The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Great Dishes of 2016

Fromage Fort by Caromont Farm

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Series: Great Dishes of 2016

Before she became a cheesemaker, Gail Hobbes-Page was one of the area’s top chefs, presiding over the kitchens of Hamiltons’ and The Mark Addy Inn, among others. At Caromont Farm, which she launched in 2007, Hobbes-Page’s cheeses reflect both her culinary background and her moral backbone – a principled commitment to sustainability, minimizing waste, and other ethical practices.

No product better captures this than Fromage Fort, briefly available in July, which minimizes waste by using cheese scraps and blending them into spreadable form. As to her culinary background, it is crazy delicious. With a trained chef’s touch, Hobbs-Page adds shallots, scallions, and Thibaut-Janisson champagne. The result was perhaps the most addictive thing I tasted all year.

 

 

Korean Style Ribs at Timbercreek Market

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Series: Great Dishes of 2016

The aroma hit me as soon as I opened the car door. I was in the parking lot of Kardinal Hall, where my children and I were headed for Sunday brunch. But, the potent aroma of seasoned meat on the grill was coming from next door, Timbercreek Market. On the way into brunch, I managed to resist its lure, but on the way out, I was toast. Too irresistible. So, I dragged two reluctant kids into the market.

Chef Allie Redshaw left Timbercreek Market in August, but her tenure was so prolific that I would check the market’s website almost daily to see what specials she had created. All were good, many were outstanding, but the one that stood out most was the source of the irresistible aroma: Korean Style Ribs. Redshaw used Timbercreek pork ribs, of course, which she cooked sous vide for 20 hours in ginger and lard. Next, she threw them on the grill, and adorned them with fermented black beans, sesame seeds, and pickled Calabrian chilis.

Even though I had just eaten brunch, I knew I had to order some. “I’ll bring them home for my wife,” I rationalized. When I got home, my wife was duly impressed. “I can’t believe how good these are,” she said. Me either.

Redshaw now runs her own catering company, Sobo Catering & Production, covering events in New York and Charlottesville, while the rest of us wait to see what she decides to do next.

Scallop Crudo at C&O

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Series: Great Dishes of 2016

A highlight of 2016 was The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions, where the restaurants of The Charlottesville 29 each offered a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience to whoever pledged the highest donation to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Thanks to the restaurants’ generosity and the support of McGuireWoods LLP, every penny of the winning bids went directly to the food bank. The money raised by the auctions was enough to provide more than 315,000 meals to the area’s hungry.

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to attend one of the auction dinners: C&O’s. Billed as The Dinner Dean Has Always Wanted to Cook, it was a dazzling array of luxurious ingredients, beautifully prepared, and paired with extravagant wines. While every dish was memorable, the one that stood out most was perhaps the simplest. Nantucket Bay Scallop Crudo showcased raw, impeccably fresh scallops with a drizzle of Galardo Olive Oil and a scattering of diced jalapeno and microgreens. It was not just a standout that night, but one of the most memorable dishes of the year. Thank you, Dean Maupin, for an unforgettable night and for your extraordinary generosity.

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