The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Five Finds on Friday

Five Finds on Friday: Nick Leichtentritt

Nick

Nick Leichtentritt (February 21, 1984 – February 17, 2019) with son, Jesse

This week the Charlottesville food community lost a friend, far too soon. Nick Leichtentritt, owner of Milli Coffee Roasters and Sicily Rose, would have turned 35 yesterday. In memory of Nick and his love of Charlottesville food, today’s Five Finds on Friday are some of his favorites, as remembered by friends. In addition to his wife Niki, Nick leaves behind four-year-old son Jesse, who suddenly finds himself without a father. The Charlottesville food community has rallied to Jesse’s support, with a fund for his immediate and long term needs. Please visit here to help Jesse.

1) Lamb Carpaccio at Fleurie. “A couple of years ago when I worked at Fleurie, I’d be sitting near the window in the afternoon, preparing for service. Every day around 3:30, I’d see Nick walk by with Jesse on his shoulders. Once in a while, they’d come back for a snack when we opened for dinner. Even as a 2 year old, Jesse was a foodie. His favorite thing on the Fleurie menu? Lamb Carpaccio with Haricot Vert and Cumin Oil! (My child pretty much only eats mac n cheese). It was precious watching Nick and Jesse enjoy that dish. Another time, Nick had arranged for us to prepare Lobster Bisque at three different temperatures— too hot, too cold, and just right, to really drive home the Goldilocks story Jesse has just learned.” — Erin Scala

2) Beef Cheeks at The Alley Light.  “In the last year or so, most of my meals and discussions with Nick were when we were cooking together. He was one of my group of ‘wine guy’ friends and we met quite often on the weekends to cook, eat and drink great wine. But I remember first getting to know Nick, too. He was one of the first regulars at The Alley Light when it opened. He came all the time, often alone. I loved to watch him eat because when he really loved a dish it was like a religious moment for him. He would take a bite and lean back a little and sort of close his eyes in awe and nod and then simply hover over the dish for a while before slowly going back to it. If you stopped him to ask if everything was alright he would pause before saying, ‘This is incredible, I can’t believe it.’ Once, in our first three months, Jose’s entire kitchen staff called out sick so I was going to cook with Jose and it was going to be barely doable with just the two of us. I had only just gotten to know Nick, but when he came in early for a drink and I told him what was happening, he asked if I would like for him to cook with us and I said yes. The three of us put out a flawless service, and I actively pursued him as a friend ever since. I remember the beef cheeks dish as one that was particularly amazing to Nick. Jose made it quite often. It had a rich and wonderful sauce that he would spend days on. One couldn’t help but be carried away by the dish, and Nick understood every nuance. He was one of the few people who really took the time to appreciate what went into the food. We will miss him dearly.”- Will Richey

3) Grilled Octopus at Parallel 38. “‘Let’s try to cook octopus,’ he said as he mopped up the last bit of sauce with hot bread freshly made from the oven of Parallel 38. Exotic, challenging, and high-risk high-reward all fit Nick. He introduced me to the grilled octopus at Parallel 38. We talked about it as a metaphor for how we like to function. We shared it carefully. Thoughtfully. Perhaps selfishly. That plate is a simple but balanced dish that makes a difficult thing look easy. We cooked a few octopuses together at my house with great joy and a grand sense of mischief reminiscent of boys trying to catch fish with their hands. But we came back to Justin Ross to understand octopus, And with each bite, try to understand ourselves a little more.” – Jake Busching

4) Amari at Brasserie Saison. “We ate decadent, over-the-top meals together that themselves are worthy of an entry, but I keep coming back to the quiet, the end of the meal, the end of the night, the contemplative moments we shared over a glass of something bitter. Late nights on the patio, talking about life, talking about family, complaining about the industry, complaining about how much we loved the industry, those are the moments that I carry with me. Nick loved all sorts of amari, loved how the various flavors came together to become more than the sum of their parts and that’s how I’ll remember him: father, husband, community pillar, friend. Much more than the sum of his parts.” – Will Curley

5) Squid Ink Risotto with Chorizo at Fleurie. “Nick and I met about ten years ago in Tidewater Virginia where we shared a similar job and a love for food and wine. Over the years we’ve shared wonderful meals and fellowship. Whether it was a home made paella, fresh Chesapeake oysters from probably every raw bar between Va Beach and Charlottesville, or four courses at a fine restaurant, I knew we would be enjoying a great meal and lots of laughs whenever we got together. A few weeks ago, I took my family skiing at Wintergreen. We decided to stay the night in Charlottesville rather than up on the mountain. I’m so glad we did. I called Nick to see if he wanted to meet up. It was Saturday night of restaurant week. Everywhere was packed. Nick seemed to know everyone in the Charlottesville food scene. He managed to get us a 10 pm seating at the bar at Fleurie. Nick recommended the first course, a squid ink risotto with chorizo, paired perfectly with a wine by the fine staff at Fleurie. Our last supper together was a memorable one. Eat, drink and be merry my friend.” – Javier Fuentes

