The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Belle

Five Finds on Friday: Susan Sweeney

Cake Bloom_Susan Sweeney

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Susan Sweeney, of Cake Bloom, which is brightening lives of seclusion with cake delivery. Have a beautiful cake delivered to your door, and, while you’re at it, the door of a friend — like the cake below going out to a Charlottesville business celebrating a third birthday today. 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.”

cake

Food Find: Cinnamon Roll at Belle

cinnamon roll

During one of my recent visits to Belle for a breakfast sandwich, baker Scott Shanesy emerged from the kitchen to tell me how pleased he was with his recent batches of cinnamon rolls. He displayed the earnest excitement of a passionate cook who had nailed it. As if I were not already sold, immediately after we spoke, one of Charlottesville’s better chefs entered Belle, ordered breakfast, and, unprompted, began congratulating Shanesy on his cinnamon rolls, which he had tried on a previous visit. “Honestly, man,” he said, “best cinnamon roll I have had in a long time.”

Now that I have had one, I see what they mean.

Shanesy uses a sourdough that he ferments for 48 hours, which not only adds flavor but also yields a roll that retains a pleasantly soft texture all day long, without drying out. He incorporates a touch of orange into the glaze, giving it a citrusy tang that complements that of the dough. If any of this sounds off-putting, it is because my words do not do justice to the finished product. Shanesy’s well-considered tweaks do not offend the palate as unnecessary cheffy deviations. Rather, the result is a traditional cinnamon roll experience, enhanced.

 

Five Finds on Friday: Bo Stockton

Stockton

Stockton’s son.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Bo Stockton, new owner of Michael’s Bistro and Tap House. A longtime manager of Charlottesville restaurants, Stockton says the biggest thing he has learned is that the keys to a restaurant’s success are “good food and good service at a quality price.” With an institution like Michael’s, Stockton is treading slowly with changes, but will debut a new brunch menu this weekend, and has started adding dinner items too. 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.”

Hellboy