance of Being Ernest” is what I’m here to talk about specifically. Langdon’s play on a Hemingway daiquiri is his latest creation that I can’t get enough of, until I’ve had enough. The cocktail stars Charlottesville’s own Vitae Platinum Rum and is backed by the freshest squeezed lime juice, and local Rosemary-Rhubarb syrup, Shaken… Up. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say this but I’m drinking one right now. The sun has appeared with the cocktail to match, so head on over to PFO and chase one of Brad’s cocktails with a Narragansett Lager and let the juice get loose.”

3) Frito Cianci at Fry’s Spring Station. “As well as recently being renovated tastefully modern, Fry’s is also now under new management. Headlined by The Rock Barn and Ivy Provision’s Ben Thompson and company, it’s managed day to day by Tyler Wood whose unwavering righteousness is reflected through the wholesome atmosphere you feel when you walk in the door. It’s safe to say Fry’s ‘Neighborhood Hearth’ is back better than ever. The menu has been rejuvenated with rustic Italian favorites spun in an upscale direction with the centerpiece being a pizza oven that nearly needs its own area code it’s so large. Very reasonably priced and a portion size that eaters can appreciate are just a couple of reasons to swing by Fry’s patio bar for a cold Narragansett lager and some chow. My guilty pleasure leads me to Fry’s for the Frito Cianci, a fried seafood plate featuring squid, shrimp and seasonal vegetables tied together with a tasty vinaigrette and some basil, chased with a ‘Gansett  (detecting a theme here?).  Add a large serving of sunshine, and I can’t think of a better afternoon.”

4)  White Blend at Valley Road Vineyards. “The newest kid on the block on the 151 wine trail, Valley Road has been steadily taking shape on the grounds that used to be AM Fog Farm. At the head of Critzers shop road VRV is a launchpad for your weekend wine tasting route. A beautiful cascade of vines and beautiful farm structures that lie beneath the vineyard make for a picturesque afternoon with good people and good drink. Under the watchful eyes of Scott Link and Grayson Poats, the property has been taking shape since the first vine went in the ground. They will feature several varietals in their debut including a Chardonnay, a White blend, a Merlot- Rose, a Merlot, and a Meritage. The tasting room is scheduled to open early summer and they have a lot of fun things planned, including a weekly farmers market and live music and also having delicious upscale picnic food for sale on site. So when you’re planning your annual wine tasting adventure, don’t forget about the new guys and swing on through Valley Road. They are going to be doing big things.

5) Dagwood at Durty Nelly’s Pub-Wayside Deli. “This is where I go to disappear. A cozy “Cheers”-esque bar full of regulars that only know each other by name and hug goodbye. In the winter the fireplace is ablaze, with rock and roll pouring from the speakers and the door propped open. It’s perfect brackish air combination of fire and fresh. With a domestic pitcher weighing in at 10 dollars even (Rolling Rock for me), it makes for an economical afternoon. If I’m feeling wealthy, I’ll splurge and get a Dagwood sandwich, which contains nearly every sandwich staple under the sun. It’s a tight knit crew down at Duty Nelly’s, so let’s still keep this between us.”

Peter Robertson

Peter Robertson of Côte-Rôtie. Robertson’s picks:

1) Olive Boule at Albemarle Baking Company and Sourdough at MarieBette Cafe & Bakery.  “Charlottesville is blessed with two fantastic bakeries. EveryFriday, Albemarle Baking Co. makes an olive boule which we try to get every time we pick up our fish order from Seafood @ West Main. MarieBette has a delicious sourdough available in large and small, where the latter can make an excellent soup bowl for French onion soup, which you can throw right under the broiler to gratinee and get yummy burnt edges.”

2) Bread at MAS Tapas. “While in Libourne, France, we purchased a life-changing boule from a baker who had a small cart at the farmer’s market. He baked his bread in a wood burning oven, made of stone out in the countryside and brought it to market occasionally. MAS’s bread is the closest thing to that we have had in the United States. Every time we go there we ask if we can buy one to take home, the closest to burnt that they have. Everything at MAS is delicious but their bread is old world, and we love it.”

3) Pizza Dough at Lampo.  “These guys know what’s up.  Whenever we sit at the bar, I just marvel at the tray of perfectly formed white pillows of stretchy dough. It’s amazing how it cooks in just a few minutes with just the right amount of burnt bubbles on the edges.  The ingredients on top are always fresh and delicious but ‘dat dough’ is what I crave.”

4) Stickin in My IPA at Champion Brewing Company. “‘Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread’ – Bob Dylan and The Band’s song always runs through my head when drinking a Champion Brewing Company beer. So many tasty beers come out of there. I think my first Champion brew was Stickin in My IPA in the tall can. It was ice cold and I nearly downed the whole thing after a busy night cooking and it definitely stuck to me. Also, it’s one of our regular stops and everyone who works there is aces in our book.”

5)  Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch.  “My list wouldn’t be complete without Riverside Lunch. I know Merrill mentioned it, but it’s just perfect. No pretension, consistent, super friendly staff, fast and efficient. I love the thin crispy ‘smash burgers’ which chefs in NYC are starting to copy, but I doubt it will get any better than they do it at Riverside.”

Caleb Warr

Caleb Warr, chef of Tavola. Warr’s picks:

1) Hellboy Pizza at Lampo.  “There are many great and interesting things coming out of this kitchen. I am always open to trying whatever the boys have going on down the street, but every time I go, the Hellboy is a must. A beautifully flavored crust with the spicy chili honey glaze . . . oh yea!”

2) Queso con Mermalada at MAS Tapas.  “The award winning Monte Enebro Goat Cheese from Spain, on top of their house made brioche and house apricot marmalade might be my favorite dish in Charlottesville. Pair this with one of the amazing Priorat wines on Tomas’ list, and I am in heaven!”

3)  Tea Smoked Duck with Fried Onions at Peter Chang’s.  “This has become my new favorite lunch spot, and since my first visit this dish has captured my attention. Super tasty, and highlighted with the spicy crispy onions, it is definitely one to try.”

4)  Chocolate Almond Croissant at MarieBette.  “As someone who loves to create delicious pastry, I always judge bakeries by their ability to succeed at this product. I have eaten countless takes on this item, and this is one of the best I have ever had. I make visits to MarieBette frequently just for it, and my staff knows to always buy me one when they are there. Working with laminated dough is difficult and to get the perfect texture is even harder. Then toss in chocolate, and the perfect amount of almond paste; these guys have got it down. This one product can turn a bad day completely around for me!”

5)  Pumpkin Ravioli at The Ivy Inn. ” There are too many things to list as great at The Ivy Inn. This one dish, which usually runs in the fall, has a special place in my journey at learning this craft. When I first began cooking, I was so blown away at how great pasta could be that I volunteered to work in Angelo’s kitchen, for free, several times to learn how to create this. I still try every now and then to spend some time with this awesome chef to get better at my craft, a true leader!”

John Schailble

John Schaible, chef of Fry’s Spring Station. Schaible’s picks:

1)  The Gobbfather at Ivy Provisions.  “Always a healthy start to my day – hahaha! When I can squeeze past 40 other people and get a sandwich, it’s the Gobbfather and a Traeger Brothers coffee. The staff is actually really friendly and the space is fun and pretty accessible. They carry great product, wine, beer and lots of grocery for adding to your pantry or inventory.”

2) Potato, Egg, and Cheese Taco by Brazos Tacos from Atlas Coffee. “Atlas is right next to Fry’s, so if I can’t have a Gobbfather in the morning, I get a taco from the steam table. Laurie at Atlas is one of the coolest business owners and she introduced me to this great idea that Brazos has and their awesome tacos.”

3)  Cheddar Jalapeno Dogs from The Rock Barn at the City Market. “Though I don’t butcher with Ben any more, if I have some time Saturday morning, I stop by the Market to give him or his crew some guff and pick up these dogs. Ben’s products are  really great and he isn’t afraid to R&D new stuff and test it on the public.”

4)  Raw Fish Salad at Now & Zen. “Really just the best for a quiet lunch and to satiate any raw fish cravings a meat eater finds when they are low on omega 3s. I have always really liked Now & Zen. They do really good, fun sushi for a very affordable price. Their raw fish salad is pretty amazing. Fresh, light, citric and loaded with salmon, tuna, mackerel, scallop. It’s like their kitchen fish sink.”

5)  Manhattan at The Whiskey Jar. “Something about Charlottesville brought out my love of bourbon. The Whiskey Jar has pretty simple straightforward and perfected cocktails. A Manhattan does it for me. I like the casual and social feel of the Jar and sometimes, when I am lucky, I get to see Red and the Romantics there.”

Will Reed

Will Reed, Whisky Experience Ambassador at Virginia Distillery Company. Reed’s picks:

1) Chicken Cassoulet at Orzo.  “Every dish at Orzo is delicious, but their Southern take on chicken cassoulet is beyond mouthwatering. After my first bite, I feel like I could die happy.”

2) Don Juan at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “My favorite way to wind down after work is to swing by Dr. Ho’s. You really can’t go wrong with any of their pizzas, but their Don Juan with roasted tomatoes is pretty killer.”

3) Peanut Butter Pups from Gearharts Fine Chocolates.  “Besides having the amazing combination of chocolate and peanut butter (who doesn’t like that, right?), Gearharts donates a portion of the sales from these chocolates to a non-profit that supports wounded veterans.”

4) Strawberry Picking at Chiles Orchard.  “There’s nothing like biting into your first sun ripened strawberry in springtime. Something I look forward to every May is filling up a basket of strawberries at Chiles before heading over to King Family or Veritas Vineyards. A little cheese, some fresh strawberries and Virginia wine, and you’ve pretty much found the ideal Charlottesville afternoon.”

5) Saint Andrew cocktail at Lost Saint.  “Every drink Patrick and Carrie create at Lost Saint is delicious and unique. Their Saint Andrew cocktail, made with our whisky, Cocchi di Torino and Benedictine is dangerously addictive. I’d have one every night if I could.”

Merrill Robertson

Merrill Robertson, co-owner of Côte-Rôtie. Robertson’s picks:

1) Double Bacon Cheesburger at Riverside Lunch.  “No shame in walking in there at 11 am on a day off after a long hike with the dog, and having a couple of ice-cold Full Nelsons and a double bacon cheeseburger with fries. The friendliest, sweetest people run that establishment. Best burger in this town hands down.”

2) Blanc de Blanc from Thibaut-Janisson. “Great value and well-made. On par with true Champagne.”

3) Shrimp Po’Boy from SpiceSea Gourmet. “Perfectly fried shrimp, spicy house-made aioli, and fresh greens. A winner.”

4)  Whatever David Pours at Citizen Burger Bar. “Friendly, very knowledgeable about beers, and fun to chat with at the bar.”

5)  Turkey, Havarti, Sprouts, and House Dressing at Take it Away. “Any sandwich with their house dressing is addictive. A spot I would always hit up while visiting Charlottesville prior to moving here.”

Leah Peeks

Leah Peeks, Bar and Events Manager of The Whiskey Jar. Peek’s picks:

1) The Gazossa at The Alley Light.  “I  started working in Charlottesville just so I could make drinks with Micah LeMon. I would drive from Lynchburg, 80 minutes to and from every shift, and it was totally worth it. The Gazossa has been on Micah’s menu since day one, and it’s the perfect cocktail for me: a carbonated, classically proportioned gin martini. Dry, clean, and crisp.”

2) Sausage, Egg, Goat Cheese & Honey and Lattes at The Pie Chest/Milli Joe. “Everything Rachel Pennington makes tastes like butter and love. Her crust is masterful. They keep a selection of savory pies hot and ready, so you can grab a hand pie and a Milli Joe latte and walk down the mall stuffing your happy face.”

3)  Late Night Menu at C&O.  “The bar at C&O is my favorite room in town, plus it’s open late and serves a really yummy menu til 1 most weekdays. Go on aMonday night and get Jen to make you a cocktail and eat tacos, decadent mac n cheese, and creme brulee at midnight, and you’ll feel like you live in a much bigger town.”

4) Tuna Carpaccio Salad at Now & Zen.  “This place is my jam. It’s close to my apartment, I love the staff, and everything I’ve eaten there is delicious.”

5)  Spicy Cucumbers from Ginkgo via Order Up.  “Working long bar shifts can be super draining. Once a week, I like to dedicate a day to not talking to anyone or having to put on pants. Salty, spicy, crunchy cucumbers and rice from Ginkgo are the official food of my inner introvert.”

Ben Clore

Ben Clore, co-owner of Oakhart Social. Clore’s picks:

1) Pork Spring Rolls at Bang!  “Crispy, fried, salty bites of porky deliciousness with a great vinegary dipping sauce that counterbalances the fat and salt perfectly. (Pro tip- Bang is a great place to take kids.  Food comes out fast and if junior doesn’t like one thing just keep ordering!)”

2) Shrimp and Grits at Maya.  “Local stone ground grits and an amazing smoked tomato gravy make me so happy every time I order them.”

3) Aspen Ridge Farm Hamburger at Orzo.  (Lunch only.)  “House pickles and the rosemary aioli are a great compliment to some really flavorful farm-raised beef.”

4) Finocchio Arrosto con Aranci (roasted fennel, oranges and basil) at Tavola. “I think this has been on their menu from the start and it’s clear why.  Super simple flavors and great execution make it a dish that’s more than the sum of its parts.”

5) Guay Tiew Ruea (Boat Noodle Soup) at Thai Cuisine and Noodle House.  “I’m a sucker for anything broth and noodle based.  This a ton of umami and is almost impossible to stop eating until it’s gone.  I can be so full I’m in pain and I still can’t stop.  I get the small to minimize inevitable later self-loathing.”

River Hawkins

River Hawkins, bar manager and co-owner of The Bebedero.  Hawkins’ picks:

1)  Papaya Salad (Som Tum) at Monsoon Siam.  “I lived in Thailand for a couple of years managing a large dance club, and everyday before work I would get a bowl of Sum Tum from a little old vendor lady who carried around the ingredients on her shoulders and made it for you right there on the sidewalk with a little mortar and pestle. Monsoon’s Som Tum takes me back to Thailand and those strange beautiful days.”

2) Roasted Beet Salad with Blackened Catfish at The Whiskey Jar.  “I have this almost every time I get lunch at the Whiskey Jar. It’s just so perfect and light and savory. I never feel heavy or sleepy after eating a huge bowl of it.”

3)  Cemitas at Al Carbon.  “I was blessed to have traveled throughout Peru for a while, and the way they prepare their meats at Al Carbon is just as delicious as the vendor food I had in Cusco. I just wish I could get guinea pig there.”

4)  Kung Pao Chicken at Peter Chang’s.  “Spicy deliciousness. Every Chinese I place I go, I have the Kung Pao Chicken. If that’s good I know everything is good.”

5) Nachos at The Bebedero.  “This may seem like shameless self promotion, but I’ve eaten nachos all over the world and I honestly think Chef Cesar makes the best and most creative nachos I’ve ever tasted. I don’t have any control over the food, so this really is my objective opinion.”

Karen Fiedler

Karen Fiedler, chef of Tin Whistle Pub. Fiedler’s picks:

1) Tacos de Lengua at El Tesoro Mexican Deli.  “El Tesoro is a small family owned restaurant in Palmyra. The tongue tacos are incredibly tender and authentic.”

2)  Crispy Duck Confit Leg and Sweet Potato Waffles at Rapture.  “Wonderful take on a southern classic. Skin was perfectly crispy and the meat moist and tender. I love sweet potatoes, and the waffles were a perfect accompaniment.”

3)  Dakota Bread from Great Harvest Bread Company.  “Right balance of wholesome with a touch of sweet. Filling and perfect breakfast toast.”

4)  Chocolate Croissant from MarieBette Cafe & Bakery. “Can’t go wrong with any of their pastries, but the classic French croissant is one of the best.”

5)  Kinda Vegan Burger at Citizen Burger Bar.  “While I love meat, I appreciate a place that can make a great vegetarian/vegan burger, and this is one that I want to stuff my face into.”

Arley Arrington

Arley Arrington of Arley Cakes.  Arrington’s picks:

1) Meta Burger at Mel’s Cafe.  “I love Mel’s with all my heart – partially, because I think it is important to support minority-owned businesses, and because they always ask about my recent vacation, and notice my haircut, and are excited to meet my friends. But also because of the Meta Burger. Grilled onion, Swiss cheese, and a perfectly greasy burger on rye bread for $3. That can’t be beat.”

2) Tuna Tostada at Continental Divide.  “While I am a daily purveyor of incredible amounts of sugar, I don’t actually have much of a sweet tooth myself. I love food that has a good balance of savory and sweet. Fresh tuna with goat cheese and mango chutney makes my heart sing.”

3)  Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Sandwich at Market Street Market.  “Everyone always talks about their $5 special, which seems cool, but I have never ever regretted opting out of that for this sandwich. Again, it’s got the sweet and savory combo that I love, topped with honey, pear, and basil.”

4) Chicken Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam.  “Years ago, a friend clued me in to this fairly regional, hard to find, dish.  It’s been at least 3 years, and I haven’t looked back since. It has so many of my favorite things–curry, coconut milk, and pickle.”

5) Chicken & Waffles at Brookville.  “This was the first chicken & waffles I ever had. It ruined me. Set the bar way too high. Led to a lot of disappointment. Fortunately, I have pretty good access to Brookville’s version.”

Gregg Dionne

Gregg Dionne, Executive Chef of Public Fish & Oyster. Dionne’s picks:

1) Cozze ai Ferri (skillet roasted mussels) at Tavola.  “Simple, plump, and perfectly cooked. I appreciate a well-executed shellfish.”

2) Chocolate Bread Pudding at C&O.  “Decadent and soft. Bread pudding tends to be a ‘quick and easy after thought’ dessert, only on the menu to use scraps of bread. C&O doesn’t follow that tendency and executes it superbly. Either after dinner or just with drinks, it’s the perfect end to a night out.”

3)  Wood Fired Oysters at Oakhart Social. “Jealous of our neighbor’s awesome wood fire oven. For oyster fans looking for one more way to eat an oyster, the wood fire oven offers a unique style and flavor I can’t offer at Public. Come to Public for some raw, broiled, fried, and stewed oysters, then head next door afterward and try their wood fired variety.”

4) Polpettine at Lampo.  “Too often are meatballs carelessly executed and poorly seasoned. Lampo uses the right ground meat and seasons it properly. Best appetizer for the money in town.”

5)  La Familia at Al Carbon.  “Best bargain in town. A whole rotisserie chicken meal with three sides.  I then add another half chicken, four tacos, and six churros, which feeds five adults and costs less than $50. Perfect, quick, easy, and most importantly, delicious, group lunch.”

Cesar Perez

Cesar Perz, chef of The Bebedero.  Perez’s picks:

1) Grilled Salmon at ZoCaLo. “Every time I come in to this place, I crave the delicious salmon. I love the fact the it is always perfect and consistent as the time before.”

2) Cemita de Carne Asada at Al Carbon.  “I come from Puebla, where these sandwiches are created, and I just love the fact that we finally have these cemitas in Charlottesville. When I first saw them on the menu I was I little skeptical, but they really won me over.  They are as good as I remember!”

3) Danny Laruso Burger at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint.  “I love this burger. I love how the cream cheese and jalapeño jelly infuse with the burger. It’s like a party in my mouth!”

4)  Lamb or Goat Masala at Royal Indian.  “I love all the flavors found in this dish – you get creamy, spicy and sweet at the same time, along with a million more flavors infusing in your mouth!”

5)  Honey Fire Sirloin Tips Pasta at Timberwood Grill.  “I really like this pasta.  It’s nice and creamy, hot and sweet, and the sirloin tips are cooked to perfection. It’s an amazing pasta overall!”

Phyllis Hunter

Phyllis Hunter of The Spice Diva.  Hunter’s picks:

1) Beef Carpaccio at the C&O.  “When I had the first taste of this dish ordered for my husband Will’s birthday dinner, I swooned. It was seasoned with the perfect balance of arugula, truffled aioli, manchego and hashed potato. It was delicate while having amazing substance.”

2) Fried Chicken at The Barbeque Exchange.  “Last year was the first opportunity we had to attend the festivities at Porkapalooza. The legendary lard-fried deliciousness, prepared only once a year for this special occasion, has lived in memory. I think I might be able to get through the stress of moving the shop as long as I know that this coming Sunday is the day when I will taste it again.”

3)  Cucumber Martini at ZoCaLo. “One of best places to just sit at the bar to enjoy a quick bite and a drink before a concert at the Paramount is Zocalo. The original is made with Hendricks, but mine was made with Cucumber Vodka, Yellow Chartreuse, Orange, Lime, and Cucumber Water. Perfection!”

4) Santa Fe Enchiladas at Continental Divide.  “Being a Texan, one does occasionally crave really good Mexican. Each time we drag ourselves there at the end of a long week of Diva-ing, I tell myself that I will order something new from their menu. When I think of those stacked, cheese covered, plate-sized tortillas and their filling, it’s hopeless.”

5) Ham Biscuit at JM Stock Provisions.  “Saturday morning is our one day a week to get breakfast out. The artists at JM Stock take a luscious biscuit, spread it with hot mustard and fill it with layer after layer of mildly smoked, thinly sliced ham. It’s one of the joys of living in Charlottesville.”

Amber Cohen

Amber Cohen, sous chef of Junction. Cohen’s picks:

1) Canelés at MarieBette Cafe and Bakery.  “I am seduced into stopping and getting those decadent, evil, irresistible mini canelés every time I drive by MarieBette.”

2) Red Hot Blues at Continental Divide.  “It’s been a short two months since I gave up my kitchen residency at the Divide and I have already started missing and daydreaming (and sometimes actual night dreaming) of the Blues. Accompanied, of course, by a margarita.”

3) Prosciutto Pizza at Lampo.  “I’ve always felt that pizza is a perfect food, in this case, made somehow more sublime by cured meat and lightly dressed arugula.”

4) Pork Star Taco at Brazos Tacos.  “Perhaps just the words ‘pork belly’ make me giddy, but I have to have it on every visit.”

5) Absolutely Anything at Café 88.  “Their crispy tofu is perfectly seasoned, their veggies are never overcooked, the wonderful chicken is as advertised in the name (wonderful), and I would happily marry the hot sour soup.”

Josh Skinner

Josh Skinner, Lead Brewer of Champion Brewing Company.  Skinner’s picks:

1)  Abruzzo Pizza at Lampo.  “While I love a classic Margherita pizza, this to me is the ultimate pie.  The addition of pork meatballs take a classic pizza to an entirely new level of satisfaction.  Just fold it up ‘wallet style,’ grab a pilsner, and enjoy.”

2) Mosaic Hop Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “I’m a huge fan of what Potters is doing, be it the wild fermentation ciders they have recently released or their line of hopped ciders. The combo of refreshingly dry cider with a huge, pungent nose of Mosaic hops makes for an extremely dangerous combo.  This could easily be my official non-beer drink of the summer.”

3)  GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Ramen with Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Pickled Vegetables at Miso Sweet.  “This, for me, is comfort food at its best.  Some people like mac’n’cheese, but give me a spicy bowl of noodles in pork broth loaded with kimchi and let me shamelessly slurp away.  The addition of crispy Brussels sprouts and pickled veg lend both interesting flavor and texture contrasts to the mounds of pork belly and shredded pork hiding in the piping hot broth.  It goes perfectly with an IPA.”

4)  Torta Ahogada at La Michoacana.  “Before I was a brewer, I was an archaeologist and spent some time excavating in Mexico.  During that time I fell in love with the regional cuisine and am always in search of dishes that take me back to the wind-battered coasts and solitary deserts of Central Baja.  This dish does just that.  This simple, unpretentious sandwich drenched in chili pepper broth is about as authentic as you can get.”

5)  Everything from Côte-Rôtie. “I really can’t say enough about the work that Pete and Merrill are doing.  With a constantly rotating menu ranging from fresh takes on French classics to Japanese yakitori inspired dishes, they crank out what is hands down some of the best food in town.  And all out of a food truck!  The crispy pig’s ear snack may be the ultimate bar food and they’re doing God’s work when it comes to lamb and duck dishes.  They come to the Champion tap room every Sunday and I refuse to miss them.”

Mark Otis

Mark Otis. Otis’ picks:

1) Fried Oysters at Duners.  “Located in Ivy, it is an institution and nobody does that many covers that well. I’m a sucker for a perfectly fried oyster and a cold beer.”

2) Pupusa at Cactus. “Behind the Sunoco station on 5th street, Cactus makes a pupusa that will solve anything life has to offer. Of course, Brazos crushes tacos with force–as we all know!”

3) 2015 Pinot Grigio from Gabriele Rausse.  “First off,  if you can find it you win.  And, the 2015 Pinot Grigio is my favorite Virginia wine right now.  It is due out Valentine’s Day and will make you very proud of Virginia wine.”

4) Ravioli at The Ivy Inn.  “Kills it. It gets better every time I go, and Angelo pretends like he doesn’t know it. Everything. Leave room for dessert.”

5) Ham and Brie Sandwich at Bashir’s Taverna.  “Bashir and Kathy do everything well, but the ham and brie is burned into my mind forever. Bashir is just my hero. I think he has secret powers.”

Bryan Kelly

Bryan Kelly, Executive Chef of Harvest Moon Catering. Kelly’s picks:

1)  Budino at Lampo.  “My wife and I love going here for a night cap to end most of our dates. We love the budino. It always a great way to head home.”

2) Jack’s Java Espresso Stout from Three Notch’d Brewery.  “I absolutely love every beer Dave and his team crafts but Jack’s Java is on a different level for me. It’s always very difficult to limit my intake after work.”

3)  The Hotness at Citizen Burger Bar.  “No better place to watch sports with my family then Citizen Burger Bar. Burgers are my favorite food on earth and The Hotness is the one I enjoy the most.”

4)  Dried Fried Eggplant at Peter Chang’s.  “I could eat this all day long. Love all the numbing qualities this dish has to offer. It is always something I start with when eating at Peter Chang’s.”

5)  Everything at C&O Restaurant.  “I have known Dean for many years, first having met him when we were both apprentices at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. The C&O is always great food and well thought out.”

