On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities. This week’s picks come from Jenn Riesman, pastry chef of Fossett’s at Keswick Hall. A native Texan, before coming to Fossett’s, in Riesman was Bakery Manager of Austin’s Delish Bakery and Pastry Sous Chef of La Condesa.
1) Monte Cristo at West Main. “You can’t go wrong with a well-made Monte Cristo. Also a great place for brunch.”
2) Ham and Cheese Croissant at Paradox Pastry. “The perfect on-the-go breakfast.”
3) Iced Coffee at La Taza. “The best iced coffee in town. It doesn’t even need sugar. Strong but super smooth.”
4) Smoked Trout Sandwich at Blue Moon Diner. “Nice to just sit at the bar, listening to music.”
5) Papas Bravas at MAS Tapas. “The only thing you really need on a late Friday night is a good drink and potatoes with aioli.”
One of the area’s top winemakers is joining forces with a rising star chef for a serious wine dinner later this month at Fossett’s Restaurant at Keswick Hall. For nearly 25 years, Luca Paschina of Barboursville Vineyards has reigned as one of the kings of Virginia winemaking, winning accolade after accolade. Aaron Cross is the latest in a line of talented chefs to helm the kitchen of Fossett’s, one of the most prestigious positions in town (think Craig Hartman and Dean Maupin). Cross’s move to Fossett’s in 2012 even won notice from the national food website Eater.com.
On August 27, Cross will prepare a multi-course menu paired with Barboursville wines hand-picked by Paschina, who will be on hand to discuss the wines and pairings. Paschina did not hesitate to accept the invitation to Fossett’s. “I always enjoy it in full,” he said. “Great food and location.” Dinners like this, he explained, are where he can really see all of his work come to fruition.
The menu for the evening is “inviting, refreshing and seasonal,” said Paschina. A crawfish mousseline, with crispy okra, melted leeks, and brown butter nage will be paired with one of our favorite Virginia whites, the Vermentino Reserve. Barboursville’s 2012 Viognier Reserve will accompany halibut, with tomato confit, black truffle butter, and petite herb salad. And, Barboursville’s heaviest hitter, Octagon, will be paired with crown roasted duck breast from Free Union Grass Farm, with pencil cob grits, duck rillete agnolotti, and candied onions. Finally, Barboursville’s luscious dessert wine, Phileo, will wash down a dessert of peaches with jasmine tea cremeux, hibiscus plum sorbet, peach butter, and benne rice beignets.
A dinner this special seems likely to sell out. Before it does, you can book your spot at 434-979-3440.
It’s James Beard Foundation’s Local Dish. Throughout September and October, six area restaurants are among top spots around the country that the James Beard Foundation has accepted to create a dish that conveys their local cuisine. One dollar from the sale of each dish will go towards the educational efforts of the James Beard Foundation. We’re featuring the Charlottesville restaurants’ dishes here on The Charlottesville 29, and next up is Fossett’s Restaurant at Keswick Hall.
Chef Aaron Cross, who joined Fossett’s last year, has created a Slow Cooked “Best of What’s Around” Beef with roasted corn risotto, crispy radish salad, and fortified braising jus ($30). Cross calls it the “best of what’s to braise,” as the cut of beef he’s using will depend on what’s available — either bottom round, shank, or chuck. Cross explains:
The corn I’ve stockpiled up on from the Local Food Hub and its coming from Rockbridge. I would love to be romantic and say that in the spirit of Jefferson its all Golden Bantam, but I’ve seen silver queen, bi-color, peaches-and-cream, and a couple other types come through. I’ve pickled, roasted, and frozen all that I can because it mostly likely won’t continue to keep rolling in past the next couple of weeks. The greens for the salad on top are a Manakintowne Farms mix of shoots and sprouts and bolstered by some shaved Keswick radishes and finished with a fresh herb crumble and the reduced braising jus.