The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Contintental Divide

Five Finds on Friday: Natalie Siler

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Natalie Siler, the woman behind Charlottesville’s favorite chocolate peanut butter balls. After a decade in the Pittsburgh restaurant industry, the Charlottesville native returned home in 2012 in search of a job with a more traditional schedule, when fate and Charlottesville generosity intervened. A “friend of a friend” asked if Siler would like to carry on the peanut butter ball recipe she had been making for Feast!. Siler accepted, and when she took her first batch to Feast!, she recalls, “the woman at the counter popped one in her mouth, and said: ‘Great! We will need 300 more.” Six years later, the peanut butter balls remain a sensation, as she now makes 600 per week to meet holiday demand. Available only at Feast!. Siler’s picks:

1) Black Bean Nachos at Continental Divide. “On paper, they might not sound like anything out of the ordinary, but when you add the squeeze bottle of Wait a Minute sauce and one of Matt’s margaritas, it is unpretentious and wonderful. If I have room, one of the daily specials from Seven Hills never lets me down. I like to sit at the curve of the bar and come early.”

2) Italian Sub at Anna’s Pizza #5.  “I grew up in Charlottesville and many of my favorite dishes and spaces exist only in memory now, but 34 years later, the Italian Sub at Anna’s Pizza #5 has stayed happily identical to how I remember it tasting after a swim meet on a Wednesday night. A satisfying crunch, the tangy house dressing and one of the best beer pitcher deals in town. Don’t change, Anna.”

3) Honey Ginger Martini at Bang!. “This drink makes me think of my sister. Her name is Ginger and she lives in Austin, which is where I was first introduced to Tito’s Vodka. (My dad claims to have played cornhole with Tito himself). And, this drink is perfect for a kick in the pants to get you going for a show downtown. House pickles and sweet potato gnocchi always follow.”

4) Cheese from Caromont Farm and Our Lady of the Angels. “I’m a sucker for a cheese plate. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite one, but Pippin Hill and The Local come to mind. I’m always excited to see Caromont Farm on the menu. After my snuggle session with the goats last year, I always like to think I played some tiny part in making it taste so good. But I’m always looking for that bright red wax wheel that covers the gouda from of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. It’s made in the mountains near Crozet and if anyone is not sure what I might want as a gift, the two pound wheel will do just fine.”

5) Tuna Avocado Carpaccio at Now & Zen. “The first time I ordered this and the almost-table length salad was placed in front of me, I giggled like a small child. It hit all the marks for me. Protein. Spice. Greens. Texture. I always over order here, but I can never not get this salad.”

Five Finds on Friday: Lisa Reeder

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Lisa Reeder, January 13, 1974 – October 14, 2018

The Charlottesville food community lost a pillar this week. The Local Food Hub’s Lisa Reeder was a tireless advocate for our local food community, overseeing programs like Fresh Farmacy, Farm to Workplace, Harvest of the Month and more. In celebration of Reeder’s life and passion for Charlottesville food, today’s Five Finds on Friday are Reeder favorites remembered by her friends, husband, and son.

1) Rosso from Gabriele Rausse Winery. “Lisa loved and championed many things, but supporting local producers, celebrating outstanding craftsmanship, and enjoying a good red wine with a meal were all very high on her list. A perfect synthesis of these loves can be found in the wines of her friend, Gabriele Rausse. At a table with Lisa, a bottle of Cab Franc or Red blend was often accompanied by anecdotes of the friendship and meals shared with the Rausse family over the years.” – Chelsea Hoyt

2) Red Hot Blues at Continental Divide. “Lisa and I started working at the Divide in college but our love affair with the ‘careful top plate is hot’ delicacy and a side of ‘wait a minute’ continues. Lisa always ordered fresh tomatoes on top and you can’t go to the Divide without a margarita on the rocks with salt. It feels like home in those booths, ordering from the tequila list that will forever be Lisa’s chalkboard to me.” – Marlena Simon

3) Pierogie and Mettwurst and Jägerschnitzel Dinner at Augustiner Hall and Garden. “Lisa loved all things German, with food being near the top of that list. She and I had these pierogies twice in the past month. The first was to-go while dancing to her favorite local band, We Are Star Children, at the Pavilion. But two weeks ago, we had a proper meal at the restaurant. She split the pierogies and the jägerschnitzel dinner with my husband, and raved about them both. Plans were quickly made to try her own hand at schnitzel with my daughter Francesca, her often sous-chef. We’re going to keep that promise and continue Lisa’s legacy of food exploration and experimentation.” – Jen Oppenheimer

4) Heritage Apples from Vintage Virginia Apple. “Lisa loved all things apple. She taught classes about apples. She coordinated apple festivals. She looked forward to the fall harvest every year. Her favorite apple event was helping to hand out apples at schools for Farm to School Week through the Local Food Hub. She truly believed: An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away.” – Geoff Shaw, Lisa’s husband

5) Nachos at Beer Run. “I am Lincoln, Lisa’s nine-year-old son. My mom and I would always walk to Beer Run and have date nights sharing nachos that my Dad couldn’t eat because he can’t have dairy. We did this a lot and always enjoyed it.” – Lincoln Shaw

While Reeder’s passing leaves a gaping hole in our food community, no one will miss her more than her son and husband. Geoff:

Lisa had battled melanoma since 2012, and it was only after she died that we found out she had a tumor in her brain that had grown really fast. Not only was it unexpected (we had no idea), but it was very quick as well. We feel blessed that she didn’t suffer.