Alex Import

Alex Import of JM Stock Provisions.  Import’s picks:

1)  Spicy Miso Ramen at Mican.  “Nothing scratches the umami itch like this steamy bowl of anti-winter. I’m a sucker for noodles of any kind, and a rich, complex broth holds a special place in my heart. Love the homey atmosphere, and a concise but sagely selected list of sake offerings seals the deal.”

2)  Grapefruit Hibiscus Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “This new gem really has me intrigued. Every aspect is magnetic. Soft, glassy texture; acute acid and dainty but confident flavors; coy bubbles, sexy hue, artistic package, and appealing price tag. Thank you to all at Potter’s for showing us the way.”

3)  Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social.  “A tough job selecting this out of the herd of nourishing selections of food and booze at Oakhart. Why this salad? Can’t put my finger on it — and to me that is more often than not the hallmark of something truly special. Love these guys.”

4)  Hot and Numbing Tofu Skins at Peter Chang’s.  “The allure of this dish is its mystique. Makes me question my ability to share.”

5)  Omakase at TEN.  “Given the nature of my work, I go out of my way to seek out water-dwelling proteins. Texture and nuance are fortified with simplicity on these plates, and a hearty list of all-too-quaffable cocktails finds me lingering after a meal here.”

Nate Olewine

Nate Olewine, Lead Brewer of Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Olewine’s picks:

1) The Hotness at Citizen Burger Bar.  “I eat hot peppers with everything.  Sometimes I just eat them by themselves.  This burger hits my scoville bill with the toppings:  jalapeno jack, sriracha mayo, and fresh jalapenos.”

2) Deep Fried Oreos at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “I come for the beer selection and I stay for the deep fried oreos (and of course, the burgers).  The dessert pairs really well with our Schwartz beer, a German style black lager.  I also like the eclectic decor which is rich with beer history.”

3) Otoro at Now & Zen. “I visited Japan last year and discovered a new found love for fatty tuna.  As soon as we came home to Virginia, we headed to Now & Zen to satisfy my craving.  Can’t go wrong with the octopus nigiri either. “

4) Duck & Oyster Gumbo at Rapture.  “My first visit to Rapture was with my wife for the Pig & Whiskey dinner.  We had an amazing night and the staff did a great job with the pairings.  We’ve been back for the Duck & Oyster Gumbo.  Cajun food is what got me into cooking at home, so I always seek out Big Easy inspired dishes.”

5) Pretzel with Obatzda Cheese at Kardinal Hall. “The first time I had Obatzda cheese was in Freising in Bavaria.  It’s a great accompaniment for the pretzels.  German beers have always been part of the inspiration behind what we brew at Devils Backbone, so I’m always seeking them out. Kardinal Hall has the best German beer selection in town. Prost!”

Charlie Toder

Charlie Toder, Beer Curator at Kardinal Hall.  Toder’s picks:

1) Saturday Morning Randall at Beer Run.  “Randall maestro Noel Scott and I have been friends for years, and it’s always fun to see what crazy concoction he’s whipped up. A glass of Randalled beer and a couple of Beer Run breakfast tacos will cure whatever ails you on Saturday morning (especially a hangover).”

2) Slow Roasted Pork from Pearl Island at the Charlottesville City Market.  “When I’m shopping at the Charlottesville City Market I almost always grab a plate of this delicious Caribbean pork. It’s juicy, tender, well seasoned, and comes with yummy greens and plantains.”

3)  Early Sunday Dinner at The Alley Light.  “Like everyone else in Charlottesville, I’m hooked on the fantastic food and drink at The Alley Light. To avoid the crowds and wrangle experimental cocktails out of the bar staff, I go on Sundays around 5 o’clock. The bar is either empty or filled with other bartenders, which brings the wackiness out of the best drink makers in town.”

4)  Kale Slaw at Timbercreek Market. “I’m incredibly lucky to work next door to such a stupendous market and lunch spot. Every time I go for lunch I have to pick up a container of this slaw to take home.”

5)  Funghi Pizza at Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria. “The pizza at Lampo is the best I’ve had outside of Italy. The funghi pizza is simple, with the cheese and mushrooms complementing the crust perfectly. The crust is the star of the show at Lampo, which is what defines truly world-class pizza.”

David Morgan

David Morgan, chef of Tavern and Grocery.  Morgans’s picks:

1) Dinner at Eljogaha. “My mentor and friend, Tucker’s simple but whimsical approach to local sustainable cooking is unrivaled in town. Always delicious.”

2) Dry-Fried Mushrooms at Peter Chang’s.  “Every crispy, numbing bite of mushrooms is bliss.”

3) Spicy Fried Calamari at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “With roasted jalapeno, peanuts and cilantro and paired with a local draft, it is always worth the drive for me. And our kids love their pizza!”

4) Spicy Miso Ramen at Kokoro.  “This place is a hidden gem. The spicy miso ramen warms my soul, and if anyone is getting amazing fish in Charlottesville, it’s Tauchi.”

5)  Turkey Trot at Beer Run.  “Always the go-to spot for my family. Everyone gets their own Turkey Trot because they’re too good to share. And, there’s always a great selection of beautifully bitter IPAs.”

Jenny Paurys

Jenny Paurys of Our Local Commons.Paurys’ picks:

1)  Hop Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “The cider chapter showcases ciders from across the state, and Potter’s Craft chose to highlight their new Hop cider. I admit, I was both curious and nervous to try it. Cider is my jam, and I wondered how hops, which I am not particularly fond of in beer, would affect my beloved Farmhouse Dry. The answer: perfection. Floral, aromatic, divine. I grab mine from Beer Run.”

2)  McLaurin from Spring Mill Farm. “Spring Mill Farm is the artisan featured in the cheese chapter. HB Hunter is creating some excellent goat’s milk and cow’s milk cheeses at his farm in Concord, Virginia, near Lynchburg. The pimento chevre is addictive, and the McLaurin — a tomme — makes my toes curl. Cheesemonger Nadjeeb Chouaf at Timbercreek Market can hook you up with this goodness.”

3) Andouille Sausage from JM Stock Provisions. “The meat chapter includes a list of artisanal butchers across the Commonwealth, and products they carry that are raised in Virginia. Charlottesville’s JM Stock chose to highlight their 60 rotating varieties of house-made sausage, featuring pork from Autumn Olive Farms. I am especially fond of the Andouille, which has a full, yet balanced flavor.”

4)  Oysters at ROCKSALT.  “Each chapter includes chef-authored recipes, and for the wine chapter, ROCKSALT Executive Chef Dylan Allwood created oysters three ways — baked, fried and raw, each paired with white and sparkling wines from Virginia. The Rappahannock River Oysters served at ROCKSALT are a fabulous example of how Virginia producers can leverage the state’s natural resources to produce incredible food and support rural communities.”

5) Three-Grain Pancake Mix from Woodson’s Mill.  “For the grain chapter, we visited Woodson’s Mill in Nelson County, where they are producing flours, cornmeal and grits from Virginia-grown grain. Their pancake mix includes wheat, corn and buckwheat — the latter grown at Steadfast Farm, just south of town. My children love pancakes, but if you had asked me if they would ever eat anything labeled “three grain” I would have questioned your sanity. Yet, when I brought home a bag and whipped up a batch, they ate every last morsel. The pancakes are rich and so very satisfying, even the baby loves them. I get the mix from Foods of All Nations — and I now make a double batch each time, so I have a better chance of scoring one or two for myself.”

Jason Becton

Jason Becton of MarieBette Café & Bakery.  Becton’s picks:

1) Pork Chops at JM Stock Provisions. “One of my favorite things to cook, especially this time of the year, is pork and JM Stock’s chops are flavorful, perfectly cut and wrapped with care for my trip home to Covesville.”

2) Oysters, French Fries and a Glass of Chablis at Public Fish & Oyster.  “I love oysters. And I love fries. Someone else put this as their pick before and there’s a reason. They’re awesome. I mix their aioli with ketchup and sit at the bar and talk about wine with Brad. Donnie has been known to bring out some dishes he’s playing with in the kitchen which are always delicious and much appreciated.”

3) Painted White at Blenheim Vineyards.  “The Charlottesville area is known for great wine and Blenheim makes great wine. Kirsty Harmon’s 2014 Painted White is the perfect wine to drink while sitting on their deck and squinting to see if the ‘sea view,’ though stunning, is aptly named. Maybe after a few glasses the view may become clearer.”

4) Brussels Sprouts at Oakhart Social.  “I grew up loving Brussels Sprouts and never understood why they were always the butt of the joke for what children would never eat. I can eat them a million ways but the team at Oakhart does them plenty good. A little heat, a little fish sauce, a lot of caramelization. Betcha can’t eat just one.”

5) Cortado at Shark Mountain Coffee.  “Sometimes you just want to drink someone else’s coffee in someone else’s café. We love the La Colombe coffee that we serve at MarieBette (I start every workday with our mocha) but when I want a change of scenery, Shark Mountain is the perfect spot. Their coffee is REALLY good and the drinks are always made to perfection. One of my barista friends humbly told me that they were the best baristas in town. I can’t argue with that.”

Michael Davis

Michael Davis, owner of The Wine Guild of Charlottesville. Davis’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken And Collard Greens at The Whiskey Jar.  “As a wine geek, I always think about ‘pairings,’ which is why I love to eat at The Whiskey Jar on Wednesday nights when the Rick Olivarez Trio is playing. There is something magical about the combination of that room with Rick’s flawless Gypsy Jazz. It takes you back in time and makes this California transplant feel truly southern.”

2) Horse’s Neck at The Livery Stable. “I like to take local winemakers to this subterranean watering hole and hear stories of how they give mother nature the middle finger year after year. Jake Busching, winemaker at Michael Shaps Wineworks gets his mail at this place, so grab the stool next to him and enjoy the ride . . . and the Horse’s Neck.”

3) Erin Scala at Fleurie.  “Ok, so Erin is not a food, she’s an experience. I love to sit at the bar with one of my wine geek buddies, usually Kevin Sidders from VinConnect, and have sommelier Erin just pour us wines she’s excited about. Ask her to pair them with some of Chef Brian’s outstanding food and you’ll see why I get so excited about food and wine pairings.”

4) Liver and Onions at Mel’s Café.  “While I’d like to spend more nights at Tavola, Mas, and Lampo, as a father of four I spend a lot more time at places like this. Mel and his wife define southern hospitality and their food is so soul-soothingly delicious that my pregnant wife opted to go here on her birthday. My kids love the ribs and cheeseburgers while my wife tries something different every time we go . . . which is often.”

5) Canelés De Bordeaux from MarieBette Cafe & Bakery.  “The Alley Light chef José De Brito turned me on to these when he served them at a party at his home. They were the only thing on the table that he didn’t make. One bite showed me why. The dark caramelized crust hides a tender golden center that causes you to eat a lot more of them than you thought possible. My advice? Buy twice as many as you think you’ll need.”

Will Conti

Will Conti of Spiked Food Truck. Conti’s picks:

1)  Viognier at Adventure Farm.  “Sitting on the patio watching the sun go down over the Blue Ridge Mountains is my way to spend a Friday evening in the summer time, while sipping on on ice cold glass of Adventure Farm Viognier.”

2)  IPA (India Pressed Apple) from Bold Rock Hard Cider.  “To me, Bold Rock’s IPA is the ideal drink to go with any brunch. Brunch is one of my favorite meals and more of a special occasion. Bold Rock IPA pairs well with it because it has the hoppiness of an IPA but the lightness and crispness of a cider.”

3)  3-Cheese Grilled Cheese (available w. Hot Coppa) at Salt Artisan Market.  “With this sandwich adding the hot coppa is a must. In my eyes this sandwich brings all the elements you want in a sandwich together.  All three cheeses blend together almost in perfect sync with the hot coppa.”

4)  Italiano Dolce from The Rock Barn.  “The Rock Barn does porkshares, and you only get four of this sausage, so you have to make them last. This is my definition of what you cook at a back yard cook out. Bringing the Italiano Dolce will make you a fan favorite any cook out.”

5)  Shrimp ‘n Grits at The Shebeen.  “I know being from the south I’m supposed to love grits, but I was never a fan. But The Shebeen’s shrimp and grits changed my mind instantly. The andouille, shrimp, poblano peppers, bell peppers, onion in lobster sherry cream, mielie pap, and poached eggs with Hollandaise made me want to lick my bowl clean.”

Thomas Leroy

Thomas Leroy of Kardinal Hall. Leroy’s picks:

1) Gambas al’ Parilla at MAS Tapas. “Huge jumbo grilled shrimp in their shells with alioli. The cooking in the shell process makes the shrimp retain their juicy texture, sprinkled with coarse sea salt.  I personally enjoy the crunch of the shell and the blend with the rich garlicky alioli.”

2) The Superman at The Juice Laundry. “Always a great start of my day to get a smoothie from those guys.  The lineup of drinks uses organic fruits and it’s vegan. Nor only are we neighbors, but those folks are awesome people.”

3)  Prosciutto Pizza at Lampo. “I love the Neapolitan-style crust and burnt edge that gives a smoky flavor to each bite.  I’ve known a few of the owners for a long time and you can tell they put their soul into their food. Everyone can make a pizza, but they are the best for this particular style.”

4)  Cheese from Flora Artisanal Cheese.  “Pretty much anything Nadjeeb passes me over his counter to taste at Timebrcreek Market is gold. I remember our days at Whole Foods and I could always count on him to understand the value and depth of what the people here call a ‘stinky cheese.’”

5)  Jack’s Java Stout from Three Notch’d Brewery.  “I’m not a huge dark beer fan but once Dave Warwick gave me a sample at a beer dinner we did together I was hooked. It’s basically drinking a strong iced coffee espresso with the added bonus of alcohol in it.  It’s hard to pick one beer from Three Notch’d, because the entire lineup is solid and the brewmaster’s passion is felt in every sip.”

Chris Bullard

Chris Bullard of Blue Ridge Pizza Co. Bullard’s picks:

1) Full Nelson Pale Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery.  “This is the only tap at my house that doesn’t rotate. The perfect flagship beer to represent central Virginia craft beer.”

2) Goodwin Creek Pretzel with Jomo Beer Mustard at Fardowners.  “Anything from Goodwin  Creek is awesome but paired with Mark’s Jomo mustard this pretzel is the perfect snack or a pre-dinner bite.”

3) Royale Burger at Restoration.  “This burger is the best bite every time! The flavors are so perfect for each other it’s hard to pick out the individual components.”

4) Hop Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “Perfectly refreshing and goes with everything!”

5) Pulled Pork Nachos at Southern Way Cafe.  “All of the BBQ at Southern Way is unreal, but when you take amazing BBQ and put it over fried-to-order tortilla chips with some pico, well that’s just an experience.”

Elizabeth and Tony Smith

Elizabeth and Tony Smith of Afton Mountain Vineyards. Smiths’ picks:

1)  Steamed Mussels with White Wine, Thyme and Garlic Butter at Three Notch’d Grill. “Hayden’s butter sauce just begs to be sopped up with bread. The laid-back atmosphere is a perfect disguise for how great their food is.”

2)  Red Pepper Soup with Crab and a House-made Pretzel from the Bavarian Chef food truck at Champion Brewing Company.  “Though we both grew up here, we’d never been to the Bavarian Chef restaurant, so their food truck experience with a Shower Beer or Missile IPA from Champion is the perfect casual evening.”

3)  The Vegetable Board and Mushroom Soup at The Alley Light. “It’s tough to mention this place since it’s already so acclaimed – and hard to get in – but the carrots and other veggies are just incredible. Fill up with the most flavorful mushroom soup. We were fighting over the last drop – and Tony won.”

4)  The Burger at Brookville Restaurant.  “Fresh-ground beef, gouda-stuffed with a bacon marmalade and Dukes mayo. Done. The perfect excuse to sneak downtown for (Saturday or Sunday) lunch.”

5)  Pazo de Barrantes Albarino at MAS Tapas.  “We’ve been a fan of this grape for years (the wino’s “margarita”). We found this particular wine at our Tuesday night hangout Mas, and we had the great opportunity to visit this winery on a recent trip to Spain. Our own AMV Albarino will be available next spring, so we needed to sample this grape as much as possible to develop our own style. Tough job.”

Benoit Pineau

Benoit Pineau, winemaker at Pollak Vineyards. Pineau’s picks:

1)  Quiche Lorraine at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “It is delicious and the bakery’s style takes me back to France.”

2)  Taco Loco at La Michoacana Taqueria.  “Great value for a fresh, authentic taco with great seasoning choices.”

3) The Local Burger at The Local.  “Because sometimes I need my burger. It is a simple, very well prepared burger. Local organic beef topped with Swiss cheese, smoked bacon, and caramelized onions.”

4)  Melrose at Greenwood Gourmet.  “This is my favorite vegetarian sandwich. It’s a panini with portobello mushrooms and red onions with homemade pimento cheese and arugula.”

5)  Canard a la Peche at Restaurant Pomme.  “The mango salsa and peach sauce are a very good choice to pair with the duck breast. You can pair it with the wine of your choice, they have a great wine list!”

James King

James King of King Family Vineyards. King’s picks:

1)  The Perfect Sandwich at Restoration.  “While I often opt for their signature burger, ‘The Royale,’ The Perfect Sandwich has become a recent favorite. Bacon, arugula, and a fried egg on Goodwin Creek Bread. You can often find me here on Sunday taking in their amazing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains while sipping on a local beer. Kids eat free on Sundays . . . enough said.”

2)  Steak Chinoise at C & O.  “Went here for date night and was seated in their outdoor patio.  The food, service and atmosphere were all very nice. Served with Gruyere-thyme potatoes and comes in a tamari-ginger pan sauce.”

3)  Anything at The Alley Light.  “I can’t say enough good things about this place.  I don’t make it into Charlottesville that much with work and kids, but when I can I want to go here.  The food is excellent, the cocktails are delicious, the atmosphere is perfect and the service is superb. Ask for ‘Katie.’”

4)  Pork Belly at Parallel 38. “Small plates made to share allow you to try several different things throughout the course of the evening and ensure you don’t leave hungry. Served with cipollini onions, roasted garlic sumac and a pork jus reduction. A great place to eat if you’re planning on catching a movie afterwards.”

5)  Red Row from Caromont Farm. “While I love all of their cheeses, this is my favorite by far.  It’s a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese and the rind is washed in local hard cider from Albemarle Ciderworks.  Simply delicious.”

Rachel Stinson Vrooman

Rachel Stinson Vrooman of Stinson Vineyards.  Vrooman’s picks:

1) La Petite Frog Boxed Picpoul de Pinet from The Wine Guild. “Boxed Picpoul has changed my entire summer! It doesn’t seem possible that this little gem from the Languedoc could actually cost only $20 for a 3 liter box (member price). Trust me, you need this in your life.”

2) Crozet Lemonade at Crozet Pizza Pourhouse. “Crozet’s answer to the Long Island Iced Tea will have you feeling like a local in no time. Old Grand Dad 114 bourbon, orange liqueur, simple syrup and lime juice topped with Sprite and layered with maraschino cherry juice. This is also a great spot to watch football if you can coax your friends out of Cville.”

3) Chicken Liver Pate from Free Union Grass Farm. “Chicken liver, bacon, onions, shallots, garlic, cream, whiskey, cloves, coriander and herbs sealed in pork fat. Put this on a piece of toast for breakfast and you won’t need anything else. Call or email to make sure it’s available before you swing by their farm stand (open Wednesday & Friday from 1pm to 6pm). We try to stock it in the tasting room if we can keep from buying it ourselves!”

4) Fried Chicken Skin Tacos at Yearbook Taco. “The perfect combination of crunch and flavor. Recipes vary but the buffalo sauce version is my all time favorite. These are a daily special so its wise to obsessively stalk their Facebook page until they post and then head over immediately before they run out.”

5) CrabFest at Restoration. “I’m originally a Maryland girl so I’m always on the hunt for steamed blue crabs. This happens once a year in late August – put it on your radar for next summer! $35 gets you all you can eat blue crabs and sides like mac n’ cheese and sweet potato/bacon hush puppies.”

Tyler Davis

Tyler Davis, lead cheesemaker at Caromont Farm. Davis’s picks:

1) Margherita D.O.C. at Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria. “When it comes to pizza, I’m a purist. I don’tt want anything but the classic combination of San Marzano tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella di bufala. Add a little smokey char from an 800 degree wood-fired oven, and you’ve got perfection.”

2) Cheese Steak at Timbercreek Market. “Whenever I find myself in town at lunch time, I try to swing by Timbercreek Market. Zach, Sara, and crew do an awesome job. The food is great, and this sandwich hits the spot. I crave it . . . even when I’m full. Simply delicious.”

3) Black Cadillac from Albemarle Baking Company. “I love the bread from ABC, but I’m a sucker for a good cookie. Oh, and chocolate. One (or two) of these is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Way too easy to grab one of these on the go!”

4) Cabernet Franc Reserve from Barboursville Vineyards. “An excellent Virginia wine that finds a spot on the menu when I’m cooking for my wife at home. A little lighter than a cab sauv, herbaceous, and with notes of red fruit, this wine pairs great with a grilled filet or roasted chicken.”

5) Red Row from Caromont Farm. “I’ll admit, I’m a little biased, but I love this stinky cheese. Made from 100% grass fed, Jersey milk from Silky Cow Farm, this semisoft cheese has a pungent aroma with a lactic tanginess that is as unique as it is delicious. Melted over eggs for breakfast, on a sandwich at lunch, or by itself as a snack, it’s pretty much a staple in my diet.”

Liberty Kalergis

Liberty Kalergis, bar manager at MAS Tapas.  Kalergis’ picks:

1) Nachos at Beer Run. “Piled so high you never need an entree. Run by a family so near and dear to my own, we can’t wait to see what they bring to the table at Kardinal Hall, aiming to open their doors this October.”

2) Any Seasonal Vegetable at MAS Tapas.  “Whether it’s padron peppers, cauliflower, artichokes, Brussels, broccolini, or chanterelles, you can’t go wrong with a simple olive oil and sea salt sauté. Good enough to make me go vegetarian . . . almost.”

3) Austin Morning at Brazos Tacos.  “Three of my favorite words = breakfast all day. Egg, brisket and mashed potato paired with Hunter’s Shower Beer from Champion = perfection. Bring the dog or the kid to explore IX Park while Peter and his hard working crew whip you up a little taste of Texas. Who knows, you could even run into a traveling petting zoo.”

4) The Natural at Mono Loco and Nelson County Gentleman at The Alley Light. “My liquor of choice varies by season, so for now it’s tequila all the way in The Natural margarita on the invariably entertaining Mono Loco patio. But when the leaves start falling I crave a couch and a Nelson County Gentleman at Alley Light. Named after one of the bearded mix-maestros behind the bar, you can only find this carbonated, small-batch rye, birch, root and peppermint medley in the cooler months.  Fingers crossed he’ll be making a reappearance this year.”

5)  Carbonara Pizza at Lampo Neopolitan Pizzeria.  “It’s too hard to pick the best dish from their regular menu, so I won’t! Peppery porchetta and cracked eggs made their debut on a white pizza at the pop-up brunch last week and did not disappoint. Neither did Eames’ aptly-named Retox Jus. Stay tuned for the next pop-up dates throughout the winter to catch this beauty before she makes a regular appearance on the brunch menu next Spring. Oh, and always listen to Andrew and Rowe behind the bar.”

Eames Coleman

Eames Coleman, of Kareem Abdul Jus-Bar and Blue Star JüsBar and Baja Fish Taqueria.  Coleman’s picks:

1)  Hellboy Pizza at Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria.  “Homage to great Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn. Soppressata picante, house made mozzarella, and in-house scorpion pepper honey.”

2)  “Liberita” at MAS Tapas.  “Liberty Kalergis’ margarita.  Not on the menu, but that’s what I call this MAS veteran’s mar’, best around.  Only available Tuesdays and Thursdays, cause this busy mother manages her family on the off days. Go Liberty.”

3)  I Love You So Much at Brazos Tacos.  “That’s the name of the taco! This bad boy has scrambled eggs, chorizo, mashed potatoes, roasted corn salsa, and queso fresco. The name speaks for its self.  Peter Griesar is a king amongst men – a fellow musician killing it in a kitchen!”

4)  Spicy Pork Nachos at  Mono Loco.  “Everything about this place makes want more! From the owners to the dishwashers, these cats run a tight, but fun ship. Never had a bad time on this block and don’t plan on it. A real institution created by smiles, laughter and good times and great fare!”

5)  Meatloaf at Bizou.  “In my first season in Charlottesville for my 24th b- day in 2000, my mother and sister took me there cause mom had heard about this dish. ‘It’s the best, it’s the best,’ she noted in her Italian tone. Guess what, I still don’t need Google cause my mother is always right.”

Mitch Willey

Mitch Willey, owner of Clifton Inn. Willey’s picks:

1) Corn Cakes at Tip Top.  “I love to start the day being greeted by the delightfully friendly and efficient wait staff at Tip Top on Pantops. I settle into a window booth with my three morning papers (where the natural light is plentiful and I catch a nice view of the Blue Ridge) and order the corn cakes with a side of bacon. Decadent but splendidly so.”

2)  Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya.  “One of our early chefs at Clifton, Christian Kelly (who the staff quickly designated as our resident George Clooney), has created a cult following at Maya and I am one of those cult members! I especially love to start a delicious dinner with Christian’s pimento fritters — light and cheesy, and the pepper jelly is divine. A perfect start to a terrific meal.”

3)  Pulled Pork at The BBQ Exchange.  “Craig’s pulled pork, with his creative array of sauces, is the way that I reward myself if I have really been working out because the indulgence is so amazing that I can only justify it if I have earned it!”

4)  Grilled Pork Chop with Grilled Peach Salad at Brookville.  “Harrison has so many delightful interpretations of pork that I find myself trying something new each time. In fact, my daughter’s rehearsal dinner was hosted there last Labor Day primarily because of this!”

5) Pear Ravioli at C&O.  “I can’t go very long without a generous helping of Dean Maupin’s pear ravioli at C&O — a dish he featured at my other daughter’s wedding when he was the chef at Clifton. It is so subtle in its flavor and somehow seems almost healthy as the fruit is front and center. As always, Dean gets the sauce just right and while often it is a starter, on occasion I have requested it as a main course since I just can’t get enough.”

