The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Ben Jordan

Splendid Sorbet and Gelato at Splendora’s


Beyond being a science wiz, PK Ross’ greatest virtue in making gelato and sorbet may be her sensitive palate. At discerning flavors, few people I know are as gifted as the owner of Splendora’s. One unfortunate consequence of this trait is that a large number of her delicious experiments never reach the display case. I’ve had the good fortune of being a guinea pig for her trials, and while they are almost invariably outstanding, few meet her satisfaction. “Too ____,” she will say, no matter how much I like it. Just fill in the blank.

Her latest rejection was magnificent, a sorbet blending chocolate and an extraordinary apertif/digestif called War & Rust, made locally by Ben Jordan. Years ago, I wrote that War & Rust was “destined for cult status,” a prediction I had all but given up on until I recently read that it indeed has a “cult following.” (Who knew!) Whether a following or not, it is excellent, and marries particularly well with chocolate, as Vincent Derquenne did for the Charlottesville Mt. Rushmore Chef dinner.

This time, it turns out, it was not Ross who rejected the concoction, but the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chemistry prevented Ross from getting the sorbet’s alcohol percentage low enough for her to sell it without breaking state law. Alas, at a heady 5%, it is a magnificent creation I’ll never have the pleasure to buy. Just dream about.

Even without War & Rust, though, PK’s case is currently stocked with many (legal) creations that are more than worth your time and money. Go. Sample. Enjoy.

Five Finds on Friday: Ben Jordan


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Ben Jordan, winemaker and general manager of Michael Shaps Wineworks, which has just launched a brand new tasting room and also introduced wine growlers, a great new way to buy wine.  Jordan also has his own side project in aromatised wines and bitters, and has bottled the cult-favorite War & Rust.  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.”

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