Belle Meade Bourbon, now available in Charlottesville, arrives with a good story behind it. Brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson are reviving a once-dominant Tennessee distillery, Nelson’s Green Brier, that their great-great-great grandfather made popular before prohibition brought it to an end nearly 100 years ago. Learn more about their story here.
But, as much as we enjoy a good story, our main interest is what’s in the glass. And, in this case, it’s good stuff. Until their distillery is up and running, the Nelsons are using a hand-selected blend of whiskeys distilled by Master Distiller Greg Metze, of MGP, who has also made whiskeys for critics’ darlings like High West and Bulleit. Belle Meade is an approachable, high-rye bourbon with notes of sweet, spicy caramel, and stone fruit. And, it makes a great Manhattan. Look for it soon at Beer Run, The Whiskey Jar, and Commonwealth, among others.
Today is the 50th edition of Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and local personalities pick five favorite food items in the area. To mark the occasion here at The Charlottesville 29, we have the picks of a Charlottesville resident who is among the top 29 in the world in his field. In fact, tennis player Treat Huey is ranked exactly 29th in the world in doubles. Next week, the undefeated men’s tennis team of his alma mater, UVa, will begin the NCAA Championship tournament, en route to its first ever title. Oh yeah, Huey also happens to be a lover of food. Huey’s picks:
1) Yuca and Caramont Farm Goat Cheese Fritters at Commonwealth. “This appetizer is ridiculously good. Then you can not go wrong with any of the entrees especially if you get the smashed, roasted red potatoes as a side. A great meal and then heading upstairs to Skybar to have a drink when there is good weather is a great way to end a day.”
2) Local “Double H Farm” Berkshire Pork Chop at The Local. “Get the blackberry cobbler with house made vanilla ice cream for dessert. All the food is great, and the restaurant building and decor are also reasons I come back and eat here as much as I can.”
3) Cajun Crusted Tilapia wrap with Chipotle Dressing and Salt and Vinegar Chips at Zazus Fresh Grille. “I have this at least once a week when I am in town.”
4) Lunch Buffet at Milan Indian Cuisine. “When I am really hungry, the lunch buffet at Milan is my go to. One of my friends, Sanam, who moved here from India five years ago, took me here for the first time a few years back after raving about it and I have been hooked ever since. The naan, curries and tandoori chicken are must haves.”
5) Pasta al Fornoand House Salad at Bella’s. “Start with the large Bella’s house and then have the Pasta al Forno. Two people sharing these is the perfect amount of food. Also, I recently ate at the bar because there was a wait and my friend and I got to talking with Ayo the bartender. He’s a great guy and made dinner even more enjoyable.”
On Fridays we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities. This week’s picks come from Alex George, of Commonwealth Restaurant and SkyBar, who has resurrected his much-missed restaurant Just Curry, which recently opened in a new space across the downtown mall from Commonwealth. George’s picks:
1) Shrimp and Grits at Horse & Hound. “Luther Fedora’s shrimp and grits are amazing! The best damn grits I’ve ever had.”
2) Almond Croissant at Paradox Pastry. “Jenny Peterson does an absolutely fantastic job with these croissants. I have at least two a week.”
3) Crispy Skate Wingwith Linguini Aglio at Tavola. “This is one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long, long time.” (Note: This was also a pick in our feature on Tavola.)
4) Prosciutto and Blue Cheese Sandwich at Market Street Market. “With pear, honey, and basil on ciabatta bread, this is my favorite anytime sandwich.”
5) Cornmeal-crusted Fried Oysters at Maya. “Christian Kelly’s fried oysters are a must-have every time I go there.”