PK Ross

PK Ross, owner of Splendora’s Gelato. Ross’s picks:

1) Knish from Balkan Bakery/Fig at City Market.  “I wish I knew what witchcraft she uses to make her dough; it has the perfect elasticity and bite.  And spiced potatoes in a pocket-sized round?  Donezo.”

2) Chirashi Bowl at Now & Zen. “Honestly, the head-on shrimp does it for me.  And the spicy tuna goo.  And the roe.  And sometimes there’s mackerel in it.  And you get the point.”

3) Head Cheese at Timbercreek Market.  “There is a distinct possibility I housed a quarter pound of it as lunch and dinner in one day.  Great spices, gorgeous aspic texture between meaty bits, without being overly unctuous.  I’ll be stalking their meat counter for it regularly.”

4) Thai Gyoza at Thai Fresh.  “I need fast and easy with the hours I keep, and I hit a trifecta with these because they’re also delicious.  I think the goo alongside them has fish sauce, and the world needs more fish sauce.”

5) Chickpea Salad at Greenwood Gourmet.  “I go to Greenwood when I run to Crozet/Nelson for peaches/plums/etc.  I started stopping there for the exceptionally curated beer selection but since I was browsing anyway why not get the brightest, crunchiest chickpea salad ever?”

Robbie O’Cain

Robbie O’Cain, Brewmaster at Starr Hill Brewery.  O’Cain’s picks:

1)  Torta Milanesa at La Michoacana.  “Street Mexican food is normally associated with tacos and burritos but I think the best of all the dishes is the Torta, and La Michoacana is the tops.”

2)  Boquerones Con Ajo at MAS Tapas.  “Mas does anchovies better than anywhere else I have been.”

3)  Nachos at Beer Run.  “Great place, great people, great beer selection and great nachos. Tip: Get meat and beans. One time we ordered two back to back and the waitress was impressed. She hadn’t had anyone do that before.”

4)  Fried Chicken at Mel’s Cafe.  “Great soul food in the Starr Hill neighborhood. It was also where I took my girlfriend on our first date so it holds sentimental value as well.”

5)  King of Hop Grapefruit at Starr Hill Brewery. We did a very limited run of this beer and it was one of the best beers we have ever made. It was everyone’s shift beer at the brewery for the couple weeks we had it. Be on the lookout for it at the tap room for Virginia Craft Beer Month.”

Sara Miller

Sara Miller, co-owner of Timbercreek Market.  Miller’s picks:

1)  Princess Cake at Albemarle Baking Company. “I am a cookie girl but I have to admit my favorite sweet at ABC is the princess cake. At least twice a week my three-year old asks, ‘Did you go to Gerry’s today?’ or ‘We need to go to Gerry’s mama!’ Hard to find a place that is a crowd pleaser when you have age ranges from 33 to 3 and at ‘Gerry’s’ we can all find something we love!”

2)  Peanut Butter Balls at Feast!. “Warning, they are addicting and yes I have gone to Feast! just for a peanut butter ball. During the holidays they sell them in packages of six and every time I buy the six-pack and they are gone by the time we leave and have to buy another pack to take home to Zach.”

3)  Budino at Lampo.  “Who doesn’t love Lampo or the guys who own Lampo?  The tiny little spot in Belmont has the greatest guys and the best talent packed into one little spot. Yes, the wait can be long but let me tell you it is worth it and save room because the desserts are incredible. Lampo is a spot where ordering dessert first is the right thing to do, as they often sell out of their amazing dishes. My personal favorite is the Budino but really you can’t go wrong with whatever they have left.”

4)  Summer Pie at The Pie Chest.  “My current favorite is the summer pie but the fun thing about Rachel is it is always changing with the seasons. You can’t go wrong and you have to go back often because what is in season changes quickly here in Virginia.”

5)  Chocolate Milkshake at Timberlakes Drug Store.  “Best milkshake in town! I love a great chocolate milkshake, and there isn’t a better spot in town with such smiling nice people every time you go in!”

Tyler Thomas

Tyler Thomas, sous chef of ZoCaLo.  Thomas’ picks:

1)  Missile IPA at Champion Brewing Company.  “Few things rival drinking Missile IPA sitting outside at Champion. The vibes of the brewery combined with this flawlessly executed American IPA rub me the right way.”

2)  CVille Hot Chicken at Oakhart Social.  “Spicy dry-rubbed wings on white bread with JM Stock Provisions pickles. ‘Nuff said.”

3)  Pork from Autumn Olive Farms.  “The hogs these fine folks are raising are second to none in the area.”

4)  Super Tacos at La Michoacana Deli.  “Your choice of meat on fresh, hand-made tortillas. House salsas and spicy pickled veg. Authentic flavors from authentic people. Bring cash.”

5)  The California with Jalapeño from Baggby’s.  “Because you gotta eat your veggies if you want puddin, or in this case a complimentary cookie. Always reliable,always personable service.”

John Meiklejohn

John Meiklejohn, chef of Yearbook Taco.  Meiklejohn’s picks:

1)  Spicy Beef Tongue, Tendon and Tripe at Peter Chang’s China Grill. “I dream of this dish.  Those nasty bits are cooked perfectly. It’s served cold with chiles, cilantro and peanuts.  All I need is this dish and steamed rice – offal nirvana.”

2)  Chicken and Waffles at Ace Biscuit and Barbecue.  “It’s a toss up between the fried chicken and waffles and the Tommy Pastrami. Everything at Ace is made from scratch and you can tell. Brian Ashworth really knows his stuff. This is my family’s favorite place for breakfast.”

3)  Tongue, Tendon and Tripe Pho at Pad Thai. “Starting to see a trend? Mr. Ouypron puts together the perfect bowl here. All the flavors are in harmony – spicy, sweet, salty and sour. I can’t get enough of this, and it’s better than grandma’s chicken soup if you are sick.”

4)  Fried Chicken at Wayside Takeout. “I mean come on, it’s old school fried chicken with all the traditional fixin’s. And they serve fried livers, hearts and gizzards too? It reminds me of eating fried chicken at my grandma’s house.”

5)  Pork Belly Rice Bowl at Zzaam Korean Grill.  “Pork belly cooked to quivering, fatty perfection over steamed rice with a fried egg, kim-chee, house pickled veggies, seaweed and Korean Taco sauce. When I took my then 3 year old daughter here for the first time, the first bite she took made her get up and dance. This is the food that makes her booty groove.”

Daniel Perry

Daniel Perry of JAM According to Daniel.  Perry’s picks:

1) Roasted Pork Sandwich with pickled fennel and chipotle mayo at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery.  “The perfect combo of crunchy, fatty, and tangy – refreshing after a morning of berry picking.”

2)  Roasted Chicken and Yucca Frita at Al Carbon.  “This chicken smells so good that utensils are too slow.  Eating with both hands is recommended. It’s ‘fall off the bone’ tender, in a literal sense. And seeing the green charcoal rotisserie really seals the deal.”

3)  Fried Plantains at Pearl Island Foods at the City Market.  “Crunchy, slightly sweet, with a spicy slaw and garlic aioli. Just right for a mid-morning snack when tomato selection leads to decision fatigue.”

4)  Pulled Pork Soul Bowl with Fries and Bold & Spicy Sauce at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue.  “Ditch the bun, it’s just in the way. Get in touch with your inner carnivore.”

5)  Ricotta from Twenty Paces.  “Creamy, fluffy, and so refreshing. It’s great on bread, and amazing on a spoon. Try it with olive oil, maple syrup, and coarse sea salt, all at the same time. Like ice cream meeting yogurt and butter, spreadable mellow creaminess. So fluffy!”

Trish Clinton

Trish Clinton, pastry chef at The Barbeque Exchange.  Clinton’s picks:

1)  Duck Curry at Thai Siam Takeout. “This was the first place that chef Tucker Yoder recommended to me and it was a great one! Ms. Mae and her brother are making the best Thai food around, that is for sure. The dumplings are also something to try, and it is worth however long of a wait Ms. Mae might tell you it is.”

2)  Absolutely ANY Dessert at Duner’s.  “I will drive out of my way just to drop in and get a dessert to go. The dessert menu is constantly changing and rotating to reflect what is available in the current season along with some staples. Call ahead and they will have it ready to go quickly!”

3)  Fresh Oysters and Frites with Garlic Aioli at Public Fish and Oyster.  “Be sure to get two sides of the aioli because it will go fast! Donnie is putting out some fantastic food, and you would have a great dish in any of the entrees that are available as well. Those frites and aioli with a great beer are definitely one my guilty pleasures.”

4)  “Sake Garden” Cocktail at TEN.  “This cocktail is the most refreshing drink for the summer in my opinion. Grapefruit vodka combined with sake, ginger, cucumber, and mint makes it easy to consume quite few on those hot summer nights.”

5)  Pollo Cemita at Al Carbon.  “The sesame bread that this sandwich is served on is a great base, then add the pulled rotisserie chicken, spicy chipotle sauce, sliced avocado, and oh that cheese! All of that combined make it over-the-top delicious. Be aware it is large and will fill you up you may not need anything else!”

John Shanesy

John Shanesy, Chef de Cuisine at Parallel 38.  Shanesy’s picks:

1)  Pulled Pork Sandwich with Garlic Pickles, Hog Fire and Napalm Sauce at The BBQ Exchange.  “Craig’s passion for food and cooking is something very contagious and it’s obvious why his restaurant is such a hit.”

2)  Thai Beef Consommé at Pad Thai.  “Perfect mix of hot, comfort and clean flavors put together in one bowl by Mr. Ouypron!”

3)  Chorizo Tacos Traditional Style with Whiskey at Yearbook Taco.  “John’s cooking is wonderful, and he was a wonderful teacher of mine. I love his food and it’s especially good when Ross Schiller is putting bourbon in me.”

4)  Bellisima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “Best ingredients, best dough, best sauce, best atmosphere! What else can you say!”

5)  OH Toro at TEN.  “Pei Chang does no wrong at his incredible Japanese restaurant on the downtown mall. The decor is so inviting and the quality of staff and food is at the highest level that this town has to offer. Absolutely wonderful!”

Peter Griesar

Peter Griesar, co-owner of Brazos Tacos.  Griesar’s picks:

1)  Porktopus Noodle Bowl at MAS Tapas.  “What seems like an odd pairing is a genius delicious mix. Served as a noodle bowl, it has a long spicy burn that builds to a fever pitch of mouth-watering flavors. Pair it with the rest of Mas’ fantastic menu, and let the amazing staff help you navigate their library of wines.”

2)  Margherita Pizza at Lampo.  “Sometimes when you’re overworked and exhausted the best thing is to load up on carbs, and what better way than with a gorgeous Lampo pizza. The margherita mixed with wine – it makes for the dreamiest sleeps.”

3)  Fried Chicken Thighs at Brown’s.  “When I first moved to Esmont, Brown’s Mini Mart was just around the corner. Eventually the Brown’s moved into Charlottesville, and my favorite chicken disappeared. So I was ecstatic to find out when the Browns took over the former Stoney’s and started up their pressure fryer again. Don’t let the gas station fool you, this is best fried chicken you’ll eat in these parts.”

4)  Greg Brady w/Bacon at Jack Brown’s. “Everyday at lunch during our build, it became a tradition to run over to the new Jack Brown’s downtown for a burger.  As I worked my way through the menu I came across the Greg Brady, a burger with mac and cheese and chips on it. Add bacon to take it over the top!”

5)  El Rey Burrito at Mono Loco. “Last but definitely not least this ‘surf and turf’ burrito is a favorite with fried oysters and steak. Filling and flavorful. Hands down the King of local burritos.”

Patrick Evans

Patrick Evans, baker and co-owner of MarieBette. Evans’ picks:

1) Pizza with Pepperoni and Red Onions from Mona Lisa. “This is a custom order pie usually, but sometimes they have it by the slice.”

2) A dinner of Rosé from Blenheim Vineyards, a Sesame Baguette from MarieBette, and an entire wedge of Delice de Bourgogne from Trader Joe’s. “Sometimes I’ll share some of the cheese with my daughter Betty, who we lovingly call ‘the cheese monster!’”

3) Weekend Sandwich Special from JM Stock Provisions. “Whatever it is, it’s gonna be good, and it’s usually on MarieBette Virginia Sourdough!”

4) Burger Cooked “Red” with Fries and a Pickle at Citizen Burger Bar. “They don’t do the traditional rare, medium rare, medium, well done here . . . but I realized that RED is the closest to medium rare, and it hits the spot.”

5) Crispy Tofu Bento Box from Cafe 88. “I once called to order this on the phone and Lee, the owner, responded by saying ‘OK Patrick, it’ll be ready soon!’ I didn’t know she knew my name, but this kind of small town familiarity is one of the great things about Charlottesville.”

Vinnie Falcone

Vinnie Falcone,  sous chef at Red Pump Kitchen. Falcone’s picks:

1) Fried Chicken Thighs from Wayside Takeout & Catering. “There’s nothing more that I love on a day off than a big ole box of chicken thighs and a cold one.”

2) Bone Marrow and Escargot at The Alley Light. “This is my go-to spot for a great cocktail – Micah is insanely talented! Chef’s bone marrow & escargot is a must have when you’re there.” (Note: this was our 2014 Dish of the Year.)

3) Hellboy Pizza at Lampo. “What’s not to love about this place? The food, drinks and service are always on point, especially the Hellboy.”

4) Alioli at MAS Tapas. “It’s my favorite place to go after work for some snacks with friends. You can’t go wrong here, especially if there’s alioli involved.”

5) Hot & Numbing Tofu Skins at Peter Chang’s. “I honestly eat the hot & numbing tofu skins almost every week. It’s my favorite dish in town. The flavor, heat & sensation you get from the Szechuan peppercorns is like nothing else.”

Christian Johnston

Christian Johnston, bar manager at Tavola’s cicchetti bar.  Johnston’s picks:

1) Carrots at The Alley Light. “Never before in Charlottesville have I seen a vegetable as a standout dish on a menu. Chef Jose de Brito’s ability to bring bright flavors to a dish without overwhelming the main component is truly impressive. Pair that with a cocktail from Micah LeMon and it’s no wonder why these guys got a James Beard nod.”

2) Cocktails at Parallel 38. “Definitely worth the hike from the downtown mall, this place has some great talent which can be seen in their cocktail program. Often putting spins on classics, Justin Ross and Jesse Fellows use ingredients and techniques you aren’t likely to find in any other establishment.”

3) Gyoza at Now & Zen. “Chef Toshi knows his craft and the Nagasaki variant of this dish is great. The sauce that is paired with this is savory as it is flavorful and really ties the whole thing together.”

4) Infused Margarita at Yearbook Taco. “You know things are going good in Charlottesville when the local taco joint is stepping up their cocktail game. With infusions made fresh every week, it showcases how a quality product can elevate a simple drink. Tegan Peterson and Acacia Schepps work nights there, so if you see them behind the bar, you know you’re in good hands.”

5) Greg Brady at Jack Brown’s. “Getting out of work late usually means there is a struggle to find good late night food. This ridiculous creation (a burger topped with bbq potato chips and mac and cheese) always satisfies and with former Beer Run beer guru Steve Yang behind their drink selection, you’ll never go home thirsty.”

Laura Galgano

Laura Galgano, Diner Lady at Blue Moon Diner. Galgano’s picks:

1) Lamb Bacon from JM Stock Provisions. “Fantastic. It reminds me of an earthy pancetta, and is so good seared with fresh peas and pasta.”

2) Sautéed Green Beans with Toasted Almonds at Maya. “These are always crisp, fresh, and delicious! Remind me of summers with my grandmother, snapping beans for supper.”

3) Happy Hour Oysters at Public Fish & Oyster. “Happy Hour has special pricing on their great selection of raw oysters, and I could eat a dozen every day.”

4) Brussels Sprouts at Oakhart Social. “Smokey and firm. I sometimes have dreams about them.”

5) Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve at Feast!. “While I adore and support the growing local cheese culture, when I get nostalgic for our time in Wisconsin, I gorge myself on Feast’s Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese, which might be one of the best all-around cheeses I’ve ever experienced.”

Jake Busching

Jake Busching, winemaker at Grace Estate Winery.  Busching’s picks:

1) Mountain Mess Breakfast at Mountainside Grill. “Home fries, two choices of meat including chorizo, cheddar cheese, green bell pepper and onion with two eggs over easy. Good morning!”

2) Oyster Po Boy and a Jar of Bulleit Bourbon at The Whiskey Jar. “A heavenly plate sourced from RRO!”

3) Dragon Rose at The Wine Guild. “Next stop at the Wine Guild of Charlottesville to have a tasting of the week’s offerings and pick up my order. Dragon Rose for spring skies seems apt. The wine knowledge associated with this group is as astounding as it is fun.”

4) Rabbit Rillette at The Alley Light. “I, like so many others in Charlottesville, stand in awe of the plates at The Alley Light. Any of them. I’ve heard applause for peas there at a wine dinner. Peas! But, for certain I would have a rillette. Rabbit. Or sardine maybe, with a bottle of Thierry Germain Cabernet Franc. Any vintage available.”

5) Horse’s Neck at The Livery Stable. “To end my sojourn I’d belly up to the bar at The Livery Stable and ask Sir Ian for a Horse’s Neck. Copper clad cocktail of gingery dreams. And then maybe another . . .”

Devin Murray

Devin Murray, chef of The Whiskey Jar. Murray’s picks:

1) Warm Glazed and Blueberry Donuts at Spudnuts. “I have been lucky to enjoy these donuts for twenty-five years. I am reminded of my childhood every time I stop in. Warm Glazed and Blueberry are my go to, but I love them all.”

2) Egg and American on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s. “My best Bodo’s memory was the day I found out they would be serving eggs all day.”

3) Red Hot Blues with Danger Sauce and Margaritas at Continental Divide. “The margaritas are a great way to cool the burn of the Danger sauce. The small, loud, high energy atmosphere along with the margaritas keep me coming back.”

4) Carne Asada and Bocadillo Jamon at MAS Tapas. “I could eat the carne asada everyday. It is consistently my favorite dish at Mas. The Bocadillo Jamon is another favorite. The wood oven bread, garlic alioli, Jamon serrano ,and manchego cheese make a perfect sandwich.”

5) Peanut Butter Pie at The Pie Chest. “Baker Rachel Pennington puts a lot of love into all of her pies, but this one is my favorite. The texture of the filling is light and creamy and the thick graham cracker crust seals the deal for me as the best peanut butter pie I have ever eaten. Peanut butter fans you need this in your life.”

Lee Hendrickson

Lee Hendrickson, head chef of Red Pump Kitchen. Hendrickson’s picks:

1) Tuna Carpaccio at Now & Zen. “The amount of flavor balance in this dish is so in-sync, and the wasabi vin pulls it all together.”

2) Elote con Mayonesa at Al Carbon. “Street food done right is so simple but so tasty.”

3) Croque Monsieur at Pippin Hill. “A grilled cheese sandwich is already a win for me, and the salt cured ham and the sweet onion jam really make it their own.”

4) Chevre from Caromont Farm. “So rich and creamy and consistent. I love this cheese and love using it in different ways on my menu.”

5) BBLT at BBQ Exchange. “With two types of bacon, how can you go wrong? Great place, great people, and great food.”

Shelby Park

Shelby Park, Executive Chef of Trump Winery. Park’s picks:

1) Hungry Norman at Bluegrass Grill and Bakery. “Bluegrass is my favorite place in town to go for breakfast. The Hungry Norman is an English muffin topped with goat cheese, blackberry jam, sausage, poached eggs, and hollandaise. I love the combo of sweetness from the jam, slight sourness of the goat cheese, and the savory sausage. And then topping the whole thing off with eggs and hollandaise is just awesome. Their home fries are also to-die-for.”

2) Tucker’s Pop-up Dinner Menu at Eljogaha. “Chef Tucker Yoder is doing a series of pop-up dinners around town. He was the chef I worked for when I was an intern and also when I was a line cook at the Clifton Inn. The menu changes every weekend, but we got to enjoy sprouted grain porridge with almond milk and cabbage jus. The texture was so unique and such a different use of sprouted grains. Tucker also makes a great ribeye and a fantastic homemade sourdough bread. He is truly an amazing chef, and I’d recommend his pop-up restaurant to everyone.”

3) Charcuterie and Pork from The Rock Barn. “The Rock Barn has awesome pork products, and I just switched the charcuterie plate at Trump to feature their meats. We get the tasso ham, the Daisy-della, and the spicy Capicola, and they are all amazing. I also just had Rock Barn pork chops at Orzo with date puree, beer mustard, and polenta and absolutely loved it.”

4) Cocktails at The Alley Light. “The Alley Light is my favorite place to go for great cocktails. I love the fact that they will custom make you a cocktail to suit your tastes. Every drink is always expertly balanced, and their mixology is really impressive.”

5) Egg Rolls at Bamboo House. “The Bamboo House is a definite hole-in-the-wall place with some non-traditional décor, but their egg rolls are delicious. They’re not your average egg rolls. Their are huge and packed with pork and veggies. I live nearby so getting a big order of take-out eggs rolls is my fried food go-to.”

Hannah Moster

Hannah Moster, sous chef of Hamiltons’ at First & Main. Moster’s picks:

1) Dan Dan Noodles at Peter Chang’s. “Never had anything there I didn’t love. The lunch specials Monday through Friday are a great deal, and the hot and sour soup is the best ever! If I don’t get a lunch special, I get a couple apps. I’m addicted to the Dan Dan noodles and hot and numbing shredded tofu skins.”

2) Pulled Pork at The Barbeque Exchange. “Best bbq around! Being so close to home, we should really eat there every day. Chef Hartman’s crew, headed up by superman Brooks Tanner, never fails to load us up a massive platter of porkliciousness.”

3) Tasting Menu with Wine Pairings at Palladio Restaurant. “I’ve always loved an afternoon of tasting at Barboursville. Luca Paschina’s style is right up my alley. Finish off the evening with a glass of wine and a picnic near the ruins, or if you’re lucky, a luxurious dinner of the tasting menu at Palladio.”

4) Chicken Wings and PBR at Miller’s Downtown. “Miller’s has everything! Pool, games, live music, upstairs sports bar and the biggest and best people-watching patio downtown. Fresh new renovation downstairs, but still the same old school style and feel. Huge draft beer selection, and that delicious food you crave. A favorite classic.”

5) Pizza Margherita at Lampo. “After the three years I spent living in Italy, it’s soooo great to get to have the real deal original pizza again. Thank you and much respect.”

Ian Judd

Ian Judd, sous chef at The Ivy Inn.  Judd’s picks:

1) IVP Banh Mi at Ivy Provisions. “With a side of house pickles and a bottle of kombucha, it makes a killer combo for a quick lunch.”

2) Smoked Brisket at The BBQ Exchange. “You really can’t go wrong with anything here. Everything is made with love. If you are brave enough try the Hell Sandwich. It’s a twisted love.”

3) Drinks at Maya. “A favorite of the crew here at the Ivy Inn after a long shift, it’s a great late night spot to get a wonderfully made drink and spend time with good friends.”

4) Raw Bar at Rocksalt. “Happy hour here sure makes me happy with $1 oysters and clams. Also, the lamb and clams are on point with spicy merguez and harissa.”

5) Kale Salad with Crispy Fried Oysters at brunch at Hamiltons’. “The spicy Cajun Mary is on point, too! I never leave disappointed.”

Aris Cuadra

Aris Cuadra, chef of Tavola.

1) Cheeseburger at Jack Brown’s. “Super simple good quality beef, nicely seasoned, griddle pressed well done, with a side of fries, a pickle and secret sauce…oh yea and they have “a few beers”.

2) Dry Fried Eggplant at Peter Chang’s. “Perfectly crispy, light and airy, nice balance of heat and earthiness from the chilies, cilantro and scallions, and a slight sweetness from the eggplant.”

3) Ham Biscuit at JM Stock Provisions. “House cured ham in between their biscuits made with butter and pork fat.”

4) Lemon Buttermilk Pie at Pasture Q. “Light flaky crust, nice balance of tart and not too sweet filling, tea infused whipped cream.”

5) Linguini Alla Carbonara at tavola. “Yes, I know some will criticize this pick, but those who have had it know exactly what I’m talking about and those who have not . . . you need to come try one.”

Ellen Searcy

Ellen Searcy, the winner of the drawing to be our first reader participant.  Searcy’s picks:

1) Duck, Bunny, & Pig Stew at MAS Tapas. “My favorite food in Charlottesville. Whenever it’s on the menu, we order one, then regret not ordering two.”

2) Rabbit Terrine at JM Stock. “When my husband’s out of town, dinner is always a slice of their rabbit terrine or award-winning country pate with some Albemarle Baking Company bread, mustard, cornichons, a glass or two of wine, and a Double Trouble chocolate cupcake from Pearl’s next door.”

3) The Dubliner at Beer Run. “Corned beef, Swiss, and Colcannon on pumpernickel. Seasonal in March but it would be awesome year round.”

4) Risotto at The Alley Light. “You can’t go wrong with anything on their specials menu (and it’s hard not to order their rabbit or pork rillette every week), but their risotto is the best I’ve had. It’s cozy yet sensual.”

5) Chocolate Milkshake at Colleen Drive-in. “You can call ahead and they’ll have the milkshake waiting for you in the freezer so you don’t have to wait outside in the cold while they make it.”

Kirk Smith

Kirk Smith, Chef of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. Smith’s picks:

1) Santa Fe Enchilada at Continental Divide. “With some ‘Danger’ and ‘Wait a Minute’ hot sauces.”

2) Spicy Chicken Burrito at Mono Loco. “Often on the weekly specials list. I love the jalapenos inside and the refreshing side salad to cool things off.”

3) Conserva al Spada and then Margherita D.O.C. Pizze at Lampo. “Delicious selections at this new favorite.”

4) Omakase at TEN Sushi. “Please include a couple of pieces of Hawaiian Walu!”

5) Seafood Charcuterie Board at The Alley Light. “Please.”

Riki Tanabe

Chef Riki Tanabe, Pastry Chef of Albemarle Baking Co., which will be celebrating tomorrow with, of course, pies. Tanabe’s picks:

1) Drinking Wine and watching Polo at King Family Vineyards. “This is a family favorite–the kids get to run around, and the adults can relax and drink wine over good conversation. It’s a good thing they have a scoreboard, because occasionally, we will miss a goal (or three).”

