The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Afton Mountain Vineyards

Five Finds on Friday: Priscilla Martin


They love wine, restaurants, and each other. After last week’s picks from Will Curley, today’s Five Finds on Friday come from his fiancée, 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.”

Five Finds on Friday: Elizabeth and Tony Smith


Photo by Jen Fariello.

On Fridays, we feature five finds from local chefs and personalities.  It’s Virginia Wine Month, so today’s picks come from Elizabeth and Tony Smith, owners of Afton Mountain Vineyards. The month brings many great excuses to visit the beautiful vineyard.  Every Sunday from 11-2 are Mimosa Mornings, and on Sunday October 25 and Saturday October 31, the vineyard will host the outstanding new food truck Cote-Rotie. Smith’s 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.”

Five Finds on Friday: Nick Crutchfield


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Charlottesville’s leading mixologist, Nick Crutchfield of 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.”

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