 

Five Finds on Friday: Megan Kiernan

kristenfinn_forage_italian_lowres_073

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Megan Kiernan, Product Development Chef of Feast! and founder of the roaming dinner series Forage. The next Forage event is Cocktails with the Kennedys, March 10 and 16 at Estouteville, the “Camelot of Albemarle County.” Details and tickets here. And, to receive updates about future events, register here. Kiernan’s picks:

1) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “I’m a sucker for all things mushroom. As a forager, mushrooms are by far my most prized discovery out in the woods. Lampo’s pizza is the perfect combination of cheesy mushroom goodness on that irresistible Lampo crust.  I love many items on their menu, but the Funghi Pizza is the one item I order every single time I go.”

2) Salmon and Avocado Rolls at Tokyo Rose. “While there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles with these rolls, they are endlessly satisfying and delicious. The sushi chefs  do a wonderful job of balancing the rice quantity to the salmon and avocado, and the quality of the fish is always great. As a native of Charlottesville, I’ve been a longtime fan of Tokyo Rose, although I was never cool enough to go to the punk shows in the basement when I was growing up.”

3) King Trumpets, Blue Oysters and so many more mushrooms from Mush Luv. “I first met Charlie as a teacher in a mushroom foraging class at Living Earth School. He and Nina forage and grow mushrooms, and they seek out local species to clone, so the mushrooms that you buy from them are incredibly special. They’ve introduced me to many delicious mushroom species, and they’ve inspired me to dig deeper in my own mushroom foraging.”

4) Greek Goddess Dressing from Feast!. “When I started at Feast eight years ago, this was already an item they made in house. It’s one of the most versatile dressings I know.  I dilute it with water and rice wine vinegar and use it as a salad dressing, I toss farro or rice in it and serve under chicken or fish, and it’s a great dip for vegetables or tortilla chips. The ways to use it are infinite. Eight years in, and I still go back for seconds every time we sample it.”

5) Pelure de Pomme, Hewes Crab and Farmhouse Dry Potter’s Craft Cider from The Cider Garden at the Bridge. “Potter’s Craft Cider has been a long time favorite of mine.  Full disclosure, I did marry one of the owners, Tim Edmond, but I was a big fan of his products long before we were dating. Tim and Dan started their business right around the time I returned to Charlottesville, and I was an uber fan of their super dry, refreshing ciders straight out of the gates. That I know have a lifetime supply of cider at my fingertips is an enormous perk of the marriage!”

Mush

Mush Luv mushrooms

Five Finds on Friday: Ashley Malcolm

malcolm

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Ashley Malcolm of Malcolms Market Garden, the Staunton farm she and her husband operate, whose CSA Farm Share resumes this spring. What’s a CSA Farm Share? Short for “Community Supported Agriculture,” it involves members buying all of a farm’s produce for the growing season early in the year, well before the harvest. Once harvesting begins, each week members receive bags stuffed full of the farm’s current best fresh-picked produce. Drop-off locations for Malcolms Market Garden farm share include Charlottesville, Crozet, Waynesboro, Fishersville, and Staunton.  Visit the website for info and registration.  Malcolms’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken at Wayside. “Skip all of the mediocre fried chicken out there and just go for this great chicken. Perfectly crispy and tender. When I’m on this side of town, it’s an easy choice for picking up dinner.”

2) Chicken Salad on an Everything Bagel at Bodo’s. “Everyone has ‘their sandwich’ that they usually order from here, and this is mine and has been for decades. Add some sprouts for more texture and freshness.”

3) Chocolate Praline Crunch Dome from Albemarle Baking Company. “Everything crafted by ABC is authentic and delicious and made with love and precision, but this is the type of dessert that will have you dreaming about it for years. The magic of the textures and layers beneath the ganache dome make for the most decadent individual portion.”

4) Two Eggs, Bacon, Home Fries, and a Biscuit at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. “I’ve waited hours of my life to eat here, as all should, because it is just that good. This is great diner food at its best. The biscuits are a dream.”

5) Shishito Peppers at Citizen Burger Bar. “Obviously the burgers and fries are spot-on here, mainly because of their emphasis on local fresh ingredients. The shishito peppers are a real treat because they showcase the beauty and simplicity of the vegetable. With hardly any (spicy) heat, perfectly charred, completely dip-able and addictive, they are a favorite.”

Shishito