2) Anything at C&O Restaurant. “Dean Maupin and his team are fantastic. Whenever we need to entertain family from out-of-town, we can always trust that we will have a phenomenal meal at C&O.”

3) Bacon, Egg and Cheddar on an Onion Bagel at Bodo’s. “Just eat it.”

4) Datil con Tocino at MAS Tapas. “Just about anything wrapped in bacon is awesome, but there is something about the bacon-wrapped dates at Mas that make it a staple when we go there. The grilled calamari with romesco sauce–although rarely on the menu–also is a favorite of mine.”

5) Hopwork Orange IPA from Blue Mountain Brewery. “While all the beers I have had at Blue Mountain Brewery are excellent, the Hopwork Orange IPA is particularly refreshing–just the right balance of hops and malt. It is great on a warm afternoon on the deck with friends.”

Jaclyn Conlogue

Jaclyn Conlogue, Manager for Catering and Special Events for The Barbeque Exchange. Conlogue’s picks:

1) Pork Belly anything at BBQ Exchange. “Working here for the last five years has not diminished my love of pork belly, but fueled it!”

2) Fried Chicken at BBQ Exchange. “Only on Porkapolooza weekend, and man, have you got to try this stuff – lard fried, with pork sausage gravy on the side, AND biscuits? Forget that Whole30 diet for this weekend – I plan on eating fried chicken every day!”

3) Pizza & Sally’s fun Cocktails at Red Pump Kitchen. “Seriously, I tasted a hundred versions of that pizza dough, and I love it! Trying Sally’s latest libations is always fun too.”

4) Bocadillo at MAS. “Many a late night has ended at Mas with a bocadillo and a beer.”

5) Single Origin Coffees at Shenandoah Joe. “Anyone who knows me knows of my coffee obsession. Not just any coffee, but the single origin roasts that Dave sources. I love trying the new blends he’s working on, and I am always one of the first to sign up for the Geisha & Esmerelda when it shows up.”

Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis, chef-owner of Mono Loco. Lewis’ picks:

1) Double Espresso at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. “This is how I start most mornings: a double espresso with David and Nina the owners, and joining in on the colorful conversations. It’s a gourmand’s Mom & Pop! In the afternoons, try an amazing chicken sope with fresh pineapple pico, hope Claude Thibaut is doing a wine tasting, and say hello to Rufus the dog.”

2) Smoked Jalapeno Meatloaf Sandwich from South Fork food truck. “Phil used to work with us at Mono, so its awesome to watch his continued success. I never imagined I could derive so much joy from a meatloaf sandwich, but his is savory and rich with a hint of spice, and he won’t judge you if you order two!”

3) Carne Asada at MAS Tapas. “My happy place. Tomas and crew are my go to spot for the Charlottesville uninitiated. It’s crowded, brash, loud and unapologetic, and I love that. Plus, the carne asada is always spot on.”

4) Crabcake at Three Notch’d Grill. “Out in Crozet, Haden and Cathy just run a solid, chill place. Sit at the bar, have a Titos’s martini and my favorite crabcake in town. They’re filled with crab, not filler, and the jicama slaw and lemon beurre-blanc just balance the dish beautifully.”

5) Spicy Tuna Tartar at Zocalo. “Some people complain that it’s the same menu, so what!! It’s consistently good food, year in and year out, which is incredibly difficult to do. And, the tuna tartar is the best app in town.”

JJ Myers

JJ Myers of The Pie Guy. Myers’ picks:

1) Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo. “Tangy broccoli rabe, garlic aioli, some nicely aged provolone and juicy porchetta, all on a fresh piece of wood fired bread. Best sandwich in town.”

2) Huevos Bluemoonos at Blue Moon Diner. “There’s always something creative on the menu and it’s a great environment. Nice and spicy bloody mary as well.”

3) Crispy Pork Belly at Peter Chang’s. “Thin slices of deep-fried pork belly, finished with cilantro and spices. Enough said!”

4) Greyhound at the C&O. “Plain and simple – fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and some good vodka. Coolest bar in town.”

5) Chicken Wings from Wayside Takeout & Catering. “There is something about southern comfort food that just makes everything better.”

Ben Jordan

Ben Jordan of Michael Shaps Wineworks.  Jordan’s picks:

1) Grandpa’s Favorite at Pad Thai. “Fried catfish, fried rice, and an omelette was a new combination for me, but now I have to work not to order it every time.”

2) Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light. “The option of drinking-off-menu taps into the creative energy behind the bar, always a fun way to drink.”

3) Sunday Lunch and Brunch at The Shack. “I grew up in Augusta County, and it’s great to be able to stop in for the biscuits and gravy or the fried quail on the way to visit family. And, the drive to Staunton is shorter than some brunch lines.”

4) Dry-Aged Burger Grind at JM Stock Provisions. “We make thin patties with this, and there is so much flavor that they work as simple burgers, without much need for adornment.”

5) First Three Cheese Suggestions at Flora Artisanal Cheese. “My strategy is to walk in, say something vague about what I want, taste what Nadjeeb offers, find it delicious, and then buy it.”

Rachel Pennington

Rachel Pennington of The Pie Chest.  Pennington’s picks:

1) The Para Papa at Al Carbon Chicken. “This perfectly-roasted, juicy, charcoal chicken is one reason why vegetarianism would be a near-impossible personal life choice. Half a chicken with fried plantains and yellow rice, salsas, friendly and personable service, just simply delicious. Also doesn’t hurt that Kohr Bros. is within a very doable post-meal walking-distance.”

2) Spinach Salad and The Fat & Sassy with Artichokes at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “I still fondly remember my first meal at this place. Now it’s the go-to for game days, True Detective binge-watching sessions, and New Year’s Eve tradition. Savory in the most satisfying way. Also doesn’t hurt that right next door is the Crossroad Store with killer Peanut Butter Cup cookies.”

3) Lobster Tempura at TEN. “Easily one of the best bites of food I’ve ever eaten. Literally melt-in-your-mouth satisfaction.”

4) Tomato Sandwich at The Whiskey Jar. “I can’t help it – I tried to resist the urge to include this due to a bit of a conflict-of-interest, but this sandwich…oh, this sandwich. Starts with butter-toasted Goodwin Creek bread, a generous double-slather of Duke’s mayo, a little seasoning, and thick slices of fresh, beautiful, delicious Red Row Farm tomatoes. I literally eat one every single day during the summer. Sometimes two.”

5) Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls at Feast! “A good friend bought me one of these before heading to the Paramount to watch the World Cup match against Germany. As soon as the game ended, I walked to Feast! and bought an amount of which I care not to admit. I also care not to admit how many of these I can consume in one sitting. Perfect with a Cortado from Milli Joe.”

Mark Gresge

Mark Gresge, owner and Executive Chef of l’etoile Catering. Gresge’s picks:

1) Buttermilk Biscuit at The Whiskey Jar. “Handed to me fresh out of the oven by Rachel Pennington, the pastry chef. Sometimes in cooking, there is beauty in simplicity.”

2) Grilled Bologna and Egg Sandwich at Mel’s Cafe. “Prepared and served by Mel himself with a smile. White bread has now found its true calling.”

3) Bocadillo Jamon at MAS Tapas. “After giving birth to twins, this is the first item that my wife asked for. This is an under-the-radar masterpiece.”

4) Glazed Sugar Cookie from Pearl’s Bake Shoppe. “After one bite, I paused and pondered – this is one wonderful cookie. It made me very happy.”

5) Shakedown Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout at Starr Hill Tasting Room. “Perfect beer for a winter evening. I had to beg the family to let me stay and have another. Pairs well with the handful of Fritos taken from son’s bag.”

Robin McDaniel

Robin McDaniel, sous chef of The Alley Light. McDaniel’s picks.

1) Tom Yum Soup at Monsoon Siam. “Kitty and Pooh make you feel like family when you enter the unique space; and the food conveys that sense of hospitality and warmth. It’s a hearty and home-style soup. I always order a large!”

2) Any Wine sommelier Erin Scala recommends at Fleurie. “Her knowledge and passion for wine is remarkable. Not only does she pair wine well with food; more importantly, she finds the right wine for the right person.”

3) Vongole Oreganato al Forno at Tavola. “A town favorite that consistently delivers a quality experience. Food has a bright acidity, wine list is unique, and service is spot on.”

4) Focaccia and Poached Eggs at Petit Pois. “The most consistent and best brunch in town. It is a perfect way to start a Sunday . . . huge patio in the summer, cozy in the winter.”

5) Herb-roasted Turkey Sandwich at Market Street Market. “My favorite sandwich in town. Great deli selections on a central location off the mall. I always ask for extra watercress. Throw in some lamb curry from Revolutionary Soup and you’ve got lunch covered.”

Will Gray

Will Gray of The Rock Barn. Gray’s picks:

1) Pad Kee Mao at Thai Siam in Arrington. “My sense is that at this point the secret is out about what Ms. Mae is cooking on Rt. 56 in Nelson. Be polite, phone ahead, and remember that if they’re too busy, you’re getting sent home empty handed. If you want to try some Thai cooking at home, ask Ms. Mae if you can have a few of the kaffir lime leaves she grows in the windows.”

2) Meritage 2008 at King Family Vineyards in Crozet. “Full disclosure: winemaker Matthieu Finot is a friend and mentor of mine, and I’ve passed many a great evening on the back porch at Stu and Ali King’s, so KFV will always be my favorite Virginia winery. It gets crowded during the summer, but stop by on an early winter afternoon and you’ll have all of Jarman’s Gap to yourself.”

3) Whatever Wine Andrew Cole from Lampo pours in my glass. “Andrew is one of my oldest friends in Charlottesville, and I have been lucky enough to drink more than my share of the ‘sommelier’s choice.’ His excellent palate, thoughtful recommendations, and overall front-of-house excellence make him a favorite of customers and vendors alike. I can’t wait to see what he and the crew at Lampo are rolling out this winter.”

4) Roaster’s choice at Trager Brothers Coffee in Lovingston. “I’m a coffee fiend. Hot, iced, morning, evening… I drink it all day. A critical part of my Rock Barn commute included a 6am stop at TBC in Lovingston to fill up my travel mug with whatever they had had just finished roasting. We went through so much coffee they started blending us our own ‘Rock Barn Roast.’ Will Trager will also pull you some of the prettiest shots of espresso I’ve ever seen.”

5) Cocoa-Marsala Canolli, Three Cheese Filling, Salted Chocolate and Hazelnut Crumble at Tavola. “I know Tavola is a perennial favorite on Five Finds, but now that Sous Chef Caleb Warr jumped the fence from MAS, he’s bringing some inspired desserts to the menu. Check it out this weekend, and send him a glass of wine, too – it was his birthday on Thursday.”

Clay Trainum

Clay Trainum of Autumn Olive Farms.  Trainum’s picks:

1) Tasting Menu at Zynodoa Restaurant. “The rare meal where every BITE is superb. This has been our go-to place for very special occasions.”

2) Datil con Tocino at MAS Tapas. “The first time we had these was at MAS and I can still smell, taste, savor and remember every bite! It is, perhaps, the perfect bite.”

3) Kettle Corn from King’s Gourmet Popcorn. “Best ever, every time! Buy the $7 bag and see if you can make it last to Richmond. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!”

4) NY Pizza and Steak Special at Ciro’s Pizza. “IMO, the best ever. We have been going since they opened in the 1970’s and, although I am actively searching, I have not yet found a better pizza or steak special anywhere on this planet. That includes specific searches in NYC and Philadelphia earlier this year. We actually have our own special off-menu pizza at Ciro’s we call the Sardinia. If you request it you have to use the right language. Clay and Linda’s Sardinia pizza.”

5) Boer Bok Goat Meatballs and Pork Belly at Parallel 38. “A shameless plug because Chef Alfredo and the staff take products we are proud of and run them up to the top of the flag pole for everyone to experience with maximum effect. They made all of us all proud at the James Beard House in 2014.”

Kristen Suokko

Kristen Suokko, Executive Director of Local Food Hub. Suokko’s picks.:

1) Salad Bar at Blue Ridge Country Store. “In fact, anything fresh and quick will do. Their salad bar and soups are the perfect grab-and-go lunch option, and I often stop by mid-afternoon to pick up fresh produce to cook for dinner that evening.”

2) Prosciutto Panini Special at Feast!. S. Wallace Edwards prosciutto, pickled red onions, local apples, and Caromont Farm goat cheese on focaccia. “Their specials change daily based on what is available from local farmers, and they never cease to have something spectacular. My kids love The Elvis, made with Virginia peanut butter, candied bacon, and bananas on oatmeal crunch bread.”

3) Double H Farm Pork Chop with Local Apple Cider Glaze and Delicata Squash at Hamiltons’ at First and Main. “Chef Curtis Shaver is able to bring out the best flavors of every season, and does an excellent job at using the best of what is available in our area.”

4) Winter Quiche at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery, with local bacon, eggs, and vegetables. “Whenever I’m hiking in western Albemarle, or visiting some of our many vineyards or breweries, I always stop by Greenwood Gourmet Grocery in Crozet for a bite. All of their café food is prepared in-house daily. Their offerings are complex yet always remain true to the flavors of our region, like a fresh summer slaw made with cabbage, carrots, peppers, and onions, or the warm winter quiche. And, I never skip on dessert here, especially their homemade pies!”

5) Winesap Apples from Dickie Brothers Orchard. “Local Food Hub works with a handful of orchardists in our area, all of whom have introduced us to unique and rare varieties over the years, like the tart Gold Rush, the sweet Pink Lady, the firm red-skinned Jonathan, and more. Just last night, at our food awards and 5th birthday celebration, Dickie Brothers Orchard won our award for 2014 Partner Producer of the Year, Fruit. You can pick up a local apple just about anywhere: Integral Yoga, Rebecca’s Natural Foods, paired with a hearty soup from Revolutionary Soup, or fresh from the Charlottesville City Market, just to name a few.”

Phillip Gerringer

Phillip Gerringer of South Fork. Gerringer’s picks:

1) Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya. “I could eat good pimento cheese with a spoon. Ball it up and fry it . . . that’s ballgame. I ordered these for my mother-in-law who was a pimento cheese skeptic (they exist). It totally converted her.”

2) Beef Tartare at Petit Pois. “The patio here on a beautiful night will make you feel like you managed to transport to a Parisian cafe. A glass of wine . . . the beef tartare . . . it’s a great way to start off a night downtown. It’s simple, elegant, and uncomplicated. Just a delicious start to any of their dinners.”

3) Spicy Noodle Bowl at Pad Thai. “My wife and I love this place. I think through the years I’ve sampled just about everything on their menu, but the Spicy Noodle Bowl has become my go-to dish. The herb broth is perfection and I either get it with the Red Pork or Chicken Meatballs.”

4) Bread from Mission Home Bakeshop. “I picked up a loaf on a whim and it’s become my favorite for sandwiches. It’s budget-friendly, no frills sandwich bread, and when you toast it on the grill, it’s incredible.”

5) The Royale at Restoration. “I’m usually a traditionalist when it comes to cheeseburgers, but the bacon jam and tomato relish take this one to another level. I’ve loved watching this place come into its own. Rich and Kelly’s commitment to getting every detail right is what makes their menu so amazing. They can take something as simple as a burger and make it creative but approachable.”

Eric Nittolo

Eric Nittolo of Threepenny Cafe. Nittolo’s picks:

1) Hot Wings at Wild Wings Cafe. “Before we had the chance to open our restaurant, the three managers introduced me to the hot wings at this restaurant located at the train station. As a sauce lover, I found that not only was I pleased with the quality of the chicken, but the sauce was definitely ‘on point.’”

2) Shrimp and Grits at Hamiltons’. “When a lunch date wanted to show off the town of Cville, she introduced me to the work of the talented chef at Hamiltons’. The meal was absolutely stellar. Another first for a northern boy—I wasn’t a connoisseur of grits. I so loved what I tasted that I was inspired to put a Maple Bacon version on the brunch menu at Threepenny Café. The whole meal was well done, and the raspberry lemon cake was greatness.”

3) Bone Marrow and Escargot at The Alley Light. “I appreciate someone willing to try creations for the more adventurous palate; the flavor was very inspiring. Having spent a lot of time in Chicago, I also appreciated the excellent re-creation of a speakeasy!”

4) Southern Fare at Maya. “I was in the mood for ribs, and as it happened, a staff member from Maya was sitting at our bar. He ran down the street and brought me a plate of ribs, cole slaw, and cornbread pudding. The meal was awesome—my hat is off to the chef!”

5) Big Burger and Grilled Cheese at Mel’s. “I saved the best for last. I love the food at Mel’s Diner. I limit this indulgence to once a week, and I am glad I have to walk a few blocks to get there. Not only do they serve classic down-home cooking, but I can sit around and talk football. The food is great, the respect is great, and you definitely feel the SOUTHERN LOVE from the folks there.”

Tristan Wraight

Tristan Wraight of Oakhart Social.  Wraight’s picks:

1) Gnarly Fried Chicken and Parmesan Sandwich at JM Stock Provisions on Saturdays. “Awesome for soaking up Friday night. The sandos are always changing, so yay for variety. They have even started opening at 7:30 am with coffee and fresh biscuits for those of us who didn’t go out on Friday. Also, an all around amazing butcher shop and just down the street from us in Midtown.”

2) Lobster Roll at Public Fish & Oyster. “Our neighbor chef Donnie kills it with a freshly ‘dispatched’ Maine lobster roll. I think that’s enough said about that. Lobster… Roll…. yep, done.”

3) Lamb Curry at Revolutionary Soup. “If you are going to be a joint known for one kind of food (soup), you really need to do it well. They do. We also love that they have a very well thought out beer selection. We’ll be hitting them up a bunch this winter.”

4) Tacos at La Guadalupana. “Very legit tacos (with two tortillas). We both think the lengua is the best in town. You have to walk through the store to find this gem at the back of the building. You also may have to order in Spanish, but so much the better. Really authentico.”

5) Duchesse De Bourgogne at Beer Run. “A beer lover’s wet dream and good food to boot. Our favorite is their really good selection of Flemish sour ales and particularly Duchesse. If you haven’t had one, they are a wonderful and weird experience. Beer Run is a gem.”

Anita Gutpa

Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations, one of the area’s most sought after creators of wedding cakes, among other desserts. For her picks, Gupta focused on what she knows best: her favorite sweets and pastries around town. Gupta’s picks:

1) Macaron Ice cream Sandwiches from Got Dumplings food truck. “These giant ice cream sandwiches are awesome and they have great flavors like green tea and red bean. If you get a hankering for these at one of the local festivals, make sure you order more than one. You will want another and if you wait in line again, they will be gone . . . and you will be sad.”

2) Churros at Al Carbon. “Everything on their menu rocks (get the yuca fries), but the best part is when you order your food at this counter service cafe, you will only get your main dish. They don’t start making your churros until you have finished your food. Fresh, piping hot churros dipped in cinnamon sugar. Add a scoop of ice cream and you will experience nirvana.”

3) Pastries at Paradox Pastry. “My friends and I head to Paradox whenever we have a birthday to celebrate. We grab a table, and perhaps some champagne, and each get a different dessert to share. I head here when I want someone else to bake for me.”

4) Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow at Rocksalt. “Rappahannock Oysters followed by rich, dark chocolate . . . ‘nough said.

5) Gulab Jamun from Milan. “This is where I go for a little taste of home. A little pastry ball (almost like a doughnut) soaked in a cardamom-infused simple syrup. Seriously rich and completely nostalgic.”

Emily Holter

Emily Holter, of Sweethaus. Holter’s picks:

1) Wings and Nachos on football Sundays at Wild Wing Cafe. “Doesn’t get much better than throwing on a jersey and hunkering down for a game at WWC. I’m such a sucker for nachos. Different types of cheeses, fresh salsa, sour cream, seasoned beef, texture explosion! Always solid and delicious. And there’s a reason the wings are so revered; the sauces are creative and complex all the while really tasty.”

2) Fleur de Sel Caramels from La Vache Microcreamery. “You have never tried a fleur de sel caramel proper until you’ve tried these small-batch artisan classics from La Vache. A crazy-good concoction of my favorite ingredients: butter, salt, sugar. Stephanie has nailed it!”

3) The Local Burger at The Local. “I’m a burger girl. Nothing more satisfying than that first juicy bite of a beautifully executed burger. Caramelized onion, always crispy apple-smoked bacon, swiss cheese. Medium-rare all the way. The best.”

4) Farmhouse Dry Cider on draught from Potter’s Craft Cider. “I met these guys years ago while working at Whole Foods buying wine and beer just as they were starting out. They’ve got me hooked! Farmhouse dry, especially on draft, smells like fruit and almost tastes like champagne upon first sip. Tart, dry, and insanely crisp. Excellent any time of year, and effervescent to the max!”

5) Longaniza anything at El Tepeyac. “This house-made Mexican sausage is the real deal. The rich notes of smoke and a slight sweetness give way to a beautifully balanced kick at the end. Sometimes its great in a burrito with chunky jalepenos and fresh avocado, other times it’s delicious enveloped in a cheese quesadilla. Yum!”

Our Local Commons

Sarah Cramer Shields and Andrea Hubbell of Our Local Commons. Sarah and Andrea’s picks:

1) Garganelli with Butternut Squash, Kale, Caramelized Onions and Sage at Tavola. “Seeing it on the menu each year marks the beginning of the fall season and we just can’t get enough of it.”

2) Fried Oysters at the Cardinal Point Oyster Roast. “The Rappahannock River Oyster guys whip up an amazingly light and crispy batter that we crave all year. Mark your calendars for November 15-16. Great music, wine and OYSTERS!”

3) Bulk Spicy Sausage from Babes in the Woods. “We use it in pasta dishes and soups all year long, but especially love it this time of year paired with squash and kale. It is a staple in both of our homes! You can get it at the farmer’s market or at Relay Foods.”

4) Takeout from Pad Thai. “It’s so important to have good takeout options while trying to wrangle one-year-olds during the witching hour. Our favorites are the Tom Yum Noodle Bowl, the Green Papaya Salad, and the Garlic and Black Pepper Crispy Pork, which the Ouypron family made for us during our interview for the website. It’s not on the menu, but if you ask Jay nicely they will make it for you!”

5) Cupcakes and Shenandoah Joe Coffee at Sweethaus. “Our go-to afternoon meeting spot for a caffeine and sugar pick-me-up. We love the almond cupcakes! And, they just made their cookie dough frosting available by the tub! Enough said.”

Hillary Lewis

Hillary Lewis, founder of LUMI Juice. Lewis’ picks:

1) Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies at Brookville. “This is hands down THE BEST dessert I’ve found in the city. Actually, everything Brookville does is amazing, from bacon popcorn to bacon waffles (you can tell they dominate when it comes to bacon). You can’t go wrong eating at this establishment on the downtown mall.”

2) Sushi at Now & Zen.When I walk into this sushi restaurant, I instantly get a smile on my face. The staff is personable and the specials are always dynamic and flavorful. Whenever pomegranates are in season they use them, and combined with fish its a wonderful way to get not only your omega-3s, but also, antioxidants!”

3) Blanchard’s Coffee at La Taza. “Living in Belmont makes grabbing any meal at La Taza a seamless endeavor, and now they have Blanchard’s coffee from Richmond. Many of their blends are organic and all are full of flavor. Making your way to La Taza is definitely worth the drive!”

4) Late Night Menu at C&O. “I typically don’t get out of work at a reasonable ‘dinner time’ hour, and I’m always hungry! From cocktails to food, there is something for everyone on this menu. I love the charcuterie plate with their in-house brown mustard. It is happiness in a bite.”

5) Beer and Ambiance at Champion Brewing Company. “Every week I feel like Champion has a new beer that pushes the envelope with ingredients like cayenne or lavender. The atmosphere rocks – you can watch a sports game or the news, or hang outside for a game of corn hole with a cold beer. Not to mention, there’s always a delicious food truck.”

Allie Redshaw

Allie Redshaw, Sous Chef of Pippin Hill. Redshaw’s picks:

1) Scallion Bubble Pancake at Taste of China. “We all know this is a ‘chefs’ favorite,’ so seemingly no surprise that I am giving recognition to this strip mall Chinese restaurant, but T.O.C. is so much more; always a friendly face greeting Ian and I at the door, and a pot of hot tea waiting on the table. Apart from their service, the food is impeccably authentic Szechuan cuisine. I could list at least ten dishes that are favorites of mine, but the Scallion Bubble Pancakes are golden brown and delicious with duck sauce and spicy mustard; and, the spicy, crispy duck with its whole Thai bird chilis, charred scallions, and overly crispy duck skin completes every meal!”

2) Malai Kofta at Royal Indian. “This place just having moved locations is absolutely on point. Their table service is absolutely wonderful, and the food also meets those standards. The malai kofta, which is my go-to, is a vegetarian option derived of curried vegetable ‘meatballs’ of sorts submerged into a delicious creamy sauce; accompanied with the perfectly cooked basmati rice and jasmine tea, it is a wonderful meal!”

3) Chicken at Al Carbon. “This small storefront has slowly become one of my favorite places to go, not only because of the smell and sound of fresh chicken skin crackling upon the rotisserie spit just inside the front door, but you truly get your money’s worth of food here. With a choice of either a quarter, half, or whole chicken, complete with three sides and a drink, you can easily feed two or three adults for less than $30.00. The chicken is seasoned, and perfectly juicy, the esquites (sweet corn with crema, queso, and cilantro), and the saffron rice; ALL to die for!”

4) Pork at The BBQ Exchange. “This hub of pork goodness is off the beaten path but well worth the commute. The bacon doughnuts, the dopest pulled pork, and the thick-cut house made bacon, all rock my socks off! MY favorite aspect of this restaurant is that the integrity and consistency of the food never waiver, despite their exorbitant number of customers served every day.”

5) Massaman Curry with Tofu at Monsoon Siam. “Last but not least, this Thai food has been a comfort food to me since I first moved to Charlottesville. The massaman curry with tofu is my go-to, it lends a little sweetness, with a spicy finish; and the brown rice is just as well cooked as the white. All of their food is comforting, hot, and delicious, authentic Thai. And they deliver :)”

Andrew Cole

Andrew Cole, co-owner and beverage director of Lampo.  Cole’s picks:

1) Parliament at ZoCaLo. “Be it by choice or reputation, I can’t go to Zocalo without having at least one. Citrusy, balanced, and refreshing, this mojito/margarita riff with basil and Hendricks gin is as consistently delicious as the restaurant where you can find one.”

