The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Clifton Inn

Five Finds on Friday: Mitch Willey

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On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Mitch Willey, owner of Clifton Inn, home to one of Charlottesville’s most influential restaurants, and recent winner of yet another award as C-VILLE’s best hotel or inn.  Clifton has just introduced a brand new a la carte menu, a first for the longtime prix fixe restaurant, which Willey says now “enables guests to stop by for just soup and salad or pasta and dessert, paired with the perfect glass of wine.” Clifton is also fast-approaching a milestone and big celebration. On October 22, the inn will host a 30th anniversary, poolside dinner dance “to honor the many gifted artists who started their culinary careers at Clifton,” says Willey.  Also, that night, Willey says, Clifton “will share some very exciting news. Stay tuned!” Willey’s picks:

1) Corn Cakes at Tip Top.  “I love to start the day being greeted by the delightfully friendly and efficient wait staff at Tip Top on Pantops. I settle into a window booth with my three morning papers (where the natural light is plentiful and I catch a nice view of the Blue Ridge) and order the corn cakes with a side of bacon. Decadent but splendidly so.”

2)  Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya.  “One of our early chefs at Clifton, Christian Kelly (who the staff quickly designated as our resident George Clooney), has created a cult following at Maya and I am one of those cult members! I especially love to start a delicious dinner with Christian’s pimento fritters — light and cheesy, and the pepper jelly is divine. A perfect start to a terrific meal.”

3)  Pulled Pork at The BBQ Exchange.  “Craig’s pulled pork, with his creative array of sauces, is the way that I reward myself if I have really been working out because the indulgence is so amazing that I can only justify it if I have earned it!”

4)  Grilled Pork Chop with Grilled Peach Salad at Brookville.  “Harrison has so many delightful interpretations of pork that I find myself trying something new each time. In fact, my daughter’s rehearsal dinner was hosted there last Labor Day primarily because of this!”

5) Pear Ravioli at C&O.  “I can’t go very long without a generous helping of Dean Maupin’s pear ravioli at C&O — a dish he featured at my other daughter’s wedding when he was the chef at Clifton. It is so subtle in its flavor and somehow seems almost healthy as the fruit is front and center. As always, Dean gets the sauce just right and while often it is a starter, on occasion I have requested it as a main course since I just can’t get enough.”

Tucker Yoder to Leave Clifton Inn

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Tucker Yoder is stepping down as Executive Chef of Clifton Inn, a position many consider the peak of the culinary ladder for rising Charlottesville chefs.  Among the area’s most progressive chefs, Yoder has presided over the Clifton Inn kitchen for more than four years, earning countless accolades during his tenure, including Charlottesville’s Rising Star, as named by Mt. Rushmore Chefs Tim Burgess and Vincent Derquenne.

“It has been a pleasure working with the great team here at the Clifton,” said Yoder, “and I look forward to returning for dinner and a stay in the future.” Those who want one last taste of Yoder’s food at Clifton Inn have until Christmas Day, his last day on the job.

Prior Executive Chefs of Clifton Inn have gone on to do great things in the area. Craig Hartman runs BBQ Exchange, Christian Kelly co-owns MayaRachel Willis owns Cakes by Rachel, and Dean Maupin runs the legendary C&O.  Stay tuned for news of what Yoder has planned next.

Five Finds on Friday: Emily Pelton

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On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Emily Pelton, Winemaker at Veritas Vineyards and Winery, who next week, on March 31, will be part of a very special event at Clifton Inn: the Women in Wine Dinner. It will feature six courses of chef Tucker Yoder’s food paired with wines from Pelton, Kirsty Harmon of Blenheim Vineyards, and Pamela Margaux of Margaux and Company. The menu looks fantastic.  Call 434-971-1800 to reserve your spot.  Pelton’s picks:

1)  Chirashi and a Hendricks Dirty Martini at the bar at TEN. “My favorite quick, de-stress dinner.”

2)  Burger and Blanc de Blancs at Brookville.  “It is outstanding and creative, and perfectly balanced, even in its over-the-top nature. My favorite meal to share with a friend and a bottle of Thibaut–Janisson, Cuvee D’Etat 2008.”

3)  Fried Chicken and a Hangar Hound at The Whiskey Jar.  “It’s my favorite comfort food on the mall. I love Will Richey’s passion for good traditional recipes, and his passion for local and fresh.”

4)  Bangkok Mussels at Public Fish & Oyster.  “One of my new favorite dishes. There is possibly no better meal than moules frites, and they do a great job of keeping it classic with a really flavorful twist.”

5)  Fried Oysters and Barboursville Pinot Grigio at Three Notch’d Grill.  “A wonderful combination of savory crunchy friedness and fresh zestiness.”