The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Barbecue Exchange

Five Finds on Friday: Brooks Tanner

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On Fridays, we feature five finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Brooks Tanner, who recently rejoined chef Craig Hartman at Barbecue Exchange, after previous stints with him at Fossett’s restaurant and The Statler Hotel.  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!!”

Five Finds on Friday: Tomas Rahal

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On Fridays, we feature five finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from 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!”

Five Finds on Friday: Melissa Close Hart

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On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from four-time James Beard award semi-finalist Melissa Close Hart, chef of Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyard.  On June 9, Palladio will be celebrating the release of Barboursville’s 2012 Vermentino Reserve with a multi-course dinner with guest chef Roberto Donna, who Esquire Magazine last year named national Chef of the Year.  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!”