2) “Cherry Choke” at The Alley Light. “The team at The Alley Light is astounding. I love the depth of the wine list, the food is as creative and exciting as it is delicious, but it’s the cherry choke that keeps me sidled up to the bar. Admittedly, I am a sucker for Amaro, but Micah’s use of Cynar in this cocktail is particularly brilliant.”

3) Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet with Skillet Roasted Mussels at Tavola. “I would admit to a bit of bias on this one, but a glass of the Pepiere Muscadet with the skillet roasted mussels at Tavola is truly tough to beat. I know shellfish and muscadet is a bit cliché at this point, but in this case it’s a perfect foil for one of the best dishes in town.”

4) Jalapeño Margarita at Mono Loco. “A classic margarita with a healthy dose of jalapeño peppers, but don’t be intimidated because this drink really works. It’s spicy as hell, but that’s only fitting of brunch at Mono Loco, and you can balance it out with a shot of passion fruit if you don’t like the heat.”

5) Greyhound at C&O. “I’ve always appreciated the classics, and C&O defines the term. It’s a simple drink, but you can’t make it much better than they do at C&O. The whole bar program deserves applause, they’ve got a great whiskey collection, and an extensive list of interesting and obscure amaro.”

Micah LeMon

Micah LeMon, bar manager at The Alley Light. LeMon also writes about booze for C-VILLE, and his cocktails have won notice from publications like The Local Palate. He’s so skilled that when we go to The Alley Light we just let him make whatever he wants. LeMon’s picks:

1) Pastrami and Provolone on an Everything with lettuce, mayo, and tomato at Bodo’s. “Consistently the best sandwich I’ve ever had for around 5 bucks.”

2) Seared Greek Halloumi Cheese with ouzo and tomatoes at Orzo. “I love this dish so much. It tastes like delicious pizza for grown ups. That and and a bottle of Albarino and it’s going to be a good night.”

3) Anything with Garlic Alioli at MAS. “It is the most rich, delicious dippy sauce. It also promises hours of garlic burps for the immediate future, which I like.”

4) Wings and Beer at McGrady’s. “Good wings, good beer, and good times. Everyone needs a pub in their neighborhood, and McGrady’s is great one in mine. I try to go once a week to catch up with friends over trivia.”

5) Drinks, especially in the winter, at C&O. “When the cold weather comes, I love catching a drink in the cozy, gnarled, bar downstairs. It’s the kind of place where you want to go to sit, drink, and have hours-long conversation.”

Alfredo Malinis, Jr.

Alfredo Malinis, Jr., chef of Parallel 38. Malinis’ picks:

1) Triple Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “I love everything about this place. The staff, the food, and the ‘hometown secret’ feel. Triple cheeseburger is a must.”

2) Risotto at Vivace. “The risotto is the best I’ve had in a long time.”

3) Crispy Shredded Beef at Kyoto. “Incredible. If I could eat this every day, I would. My fiance won’t let me!”

4) Pancit at Little Manila. “Little Manila and Got Dumplings are must stops at the Saturday morning market. If the farmer’s market was open every day, I would still go just for those two stands. The pancit is just like my father makes!”

5) BBQ at Pasture. “Three letters. BBQ.”

Jenn Riesman

Jenn Riseman, pastry chef of Fossett’s at Keswick Hall. Riesman’s picks:

1) Monte Cristo at West Main. “You can’t go wrong with a well-made Monte Cristo. Also a great place for brunch.”

2) Ham and Cheese Croissant at Paradox Pastry. “The perfect on-the-go breakfast.”

3) Iced Coffee at La Taza. “The best iced coffee in town. It doesn’t even need sugar. Strong but super smooth.”

4) Smoked Trout Sandwich at Blue Moon Diner. “Nice to just sit at the bar, listening to music.”

5) Papas Bravas at MAS Tapas. “The only thing you really need on a late Friday night is a good drink and potatoes with aioli.”

Donnie Glass

Donnie Glass, chef of Public Fish & Oyster. Glass’s picks:

1) Any Dessert at Fossett’s Restaurant at Keswick Hall. “The pastry chef, Jenn Riesman, is crazy talented, and her desserts are spot on. Her IPA ice cream, sticky toffee pudding, and chocolate cake are all life changing.”

2) Gorditas Al Pastor from La Michoacana. “Always seasoned and spicy. My favorite gluttonous lunch for under $10.”

3) Sweetbreads with a glass of Champagne at the C&O. “I have a lot of respect for Chef Dean running a restaurant that never takes such a gem of a protein off the menu when it is not guaranteed to sell. Sweetbreads aren’t for everyone, but it was great to see them done well when I got here.”

4) Cured Meats and Sourdough at Tavola. “All of those guys could run kitchens themselves, but instead they pool their resources and make EVERYTHING from scratch (and it’s great too).”

5) Pork Belly and Scallion Pancake appetizers at Peter Chang’s China Grill. “I honestly had no idea how you make that pancake until I asked.”

Mitchell Beerens

Mitchell Beerens, co-owner of Lampo. Beerens’ picks:

1) Cheese Plate at Flora Artisanal Cheese. “This little cheese counter hidden in the back of a coffee shop is truly a Charlottesville treasure. Nadjeeb Chouaf is one of the most knowledgeable cheesemongers I’ve worked with. He has everything from the best imported mozzarella to local treats like Twenty Paces ricotta.”

2) Vegetarian Blue Plate at Hamiltons’. “My favorite lunch on the downtown mall. I order it every time and can only hope that whomever I’m with will let me have a bite of what they ordered so I can sample some of the other offerings.”

3) Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo. “My go-to appetizer at the most consistent restaurant in town. You can always count on this dish coming out perfect. It’s both sophisticated and fun. Just like the place that it is served.”

4) Truffle Fries at Citizen Burger Bar. “French fries are my favorite food on earth. At Citizen they use a special potato that creates a truly superior fry. Combined with truffle oil and Parmesan they are a real treat.”

5) Beef Tendon and Tripe in Szechuan Chili Sauce at Peter Chang’s China Grill. “This is a very ‘chefy’ dish. All of the bits and pieces that no one else wants expertly prepared and transformed into something greater than the sum of its parts. I can’t go to this restaurant without ordering three of four items. It’s a fatty’s paradise.”

Dean Maupin

Dean Maupin chef-owner of C&O restaurant. Maupin’s picks:

1) French Macarons from Albemarle Baking Company. “They are just so well done, as is everything they bake there! They put such a huge smile on my kid’s faces when I bring some home.”

2) Dinner at TEN. “I wish I could eat there every day, easily some of the most well executed and tasty food around. Remember Pei’s pop up Handsome Boy Noodles, off the charts.”

3) Charcuterie from The Rock Barn. “We offer a plate of it here at the C&O – braunschweiger, Daisy Della, coppa, it’s all right on the money. Their andouille, kielbasa and bacon are great as well.”

4) Manti at Sultan Kebab. “Offered as a special from time to time, you may want to call ahead for this one, very special and full of Turkish soul, proprietors Deniz and Serhat have it on point!”

5) Caterpillar Roll at Kabuto. “I inhale this dish whenever I go there, very clean flavors and great service!”

Dave Fafara

Dave Fafara, owner of Shenandoah Joe. Fafara’s picks:

1) Pickles at Barbeque Exchange. “I ask for a smorgasbord of each type as I’m chowing down a brisket sandwich.”

2) Jack’s Java Espresso Stout from Three Notch’d Brewing Company. “A blend of my two favorite beverages, beer and joe.”

3) Sausage from The Rock Barn and Bacon from Double H Farm at the City Market. “Add Frankie’s tomatoes and peppers, yum!”

4) The Lunch Special at Harris Teeter. “6 inch sub, bag of chips, and sweet tea for $4.99. Perfect for me as I go from pool to pool.”

5) Patatas Riojanas at MAS Tapas. “It’s like Lay’s potato chips, you can’t have just one. Chorizo potato hash with an egg on top. Not always on the menu, but when it is, gotta have it.”

Doug McLeod

Doug McLeod, chef of Duner’s. McLeod’s picks:

1) Chicken and Waffles at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “One of my guilty pleasures, best Southern food in town.”

2) Dried Fried Eggplant Szechuan Style at Taste of China. “I find myself craving them. And the service is always friendly.”

3) Chorizo Taco at La Tako Nako. “My late night Mexican fix.”

4) Lamb Saagwala at Maharaja. “I also love the smell of incense and vibrant Indian decor.”

5) Popeye Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “Lots of whole garlic. Vegetarian favorite. Plus anecdotes from Mike McCarthy.”

Stephanie Williams

Stephanie Williams of La Vache Microcreamery.  Williams’ picks:

1) Passionfruit Cheesecake at The Alley Light. “There is not a better dessert on any menu in Charlottesville. Jose de Brito is a master of the kitchen – if he cooked a shoe there is no doubt I would eat it and it would be delicious.” (Note: kudos also belong to pastry chef Robin McDaniel.)

2) Brioche from Albemarle Baking Company. “Nothing says Saturday morning like buttery flaky french toast made from ABC’s brioche with real maple syrup.”

3) Chef’s Tasting Menu at the Clifton Inn. “Chef Tucker Yoder knows how to highlight the ‘terroir’ of vegetables unlike anything I have ever experienced before – always with an unexpected twist, always with very few and simple ingredients, always delicious. Put your taste buds in Tucker’s hands for an evening.”

4) Toss-up between Lamb Bacon at JM Stock Provisions & Supply and the Almond Cupcakes at Sweethaus. “Both are variations on classics and both are insanely good.”

5) Pig & Fig Terrine by Smoking Goose from Feast! “I can’t go on a picnic without this ever again. What a treat!”

Sara Adduci

Sara Adduci, cheesemonger of Feast!. Adduci’s picks:

1) Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “I just adore breakfast and brunch foods and these are simply fantastic! It’s truly hard for me to pick a single item in this category, because I also have a big crush on the ginger scones from Albemarle Baking Company and the BFP (big f****ing pancake) with bacon from Brookville.”

2) Spanish Tuna Salad and White Bean Salad from Feast! with Pea Shoots from Manakintowne Specialty Growers. “Mix these three items together in a bowl and you get my ever-so-lazy, non-cooking, dinner or lunch more often than I care to admit.”

3) African Curry Powder from The Spice Diva. “Simply saute any gorgeous, local veggies that suit your fancy with garlic, onions, and this flavorful, not too hot, green curry, top with toasted pine nuts and serve over the nutty, Kagayaki 6 Grain Rice blend from Seafood @ West Main. Delish.”

4) Farmhouse Dry Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider. “I love this stuff, in all its bone dry, bubbly, apple-y glory. It is great on its own and also great as a cocktail mixer. I like it with the brown liquors, but I seriously think you could use it wherever club soda is called for with great success. I have some mulberry gin steeping and I look forward to trying them together.”

5) Linguica Sausage from The Rock Barn. “I just can’t get over my deep affection for this Portuguese style sausage. I make a simple marinara with a couple of links of this sausage pulled from the casing, add fresh sheep and goat milk ricotta from Twenty Paces, some fresh spinach or basil and serve it over pasta. Then, the next day I take the leftover sauce, add black beans, and serve an over-easy egg on top. So good.”

Spencer Crawford

Spencer Crawford, sous chef of Palladio Restaurant.

1)  Virginia Apple Cider from Bold Rock Hard Cider.  “What I drink almost all the time. Not a bad place to go and hang out either.”

2)  Spudnuts from Spudnuts.  “All of them. There’s a reason it has been on a lot of people’s list. Best in town or anywhere else.”

3)  Pulled Pork Sandwich and Hushpuppies from BBQ Exchange.  “Smoky pork-a-liciousness. ‘Nuff said.”

4)  Tie between Loaded Footlongs from Jak’n Jil and Bacon Cheeseburgers from Riverside Lunch.  “Both places have been around forever. Never been disappointed.”

5)  Pancakes from Tip Top.  “Good simple food done the same way every time.”

Michael Shaps

Michael Shaps of Virginia Wineworks’.

1)  Mushroom Crepes at The Alley Light.  “I was there recently with the whole staff of the Wineworks.  We were a fairly large group lounging on the couches and sharing plates.  The plates of crepes barely made it halfway around before we needed to order more.  Nobody wanted to share these!”

2)  Croissants at Albemarle Baking Company.  “They remind me of the croissants I get in Meursault.  Fresh, flaky, buttery.  No need for jam.”

3)  Vegetable Soup at C&O.  “We eat this for lunch during harvest. It’s on the late-night menu at the restaurant and would be great then, too. It is light but satisfying, seasonal and delicious.”

4)  Cheese from Feast!  “No matter what you are looking for, they will have it and help you find it. The service at the cheese counter is friendly and enthusiastic and the cheeses are of the highest quality, best selection outside of Fromagerie Hess in Beaune.”

5a)  Country Pate from JM Stock Provisions.  “It is smoky and wrapped in bacon. What more could you want?”

5b)  Martinis at Bang!  “My current favorite is Da Bomb Basil. So darn refreshing on a hot night.”

Laura Jawitz

Laura Jawitz, baker at Greenwood Gourmet.

1)  Cheeseburger, “All the Way” at Riverside Lunch. “I love a huge, fancy, grass-fed burger, but there’s a deep truth to the Riverside burger that really speaks to me. It’s always seasoned perfectly, just the right size at four ounces, and really tastes of flat-top (which is like the terroir of greasy-spoon joints) in the best possible way.”

2)  Glazed Spudnut at Spudnuts. “This cloud-like and ethereal pastry is just perfect. I can’t think of a way to improve it, and I also can’t eat just one.”

3)  Fried Chicken at Wayside Takeout & Catering. “Wayside chicken is so aggressively seasoned that I almost prefer it cold the next day; especially if it’s eaten out of a cooler that’s caught in the net of an inner tube floating down the James River.”

4)  Hot and Numbing Tofu Skins at Peter Chang’s China Grill. “I still can’t believe that Charlottesville has Szechuan food that rivals some of New York City’s best fringe Chinese food. The tofu skins have that perfect balance of spicy, sour, salty and earthy that all great Szechuan food has, plus an addictive chewy texture. Might be one of the top five things I’ve ever eaten in my life, no joke.”

5)  Budweiser at Durty Nelly’s Pub. “I think that all good dive bars possess certain qualities, and minus cheap whiskey, Durty Nelly’s has just about all of them . . . solid tunes on the juke, friendly but not chatty bartenders, an assortment of arcade games, and very cold beer.”

Twenty Paces

The team at Twenty Paces sheep dairy.

1)  Glazed Spudnut from Spudnuts.  Bridge Cox says that “a simple glazed spudnut from Spudnuts is all I need. Perfectly yeasty and glazed with just a bit of crunch.”

2)  Turkey Croissant from Blue Ridge Pig.  Kyle Kilduff says that the only thing he craves as much as Dr. Ho’s nachos (see #5), is Blue Ridge Pig’s turkey croissant. “Criminally underrated.  And, just as good for breakfast the next day.”

3)  Plain Bagel with Cream Cheese from Bodo’s.  Herd manager Tom Pyne says he has to get up and go quickly, but still makes time to prepare his toasted plain bagels with cream cheese, which he says he devours with wild abandon.

4)  Apricot Jam from Jam According to Daniel with HomeSlice from Sub Rosa Bakery.  Melanie Pyne says she likes HomeSlice bread from Richmond’s Sub Rosa with butter and apricot jam for “a tasty breakfast snack with ‘The Girls.’”

5)  NacHo’s at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  The team says that they often “quantify budget and lactation numbers, sketch big dreams, and figure out new ways to find private investors over Dr. Ho’s nachos and a pitcher of Long Hammer IPA.”

Jeanette Peabody

Jeanette Peabody, chef of Oakhurst Inn, adjacent to UVa’s South Lawn.

1) Spicy Italian Sausage from Double H Farm. “It’s highly seasoned with lots of fennel and perfectly salted. Packs a serious punch and you can create any meal out of it. I used to buy it from my favorite farmer Richard Bean and thank goodness Ara is carrying on the recipe. You can buy it from him at the City Market.”

2) Eating at the Bar at Hamiltons’. “It’s the best bar service in town. You won’t get treated better by anybody than Daniel Page. Curtis has a real knack for home-made pasta. We’re still dreaming about the gnocchi he and Hannah made for the Hill & Holler dinner at Montalto.”

3) Margaritas at Mono Loco. “Mike Lewis is the consummate comic host. On a whim he will create a new margarita with seasonal ingredients. I like the spicy cucumber.”

4) Red Row cheese from Caromont Farm. “This melty deliciousness made such an impression on me I immediately decided to use it on the baked eggs at Oakhurst Inn. I need to have it close by at all times.”

5) Thai Mussels at Public Fish & Oyster. “I’ve only been there once but it’s my new favorite place for now. You can do an oyster tasting starting with a briny Virginia people-pleaser leading up to a full-flavored Katama Bay. Chef Matty’s Thai Mussels are amazing.”

Todd Grieger

Todd Grieger, Executive Chef of Red Pump · A Tuscan Kitchen.

1) Pork Belly at BBQ Exchange. “Smoked pork belly?! What else is there to say? It’s just delicious. Covered in Colonel Bacon sauce and Hog Fire sauce . . . that’s legit.”

2) Prix Fixe Menu at The Shack. “Ian is super talented and the food is awesome. It’s the best deal to eat the food of one of the best chefs in the area.”

3) Spencer Crawford’s Salumi at Palladio. “I’ve eaten salumi all over, and his is just fantastic – best I’ve had.”

4) Bocadillo at MAS. “I don’t get in there as much as I like but the chefs there (Ketola and Mick) are my peeps. When I worked there I would eat one every day with smoked tomato aioli. It’s tasty.”

5) Biscuits at Maya. “If you want fluffy and delicious biscuits that are the real deal then you have to get the biscuits at Maya. They are a rite of passage, working the veg station there, and Christian’s biscuits are the benchmark I try to achieve when I make them. My favorite snack when I worked there was two biscuits and ham gravy with Tabasco sauce.”

Brian Jones

Brian Jones, chef of Petit Pois.

1) Pepperoni Pizza and Grape Soda at Vinny’s Pizza & Pasta in Ruckersville. “Just like the local pizzeria in my town where I grew up. While I can’t put down the grape soda like I used to as a kid, this combination makes me feel like I’m 14 again.”

2) Original Tart Yogurt with Oreo Cookie Crumbs at Sweet Frog. “With my six and seven year old girls, these Sweet Frog dates are always sweet times.”

3) Olive Thyme Levain at Albemarle Baking Company. “Toast a slice for breakfast to go with your coffee.”

4) Spicy Tuna Tartar at ZoCaLo. “Super clean flavors with a little bit of spice. A great way to replenish some calories after a hard night’s work. Probably the most consistent restaurant in town. They’re always on point.”

5) Mussels from Seafood @ West Main. “The place to grab a bag of mussels before your next party, or any seafood for that matter. Petit Pois Restaurant sources all of their seafood through Seafood @ West Main. Everything is always super fresh. Pristine quality fish.”

Rachel Willis

Rachel Willis of Black Twig Farm and Cakes by Rachel.

1) Drunken Noodles with Beef at Pad Thai. “The first time I went to Pad Thai was shortly after they opened. I was eight months pregnant and with three other very pregnant friends. We devoured half the menu and were in ecstasy. Within an hour of my son being born, I was begging my mother to go get me this dish. Nothing ever tasted better.”

2) Lobster Roll from Foods of All Nations. “When in town doing the mad errand dash, I more often than not find myself stopping for this quick lunch. Theirs is the best to-go sushi in town. And the lobster roll is my favorite!”

3) Orange Martini at Fardowners. “Order only one . . . trust me.”

4) Bratwurst and Fall Sown Spinach from Double H Farm. “Richard was a close friend and I will miss him dearly. What a blessing Ara and Gayane are here to carry on what he started. The brats are perfect and if you are lucky enough to get some of the spinach they have right now, saute lightly and they are perfect together. Their soil grows great greens.”

5) Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company. “I haven’t had a slice in a long time, but I still hear it call to me all the way out here in Crozet. There are some combinations that are just perfect.”

Nadjeeb Chouaf

Nadjeeb Chouaf of Flora Artisanal Cheese,

1) Maiale Milanese at Tavola. “I can’t say enough about how much I love Tavola. Andrew runs a fantastic wine list and always has something new and funky for me to try, and Loren and his crew are flawless in the kitchen. This dish is my go to. Rock Barn pork served over veggies with great acidity.”

2) Chicken Kebob at Grand Market. “This Afghani market across from the Greyhound station is run by Abdul Rahim and his four sons. Hands down the best kebobs in town. Make sure to ask for extra sauce, you’ll want to dip everything in it.”

3) Peri Peri Chicken at Shebeen. “I love spicy food and the peri peri chili from South Africa is at the perfect point of spiciness without overwhelming everything else.”

4) Tart Berliner Weisse at Champion Brewing Company. “Champion’s take on a cloudy sour wheat beer from Germany, the Tart is low alcohol, refreshing and the perfect warm weather beer. With rumors that they might start canning it, I see a lot being consumed this summer.”

5) Pinot Noir at 22Brix. “The remote tasting room for Ankida Ridge winery that opened next to Bang! last fall has exposed a lot of people to wine from what is probably one of the top three wineries in the state. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay remind me of classic Burgundy wines.”

Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson of the pork butcher The Rock Barn.

1) The Gyro at The Ivy Inn. “This is not always on the menu, but just pop in the back door and tell the guys to stop service and make you one.”

2) Bellisima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “See all previous mentions. Everybody else already said it.”

3) Steel Wheels ESB from The Barrel House of Blue Mountain Brewery. “Great balance of drinkability and complexity. My ‘go to’ when it is available. Growlers or cans.”

4) Citra Hops Kombucha from Nugget’s Raw Kombucha. “Straightforward. Gets you right. Brings you back.

5) The Rock Barn Bratwurst at Beer Run. “Shameless plug. Proud to have my sausage in their hands. They do a great job.”

Stu Rifkin

Stu Rifkin, the restaurateur and real estate maven.

1) Cherry Star at Spudnuts. “Or any donut frankly. We are truly blessed to have such a simply perfect donut shop in town. CW Llad immortalized the Cherry Star in a poem on the back page of C-VILLE many years ago. I’ve been consuming them regularly ever since.”

2) Pepperoni Pizza at Whole Foods. “Sad but true that some of the best pie in town comes from a grocery store. It’s not consistent, but when they get it right it’s unsurpassed deliciousness.”

3) Bambino Cone at Splendora’s. “Choose a flavor and get a small scoop on a tiny cone. It’s a perfect palate cleanser and a tasty treat. Salted Caramel Gelato or Grapefuit Sorbetto works for me.”

4) Tacos Campechanos at Don Panchito Taco truck on 29N. “I’ve tried them all and these guys knock it out of the park. The campechanos combine carne asada and chorizo.”

5) Smoked Turkey Croissant, Potato Salad and Limeade at The Blue Ridge Pig. “Their Dill Sauce is transcendent. I would eat anything they put it on.”

Emily Pelton

Emily Pelton, Winemaker at Veritas Vineyards and Winery.

1) Chirashi and a Hendricks Dirty Martini at the bar at TEN. “My favorite quick, de-stress dinner.”

2) Burger and Blanc de Blancs at Brookville. “It is outstanding and creative, and perfectly balanced, even in its over-the-top nature. My favorite meal to share with a friend and a bottle of Thibaut–Janisson, Cuvee D’Etat 2008.”

3) Fried Chicken and a Hangar Hound at The Whiskey Jar. “It’s my favorite comfort food on the mall. I love Will Richey’s passion for good traditional recipes, and his passion for local and fresh.”

4) Bangkok Mussels at Public Fish & Oyster. “One of my new favorite dishes. There is possibly no better meal than moules frites, and they do a great job of keeping it classic with a really flavorful twist.”

5) Fried Oysters and Barboursville Pinot Grigio at Three Notch’d Grill. “A wonderful combination of savory crunchy friedness and fresh zestiness.”

Chris Arseneault

Chris Areneault, owner of Seafood @ West Main.

1) Kim-chee Fried Rice at The Korean House. “There is great, authentic Korean food in C’ville but it is served in a most unpretentious manner. Relax and enjoy.”

2) Fried Calamari at Pizza Bella. “With the house marinara (no cheese please), it is a meal by itself.”

3) Lunch Buffet at Royal Indian. “Fresh naan delivered to your table at a lunch buffet? Yes! I typically go on Friday after a long week of serving my precious customers . . . love you all!”

4) Blackened Catfish Sandwich at The Whiskey Jar. “This will make a southern boy speechless.”

5) My favorite fish…Hamachi (seriola quinqueradiata). “Sashimi is the quintessential manner to consume this beautiful fish.”

Josh Lowry

Josh Lowry, sous chef of Zocalo.

1) Thai Beef Consomme Noodle Bowl at Pad Thai. “Rich, brothy, crunchy, sweet, sour, savory. It’s everything in a bowl . . . the best!”

2) Pastrami and Swiss on an Onion Bagel with mustard at Bodo’s. “We are extremely lucky to have a place like this in Charlottesville. Let’s not take it for granted.”

3) The Classic #1 at Chick-fil-A. “My alltime favorite restaurant. When I was a kid they always had sweet old ladies out front with free chicken samples. I always walked by a second time for another free taste . . . they almost always let me.”

4) Dan Dan Noodles at Taste of China. “I know most folks have gone over to Peter Chang’s new spot but this is my go-to. Again, Charlottesville is lucky to have a place like this.”

5. Burrata at Tavola. “If you haven’t been . . . go!”

Matt Turner

Matt Turner, Chef of Public Fish & Oyster.  Turner’s picks:

1)  Tacos at La Michoacána. “The meats, the tortillas, the house-made condiment bar, it’s all good. I have a 4 taco per week habit.”

2)  Fried Chicken at Brown’s.  ”I live two blocks from a fried chicken joint yet I choose to drive across town for Brown’s. The sides really push them over the top.”