We had an amazing day Saturday with friends in West Virginia. Lisa did everything she wanted. We went hiking and wine tasting, and she was surrounded by some of her close friends. She made dinner for nine people with spaghetti squash from Whisper Hill, beef from Free Union Grass Farm, and lettuce from Radical Roots. It’s exactly those moments that make her the happiest. She went to bed feeling fine, but left us in the night.

To carry forward Reeder’s legacy, you can help her husband and son as they embark upon this next chapter of their lives. Help Here.

Five Finds on Friday: Chrissy Smith

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Chrissy Smith, Wine Buyer at Beer Run, where you can enjoy any bottle of any wine from the store’s selection for just $7 corkage. A Certified Sherry Wine Specialist, Smith is planning an upcoming sherry seminar to help guests better understand a wine style she says is “underappreciated and misunderstood.” Follow Beer Run’s Facebook page for updates. Meanwhile, Smith also hosts a free wine tasting every Friday at Beer Run from 6 – 8 pm. Smith’s picks:

1) Margherita D.O.C. & Polpettine with any of the fabulous Italian reds at Lampo. “I’m not sure how many times Lampo has graced these lists, but I’m about to give them another notch on The Charlottesville 29 post. The talented crew there has created my personal perfect pizza — a crust that is just thin and doughy enough with the perfect amount of char and bite. My favorite combination is the Margherita D.O.C. and meatballs (you have to save that sauce for dipping the crust) with any of Andrew’s carefully-curated selections. Although, my preferred glass of red with this combo is anything of the Piedmontese persuasion. I’m a Margherita pizza lover in general, and since they offer two variations, my fiancé and I did a side-by-side comparison of the standard Margherita & the D.O.C., and while both are utterly delicious, the Mozzarella di Bufala adds a creamier, meltier, more flavorful sensation to the D.O.C. that steals my heart every time.”

2) Boquerones with/ an extra squeeze of fresh lemon, Pan de Casero, and a Manzanilla Sherry at MAS Tapas. “While there are many dishes I drool over at Mas, one of the simplest combinations are the boquerones (Cantabrian white anchovies marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic) with a little squeeze of lemon, the slow-fermented, hearth-baked bread, and a Manzanilla sherry, especially of the En Rama or unfiltered variety. The sea air brininess & freshness of this sherry from the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda make it a quintessential match to the fresh and powerful flavor of the marinated anchovies.”

3) Uni Nigiri & Chirashi Don with Junmai Daiginjo Sake at TEN Sushi. “Super fresh Uni (sea urchin) over perfectly prepared sushi rice is one of my favorite sushi pleasures, and TEN provides not only the highest quality fish in town, but also the best rice–a touch warm and just sweet & vinegary enough. The purity & freshness of a Junmai Daiginjo is a delightful counter to the creamy, ocean flavors of great Uni. But one cannot survive on Uni alone! And I love the variety in the Chirashi don, which is basically a bowl of chef’s choice sashimi over sushi rice, which is both filling and extremely delicious.”

4) Salmon Linguine with Sparkling Brut Rosé at Beer Run“While I have many go-to dishes at Beer Run, whenever I’m there once the dinner menu begins, you can almost always find me enjoying the Salmon Linguine. It’s a generous filet of perfectly-cooked Atlantic salmon with wilted spinach, garlic-compound butter, and capers over linguine. One of my favorite pairings is the Treveri Brut Rosé–an organic, Washington state sparkling rosé made in the Champagne Method from the Syrah grape–which cuts through while also enhancing the decadent flavors of the salmon and butter.”

5) Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas with a Reposado Tequila, Cointreau Margarita with salt at Continental Divide.”I love the Continental Divide. If I could, I’d cozy up to the bar, eat comforting food, and chat with the amazing staff every night! If I absolutely had to choose one dish from my usual meal line-up (I like to make it a three-course deal), it would be the Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas and a margarita with a reposado tequila, Cointreau, and a healthy salt rim. While this might be a sacrilegious treatment of enchiladas to some, I like to chop them up a bit with my fork and mix all the goodies together to ensure an even distribution of deliciousness in every bite.”