The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Greenwood Gourmet

Five Finds on Friday: Rowe Webster

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Photo courtesy of Sarah Cramer Shields.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Rowe Webster, Partner and General Manager of Smoked Kitchen and Tap, the new brick-and-mortar home to the food of the popular truck Smoked BBQ Co. Webster:

Ever since Smoked Kitchen and Tap has been in the works I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of menu tastings. This insanely difficult job consists of me tasting the amazing brisket, pork, ribs and everything else that these guys smoke day in and day out. Aside from gaining weight, I gained perspective on all of the intricacies that are involved in every component of every dish. No entree is less important than the sides that come with it, no starter is less important than an entree. I have admired the hard work that these guys put in, from Justin and Kent firing up the smokers at 2 am to Kelley yelling in my face at 9 pm. It’s a nonstop project and clearly a labor of love. We all know that Charlottesville has some amazing restaurants and these are my favorite dishes from the guys behind the scenes that are doing the thankless work day in and day out.

1) Pork Tacos at C&O. “I’ll begin where I often end my nights: the late night menu at C&O, most notably the pork tacos. We all know that C&O is a Charlottesville mainstay and for great reason. None is more apparent than the menu they are able to maintain after serving a busy dinner crowd. It’s always a pleasure to walk in there and have the New York Times crossword waiting by the fish tank and know that food is not only available but reliably delicious. The work that Anthony, Amanda, Jenn and Dustin put into making amazing Manhattans is always appreciated and quite welcome after a long night. Abe’s Bud and Beam combos are not to be passed over either, especially if you can play dice.”

2) Roast Pork with Fennel Sandwich at Greenwood Gourmet. “After one of those late night meals, nothing pieces me back together quite like a sandwich at Greenwood Gourmet. If you can manage not to buy the first thing you see in the deli case, glance up to the specials board. The roast pork with fennel has been a go-to of mine for as long as they have had it there. David, Nina and Rufus have obviously put as much time and thought in the menu as they have with every other aspect of this store. It really is a pleasure of mine to interact with them as often as I’m able. Put that up with popups from Potter’s Craft Cider, Michael Lewis, and Polina Chesnakova and you have gold on the footsteps of the Blue Ridge.”

3) Hangar Steak and Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “In the rare occurrence that I have a weekend night on my hands, my girlfriend and I head straight to the bar at Oakhart Social and order the shaved salad with the Hangar Steak. Tristan has the kitchen dialed in to a tee. Salads have been tough to win my heart but this one has it. Pair that with Albee and Brendan behind the bar and it’s a winning combination every time. From a bartender’s point of view, Albee is the best in the business. His drink menu and knowledge are unparalleled and all served with a little salt. Albee rarely puts the buggy before the horse. Toss in a few Cub hats in the kitchen and I’m always happy.”

4) Banh Mi at Lampo. “Before beginning this journey I had the pleasure of working with some great friends of mine at Lampo pizza. The fact that almost every single Five Finds on Friday list, not to mention dish of the year, features these guys is a testament to the time that they put in on a daily basis. With so many dishes to choose from at a Neapolitan pizzeria, I’ll go with what everyone expects to see on the menu; the banh mi. It was a special that the boys ran a year ago and it quickly became one of my favorite things. From watching Loren bake French bread from scratch to watching the guys toss out one iteration after another until they perfected, it really shows their combined passion and dedication to what they do. Throw a Shelvis on the floor and the most knowledgeable sommelier behind the bar and it’s no wonder they have garnered the attention and success that they have.”

5) Oysters Rockefeller at The Fitzroy. “From day one, Kelley Tripp has been the guy that I have learned from and the guy that continues to surprise me on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that when he teamed up with Rich, Kevin and Rooney to open a space downtown that my last dish comes from them. I truly believe that the oysters Rockefeller from the Fitzroy on the downtown mall is my favorite bite in Charlottesville. Pair it with the pork chop and a cocktail from Sommertine Cline and you have a true classic. The atmosphere that Jeannette Andamasaris designed and Hector Zamora built really made me feel at home, which is something that I feel as a person in the service industry we all strive for.”

“Best Thing I Ate All Year” 2016

Looking back at 2016, what stands out as the best thing you ate all year?  Top area chefs provide their answer. (Here are last year’s picks.) A tribute to Charlottesville’s bounty:

Mitchell Beerens (Lampo)

Agedashi Tofu at Now & Zen. “The silken tofu is made crispy by dusting it in potato starch and frying it. Then, it’s set in a spa of tentsuyu broth made smoky from the katsuobushi and a little sweet from mirin. Perfect balance of big flavors.”

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Craig Hartman (BBQ Exchange)

Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana at Parallel 38. “When restaurants around the world jumped to support the town of Amatrice in Italy after it was devastated by an earthquake, we were fortunate enough to experience a version of Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana at Parallel 38. Their version was almost exactly the same as what we experienced in Italy. It was also so delicious that we went back the next night to have it again.”

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Brian Jones (The Alley Light)

Brebirousse from Flora Artisanal Cheese in Timbercreek Market with Seeded Roll from Albemarle Baking Company.  “The seeded roll is a beautiful roll, made from baguette dough,  crusted in fennel seeds, poppy seeds and white sesame seeds. What a yummy combination of flavors. Brebirousse is a soft, smooth, creamy, buttery sheep’s milk cheese from the Rhone-Alpes region of France. Not to take anything away from these two ingredients, but food memories often have more to do with the eater’s condition at the time of the meal than the actual meal itself.  Food always tastes better when you are hungry!  I have eaten at some amazing restaurants in my life but I the best meal I ever had in my life was on a backpacking trip when our rations were low and our calorie output far exceeded our calorie intake. We savored every last morsel, scraped our cooking vessel clean, so clean that there was nothing left to wash. Possibly food is at its best  when the aromas or tastes remind you of a forgotten memory lost somewhere in the back of your mind. Think Ratatouille the movie when the food critic Anton Ego bites into Chef Remy’s ratatouille.”