3)  Crispy Beef Salad at Thai 99 (Fontaine Location Only). “I used to frequent Thai restaurants in the DC metro area and always had a romance with Thai crispy duck salad. This is the best representation one can get locally. It’s everything all at once: sweet, sour, salty, savory, nutty, citrusy, fresh and packed with umami.”

4)  The Bellissima at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “Chain pizza should hang its head in shame.”

5)  Wood Fired Bread at MAS Tapas.  “The arts and disciplines of artisanal food are dying slow deaths in today’s corporate monopoly dominated world.  The oven alone at Mas is a local treasure.  The bread that comes out if it is something to behold.”

Jose De Brito

Jose De Brito, Chef of The Alley Light. De Brito’s picks:

1)  Croissant at Albemarle Baking Company.  “Having grown up in Paris, I am always looking for good French food. The croissants at ABC are my way to not be too home sick. They are very well made.”

2)  Kabuli Palow at Ariana.  “I generally do takeout once a month, and Ariana’s lamb dish is always my choice. Perfectly seasoned rice, nice stewed lamb and the carrot & raisin relish is tasty. I need to stage there so I can learn how to make those carrots.”

3)  Maiale Milanese at Tavola.  “One of the fortes of Tavola is the use of acidity in the kitchen.  A little bit of lemon juice will make your food shine.  My girlfriend also loves the clams (I do too), never a single grain of sand.”

4)  Lunch Buffet at Himalayan Fusion.  “Buffets have never been my cup of tea but the one at Himalayan Fusion breaks my rule, sometimes twice a week.  I come early for freshness. A plate of food from scratch and always seasoned properly for $7? Best value in C-ville.”

5)  Coffee at Shenandoah Joe.  “My coffee is black with no sugar, so I am sensitive to burnt coffee. Shenandoah’s coffee is perfectly roasted.”

Andy McClure

Andy McClure, owner of Citizen Burger Bar, The Virginian, West Main, Three Restaurant, and The Biltmore.  McClure’s picks:

1) Eggs and Grits at The Pigeon Hole. “This relatively new Elliewood Avenue spot on the Corner is kitschy, fun, and cozy. The food is good, the people are good, and it’s a great addition to the Corner. It feels like one of those ‘been there forever’ breakfast joints in the Low Country.”

2) “Grab and Go” Sandwiches at Feast!. “They are all fast and easy and oh-so-good (they only make like 3 or 4 types), and the store itself is awesome. The amazing level of staff product knowledge at the cheese and meat counter is enough to make any restaurateur question their training program.”

3) Flat-top Burgers at Riverside Lunch.  “Grease everywhere, crispy edges, thick raw white onion, gooey American, and they’re served blazing hot.  When they’re on their game, they’re the best greasy spoon burger around. Plus I never really recommend getting gourmet burgers (or any large burger really) to go. Old school flat-top hamburgers travel really well . . . and sometimes gorging at home is all you want.  True burger lovers know that small diner-style burgers and large gourmet burgers aren’t really in the same universe, but they both can be perfect depending on one’s mood, and Riverside always helps my mood.”

4) Steak at the Downtown Grill.  “I love Mas…and I love TEN…and I love Continental, but sometimes you just need a giant steak, some raw oysters, and potatoes done 10 ways.  Gimme a bar stool, a well-cooked piece of meat, and a big red wine and I’m quite content. I can’t wait to see their renovations. In addition, I consider our little city so lucky to have a downtown area like we do, so an after dinner stroll on the mall is hard to beat.”

5) Late Night Cheese Breadsticks from The College Inn.  “The Corner is overlooked too often. It’s one of the oldest areas of town and offers the best bar crawl in the city. Though it has many food and drink staples, there’s nothing better for soaking up the booze after a night of excess than a nice delivery of cheese breadsticks with ranch from College Inn.”

Brian Helleberg

Brian Helleberg, the chef who owns Fleurie and Petit Pois.  Helleberg’s picks:

1) Marrow from Ham Hocks from The Rock Barn.  “To have Ben Thompson working his craft in Nelson County is a local foodie’s dream realized.”

2) Nachos at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “I got tricked into ordering these one time and I barely saved room for the pizza.”

3) Beef from Wolf Creek Farm.  “Richard Bean once said to me: ‘John Whiteside is about the best grass farmer I’ve ever seen.’  That’s good enough for me.  My favorite is the bone-in rib steak.”

4) Datil con tocino at MAS.  “The fact that Tomas is a vocal leader and supporter of the City Schoolyard Garden makes these taste even better.”

5) Eight Point IPA from Devil’s Backbone.  “I often tell people that I’m heading up to Wintergreen to do some skiing but I usually don’t make it past the brewery.”

Bill Scatena

Bill Scatena, sous chef at Pippin Hill Farm Table & Wine Bar.  Scatena’s picks:

1) Crispy Yucca with Salsa Verde at El Tepeyac.  “Authentic, Salvadoran cuisine done up in an approachable way. The yucca is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.”

2) Bloody Mary and Eggs Benedict at The Pigeon Hole.  “A hidden, local spot on the UVA corner.  Cross your fingers when trying to get in for Sunday morning brunch, but well worth the wait – especially for a spicy bloody mary. You can never go wrong with a bloody mary, especially when it’s in a mason jar – it’s always good.”

3) Kale Salad at Tavola.  “Everything about Tavola’s kale salad is memorable.  I’m not a huge salad guy, but the combination of sweet and salty flavors gets me every time.”

4) The Hell Sandwich at BBQ Exchange.  “I love spicy food. I love BBQ. It’s made by Brooks Tanner…enough said.”

5) Dried Fried Eggplant at Taste of China.  “Favorite dish in town, hands down. It gets better every time I eat it. It takes a lot of skill to make this dish with a crispy, flaky texture on the outside, yet light and airy on the inside. You have to try it.”

Richard Ridge

Richard Ridge of Restoration.  Ridge’s picks:

1) Country Ham and Apple Chutney Sandwich at Greenwood Gourmet. “It’s been on the specials board for as long as I can remember and I hope David and Nina never take it off. This sandwich is perfect. Fresh bread from Goodwin Creek Farm & Bakery and a balance of salt and sweetness from the country ham and chutney.”

2) Smoked Jalapeño Meatloaf Sandwich at SouthFork Food Truck.  “Phil has a great selection of comfort food that is uniquely him. It’s based in Southern food but he draws from so many other influences.  Whenever I see his truck I stop and buy this sandwich. The tartness of the green tomato salsa and the perfect toast on his sourdough bread make this a sandwich that you pick up once and don’t put down until its gone.”

3)  Bellissima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “A heaping pile of arugula dressed in a lemon vinaigrette on top of a country ham and fresh mozzarella pie. I love the feeling of the place and the staff too.”

4)  Profiteroles at Petit Pois.  “House made vanilla ice cream fills up cream puff pastries and is topped by warm ganache. Every element is done so well and they come together perfectly.”

5)  El Te Caldo de Res Con Arroz at El Tepeyac.  “This soup is a full meal with short rib, yucca, and potatoes with rice, onions, and cilantro served on the side. It’s warm and comforting, just like the owners and staff. This place used to be a counter in the back of a general store. Now they’ve built it out into a full restaurant. A lot of times when places expand something gets lost in translation. They’ve avoided that pitfall completely and I love having this restaurant as an option in Charlottesville.”

Walter Slawski

Walter Slawski, chef/owner of The Shebeen and The Catering Outfit.  Slawski’s picks:

1)  “Newest addiction.”  Notorious P.I.G. at Ivy Provisions.  “A charcuterie-lover’s dream in some of the best baguette outside of Paris. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to write a sandwich menu.  It’s HARD!  PK Kamath at Ivy Provisions has crushed it with inventive deli sandwiches and a killer beer and wine selection.”

2)  “Classic.” Escargot at Petit Pois.  “Anything at Petit Pois!  I have found myself on a gorgeous fall day, three bottles of wine deep (not alone), ordering a third and fourth plate.  Restaurant folk don’t often get out for dinner.  Petit Pois’ super affordable, perfectly executed bistro offerings are about as good as a daytime meal gets.”

3) “Afghan.”   Lamb Curry at Afghan Grand Market.  “WOW.  A couple of months ago I ran into the Grand Market International to buy chick pea flour and za’atar.  They have a kitchen in the back complete with a ceramic flatbread oven and kebab range.  OK, I obviously don’t know the correct names for these pieces of equipment, but WOW.  The lamb curry is phenomenal as well as the mixed grill and all the sides.  I know because one of the sons ensured I tried eveything my first time in!”

4)  “Joe.”  Kenyan AA from Shenandoah Joe.  “It’s as close to the first cup of coffee I ever had as I can get.  Not to mention I just feel good every time I walk in to the Preston Avenue store.  Ask for yours with a side of Dave Fafara.  It’s well worth it.”

5)  “Beer.”  Trader Saison at Three Notch’d Brewing Company.  “First of all, so much gratitude to Devils Backbone for pioneering the Central Virginia beer scene.  The boys at Three Notch’d are making you proud.  The Trader Saison is out of this world.  Even unconditioned.  Even uncarbonated right out of the steel.  Derek and Co. keep it up!”

Jason Oliver

Jason Oliver, Brewmaster at Devils Backbone Brewing Company.  Oliver’s picks:

1)  Lasagna at Beer Run.  “It doesn’t matter if it’s meat or vegetarian.  Every lasagna I’ve had at Beer Run is delicious, served smothered in bubbling cheese that’s hotter than the surface of the sun.  Let it cool for a few minutes and you’ll have some great comfort food, plus an awesome beer selection.”

2)  Shishito Peppers at Citizen Burger Bar.  “They are simple, straightforward, and delicious.  Flash fried peppers with an Asian inspired sauce that’s semi-sweet and salty.  Most of the time the peppers are mild but it’s a little like roulette because you may land on a hot one which can light you up.”

3)  Durban Spiced Chicken at The Shebeen.  “The Shebeen has a great relaxed feel to it and is unique for it’s South African inspired foods and atmosphere.  Durban Spiced Chicken is a peri-peri spiced chicken breast served with the South African staple mealie pap (think savory grits) and a sauce called “Voodoo” which is spicy and awesome.  I usually ask for additional side of Voodoo sauce.”

4) Mediterranean Salad with Wood-Roasted Salmon at Brixx Pizza. “Sometimes I want a cool refreshing dinner-sized salad and I have found few better.  The salad bowl is chilled, the lettuce crisp, the portion ample, with the blackened salmon hot, well seasoned, and straight from the wood fired oven.  Simple and pure.  A perfect salad when you want a light meal.”

5)  Cheeseburgers at Riverside Lunch.  “I was turned on to Riverside just a few months ago and they are really that good.  Riverside also has one of the best prices on local bottled craft beer in Charlottesville which makes the combination of awesome old school burgers and affordable beer a no brainer.”

Justin Ross

Justin Ross, of Parallel 38.  Ross’s picks:

1)  Cabrito Tacos Mexican Style at La Michoacana.  “Roasted habanero marinated goat.  Need I say more? Chicken tacos and a bottled coke is a very close second.”

2)  Beef with Mixed Peppers on Hot Iron Plate at Peter Chang’s China Grill.  “I rarely go a full week without this dish.  The beef is amazingly tender with the perfect amount of heat.  Peter Chang is a magician.”

3)  Martinis and Meatballs at the bar at Vivace.  “Their meatballs might be better than my mom’s, sorry mom!  Coming from an Italian family, good Italian is a must.  The only thing that makes this meal better is Paulie and his amazing Kettle One martinis.”

4)  Veal Sweetbreads at C&O.  “I’m not sure what’s better about our regular C&O date night, a much needed break with my lovely lady or the sweetbreads.”

5) Potter’s Farmhouse Cider and Will Richey’s House Smoked BBQ at The Whiskey Jar.  “The perfect end to a long day or the best start to a long night.”

Stuart Madany

Stuart Madany, cidermaker at Castle Hill Cider.  Madany’s picks:

1)  Apple Kraut from Farmstead Ferments. “Naturally fermented red and green cabbage, apples and a spice blend including allspice and juniper.  Crunch, tang, and aromatics.  Surprisingly addictive.”

2)  Esmontonian from Caromont Farm.  “An aged raw goat’s milk tomme cheese. Wonderfully nutty and complex.  Artisanal comfort food.”

3)  Red Curry at Lime Leaf. “I find Thai food to pair wonderfully with cider, and this is one of my local favorites.”

4)  Homemade Salad with Roasted Beets and Arugula from Bellair Farm and vinaigrette made with cider vinegar from Virginia Vinegar Works.

5) Elderflower Sunrise kombucha from Barefoot Bucha.  “Great balance, delicious, sustainable.”

Chuck Shelton

Chuck Shelton, cider maker at Albemarle Ciderworks. Shelton’s picks:

1) Kolsch 151 and Vienna Lager at Blue Mountain Brewery and Devil’s Backbone.  “It takes a lot of beer to make a good cider and these are two of my favorites.”

2) Caramel Apples by Rachel Willis.  “Rachel can usually be found baking for her ‘Cakes by Rachel’ label or selling homemade caramel apples at local markets and festivals.  Anything she makes is delicious.  I just finished a caramel apple with pecans and cranberries before writing this.  Yum.”

3) Belmont at Bellair Market.  “Bellair Market is a classic staple for Charlottesville residents.  I’ve never had anything from the market that I didn’t like.  My favorite would have to be the Belmont.”

4) Meat in Charlottesville.  “This sounds very generic but the local meat products in the Charlottesville region are fantastic.  I go for bratwurst, sausages, and beef from The Rock Barn, Croftburn Market, and Gryffon’s Aerie, among others.  And, of course, all are very complementary to cider!”

5) Red Row from Caromont Farm.  “When I am in the mood for cheese, any of Gail’s cheeses satisfy but the Red Row is my favorite.”

Bill Justus

Bill Justus, Executive Chef of The Boar’s Head Inn.  Justus’ picks:

1) Linzer Cookie at Foods of All Nations“Beautifully decorative sandwich cookies.  Great store with an extensive selection of choices, and knowledgeable, helpful, and courteous staff.  A Charlottesville institution for more than 50 years.”

2)  Spicy Chicken Wings at Fardowners.  “The essence of pub fare.  Good vibe . . . comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.  Friendly, attentive service.  The beer doesn’t get much more local than at Fardowners.”

3)  Burger at West Main.  “Unfailing.  Burgers are always hardy and flavorful.”

4)  Enchiladas Camino at Baja Bean Co.  “The shredded meats and the perfectly melted queso blanco sprinkled with fresh cilantro.  Good place for a quick lunch.  Always fresh and consistent.”

5)  Pizza at Fabio’s.  “Pizza is always on the mark.  Again, a great place for a quick meal.  Lots of parking, casual dining with indoor and outdoor seating.”

Diane Flynt

Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider.  Flynt’s picks:

1)  Apples from Vintage Virginia Apples.  “Apples of course!  Vintage Virginia offers many heirloom varieties, packed full of interesting flavor, with much more to offer than ‘sweet’ and ‘tart.’  Grimes Golden is my favorite sweet apple to mix in a pie, and the famous Albemarle Pippin, a spicy apple, tastes even better a few weeks off the tree.”

2)  Bloomsbury cheese from Caromont.  “Gail Hobbs-Page has won lots of acclaim, and for good reason. Her Bloomsbury cheese, made with milk from Silky Cow Farm is fantastic with a slice of tart apple.  Sara, the genius cheesemonger at Feast!, says this cheese is more complex than Brie, with soft texture and mushroom notes.  Agreed.”

3)  Doughnuts at Brookville Restaurant.  “Harrison Keevil fries a mean doughnut.  The Wine Spectator recently wrote about his little sugary gems.  While still warm, Harrison pipes in a dollop of apple butter, the seasoning of the season. You can’t eat just one.”

4)  Candied Apple Cocktail at The Whiskey Jar.  “For drinks, I often head to The Whiskey Jar and this time of year enjoy a Candied Apple Cocktail.  Made with Bowman Brothers Whiskey, caramel brown sugar simple syrup, lots of lemon to balance things out, Foggy Ridge First Fruit Cider, and a cinnamon apple slice to top, this drink shouts ‘autumn.’”

5)  Autumn Omelet at Beer Run.  “For an apple grower, brunch is a rare treat. But when possible I head to Beer Run for their Autumn Omelet (El Otono) with roasted butternut squash, Yukon gold potatoes, Vermont goat cheese and, of course, apples . . . and just savor being warm, dry, and off the tractor.”

Penn Webster

Penn Webster, sous chef of The Ivy Inn Restaurant.  Webster’s picks:

1)  Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch.  “I order mine with chili, onions, mustard, and slaw. That is ‘all the way’ where I come from in North Carolina, and Riverside does it right on.  You have to order a basket of fries and onion rings to share at the table.  Plus, the nice lady writes on your cup what drink you are enjoying with your meal!”

2)  Spanakopita from Mr V’s Kitchen.  “I have been eating Mr V’s wonderful pastry for years.  I just don’t tire of it ever.  On special occasions, he makes lahanodolmades, meat-stuffed cabbage rolls. They are 100 percent awesome. Plus, he makes a mean pizza as well.”

3)  Rock Barn Bratwurst and Barefoot Bucha Cherry Root at the Lockn’ Festival.  “Odd combo for sure, but at Lockn’ it just seemed right.  It kept me going for four days of fun and working the festival.”

4)  Tacos at La Michoacana.  “It really doesn’t matter what type of tacos you order.  They all taste good, and I end up smothering them with fresh hot salsa out of the squirt bottles anyway. It is cheap and tasty.  And, remember to bring cash.”

5)  Chicharron en Salsa Verde at El Tepeyac. “Not something I would recommend eating everyday, but it is so good and spicy. I think I broke out in a sweat last time I ate it.”

James Lum III and Matt Greene

James Lum III and Matt Greene of JM Stock Provisions & Supply.  James and Matt’s picks:

1)  Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch.  “It’s pretty much everything I want in a burger, and Riverside is everything I want in a restaurant.” – Matt

2)  Blueberry Cake Donut at Spudnuts.  “Life altering.” – James

3)  Aioli at MAS Tapas.  “It made me rethink how I make aioli.” – Matt

4)  Everything at The BBQ Exchange.  “Go hungry and order everything.” – James

5)  Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya.  “If there’s a dish involving pimento cheese on a menu, I get it.  This one doesn’t disappoint.” – James

Nick Crutchfield

Nick Crutchfield, bartender at Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar.  Crutchfield’s picks:

1)  Corned Beef Hash at Bluegrass Grill and Bakery.  “Their corned beef hash is the stuff that a breakfast lover’s dreams are made of.  Hands down the best I’ve ever had.  Ever.  Then, we head home, go into a food coma, wake up, and head to Champion for some pints.”

2)  Chef’s Counter at Clifton Inn.  “My favorite date night place for my wife and I to head to is the Clifton Inn. I love the whole place, but when we go, I prefer to sit at the Chef’s Counter in the kitchen and go through the tasting menu. This is by far my favorite restaurant that I have ever had the joy of dining in.”

3)  Pan con Miel at MAS Tapas.  “Mas is where you can find me on a late and quiet night.  The sherry menu, pan con miel, carne asada, and seared tuna are my go to items.  But, I love anything that Tomas and his staff pull together.”

4)  Ol Dirty Biscuit at Ace Biscuit and BBQ.  “For lunch I usually try to eat at home due to the amazing abundance of produce we have in the area, but if I go out it’s to Ace Biscuit and BBQ. Holy smokes! (See what I did there?) It is impossible to go wrong with ANYTHING on their menu!”

5)  Egg Salad Sandwich from Greenwood Gourmet with Sparkling Wine at Afton Mountain Vineyards.  “It’s not fair that I have to narrow this to five. Alas, it is the Five Finds though. Number Five would have to be a nice day out in the country, stopping by Greenwood Grocery and picking up some quality sammies and heading to Afton Mountain Vineyards to sit on the patio with great company and relax with a bottle of their sparkling wine. My favorite sparkler to this day.”

Jason Alley

Jason Alley of Pasture. Alley’s picks:

1)  Cheeseburger and Chili Dog at Riverside Lunch.  “This place is so rad, really old school and comforting for me.  We used to go to the old location years ago when my band would come to town to play shows.  It fit our budgets well, and was always exactly what we needed after a late night.  I love that they do small burgers, so you can also cram in a hot dog.  It’s also on the way to the new restaurant when we are driving in from RVA.”

2)  Yucca Frita Con Chicharron at El Tepeyac.  “We are still exploring town, trying to find our way to the next delicious spot.  What a joy to come across this truly authentic Salvadoran/Mexican joint so close to Pasture.  I’ve eaten the whole menu (in only three visits) already, but always have the yucca.  The starch is perfectly cooked, and the crispy pork is as intensely porky as anything I have ever eaten.”

3)  Everything at Mas Tapas.  “Tomas has been a dear friend for years, and every time we have supper there I am reminded of what a talented cook he is (as are all of his chefs), and what it means to be a gracious host.  Any fresh vegetable in season is a must, and of course those crazy good shrimp.”

4)  Beverage Program at The Whiskey Jar.  “This place reminds me so much of home.  The Southern food is always great, but it is also the perfect place to enjoy a great local beer or cider, and a glass of well curated American whiskey.  Also, the folks here are really great.”

5)  Tasting Menu at The Clifton Inn.  “To say that Tucker at Clifton is talented is a bit of an understatement.  Every time I eat here I gain a new appreciation for the abundance that central Virginia has to offer.  The techniques that he employs always work to highlight the ingredients being used.  Smart stuff here.”

Brooke Fedora

Brooke Fedora, who runs Horse & Hound Gastropub with her husband Luther.   Fedora’s picks:

1)  Bun Thit Nuong (Pork Vermicelli) at Moto Pho Co.  “This dish is light, healthy, and delicious.  I could eat it everyday. “

2)  Pulled Pork BBQ Platter at Buttz BBQ.  “Chris does a great job with all of his sauces, meats and sides.”

3)  Pan Fried Dumplings at Kyoto.  “My 5 year old son is obsessed with dumplings and these are his and my favorite in town.”

4)  Pistachio Cupcake at SweetHaus.  “These cupcakes are fresh daily and perfect for celebrations or a sweet snack.”

5)  Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo.  “These hit all the flavor points on your tongue and leave you wanting more.”

Aaron Cross

Aaron Cross, executive chef of Fossett’s at Keswick Hall.  Cross’s picks:

1)  Vegetable Lo Mein at Made in Asia.  “For those who don’t live near Zion Crossroads, it has saved me on many a random night around 9:00 pm in need of grub.  I’m glad it’s there because nothing else is . . . for miles.  I stick to the take-out classics.”

2)  Sandwiches at Stonefire Station Kitchen.  “Fresh, creative, and super tasty.  Great pit stop on a long bike ride.  Famished or not, any of their selections will satisfy.  Grilled eggplant is a big winner.”

3)  “Fuzzy Thing” at Dragon Lady.  “Sometimes you find yourself at the bar of the Dragon Lady drinking something called a ‘fuzzy thing’ after dinner.  Don’t judge me.  The owner told me I needed to have the dan-dan noodles but I was too full to oblige.  Maybe it was Ninja Warrior on the bar television that made this such a uniquely satisfying experience. . . guess you’ll have to cast your own vote.”

4)  All You Can Eat Snow Crab Tuesday at Rhett’s River Grill.  “It does not get any better before Kegler’s for pitchers of 8 point IPA and an ugly shoe fashion show.  The dude abides.”

5)  Sweetbreads at MAS Tapas.  “I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to eating at Mas more than most native Charlottesvillians have, and I’ve only been here a little over a year.  It’s my Friday night after work spot.  It is the only place slinging serious food after 11:00.  Their aioli and cocktails sate all end of day aches . . . or a couple tips on the porron.”

Justin Van der Linde

Justin van der Linde of Smoked BBQ Co.  Van der Linde’s picks:

1)  Chili Broth Steamed Mussels at Zocalo.  “The smokey, spicy broth is awesome along with the grilled tortillas.  Never been there without ordering the mussels!”

2)  The Whole Menu at Kabuto.  “Super fresh, super friendly, and fairly priced,  This place is my new go-to!”

3)  Smoked Turkey Croissant at The Blue Ridge Pig.  “Yes, I do get extra dill sauce.  Don’t judge me!  Worth the ride every time.”

4)  Blueberry Spudnut at Spudnuts.  “I’m not sure how you make donuts better, but Spudnuts sure does.  If you haven’t been . . . Go!”

5)  Burger at Riverside Lunch.  “‘Flat Out’ still the best!  Crispy, cheesy and so delicious!”

Jarad Adams

Jarad Adams, sous chef of Clifton Inn.  Adams’ picks:

1) Tacos de Lengua and Sopes con Longaniza at El Tepayac.  “This Mexican/Salvadoran restaurant is dishing out some of the tastiest (and least expensive) food in town.  Definitely wash it all down with an ice cold Michelada.”

2)  Pork Belly with Leeks at Taste of China.  “Skip the American menu and head straight for the pork belly with leeks.  My wife loves the crispy fish scented with cumin and green onions.  We stumbled in looking for some Chinese food close to home, and I don’t think we have been to anyone else in town since then.”

3) Octopus at Orzo.  “Chef Tommy and his crew make some rock solid food.  Seriously, I don’t get in there enough.  A great meal accompanied by a glass of wine and an after dinner stroll downtown for people watching makes for a really nice date night.”

4)  Annie Oakley pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  (Spicy buffalo chicken breast, pineapple, pickled jalapeno peppers, mozzarella, and cheddar.)  “After a long hike on a day off, nothing beats a pie and a cold beer from these guys!”

5)  Meals at Home with my wife Nikki.  “We work opposite schedules so when we are both home we often just turn on some music, make a mess, laugh and create something together. The antithesis to a crazy week at work!”

Matt Boisvert

Matt Boisvert of C&O.  Boisvert’s picks:

1)  Falafel at Blue Ridge Country Store.  “They make it daily and it is shaped like a cookie, usually by the salad bar.  It’s the best in town, and usually my number one choice for lunch downtown.”

2)  Shrimp Tempura at Kabuto.  “It’s always very well prepared and different from regular tempura because they dredge the shrimp in tiny flakes so its extra crispy.  I always get a side of Japanese mayo.”

3)  Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup at C&O.  “I’ve been eating this tomato soup in one form or another for years, and nothing beats this and a Makers and ginger after a long day.”

