Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Matt Wolf who, with former Public Fish & Oyster chef Donnie Glass, runs Skipjack Purveyors (fka Banyan Day Provisions). Though no longer at Timbercreek Market, Glass and Wolf still plan to cater with what they call a “flip-flop approach to fine dining,” and also help with events around town. This Sunday, they will host a pop-up raw bar at South Fork Food Truck’s Crawfish Boil, at Mono Loco. From 2-8pm, there will also be JM Stock Provisions smoked andouille sausage, music by The Bayou Faux Pas and Johnny Ghost, and a Mono Loco margarita and daquiri bar.
Evidently, Wolf was the kid who stayed after class to ask for extra credit. For his five finds, the go-getter drafted the longest picks ever (five “novels” he calls them), and even submitted images for the picks. And to refer to one restaurant’s bar, he coined the phrase “”the wood that separates patron from Patrón.” That’s worth a 100+5 with a “Super!” sticker. Wolf’s picks:
1) Valleé Brebidoux from Flora Artisanal Cheese. “Probably my favorite 8 feet or so of case space in Charlottesville. Nadjeeb “NaCheese” Chouaf is the owner and head cheesemonger of Flora Artisanal Cheese which is located in Timbercreek Market. Take it from me, he knows what’s Gouda. From Vermont to Normandy, pungent to tame, soft to hard, he has a cheese for any taste or application. My favorite of his current stock is Valleé Brebidoux, a Basque sheep’s milk that tastes like milk and honey had a baby. Oh, and the Marinated Isle of Lesbos Feta is pretty good too. If you’ve had it, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I recommend getting over to 722 Preston Avenue as fast as physically possible.”
2) The Importance of Being Earnest at Public Fish & Oyster. “Brad ‘The Juicer’ Langdon is Head Barman at Public Fish & Oyster on W. Main Street nestled right up against Oakhart Social (if you didn’t know). A true student of the game is Langdon, a virtuoso of sorts behind the wood that separates patron from Patrón. Well versed in every aspect of mixology, you can’t go wrong with anything he makes. However, “The Importance of Being Ernest” is what I’m here to talk about specifically. Langdon’s play on a Hemingway daiquiri is his latest creation that I can’t get enough of, until I’ve had enough. The cocktail stars Charlottesville’s own Vitae Platinum Rum and is backed by the freshest squeezed lime juice, and local Rosemary-Rhubarb syrup, Shaken… Up. I’m not sure I’m allowed to say this but I’m drinking one right now. The sun has appeared with the cocktail to match, so head on over to PFO and chase one of Brad’s cocktails with a Narragansett Lager and let the juice get loose.”
3) Frito Cianci at Fry’s Spring Station. “As well as recently being renovated tastefully modern, Fry’s is also now under new management. Headlined by The Rock Barn and Ivy Provision’s Ben Thompson and company, it’s managed day to day by Tyler Wood whose unwavering righteousness is reflected through the wholesome atmosphere you feel when you walk in the door. It’s safe to say Fry’s ‘Neighborhood Hearth’ is back better than ever. The menu has been rejuvenated with rustic Italian favorites spun in an upscale direction with the centerpiece being a pizza oven that nearly needs its own area code it’s so large. Very reasonably priced and a portion size that eaters can appreciate are just a couple of reasons to swing by Fry’s patio bar for a cold Narragansett lager and some chow. My guilty pleasure leads me to Fry’s for the Frito Cianci, a fried seafood plate featuring squid, shrimp and seasonal vegetables tied together with a tasty vinaigrette and some basil, chased with a ‘Gansett (detecting a theme here?). Add a large serving of sunshine, and I can’t think of a better afternoon.”
4) White Blend at Valley Road Vineyards. “The newest kid on the block on the 151 wine trail, Valley Road has been steadily taking shape on the grounds that used to be AM Fog Farm. At the head of Critzers shop road VRV is a launchpad for your weekend wine tasting route. A beautiful cascade of vines and beautiful farm structures that lie beneath the vineyard make for a picturesque afternoon with good people and good drink. Under the watchful eyes of Scott Link and Grayson Poats, the property has been taking shape since the first vine went in the ground. They will feature several varietals in their debut including a Chardonnay, a White blend, a Merlot- Rose, a Merlot, and a Meritage. The tasting room is scheduled to open early summer and they have a lot of fun things planned, including a weekly farmers market and live music and also having delicious upscale picnic food for sale on site. So when you’re planning your annual wine tasting adventure, don’t forget about the new guys and swing on through Valley Road. They are going to be doing big things.
5) Dagwood at Durty Nelly’s Pub-Wayside Deli. “This is where I go to disappear. A cozy “Cheers”-esque bar full of regulars that only know each other by name and hug goodbye. In the winter the fireplace is ablaze, with rock and roll pouring from the speakers and the door propped open. It’s perfect brackish air combination of fire and fresh. With a domestic pitcher weighing in at 10 dollars even (Rolling Rock for me), it makes for an economical afternoon. If I’m feeling wealthy, I’ll splurge and get a Dagwood sandwich, which contains nearly every sandwich staple under the sun. It’s a tight knit crew down at Duty Nelly’s, so let’s still keep this between us.”