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Christian Kelly (Maya)

Duck Liver Terrine at The Ivy Inn.  “This pâté en terrine is a slice of art. The perfect suspension of fat in meat wrapped in what appeared to be paper-thin cured duck breast slices and served with traditional pommery mustard and pickled vegetables. Angelo’s food is truly inspiring. The work of his kitchen is a delight to the taste buds. Well done.”

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Tommy Lasley (Fry’s Spring Station, Ivy Provisions)

Live Scallop with Uni Broth at Mican (now closed). “The best thing I ate this past year was way too much amazing sashimi at Mican Japanese Restaurant, which unfortunately is no longer open! Everything I had was the best example I have tried in years, Charlottesville or otherwise. If I had to pick one bite it was the live scallop with uni broth.” [Note: Mican’s owners are now serving sushi at Lemongrass.]

Thomas Leroy (Kardinal Hall)

Pork Belly at BBQ Exchange. “I went there and ordered  the meat combo plate of course. The ribs were outstanding, but that pork belly with a fried crispy finish to balance the smoking flavor was amazing. I topped it with their bacon bbq sauce of course. Next time I go, that’s all I’m ordering.”

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Michael McCarthy (Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie)

Salt Honey Pie from Greenwood Gourmet by Polina Chesnakova. “Nuff said.”

Loren Mendosa (Lampo)

Olive Oil Gelato from Splendora’s. “I don’t know if PK’s running it regularly, but it was truly fantastic. She used our Mosto olive oil from Liguria and we topped it with sea salt and a drizzle of the Galardo olive oil that Hodges and Jill Myers are importing. It was the perfect combination!”

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Jenny Peterson (Paradox Pastry)

Roasted Chicken and Street Corn Off the Cob at The Fitzroy. “Holy moly! Food tends to be an ‘in the moment’ experience for me, and that chicken and corn just hit the spot at the right time, and it was so comfy and cozy in there.”

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Ian Redshaw (Lampo)

Sunchokes from Wayside Produce. “Any vegetable from Wayside Produce, especially the sunchokes. These are the best vegetables I have been able to find thus far in my career.”

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Ivan Rekosh (ZoCaLo)

Flank and Brisket Pho at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House. “This time of year I’m loving the pho from Thai Cuisine. I usually opt for the flank and brisket but sometimes add the tendon. The broth is amazing. I love to stick my whole face in the bowl and breathe in the steam while I’m slurping the noodles. Really warms you up from the inside out on these cold days. Also a great family runs it.” 

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Wilson Richey (co-owner, The Alley Light, The Bebedero, The Pie Chest, Revolutionary Soup, The Whiskey Jar)

Chicken Liver Mousse Tart at Timbercreek Market. “Just redefined what can be done with chicken liver, so smooth and elegant. I would eat the whole tart if it were not frowned upon to do things like that.”

mousse

John Shanesy (Petit Pois)

Black Bean and Corn Relleno at ZoCaLo. “It hits on every texture, and all the flavors are very well pronounced but at the same time all working in unison to be a joy to eat. They’ve been great new neighbors to get to meet and have greeted me so warmly as well.”

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Andrew Silver (ZoCaLo)

Polpettine Panuozzo at Lampo. “Meatball parm sub was my go-to late night, altered state, munchie meal.  Lampo’s is the refined, grown up version.  Plus the fact that the bread is baked ‘a la minute’ seals the deal.”

meatball

Angelo Vangelopoulos (The Ivy Inn)

Petit Kouign-aman from MarieBette. “I found this gem at the city market. Will Darsie filled my request for a mixed bag of goodies while I picked up my veggies from Susan and Wally Parks at Broadhead Mountain Farm. It’s an over the top decadent croissant dough masterpiece with apples and a metric ton of butter and sugar. My market visit is no longer complete without one of them.”

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Tristan Wraight (Oakhart Social)

170 Dry Aged NY Strip at Lampo. “Ridiculously delicious. Cast iron crispy and served with a head of roasted garlic. Not even fair.”

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Tucker Yoder (Timbercreek Market)

I Don’t Even Own a Gun by Twenty Paces.  “I Don’t Even Own a Gun and Noah’s Arcade are some of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. Could easily rival European cheeses. Great funky cheeses. All their cheeses have been a revelation this year but the soft gooey ones are a Yoder family favorite.”

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Five Finds on Friday: Benoit Pineau

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On Fridays, we feature five finds from area chefs and personalities.  It’s Virginia Wine Month, and today’s picks come from Benoit Pineau, winemaker at the award-winning Pollak Vineyards.  On the evening of October 30, Pollak will host its last Final Friday of 2015, with live music by Hot Twang, Gourmet Grilled Cheese, and more. Pineau’s picks:

1)  Quiche Lorraine at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “It is delicious and the bakery’s style takes me back to France.”

2)  Taco Loco at La Michoacana Taqueria.  “Great value for a fresh, authentic taco with great seasoning choices.”

3) The Local Burger at The Local.  “Because sometimes I need my burger. It is a simple, very well prepared burger. Local organic beef topped with Swiss cheese, smoked bacon, and caramelized onions.”

4)  Melrose at Greenwood Gourmet.  “This is my favorite vegetarian sandwich. It’s a panini with portobello mushrooms and red onions with homemade pimento cheese and arugula.”

5)  Canard a la Peche at Restaurant Pomme.  “The mango salsa and peach sauce are a very good choice to pair with the duck breast. You can pair it with the wine of your choice, they have a great wine list!”