4)  Pastry Basket for brunch at Hamiltons’.  “Curtis and his team are killing it lately and sometimes they fry Cronuts (croissant donuts) for the pastry basket.  Enough said.”

5)  Heaven Sandwich at BBQ Exchange.  “This sandwich is the real deal, and you can’t find better people than Craig, his wife, and his team to support.  Worth the drive!”

Hernan Franco

Hernan Franco, chef of Beer Run.  Franco’s picks:

1)  Chimichanga at El Puerto.  “I really enjoy the freshness of the sides.  The lettuce, tomato, guacamole and beans are all great.”

2)  Triple Delight at Asian Express.  “The food quality is fantastic and the service there is excellent.  She always recognizes my voice over the phone.”

3)  Gus Burger at The White Spot.  “This is a Charlottesville classic. I go to The White Spot specifically for this burger with a fried egg on top.”

4)  Beef & Shrimp Red Curry with a Thai Iced Tea at Lime Leaf Thai.  “I love the spicy dishes here, and though I’m not normally a tea guy I always order their Thai iced tea.”

5)  Burger at Five Guys with provolone, jalapeño, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo with fries.  “The beef here seems really fresh, and I like being able to make a burger however you like.  The seasoned fries have a nice kick.”

Vincent Derquenne

Vincent Derquenne, chef and co-owner of Bang, Bizou, and The Space.    Derquenne’s picks:

1)  Ham and Brie Sandwich with Cucumber Salad at Bashir’s.  “Get a coke and the sports section and disappear for a half hour.”

2)  Glazed Donut at Spudnut’s on Saturday morning.  “Way better than the sugar-coated that my son likes.  (He’ll grow out of it and realize his father was right all along).”

3)  Pistachio Burma with Yogurt at Aromas Cafe.  “This is it one of the best balanced desserts I know, especially after Moroccan cuisine.”

4)  Pastrami on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s .  “I change options every time so I don’t seem boring, but always on an everything bagel.  And of course the cream cheese on a plain bagel that saved me so many times on the way to school. Or back from it! Thanks Bodo’s.

5)  An Afternoon at Veritas Vineyard and King Family Vineyards.  “You go with friends, get a glass, and enjoy the time together.  I easily forget to do it, but when I’m there I always think I should do it more often.”

Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess, chef and co-owner of Bang, Bizou, and The Space.  Burgess’s picks:

1)  Tofu Steak at Now & Zen.  “Toshi is a master sushi chef who came back to the kitchen after a long hiatus.  Incredible value.  Oddly enough, I get the tofu steak every time I go.”

2)  Pastrami and Swiss on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s.  “Am I exaggerating by saying we might have the world’s greatest high volume fast food restaurant (3) here in Cville?  Think about it.”

3)  Octopus at Orzo.  “Tommy Lasley is a talent.  His enthusiasm for cooking bleeds into his dishes.  Go during a weeknight when he’s cooking.  His bitter green ravioli with chicken sausage was awesome, but it’s his octopus, whichever way he does it, that is off the charts.”

4)  Da Vinci Sandwich at Mona Lisa (three-seed baton with genoa salami, sopresatta, provolone cheese, tomato, mixed greens, house dressing and sun-dried tomato pesto).  “I love Mona Lisa.  I can’t put my finger on it, but there is such a pleasant vibe in that place.  Great pizza, sandwiches, little freebies, and a pasta zip line, what’s not to love?”

5)  Belly Q at BBQ Exchange.  “You have to love what Craig is doing at the BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville.  The BBQ is great, the bacon stupid (in a good way), and then bacon brownies?  This is a guy who is talented and loving what he is doing.  It shows.  It’s already a destination BBQ place.”

Dylan Allwood

Dylan Allwood, sous chef of Brookville Restaurant.  Allwood’s picks:

1)  Gambas al’ parilla at Mas.  “Everything that Tomas and his team come up with is delicious, but I have to get these giant shrimp with garlic aioli whenever I go.”

2)  Fried Chicken at Wayside.  “Wayside’s chicken is always juicy and crispy – everything that I want in fried chicken.  I love dipping it in the mashed potatoes and gravy.  I hit this spot up on my days off for lunch – a little more often than I should.”

3)  Whiskey on the patio at Miller’s.  “My cooks and I always go for a drink after the brunch shift.  It’s my favorite place to sit and relax after a stressful week in the kitchen.”

4)  Hell Sandwich at BBQ Exchange.  “I have known Chef Craig for a few years and he is always trying to get me to try his latest hot sauce experiments.  The hell sandwich is painful to eat, but I end up ordering one almost every time we make the hike to Gordonsville.”

5)  Foie Gras at Ivy Inn.  “If I see foie on a menu I have to get it.  Chef Angelo’s foie dishes are some of the best I’ve had.”

Gail Hobbs-Page

Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farm. Hobbs-Page’s picks:

1)  Amy’s Arugula Salad at Pippin Hill Farm Table and Wine Bar, with Albemarle sour cherries, duck confit, sunny side up farm egg, and Caromont Farm’s chévre.  “I frequently go to Pippin Hill because of its close proximity to Caromont Farm. I am in awe of Amalia’s food and the Southern Albemarle Ridge view.  There are moments when everything comes together for me — I ‘vacation’ here.  I cannot stop thinking about this salad.  Simple, yet balanced, bright and harmonic.  This is field-to-fork at its best and a lot closer than Napa.”

2)  Chicken Curry and/or Pork Dumplings with Sesame Noodles at Got Dumplings.  “On Saturday mornings my day begins at 4 a.m.  After way too much Shenandoah Joe Smoky Mountain Roast on an empty stomach, I NEED these dumplings to survive!  They pan sear them just a bit for a crunchy edge and dress them with a citrusy  ponzu sauce.  The chilled noodles are perfectly dressed with a not-too-sweet sesame sauce and dusted with toasted sesame seeds.  They also provide spicy Sriracha for those who can handle spicy food in the morning (which I can).  Lately, I’ve been adding a dose of Radical Roots greens on top.  Authentic street food you can eat while walking around the market.”

3)  Spices at the Spice Diva.  “They make me want to get in my kitchen and cook.  The shop is a jewel, and I hate to blow the whistle because it’s so tiny, I fear that when folks figure out what FRESH, VIBRANT, QUALITY spices can do for chefs and home cooks alike, you won’t be able to get in  there.  Currently my favorite curry blend (and there are many) is the Vadouvan, a French green curry too complex to contemplate.  We have a lot of cabrito to use up around here, and this makes it easy.  The black truffle salt isn’t bad either. The list goes on and on.”

4)  Stewed Cabbage and Pinto Beans  at Mel’s Cafe with freshly chopped onions and a side of stewed tomatoes.  “Tastes like my Momma’s, and that is saying something.  Pete’s on the table and the tea is sweet.  Got a tear in my eye.”

5)  Jalapeno Cheeseburgers at the Howardsville General Store.  “Caromont Farm is out there (off winding country roads) and our culinary choices are limited, so thank GOD for Gwen and her crew!  Burgers are real, tomato is home grown, the crinkle cuts are fried to order, and the chicken salad and coleslaw are homemade.  Get the cheeseburger with jalapenos and take a book.  This is a fine local experience on the banks of the James River.”

Brooks Tanner

Brooks Tanner of Barbeque Exchange. Tanner’s picks:

1)  Sunday Brunch at Hamiltons’.  “Chef Curtis Shaver and his kitchen ninjas reinstated an old tradition lost to Hamiltons’: Sunday Brunch.  And boy, I am excited he did.  The Grilled Ashley Farms Chicken Breast Sandwich on Housemade Ciabatta with Pimento Cheese, House Pickles, Arugula and Brown Sugar Cured Bacon is super solid.  I also indulge in the Wagyu Corned Beef hash as it is a killer side.  Abby’s scones are a hidden gem that I have not been able to find in any bakery around town.  They are in fact the best I’ve ever had.  Sorry Mom.”

2)  Chicken Liver Pate with Cabernet Sauvignon jelly, house-cured pickles and toast at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.  “Chef Amalia’s pate is better than the view from the patio.  Her old-school ‘ass-kicking’ approach to food inspires me every time we chat.”

3)  Sally’s Sazeracs at the Glass Haus Kitchen.  “These are a treat.  They consist of Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Absente Absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters, simple syrup and orange rind.  They will ease your mind after a long day in the hospitality biz.  I hate to write about the Glass Haus and not mention the food.  It is amazing and the menu reflects only the very best of what’s to offer. It changes frequently and is very foodie!  I never know what will be served that evening but it always exceeds even the highest of expectations.”

4)  Jalapeno Lime Cream Cheese at Bodo’s.  “It is ridiculous.  You can really put in on anything, it’s that good.  For myself, I go with the Everything Wheat Bagel BLT.  Sometimes I go back later and get a Everything Wheat Bagel with Chicken Salad, tomato and sprouts.  There is something magical about that particular cream cheese that keeps me yearning for more.”

5)  Family Meal at Palladio Restaurant.  “This is an invite only, exclusive, VIP secret to people in the know.  Luckily, I am one of those people (and now you are too).  Chef Melissa’s family meal at Palladio is insanely good.  Although it is for staff only at a certain hour daily (that I can not reveal), served in the kitchen – standing room only, I find myself planning my visits to her exactly at this moment.  I can’t help myself, I would eat there everyday if I could.  There are no limits as to what she prepares for her staff but it is a fringe benefit that should not be overlooked.  Oh, and her pecan-sticky buns are spot on.  And the best part, somehow I get the friends and family discount!! Thanks Mel!!”

Tomas Rahal

Tomas Rahal of MAS Tapas, who focused on some of his current daytime favorites.  Rahal’s picks:

1)  Double Macchiato from Shenandoah Joe.  “Sometimes this is a meal, others a reward.  Perfect pitch by the baristas at Shen Joe.”

2)  Blueberry Spudnuts from Spudnuts.  “Maybe they remind me of my aunt Eulalia’s nutmeg donuts, or Lori just knows I’m a sucker for these hot out of the oil.  Simple pleasure.”

3)  Fried Chicken and Waffles from Ace Biscuit & Barbecue.  “Need I say more? Brian and staff hit this one out of the park.”

4)  Pulled Pork from BBQ Exchange.  “The whole hog and nothing butt the whole hog.  Want some awesome hickory-smoked protein?  Shake a leg to Gordonsville and be prepared to wait.  You can’t hurry perfection.”

5)  The awesome homemade Sandwiches from Breadworks.  “Taste just like Mom’s!”

Steve Monson

Steve Monson, winemaker at Early Mountain Vineyards.  Monson’s picks:

1)  Black Smoke Kolsch at Champion Brewing Company, in collaboration with Glass Haus Kitchen.  “Anyone can hide bad brewing with a bunch of hops (I do it all the time) but this beer shows off a mastering of malts which give this medium bodied beer layers of complex flavors from caramel to toasted sesame seeds.”

2)  Pulpo on Parrilla at Mas Tapas.  “I like to pick this dish apart so I can enjoy the perfectly cooked octopus on its own, leaving a pile of pork to face on my own terms.”

3)  Everything Bagel with Lox Spread at Bodo’s.  “They serve other things? Maybe next year.”

4)  Margarita at Continental Divide.  “The simple, fresh ingredients really complement blanco tequila for a clean cocktail.  But, I might go for aged tequila if I’m feeling swarthy.”

5)  Fried Oysters and a Potter’s Craft Cider at The Whiskey Jar.  “The cider really cuts through the fried batter.  It’s like every oyster is the first.”

Matthew Hart

Matthew Hart, chef of The Local.  Hart’s picks:

1)  Sunday Lunch at Palladio.  “Palladio was my favorite special occasion restaurant long before I married Melissa, their lovely and talented chef.  Sunday is my favorite day to go, and not only because it is the only day I can manage to make it out there.  After a busy weekend the perfect way to unwind is a leisurely lunch and glass of wine (okay, maybe a couple glasses of wine) and good company.  Since my lovely wife is invariably cooking the food, I like to bring my ten year old son who is already smart enough to know good food when he tastes it, and loves Palladio as much as I do.”

2)  Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s.  “Yummy.  What kind of cheese?  American.  Don’t tell anyone please, because I know it is terribly unchefly, but when it comes to egg sandwiches and burgers, American cheese is gooey delicious.  Being a chef, whenever I travel, I always try to eat the regional specialties in order to sample the best dishes as they are meant to be prepared.  When I was younger and would find myself in New York, I would always ask around for the best bagel place because everyone always said that was where the best bagels were.  Now, when in New York, I order whatever I am in the mood for because I had a lot of good bagels, but never one that was better than what Bodo’s serves all day, every day.”

3)  Pork at BBQ Exchange.  “Being outside of my regular stomping grounds, I don’t make it out to the BBQ Exchange as often as I would like.  Fortunately, it is not too far out of the way for my wife to swing by and scoop some up on the way home.  What do I like to eat there?  Everything!  As long as it is pork I am a happy camper.  (I am sure that the non-pork meat offerings are good there as well, but I have not found a good reason to deviate.)  Round it out with collard greens, macaroni and cheese (better get extra because my son can eat his own body weight in mac-n-cheese), some slaw, and some of the spicy pickles and that is about as good as it gets.  Craig Hartman really shows that when a chef, who’s fine dining game is as good as anyone’s I know, turns his ambitions towards BBQ, then great things happen.”

4)  Pizza at Ciro’s Pizza.  “Ciro’s Pizza in Waynesboro is something I grew up eating and it is still my favorite pizza in the world.  In my family, on your birthday, you get to pick what everyone eats, and we have been having Ciro’s Pizza since I was 12 years old.  Judging by how old I feel, that is about 75 years of birthday dinners.  My parents still live in Waynesboro, and Ciro’s Pizza helps ensure that I am a dutiful son and visit as often as I can.”

5)  Blue Crabs on the Beach with my Family.  “Every year my family gets to sneak away for a week and we go to the Outer Banks for some R&R.  One of the highlights for me is getting a bushel of crabs, some potatoes, some corn, some shrimp, and whatever else looks good at the market and throwing together a crab boil.  I literally look forward to this all year long.  Dinner takes about three hours as we sit around and pick crabs and drink beer.  I always get way more crabs than we can eat so that I can eat them for lunch the rest of the week.  This is my favorite meal in the world and the crabs are only a small part of the recipe.  Every year, I prepare this meal and sit down with my loved ones to eat it.  The crabs taste great, but when mixed with the company and the memories of sharing this meal in years past, they become something indescribably delicious.  This is what food and drink is all about.  Making memories while breaking bread and sipping wine (or in this case beer).”

Melissa Close-Hart

Melissa Close-Hart, chef of Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyard.  Hart’s picks:

1)  Crispy Shrimp with Pickled Ginger-Sesame Aioli & Honey Sambal Drizzle at The Local.  “The chef, Matthew Hart, who also happens to be my husband, jokes that customers may revolt if he takes these delicious crispy shrimp off the menu.  Truth of the matter is he knows that I might revolt.  Just kidding, honey.  I love to sit at the bar with a cocktail and these shrimp!  It makes for a happy wife!”

2)  “Family Dinner” at The BBQ Exchange.  “Since I work out in Barboursville and live in Charlottesville, I can stop by and see my mentor, Craig Hartman, at his now famous BBQ joint.  His pork is perfect.  Everytime!  And he’s smoking a lot of pork – thousands of pounds a week, I’m sure.  But back to the Family Dinner: 1 pound of pork, 3 sides (we choose Mac & Cheese, Southern Slaw & Collards), 2 sauces (we go for Hog Fire & Craig’s Carolina), 4 buns and 4 pumpkin muffins.  And you can’t forget those muffins!  Yum.  And all for less than $25.  Can’t beat it!  Pick up a six pack of Blue Mountain brew on the way home and life is good!”

3)  Drunken Noodles with Chicken, Spicy at Pad Thai.  “From the first time I had their noodles, I was sold.  The balance between the spice, the acidity, the sweetness and the herbs is just perfect.  Plus I really love how crispy they let the noodles get.  I have to admit I get noodles from them almost every week!  Pairs very well with a nice cold sweeter wine, like Barboursville’s Riesling or even the Dry Rose (not as sweet but works well with the spice).”

4)  Any of the Southern Creations at Rapture.  “Chris Humphrey and I are cut from the same cook’s cloth.  We grew up on southern soul food and his interpretations always please me, my palate and my belly.  Last time I was there we had Cherry Coke Braised Pork Cheeks over Grits.  What the bleep!  I was in pig heaven.  And that’s a place I like to go often.  Have some gumbo and fried green tomatoes to start and some draft beers and you will feel transported to the deep South, y’all!”

5)  Donuts at Spudnuts.  “Jacob, my stepson, likes when I drive him to school, because he knows that I can be talked into stopping by for a donut.  I couldn’t tell you which is my favorite because that would be like picking a favorite child.  They are all great in each of their own ways.  But if I HAD to pick, I’d have to say the basic glazed, especially if they are warm.  But you can’t go wrong with the apple fritter either.  The kitchen and office crew at work like when I go because I’ll usually pick up an extra dozen to share.  Got to share the donut love.  The hardest part is waiting the 30 minutes it takes to get  to work at Barboursville so I can have a cup of Shenandoah Joe’s Palladio Blend with my donut.  Well to tell you the truth, I usually have one on the way.  I have no self control!”

Pei Chang

Pei Chang, chef of TEN Sushi.  Chang’s picks:

1)  Meatloaf Sandwich at Stonefire Kitchen.  “Artisanal sandwiches and salads engineered by Jeremy Butterfield, a kitchen witch who’s just giving us a taste.”

2)  Octopus Carpaccio at Glass Haus Kitchen.  “It goes without saying that Ian Boden and his team are putting up the most interesting food in town.  Inspired combinations that just work.”

3)  Pappardelle Ragu at Tavola. “The perfect neighborhood restaurant.  Mike and Loren kill it nightly.”

4)  Short Ribs at Hanu Truck.  “A fellow So-Cal transplant who is sharing the flavors of Los Angeles, Koreatown and the surrounding areas with Charlottesville.  And, he’s doing it well.  Can’t go wrong with the short ribs, be it tacos, mulitas or tortas.  “

5)  Spinach Balls by Caroline Chang.  “Wifey’s spinach balls are a wonder to behold.  I’m a fan of spinach as well as food in ball form.”

Treat Huey

Treat Huey, former UVa tennis great, now a highly ranked doubles player.  Huey’s picks:

1)  Yuca and Caramont Farm Goat Cheese Fritters at Commonwealth.  “This appetizer is ridiculously good.  Then you can not go wrong with any of the entrees especially if you get the smashed, roasted red potatoes as a side.  A great meal and then heading upstairs to Skybar to have a drink when there is good weather is a great way to end a day.”

2)  Local “Double H Farm” Berkshire Pork Chop at The Local.  “Get the blackberry cobbler with house made vanilla ice cream for dessert.  All the food is great, and the restaurant building and decor are also  reasons I come back and eat here as much as I can.”

3)  Cajun Crusted Tilapia wrap with Chipotle Dressing and Salt and Vinegar Chips at Zazus Fresh Grille.  “I have this at least once a week when I am in town.”

4)  Lunch Buffet at Milan Indian Cuisine.  “When I am really hungry, the lunch buffet at Milan is my go to.  One of my friends, Sanam, who moved here from India five years ago, took me here for the first time a few years back after raving about it and I have been hooked ever since.  The naan, curries and tandoori chicken are must haves.”

5)  Pasta al Forno and House Salad at Bella’s.  “Start with the large Bella’s house and then have the Pasta al Forno. Two people sharing these is the perfect amount of food.  Also, I recently ate at the bar because there was a wait and my friend and I got to talking with Ayo the bartender.  He’s a great guy and made dinner even more enjoyable.”

Jonathan Wheeler

Jonathan Wheeler, Sparkling Winemaker at Trump Winery.

1)  Oysters on the Half Shell at Blue Light Grill and Raw Bar.  “Super fresh, tastes just like the ocean should.”

2)  Ginger Braised Pork Tamale with Mole Sauce at Commonwealth Restaurant.  “Goes great with their En Fuego cocktail.”

3)  Hudson Valley Duck breast with Navy Bean Cassoulet at L’Etoile.   “Great savory flavors.”

4)  Steak au Poivre at the Downtown Grill.  “Anytime I want perfectly cooked steak I go here.”

5)  Umali Brûlée at Savour Restaurant.  “A puff pastry with pudding, candied pecans, and coconut that is a great way to end the meal.”

Tracey Love

Tracey Love, Event Coordinator at Blenheim Vineyards, Sales & Marketing Gal at Best of What’s Around, and founder of Hill & Holler.  Love’s picks:

1)  Shredded Tofu Skin in Chili Sauce at Peter Chang’s China Grill.  “Nothing gets the mouth watering like cold, shredded, tofu skins with cilantro and a plethora of chili oil.”

2)  The Fat n’ Sassy at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “Otherwise known as a four cheese pizza disguised as ‘cheesy bread,’ studded with roasted garlic, cut into squares, and served with house-made ranch dressing.  Broccoli optional.  Extra ranch not optional.”

3)  Bucatini All’Amatriciana at Tavola.  “So simple, so good, yet impossible to re-create at home. I could eat this everyday – and the fellas at Tavola can attest to that.”

4)  Tachos at Fardowners.  “Translation = tater tot nachos piled high with all the fixins.  Best shared with friends and pints of local beer.”

5)  The Riviera at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery.  “Hands down, the best tuna sandwich, period. Filled with quality tuna, olive oil, capers, red onion and magic. Served on crusty Goodwin Creek bread.  What’s not to love?”

Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman, of Barefoot Bucha.  Zuckerman’s picks:

1)  Ragu Bolognese at Bella’s. “Add the house salad, the calamari fritti, and a bottle of Italian red. You’ll definitely have leftovers.”

2)  Datil con tocino (bacon-wrapped dates) at Mas Tapas. “Sweet, savory, sizzling slow food.”

3)  Pork Gyoza at Now & Zen. “Try them with the spinach and eggplant dish and a roll or two.”

4)  Pastrami & Swiss on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s. “Don’t hold the mustard, horseradish, and lettuce.”

5)  South Side of Heaven crepe at The Flat. “Local sausage from the awesome folks at the Rock Barn, spinach, and cheese–super filling, local ingredients, and under $10.”

Curtis Shaver

Curtis Shaver, executive chef of Hamiltons’ at First & Main.  Shaver’s picks:

1)  Crispy Fried Eggplant at Taste of China.  “Taste of China is consistently good.  The soup dumplings are great too.”

2)  House-smoked Pastrami Reuben at Fardowners.  “The fact that they use pastrami and smoke it themselves makes this Reuben top notch.”

3)  Animal Crackers at Glass Haus Kitchen.  “What’s not to love about fried chicken skins and pigs ears?”

4)  Gyro or Souvlaki at Mykonos Cafe.  “A lunch time favorite of mine.”

5)  BBQ at BBQ Exchange.  “Craig is a culinary mastermind and his BBQ is worth the trip to Gordonsville.  Worst part is I never can decide on a sauce. They’re all so good.”

Alex George

Alex George of Commonwealth Restaurant and SkyBar and Just Curry.  George’s picks:

1)  Shrimp and Grits at Horse & Hound.  “Luther Fedora’s shrimp and grits  are amazing!  The best damn grits I’ve ever had.”

2)  Almond Croissant at Paradox Pastry.  “Jenny Peterson does an absolutely fantastic job with these croissants.  I have at least two a week.”

3)  Crispy Skate Wing with Linguini Aglio at Tavola.  “This is one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long, long time.”  (Note:  This was also a pick in our feature on Tavola.)

4)  Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Sandwich at Market Street Market.  “With pear, honey, and basil on ciabatta bread, this is my favorite anytime sandwich.”

5)  Cornmeal-crusted Fried Oysters at Maya.  “Christian Kelly’s fried oysters are a must-have every time I go there.”

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy, chef/owner of Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  McCarthy’s picks:

1)  Hot Sicilian sandwich at Durty Nelly’s Wayside Deli.  “Rye bread makes life better, plain and simple.”

2)  Fried Chicken at GOCO on Cherry Ave.  “There is a lot of fried chicken out there, but this is the BEST hands down.”

3)  Crab Cakes at Duner’s.  “The real deal, lots of lump crab and pleasantly seasoned.”

4)  Pork Souvlaki Dinner at Tip Top Restaurant. “They know how to hook it up!”

5)  Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb at Ivy Inn Restaurant.  “Everything Angelo touches turns to gold, but the rack of lamb at the Ivy Inn is perhaps his biggest culinary achievement.”

Jenny Peterson

Jenny Peterson of Paradox Pastry.  Peterson’s picks:

1)  Olde Salt Oyster Stout at Champion Brewing Company.  “All of the beers here are wonderful, but a weekend afternoon spent sliding oysters along with this beer is indelibly etched on my palate.  Perfection.”

2)  Carne Asada at MAS. “I feel so unadventurous and borderline boring by ordering this dish every time I go to Mas.  I just can’t not order it.”

3)  Fried Mussels and Truffled Fries at Skybar.  “We work long days on Fridays at Paradox and afterward, my Sugarista Sue and I head to the Skybar for a refreshing beverage.  The fries are a staple and the mussels have replaced my former favorite, the fried oysters!”

4)  Our Famous Veggie Pizza at Blue Mountain Brewery.  “After delivering wedding cakes to one of the many wineries in the area, I treat myself to this pizza and always offer to share with the folks sitting with me at the bar.”

5)  Blueberry Handpie at Paradox Pastry.  “It’s . . just . . . perfect.  Love you hold in your hand!”

Gerry Newman

Gerry Newman, Master Baker at Albemarle Baking Company. Newman’s five picks:

1)  BBQ Lovers 3 Meat Platter at BBQ Exchange.  “Worth the drive!  My family loves to head over on a Sunday afternoon when the weather is warmer and squeeze in one of the front porch picnic tables.  My son and I share a 3 Meat Platter of brisket, pulled chicken, and pork belly.  We’re always trying different sides and Chef Craig never disappoints.”

2)   St. Brendan Omelet and Caesar Salad at Bodo’s.  “Millie and I have been Bodo’s fans for over 23 years.  We used to drive over from Covington, Va before we moved to Charlottesville and would always get a dozen bagels to have back in our rural post.  Now, my youngest and I like to share the St. Brendan omelet and a Caesar salad.   Good food and the price is right.  Though, as my daughter points out, you need to be mindful of social engagements after the garlic-y Caesar.”

