The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Fabio’s

Five Finds on Friday: Trish Dombrauskas

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Trish Dombrauskas, chef of Riverbirch Restaurant, which opens this month in The Shops at Riverside Village, on Stony Point Road. Cooking has been in Dombrauskas’ family all of her life, which may be why she attended the Culinary Institute of Virginia before a career in a wide range of restaurants and other food service jobs, the most impactful being chef at senior living communities. “Senior living taught me patience, and that a person developing a memory from an item you served them is the most superior gift that can be given to a chef,” says Dombrauskas. Riverbirch’s menu will feature gussied-up American comfort food, with a focus on local sources like The Local Food Hub, Cavalier Produce, Albemarle Baking Company, The Spice Diva, and Blue Ridge Coffee Crafters. Dombrauskas’ favorite is local ribeye, hand cut in house, finished with whole butter. She also likes the Riverbirch signature burger with local beef, topped with a local egg, house made farmer’s cheese, and onion jam. Dombrauskas’ picks:

1) Pupusas Revueltas at Mi Canton. “I discovered Mi Canton a year or so ago and have made it a regular stop of mine. There are so many delicious items on their menu, it is difficult to go wrong. But I always go back to the very first dish I had at Mi Canton, the pupusas revueltas. They are thick, Salvadorian tortillas stuffed with cheese, pork, and beans and served with a delicious fresh salad called cortido, a vinegary cabbage slaw that makes the dish perfection. The owners always make you feel welcome and you can tell they are proud of their products.”

2) Sicilian Style Pizza at Fabio’s in Gordonsville. “I moved to Gordonsville three years ago this past September and the first place I ate was Fabio’s pizza. Their pizza is phenomenal. My father grew up in New Jersey and as a kid I ate great pizza. Fabio’s in Gordonsville has great pizza, but I feel like the hidden gem is their Sicilian style pizza. The crust is thick, and they top it with the best cheese and toppings around. They even slice their sausage for their pizzas which is just the way I remember it as a kid. I love to chat with the owners, old school guys who know the importance of old school pizza. I always have a laugh while I’m there, because they remind me of my uncles back in New Jersey.”

3) The Fat and Sassy at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “Indulgent is the best word to describe this flatbread/cheese bread crossover. It is covered with full cloves of roasted garlic and served with the best house made ranch dressing around. Every time I visit it is a must for me to purchase a jar of their ranch dressing to take home. Dr. Ho’s has a fabulous menu, but every time I am drawn into the Fat and Sassy and it never fails how delicious it is.”

4) Potato Salad at Mel’s Cafe. “Mel’s potato salad is a simple mayonnaise, mustard, onion-based potato salad. It is simple, but delicious. It is the perfect side for any of their sandwiches or burgers. Mel’s potato salad reminds me of the potato salad my mom’s best friend makes, and ultimately it reminds me of home.”

5) The Black Beauty at Livery Stable. “The cocktails at the Livery Stable are well thought out and quite delicious. The ambience of the Livery Stable is what makes it an interesting spot to hang out. The Black Beauty is my favorite with raspberry vodka, cassis, and topped with ginger beer. It is bright and delicious. Be sure to sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders. They make the experience interesting to say the least.”

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Five Finds on Friday: Jennifer Mowad

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jennifer Mowad of Cocoa & Spice, the acclaimed chocolatier at 506 Stewart Street, off Meade Avenue. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for updates and her latest creations. Mowad’s picks:

1) Chicken Pad Thai & Thai Iced Tea from Thai Fresh. “As soon as I finish setting up my tent at Friday’s After Five, I walk to Thai Fresh and am greeted with a big smile and warm hello from the owner. I opt for the not spicy version and am never disappointed. While I’m devouring it back at my tent my customers always comment on how delicious it looks. And the iced tea is so flavorful & refreshing on a hot summer night!”

2) Banana Nut Bread from Green House Coffee. “I’ve become addicted to this banana nut bread! Every time I re-stock my display at the Crozet Artisan Depot I stop by Green House and snag an end piece (it’s bigger than the middle piece…shhh). It’s not too sweet and has a great texture!”

3) Filipino BBQ Platter from Little Manila. “Most weeks you can find us both set-up at the UVA Hospital Market, Sprint Pavilion events, & the City Market. Lucky for me, Fernando and his family are keen on my brownies and chocolate drinks and I can often trade a few of those for a platter of his delectable food – marinated pork belly, chicken, pancit, & lumpia. I also love their Instagram page, especially the videos of the chicken or pork belly caramelizing on the grill!”

4) Cheese Pizza from Fabio’s. “I moved to Charlottesville from northern New Jersey and love a NY style pizza. After a long day at my shop on Stewart Street I head right around the corner to Fabio’s and snag a slice of cheese pizza. When I’m extra hungry I treat myself to the White Gourmet – broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, white sauce, garlic, & mozzarella!”

5) Trifecta from Pearl Island and Banh Mi from Vu Noodles. “Since they share a spot at the Jefferson City School I’m selecting a dish from each and counting it as one of my five! Pearl Island’s entrees are all so delicious it’s hard to pick just one. The trifecta combines their pork, chicken, and beans, not to mention a generous portion of rice, kale salad, and the fried plantains. Javier will often trade for one of my iced hot chocolates at our Thursday market! . . . A roll can make or break a banh mi sandwich – one bite of Vu Noodles’ vegan version and I’m transported back to Vietnam.”

Five Finds on Friday: Ivar Aass

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Ivar Aass, owner of Spirit Lab Distilling, whose flagship whiskey received lavish praise in last week’s Five Finds. Check out the distillery here, and learn more about the single malt whiskey here. Aass’ picks:

1) Head Cheese from JM Stock Provisions. “Delicious porcine goodness. You don’t know what meat is supposed to taste like until you’ve tried something from Matt and team, but the head cheese is an especially fun find.”

2) Open-faced Chicken Fried Octopus Sando at Oakhart Social. “Chicken. Fried. Octopus. Unbelievably tasty and tender. I could eat a dozen of these in a sitting.”

3) Meat Lovers Pizza from Fabio’s. “A staple for movie night at home. After living in NYC for eighteen years, I can tell you that Fabio’s gets pizza.”

4) Fried Chicken at Brown’s. “My favorite fried chicken in town with crispy, sinful skins and juicy meat.”

5) Canelés from MarieBette. “Caramelized crusts with custardy, vanilla-rum centers. Makes me nostalgic for Paris. Fun personal challenge: tell yourself you’re just stopping by MarieBette for a baguette and see if you can leave without a box of these.”