The Charlottesville 29

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

Duner’s Laura Fonner to Appear on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games

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Duner’s Laura Fonner is going to be on TV. On December 11 at 9 pm, the chef will appear on the Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, Guy Fieri’s program where chefs face one another in grocery store cooking competitions. In the episode to feature Fonner, Charlottesville’s own chef philanthropist will square off against three other “charitable chefs” in a Holiday Cook-off, with the winner to take home up to $20,000.

Plans for a viewing party are in the works. Stay tuned for details on how you can join the Charlottesville community in rooting her on.

Five Finds on Friday: Portia Boggs

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Portia Boggs of The Local Food Hub, which, in parternship with Junction and Monticello Wine Trail, is hosting an upcoming benefit called What Grows Together Goes Together. November 7 at Junction, the wines of five local wineries will be paired with appetizers by chef Melissa Close-Hart. to illustrate the natural pair-ability of food and wine from the same region. Tickets are $50 each and include a wine glass to take home. All proceeds benefit Local Food Hub. Tickets and details here. Boggs’ 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.”

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Cross Bread: Introducing Pye Dog Pizza

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There’s a new mobile pizza oven from a chef who trained at Lampo. But, says chef Kelsey Naylor, it is a whole different animal from the Belmont pizzeria where she once worked.

A joint effort between Naylor and Anna GardnerPye Dog Pizza gets its name from a term for stray dogs in Asia. Naylor says it is meant to capture the Asian influences in their food, as well as the fact that their approach does not fit into a typical pizza mold.

Currently sous chef of The Alley Light, Naylor has worked not just at Lampo, but also TEN Sushi, Public Fish & Oyster, and Timbercreek Market, among others. Gardner is likewise a veteran of top Charlottesville restaurants, including Junction, Oakhurst Inn, The Ivy Inn, and Public, where she and Naylor discovered their affinity for cooking together.

For such accomplished chefs, why pizza? “Pizza is a great base to make a variety of different things,” says Naylor. “We were living in Japan all of last year and it was there that we saw just how flexible pizza can be, which made us want to explore how other countries interpret pizza, aside from what we know about it.”

And so, while Pye Dog will offer staples like basic cheese and standard meat and vegetable options, their bread-and-butter will be more exotic creations. Unlike Lampo’s traditional Neapolitan style, Pye Dog will use a pizza dough closer to New York style to build pies inspired by cuisines outside Italy. Naylor’s favorite, for example, is the bulgogi steak and cheese pizza, a nod to her Korean heritage. Another in the works is smoked salmon, shaved red onion, cream cheese sauce, and arugula salad, atop a crust seasoned with “Everything” bagel spice blend.

Naylor and Gardner are also excited to use their wood-fired pizza oven for other purposes, like biscuits they have worked hard to perfect. For their opening menu, the menu of wood-fired biscuit sandwiches will include one with country ham, smoked pear butter, Anjou pears, and manchego cheese.

Look for Pye Dog Pizza’s debut this Saturday at City Market right next to the booth operated by Naylor’s mother, Sussex Farm.  Follow along on Facebook for additional dates and locations.