3)  Upstairs Window Table at C&O.  “Every meal at C&O is a winner.  I love the Berkshire Pork Saltimbocca while Millie prefers the Cuban Ribeye Steak.  Our favorite table is upstairs by the center window, but it doesn’t really matter where we sit because when Dean is in the kitchen, we know we are in for a stellar dining experience.”

4)  Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch.  “I first ate at Riverside years ago when it was at the west end of Free Bridge (now home to CVS).  It was small, crowded, loud and you entered close enough to the grill that you could lend a hand with the lunch rush, if need be.  Today, when the five of us go to to Riverside for lunch we make sure to order a basket of fries first to share while we wait for our sandwiches.  I always get the cheeseburger all-the-way and I always leave happy.”

5)  Pimento Cheese Fritters with Pepper Jelly at Maya.  “My mom visits from Portland, Oregon every winter and loves going to Maya while she is here.  If you have five or six people in your party, get a double order of these babies.  Crispy on the outside, slightly melted on the inside, and full of flavor with the pepper jelly.  Go on Tuesdays when they have the Chicken Fried Chicken and entrees are twelve bucks.  Christian also makes a creamed cabbage that is out of this world.”

Christian Kelly

Christian Kelly, chef and co-owner of Maya.  Kelly’s five picks:

1)  Linguini Alla Carbonara at Tavola.  “Simply delicious.”

2)  Stone Pot of Pork and Potato Balls at Peter Chang’s China Grill.  “Peter Chang’s Spring festival menu is unbelievable!”

3)  Hot Chocolate at Splendora’s.   “It’s really melted chocolate instead of what we think of as hot cocoa.”

4)  Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo.  “Always perfect, a classic!”

5)  Deviled Eggs (brunch) at Rapture.  “Simple, delicious, like Grandma’s ‘cept better.”

Hunter Smith

Hunter Smith, owner and brewer at Champion Brewing Company.  Smith’s picks:

1)  Tres Colores Fish and Chips at Beer Run.  “I don’t know what it is, but this fresh twist on a pub favorite really nails it for me.  Moderate spicy heat, and really fresh pico on top of crunchy catfish is perfect with an IPA for me.”

2)  Carne Asada at Mas.  “I could order at Mas by using the menu as a dartboard and always be happy, but I particularly love the melt-in-your-mouth eyelid-squeeze-inducing carne asada.  A showcase of amazing beef that seems to just barely touch the grill.  Carnivore indulgence.”

3.  Baltimore-Style Pit Beef Sandwich at Ace Biscuit & BBQ.  “Brian catered our soft opening party and it was love at first bite. (Forgive the cliché.)  Everything I’ve had there is fantastic . . . . We rarely have time to do lunch outside of the brewery because of hectic brewdays, so when we can, we plop down at Ace and I love the tender, juicy Baltimore-style pit beef with a smooth kick from the horseradish sauce.  Can’t skip the side of fried green tomatoes.  Always motivated to work out after a trip to fat kid heaven.”

4)  Tacos de Lengua at La Michoacana.  “We have been the fortunate offsite venue of choice for La Michoacana to set up their truck and by god is their food every bit as amazing from the truck as it is at the restaurant.  Nothing off of the list is less than great, but I love the chewy and flavorful tongue, prepared ‘Mexican’ style, with their green hot sauce.  3 of these plus a Missile IPA = so bangin’.”

5)  Duck Confit at The Clifton Inn.  “I recently attended a beer dinner at Clifton Inn, and as usual Tucker, Tyler, and Collin were swinging for the fences. The highlight for me was duck confit with roasted endive, cocoa nib nougatine, and cherry fruit leather.  Seriously?  Seriously.”

Brice Cunningham

Brice Cunningham, chef-owner of Tempo.  Cunningham’s picks:

1)  Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Oysters and a Special at Maya.  “I start with a nice bottle of white wine and the cornmeal-crusted oysters and then usually have the special for the night.  The guys in the kitchen are always doing something fun for the Southern food lover’s palate.”

2)  Cocktails at Commonwealth.  “When I need a good cocktail I head to Commonwealth’s bar and chat about cheese and wine with Steven, the manager there.”

3)  BLT Sandwich at Bagby’s.  “I love a good old fashioned BLT for lunch from Baggby’s.”

4)  Pain au Chocolat at Albemarle Baking Company.  “For the perfect pain au chocolat, I always turn to Albemarle Baking Company.”

5)  Dinner at Clifton Inn.  “When I have friends in from New York or Europe, I take them to the Clifton Inn to enjoy some of Tucker Yoder’s creative cooking.”

Ian Redshaw

Ian Redshaw, Chef de Cuisine of L’Etoile.  Redshaw’s picks:

1)  Lunch at Pippin Hill Vineyard.  “Chef Amalia Scatena has some great food, wine and views.  My dog and I go out there to eat and play.”

2)  Muffaleta at Beer Run.  “Muffaleta, any time anywhere, especially at Beer Run.”

3)  Meat and Cheese Counter at Feast!.  “Some of the best people with the best products.  Great time while waiting for your lunch.”

4)  Bibimbap at The Korean House.  “A hot stone boil comes out sizzling, with a sunny side up egg.”

5)  Drunken Noodle  “Thai hot” at Pad Thai or Monsoon Siam.

Loren Mendosa

Loren Mendosa, sous chef of Tavola.  Mendosa’s picks:

1)  Veal Sweetbreads and Fried Brussels Sprouts at L’etoile with capers, parsley, lemon, fleur gris and aioli.  “Perfectly cooked sweetbreads are hard to find and Ian Redshaw does just that.”

2)  Fried Chicken & Waffles at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue.  “I love the fact that Brian uses fried chicken thighs instead of breast meat for this dish. I’ve always been a thigh guy.”

3)  Spicy Tuna Tartar at Zocalo.  “This and a Parliament Gimlet is a must for me anytime I’m at Zocalo.”  Note: This was also a “chef’s pick” at Zocalo.

4)  Sake Roll at TEN Sushi.  “I’m a sucker for a spicy roll and the fresh jalapeno in this one is perfect.”

5)  “Coffee and Doughnuts” at TEN Sushi.  “TEN gets two picks because they have two great chefs, Yoshihiro Tauchi and Pei Chang. This dessert is my perfect way to finish a meal, tender beignets and sweet creamy coffee.”

Tim Gearhart

Tim Gearhart of Gearharts Chocolates.  Gearhart’s picks:

1)  Fried Oysters with Chipotle Aioli at Duner’s Restaurant.  “An absolute staple.”

2)  Beef Short Rib at Zinc.  “This is one of the most memorable meals I have had in Charlottesville in quite a while.  Grits, roasted cauliflower . . . ridiculous.”

3)  Beef Jerky at The Organic Butcher.  “I have a serious addiction to beef jerky. Don’t judge me.”

4)  A perfectly poured Duvel beer on tap at Mas.  “Maybe enjoyed with a few raw oysters and I am not sure it gets better.”

5)  Chocolate Praline Crunch Cake Dome at Albermarle Baking Co..   “Even after being around a whole bunch of chocolate all day,  I can still do some damage on one of these.”

Dan Potter

Dan Potter, co-owner of Potter’s Craft Cider.  Potter’s five picks:

1)  Southside of Heaven at The Flat. “An eye-opening experience to what a crepe can be.  Perfect after a long night out, big enough to feed two, but usually gone before anyone else gets a taste.”

2)  Freedom Ranger Chicken from Free Union Grass Farm.  “These birds are very active and run around more than a standard Cornish Cross.  Any way you choose to cook it, they have the tastiest thighs you will ever try.”

3)  Hemingway’s Paris by Forage.  “I’m very excited for the next dinner from Megan Kiernan and Justin Stone, the curators of Forage.  These two put together more than just an incredible meal – they create ‘holistic occasions meant to be enjoyed by all the senses.’  Every part of the experience is worth savoring.”

4)  The Horny Goatburger at Black Market Moto Saloon.  “Organic spiced goat with avocado, bacon, Gouda and cilantro lime sauce – what else is there to say?”

5)  Fried Chicken with Collards at The Whiskey Jar.  “Simple, but delicious.  This is a staple meal done well.  It’s always nice to enjoy at the end of a long week alongside a cold drink.”

Jennifer Keevil

Jennifer Keevil, Manager and co-owner of Brookville Restaurant.  Keevil’s five picks:

1)  “Omakase sashimi, sushi, and sake at TEN Sushi.”

2)  “A refreshing  Greyhound and grazing off the late night menu at C&O.”

3)  “Shopping and tasting all the raw milk cheeses and charcuterie at Feast!.”

4)  “Gambas al’ parilla  smothered in aioli, and homemade sangria at Mas.”

5)  “A perfect runny egg on anything at Brookville.”

Mike Yager

Mike Yager, sous chef of the new Glass Haus Kitchen.   Yager’s picks:

1)  Charleston Wings at The Lazy Parrot Grill.  “On boys’ night out, that’s the place we go to get the best wings in town.  And, Charleston is by far the best flavor.”

2)  Bison Burger at Beer Run.  “Best beer selection in town by far, and the burger is a bad mamma jamma.”

3)  Hamachi Collar at Ten Sushi.  “Everything Pei does is awesome.  Hamachi collar just happens to be one of those things.”

4)  Hangar Steak at Petit Pois.  “I love steak frites, and I love hangar steak. You can’t go wrong with hangar steak and french fries that are done right.”

5)  PBR at Miller’s Downtown.  “Something about that bar makes PBR taste better than it already does.  Maybe it’s the dirty bar scene with loud music (Barling and Collins amazing Sunday night entertainment), or maybe it’s the fact that they have the best bartenders in the world right at my front door.”

Angelo Vangelopoulos

Angelo Vangelopoulos, chef/owner of Ivy Inn.  Vangelopoulos’ picks:

1)  Nachos at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  “It’s the first thing that comes to mind when I decide to make the trip to North Garden.  I love the Jack London pizza, but the nachos make me come back over and over.”

2)  Moroccan Wrap or Chicken Shawarma Wrap at Aromas Cafe.  “It’s a toss up: the Moroccan wrap with the world’s tastiest eggplant or the shawarma.  Hassan and his staff make the experience memorable — great place for a lunch date.”

3)  The Chef’s Counter at Clifton Inn.  “It’s like eating in your own kitchen if it was staffed with five great chefs and a great service staff.  The snacks and courses seem to be endless.”

4)  Chorizo Potatoes with a side of Homemade Tomatillo-Avocado Sauce at Cafe Cubano.   “It’s so good I’ll eat yours too.”

5)  Goat Vin D’Alho and Naan at Milan Indian Cuisine.  “Ask for extra napkins and order another beer.  It’s succulent, spicy and soul warming.  Don’t even try to eat without using your hands.”

Josh Hunt

Josh Hunt, co-owner of Beer Run.  Hunt’s five picks:

1)  Cheeseburger “All the Way” and a Coke in the Bottle at Riverside Lunch off High St.  “As someone who grew up on the east side of Charlottesville, the Riverside has been an institution since long before I started going in the 80′s with my brothers and step-dad, to the old location on Long St., where the CVS is now.  I’ve been all over this country and I haven’t found a better or more classic cheeseburger.  Plus, the service is probably the fastest in town.”

2)  Boquerones Con Ajo at Mas.  (Plump white Cantabrian anchovy filets in an olive oil, garlic, lemon marinade).  “Man, these anchovies are a thing of beauty — briny, fresh and plump, resting perfectly in olive oil.  I think Tomas has some in-depth secret process that makes these so amazing.  Excellent with a crisp white wine or a glass of Duvel Belgian golden ale.”

3)  Baltimore-style Pit Beef Sandwich With Creamy Horseradish Sauce and a Cheerwine at Ace Biscuit & Barebecue.  “When I go to Ace, I  just let Brian & Gabby in the kitchen tell me what to order.  I’ve yet to leave disappointed . . . or hungry.”

4)  Lunch Buffet at Milan Indian Cuisine.  “My girlfriend Chelsea turned me on to Milan, and its fantastic buffet, with a selection of delicious curries, rice, veggies, meats, chutneys, salads, naan and sauces.  It also happens to be a great spot to meet my mom, who is a vegetarian and loves it.”

5)  Fried Lotus Root at Peter Chang’s China Grill.  “Holy Toledo, these things are like the best shoestring fries you’ve ever had, but better and flavored with spicy Szechuan peppers and spices.  The are only available in season and fantastic with beer (like most things).  Tip: Always order at least one item off of the hand-written page on the back of the menu.  There are great authentic and seasonal dishes on that page.”

Tim Edmond

Tim Edmond, co-owner of Potter’s Craft Cider.  Edmond’s picks:

1)  Soft Pretzel at Early Mountain VineyardsIf you haven’t ventured to Madison to check out this winery, the soft pretzel is reason enough.  They also have an awesome selection of Virginia wines and partner with wineries from across the state.  The fact that it is beautiful, they are steadfast supporters of Virginia wine and have committed to donate all profits to the Virgina wine industry, those are good reasons to check it out too.

2)  House-made Sorghum Butter at The Whiskey JarI could eat it by itself but usually put it on hush puppies or ham biscuits.  Love this place, love the food and the understated local ingredients.

3)  Goat Pasanda at Milan.  I order this extra spicy with garlic naan.

4)  Ginger Kombucha from Barefoot Bucha with a Hot Donut from Carpe Donut.  A favorite Saturday morning ritual is to walk the dog to Carpe Donut.  The kombucha is awesome and I love that you can also find Barefoot Bucha on draft at places like Blue Mountain Brewery, Whole Foods, and The Whiskey Jar.

5)  Dinner at ForageThis is a ridiculously awesome supper club from chefs Megan Kiernan and Justin Stone. They cook some of the best food in Charlottesville that is either foraged, bought, or bartered from local sources.

Luther Fedora

Luther Fedora, chef/owner of Horse & Hound Gastropub.   Fedora’s picks:

1)  Singapore Mi Fung at Red LanternThese noodles are my favorite when ordering takeout!

2)  Virginia Prosciutto & Mozzarella Sandwich at Feast!This is a great lunch option when I am on the go.  It is fresh, local and delicious.

3)  Potato Rosemary Bread at Albemarle Baking CompanyThis is one of the Saturday specials and it is one of my favorites.

4)  Royalty Parties Sushi Platter at Tokyo Rose.  This is a Monday night tradition at my house and it is my son’s favorite meal.

5)  Rack of Lamb with Potato & Swiss Chard Gratin at Fleurie.

Tyler Teass

Tyler Teass, sous chef at Clifton Inn.  Teass’ picks:

1)  Nugget’s Raw Kombucha at City Market.   I love all fermented foods, and all of their flavors of kombucha are really tasty.

2)  Cocktails at 9 1/2 SpeakeasyIt’s got great cocktails, and they keep it quiet.  It’s a great place for after work drinks or dates.

3)  Vegetable Soup with Bread and Butter on the late night menu at C&ODelicious and hits the spot especially now since the weather’s gotten colder.  Plus, they play great music.

4)  Duet of Lamb “Greek Style” at Ivy InnAngelo is the nicest guy ever and makes awesome food.  His gyros are worth the trip to Ivy alone. 

5)  Larb at Thai SiamIt’s one of a kind and I constantly crave their food. 

Ian Boden

Ian Boden, head chef of Glass Haus Kitchen.  Boden’s five picks:

1)  Tacos de Carnitas at La Michoachana.

2)  Crispy Pork Belly at Peter Chang’s China Grill.

3)  Date Night at Ivy InnMy wife took me there for my birthday.

4)  Daily Specials at TENPei’s creative specials are off the hook!

5)  Baklava at Balkan Bakery at City MarketTheir baklava reminds me of what my grandfather used to make.

Dahlia Lithwick

Dahlia Lithwick, who is not just the nation’s leading Supreme Court writer, but also a lover of Charlottesville food.  Lithwick’s picks:

1)  Truffled Mushroom Ragout at The LocalMy ongoing problem is that although I love everything on the menu at The Local, if I don’t get the truffled mushroom pasta I get depressed.  Also, the one time I got a half-order I got depressed too.  Best just to scarf down the whole bowl and smile.

2)  Coriander Fish Rolls at Peter Chang’s China GrillThese are stupidly delicious.

3)  Must Khiar (cold yogurt soup) at Ariana Grill Kabob HouseYou are either a cold soup person or you aren’t.  But if you are and you haven’t had this one, you should.  Dunk their bread in it.  Use it as raita over everything!  Oh my god, just writing this makes me need some Right Now.

4)  Boquerones con ajo at Mas.  (Plump white Cantabrian anchovy filets in an olive oil, garlic, lemon marinade).  Possibly not a first-date food.

5)  Black Bean Breakfast Burrito at Bluegrass Grill and BakeryBut I could have picked any breakfast item at random and said the same.

Larry Sabato

Dr. Larry Sabato, director of the UVa Center for Politics, whom the Wall Street Journal once called “probably the most quoted college professor in the land.”  Dr. Sabato’s picks:

1)  Melanzane al Parmigiano at TavolaThis really gets back to my Italian roots.  Tavola is a great addition to the Charlottesville culinary scene.

2)  Vegetarian “Blue Plate Special” at Hamiltons’A classic, perfect every time.

3)  The Haystack  at the Horse & Hound.  Stack of roasted vegetables, goat cheese, pesto, and sprouts, on multi-grain bread.  Horse and Hound is a favorite at the UVa Center for Politics.  They have a great menu and also do a wonderful job on catering.

4)  Donut Ice Cream Sandwich at Carpe Donut.  Cinnamon-sugar donut sliced in half and layered with homemade vanilla ice cream.  The perfect food to fulfill one’s guilty pleasure.

5)  Cookie Dough Archer at Arch’s Frozen Yogurt.  Lots of cookie dough in vanilla frozen yogurt.  Students aren’t the only ones who love Arch’s!

Chris Humphrey

Chris Humphrey, chef at Rapture.  Humphrey’s picks:

1)  Goat Vin d’ Alho at Milan.

2)  Pastrami and Swiss on an Onion Bagel with onions and mustard at Bodo’s.

3)  Fried chicken (leg and thigh with potato wedges) at GoCo. [Note: This was also our pick in a Two for Tuesday.]

4)  Mousse de Foie de Volaille at Petit PoisPolyface Farm chicken liver mousse with toast points and green salad. [Note: This was also our pick in a Two for Tuesday.]

5)  Sweetbreads at C&O.  Sweetbreads with sultanas and green peppercorns in a marsala cream sauce over toasted brioche.

Coy Barefoot

Coy Barefoot, best-selling author, radio personality, adjunct faculty member at UVa, Founding Partner and Creative Director at, Founder and Editor-in-Chief at, and Ironman Triathlete.   Barefoot’s picks:

1)  Spicy Chicken Pizza at Christian’s Pizza.

2)  50 Blend at Cafe Cubano.

3)  Sesame Chicken at Red Lantern.

4)  Turkey on a Sesame bagel (or everything or garlic) with tomato, cheddar (or swiss or muenster), mayonnaise and mustard, hot and cut at Bodo’s.

5)  Crab Benedict at The Nook.

Amalia Scatena

Amalia Scatena, Executive Chef at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, and former Chef de Cuisine of Fossett’s.   Scatena’s picks:

1)  Pollo Tacos with Salsa Verde at La Michoacana.

2)  Avocado Tempura at TEN.

3)  Capesante ai Ferri, at Tavola.  Pan-roasted sea scallops, leek-beet risotto, white truffle oil.

4)  Jowl Bacon with Fried Eggs at Maya (brunch).

5)  Gyoza Dumplings at Now and Zen.

Megan J. Headley

Megan J. Headley, Food & Wine Editor of C-VILLE Weekly.  Headley’s picks:

1)  Honey Bunch at Java JavaMy unofficial office makes these same cookie-meets-mini muffins as C’ville Coffee, and while they’re not as BIG at Java Java, they’re more densely packed with the oats, coconut, honey, brown sugar, butter, and flour that make them so chewy…and so perfect for breakfast!

2)  Ginger Scone at Albemarle Baking CompanyMade only on Fridays, these buttery delights packed with spicy chunks of candied ginger and topped with crunchy turbinado sugar sell out fast.  Wait, did I say Fridays?  I meant, um, Wednesdays.

3)  Vodka Gimlet Up with Fresh Lime and a Splash of St-Germain at ZincJust about any bar who doesn’t mind my Sally in When Harry Met Sally ordering style (and who carries the fragrant elderflower liqueur) will make this, but I love the airiness of the bar at Zinc and the attention they devote to their cocktail program.

4)  Bellissima Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust at Dr. Ho’s Humble PieIt’s been mentioned before, but I’ll mention it again: A chewy, charred whole wheat crust (made with Steadfast Farm’s wheat) strewn with roasted tomatoes, puddles of fresh mozzarella, ribbons of fresh basil, sea salt, shavings of salty Turner Country Ham, all topped with local arugula that’s been tossed with shaved parmigiano, lemon, and olive oil? My favorite salad and my favorite pizza in one perfect pie.

5)  Melanzane al Parmigiano at Tavola Michael Keaveny’s recipe is the best I’ve ever had.  Thin rounds of eggplant get breaded with a secret ingredient (I’ll never tell!) and lightly fried before being stacked on the plate, free form, with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmigiano cheeses between the layers and a bright, garlic- and basil-laced San Marzano marinara sauce all around it.

Somdev Devvarman

Somdev Devvarman, UVa tennis legend and food lover.  Devvarman’s picks:

1)  Warm Medley of amFog Wild Mushrooms at Ivy Inn.

2)  Cigar Rolls and Drunken Noodle at Monsoon Siam.

3)  Chicken w. Three Peppers in Hot Iron Plate at Peter Chang’s China Grill.

4)  Every omelet (as long as you get home fries) at Bluegrass Grill and Bakery.

5)  Buffet Lunch at Milan.

Tucker Yoder

Tucker Yoder, Executive Chef at Clifton Inn.  Yoder’s picks:

1)  Rock Barn Bratwurst at Beer RunI am a big sucker for these.

2)  Espresso from Sidamo beans at Shenandoah JoeDave [Fafara, owner] turned me onto this a while back and I crave it every time I go in there.

3)  My Wife’s Muffins with Flour from Wheatberries from Steadfast Farm.   My wife is a big baker and makes fresh muffins for breakfast from flour she mills from fresh wheatberries from Steadfast Farm.  It really adds another dimension to the morning.

4.  Lunch Buffet at Himalayan FusionWith four kids, we don’t eat out much, but when we get a chance we really like the lunch buffet at Himalayan Fusion.  The kids will eat naan and Butter Chicken for days.

5.  Jam from Jam According to DanielOur house is big fans of Daniel’s jams, especially the fig, damson plum, and anything with holy basil in it.

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson, Founder and Master Brewer of Starr Hill Brewery.  Thompson’s picks:

1)  BBQ Sandwich and a cold Northern Lights at Three Notch’d GrillMade with love by my lifelong friend Hayden Berry.

2)  Hippie Wings (with Ghost Rider sauce if you dare) and Festie Amber Lager at Fardowners with Grover the chef/owner.  (Hippie Wings are breaded Portabella mushrooms tossed in your choice of sauce.)

3)  Picnic lunch from Greenwood Gourmet Grocery.  The food is as excellent as the company of Dave and Nina.

4)   Gambas al’ Parilla at Mas, to catch up with Tomas, and because you can still taste the garlic the next day.

5)  Any place that serves Starr Hill beer, because the best beer in the world is always the one in front of you.

Taylor Smack

Taylor Smack, co-owner and brewer at the beautiful Blue Mountain Brewery.  Smack’s picks:

1)  Crispy Pork “Cheerwine” BBQ at Maya.

2)  The Goat Herder at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar.

3)  Datil con tocino at Mas.    Medjool dates roasted inside of applewood-smoked bacon.

4)  Pad Thai with Tofu at Downtown Thai.

5)  Fried Chicken with Collards at The Whiskey Jar.

Vu Nguyen

Vu Nguyen, owner of Zinc and Moto Pho Co.  Nguyen’s picks:

1)  Sausage, Egg and Cheesse,  Coffee, and a Chocolate Glazed Donut at SpudnutsReally doesn’t need an explanation.

2)  Veggie on Rye with House Dressing, add Watercress and a Side of House Dressing, 1/2 pint Exotic Grains, and Rte 66 Dill Pickle Chips at Take It Away.  I’m not a vegetarian.

3)  Bamee Moo Dang at Pad ThaiWonton Noodle Soup is what they call it on the menu, which is weird because the literal translation is Ramen Red Pork.

4)  The bar and the man who makes it, Paulie, at Vivace.

5)  Four C’s on a Sugar Cone at ChapsThis is a recent revelation for me, thanks to my better half, Laura, replacing Arch’s Swirl with M&M’s as indulgence #1 (besides Talisker).

Brian Ashworth

Brian Ashworth, the former Zocalo sous chef and owner of Ace Biscuit & Barbecue.  Ashworth’s picks:

1)  Deli Egg on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s.

2)  Tom Yum Noodle Bowl with Beef Tongue at Pad Thai.

3)  Gyro at The Villa.

4)  Spicy Tuna Tartar at Zocalo.

5)  Korobuta Pork Belly Sandwich at The Box.

Kirsty Harmon

Kirsty Harmon, Winemaker and General Manager at Blenheim Vineyards.   Harmon’s picks:

1)  Fried pickle chips at Tavern on the James.

2)  Roasted Almond gelato at Splendora’s.

3)  Kanpachi sashimi at Ten.

4)  Burrata at Tavola.

5)  Bellissima pizza at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.

Michael Keaveny

Michael Keaveny, chef/owner of Tavola.  Keaveny’s picks:

1)  Crispy Rock Shrimp Tempura at Ten.

2)  Tacos de Carnitas at La Michoacana.

3)  Fried Chicken at Brown’s.

4)  Sausage, Egg, & Cheese on an Onion Bagel at Bodo’s.

5)  Pho Special at Lime Leaf.  (Weekends only.)

George Cohen

George Cohen, Chair of the UVa Faculty Senate, who led the faculty’s effort to secure the reinstatement of UVa President Theresa Sullivan.  Cohen’s picks:

1)  Lox and Vegetable Cream Cheese on an Everything Bagel at