The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Curtis Shaver

Food Truck Takeover

Cider Week

If you don’t have plans this Sunday evening, you might want to snag tickets to the first ever Food Truck Takeover.  How often do a bunch of award-winning chefs get together to cook whatever they feel like in a food truck?  Two of the chefs, Curtis Shaver and Tucker Yoder, were named C-VILLE Rising Stars for their potential to be join Charlottesville’s next generation of Mt. Rushmore Chefs. The other two, Caleb Shriver and Phillip Perrow, were nominees for Food & Wine Magazine’s People’s Best New Chef in the Mid-Atlantic. They will all be taking over food trucks South Fork, Spiked, and Blue Ridge Pizza Co..  And, as part of Cider Week, great cider will be on hand to wash it all down, including Blue Bee, Albemarle Ciderworks, Potter’s Craft, and Foggy Ridge.

Among the many great dishes, Yoder plans Fried Braised Fall Squash, with turnip and apple chow-chow, smoked cornbread, and buttermilk dressing.  And, for dessert, an Apple Hoe Cake with cider bourbon syrup.

Top it all off with bluegrass by Ben Hernandez, and you’ve got a pretty solid fall Sunday evening.  $65 gets you all the food and drink you want, and, best of all, proceeds benefit the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville.  Sunday from 5-8pm at Adventure Farm.  Buy tickets here.

Inside the Sandwich Lab

Curtis and crew are at it again.  If you’re unfamiliar with Sandwich Lab, background is here and here.  Essentially, each month, chef Curtis Shaver and his team at Hamiltons’ dream up and prepare an over-the-top sandwich.  The sandwiches usually sell out a week in advance, within seconds of the Facebook post announcing they are on sale.

This month, they may have outdone themselves.  They started with green hickory smoked porchetta from none other than Craig Hartman of The BBQ Exchange.  Then, they added bread & butter fennel pickles, melted McLure cheese, balsamic grilled onions, and watercress creme fraiche.  They piled it all atop a Kimmelweck Roll from Richmond’s acclaimed Billy Bread.  With a side of Asian pear-beet slaw.  Wow.  Pretty soon there is going to be an eBay market for these things.

Thanks to talented photographer Justin Ide, here’s a behind the scenes look:

Craig Hartman gets started.

Craig Hartman gets started.

 

Curtis Shaver tossing the slaw.

Curtis Shaver tossing the slaw.

 

Hartman grilling the balsamic onions.

Hartman grilling the balsamic onions.

 

Billy with the Billy Bread.

Billy with the Billy Bread.

 

Hartman goes at the porchetta.

Hartman goes at the porchetta.

 

Sandwich Lab 5

Funny porchetta.

 

Assembly begins.

Assembly begins.

 

Assembly continues.

Assembly continues.

 

Almost ready.

Almost ready.

 

Voila!

Voila!

 

Time to dig in.

Time to dig in.

 

Bagged, and ready to go.

Bagged, and ready to go.

 

Sandwich Lab, August Edition

Lab

Charlottesville is upping its sandwich game.  Sure, we’ve long had counter-service stalwarts like Feast!, Revolutionary Soup, and Bashir’s.  But, a crop of young, talented chefs seem determined to take Charlottesville sandwiches to another level.  At Brookville, chef Harrison Keevil, who calls sandwiches his desert island food, offers a lunch menu of serious sandwiches.  JM Stock Provisions makes a new sandwich every Saturday, and we often plan our day around it.

And, chef Curtis Shaver and his team at Hamiltons’ have dreamt up Sandwich Lab.  “Sandwich Lab promotes better living through better sandwiches,” says their Facebook Page.  One Wednesday each month, the chefs offer a new concoction, available for pick-up at the Hamiltons’ bar.  Utilizing the talents and resources of a high-end restaurant kitchen, their aim is “to share the kind of sandwiches that you can’t buy at the corner deli.”  “Sandwich Lab is all about taking an idea for a sandwich and thinking out of the box, “said Shaver. “It’s fun trying to marry different flavors and ideas while balancing spicy, sweet, salty, sour, and the texture of soft and crunchy as well.”

That all sounds good.  But, how do they taste?

Extraordinary.  Last month’s was duck confit with a poblano-citrus sauce, local beet relish, fresh arugula, Caromont Plank Road Round, and crispy wasabi onions on a kaiser roll, all served with truffle popcorn.  Delicious.

This month’s, available next Wednesday August 6, is a creative riff on chicken and waffles, Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken and Waffles: harissa marinated fried chicken breast, dill pickled cucumbers, brown shugga bacon, pomegranate syrup, hot pepper raita, on a falafel waffle. It sounds great, but you have to reserve yours in advance by calling (434) 295-6649. Here’s how Shaver describes it:

It all started with wanting to do a chicken and waffles sandwich, but we wanted it to be different while staying true to what chicken and waffles is, which is a waffle with fried chicken, maple syrup, and hot sauce. So we thought Middle Eastern would be a fun realm to play in.

The place we started was the waffle. Somehow we came up with falafel being the main flavoring of the waffle and it just sounds fun “Falafel-waffle!” Then we wanted to do a traditional Middle Eastern flavored chicken but fry it so I thought we’d play with the idea of a spicy fried chicken breast like a Hotlanta or Nashville’s Hot chicken sandwiches, and that’s where the harissa marinade comes in.

All great Southern fried chicken sandwiches come with pickles, in my opinion, and dill plays well with Middle Eastern cuisine. Bacon had to be a part of the equation too, so we are just gonna add a little more sweetness to some local, Double H Farm’s bacon for balance.  My Sous Chef, Hannah Moster, came up with the idea of the pomegranate syrup, again balancing the Middle East and Southern comfort.

Lastly I felt it needed some sort of savory creaminess to tie it all together. So raita came to mind. It’s a traditional Indian condiment made with yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, and for a little more of that “hot sauce” feel I added some local hot peppers.