The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint

Five Finds on Friday: Jessica Fake

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jessica Fake, of award-winning Sussex Farm. Read the amazing story of how winning Sussex Farm’s offering in The 2019 Charlottesville Restaurant Auctions eventually landed Fake a job there. Fake’s picks:

1) Spinach Saag, Sundried Tomato Oil, Cauliflower and Paneer Pizza from Pye Dog Pizza. “They regularly change their offering at each farmers market, so it’s always interesting, but also near impossible to pick a favorite. I have to call out their spinach saag pizza, which has spinach saag, paneer, cauliflower, and sun-dried tomato oil. Also, their mojo pork pizza, which has mojo pork, red curry bbq, pickled onion and queso fresco. It’s hard to go wrong with any of their pizzas, especially with their crusts, which are the true stars of the show.”

2) Greg Brady from Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. “My favorite burger in town. This yummy comfort meal comes with wagyu beef, mac n’ cheese, and bbq chips to add the perfect crunch.”

3) Hazelnut Latte and a Pastry from Petite MarieBette. “I say Petite rather than the original, because both will blow you away with pastries, but Petite MarieBette makes their hazelnut lattes with real nutella and it is delicious. Add an everything pretzel croissant, pain au chocolat, or petite canelés to that latte order, and treat yourself.”

4) Fried Rice at Kama. “If you go to Kama on Sundays you’ll be treated to a chef’s special of fried rice. It’s everything you want fried rice to be, chock full of flavor and ingredients. The rice itself has a wonderful texture, somehow managing to be both soft and perfectly crisped. If you aren’t able to make it on Sundays, you can’t go wrong with their house-made udon noodles.”

5) Almond Dark Chocolate Macarons from Bowerbird Bakeshop. “They’ve completely converted me. I was not a particular fan of macarons before, but I think it is because I haven’t truly had good ones prior to theirs. My favorite so far was their almond dark chocolate ganache with sea salt macaron. I’m always looking forward to what flavors they are bringing to the market each week.”

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Pain au chocolat

Five Finds on Friday: Jeff White

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Blue Moon Diner has reopened, and today’s Five Finds on Friday come from a man who cooked there more than thirty years ago. Jeff White manned the grill of the Charlottesville icon from 1985-1987, married one of the waitresses, and, now, more than three decades later, is the top sports writer for the University of Virginia. For many UVa fans, his columns are daily must-reads. History class from White:

I started cooking for then-owner John Grier at the Blue Moon Diner late in my undergraduate days at UVa and continued working there (and down the street at the late, great Cotton Exchange, whose owners were Grier, John Hoy and Kirby Hutto) until moving to Richmond in 1987.

Back then, the Blue Moon’s grill was out front, a few feet from the counter, and the pressure of cooking in a packed diner ––– in full view of customers, with the jukebox blaring, while hungover on a weekend morning –– no doubt helped prepare me for the stress of writing newspaper stories on deadline.

Most important, the Blue Moon is where in 1986 I met Beth Pearce, whose brother Tom was a fellow cook. Beth later waitressed at the diner, and we were married in 1989.

It’s wonderful to see the Blue Moon open again, and it’s hard to go wrong with anything on its menu, which has expanded considerably since my time there. Here are five of my other favorites:

1) Hot Sicilian at Durty Nelly’s / Wayside Deli. “The GOAT when it comes to sandwiches. I’ve been placing the same order at Durty Nelly’s/Wayside Deli for 30-plus years and hope to continue doing so for another 30. It’s a heavenly combination of Genoa salami, turkey, provolone, onion, peppers and mayo on rye, all heated.”

2) Greg Brady at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “The burgers at Jack Brown’s are, to me, the perfect size –– not too big, not too small ­–– and complementing the beef on this delicacy are mac and cheese, Martin’s BBQ potato chips, and a blend of American and cheddar cheeses. The fries are great, too, as is the selection of beers from around the world.

3) Burrito Michoacana at La Michoacana. “This low-key restaurant on East High Street was once a hidden gem, but its excellence has been common knowledge around town for years now. Keep the option of a post-lunch nap open after eating one of these burritos. You may need it.”

4) Ragin’ Cajun at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “I’m a sucker for andouille, and this pie also features Creole-spiced shrimp, green peppers, roasted red peppers and mozzarella. Dr. Ho’s, of course, has Blue Moon ties. Its founder, Jerry Danner, ran the diner after buying it from John Grier.”

5) Cookies and Cream Milkshake at Crozet Creamery. “A group of us in the athletic department has a tradition we hold dear. When one of the UVa teams we support (as writers, videographers, photographers, etc.) picks up a significant win –– almost any conquest of Virginia Tech qualifies as such – we celebrate by treating ourselves to milkshakes. My victory shake of choice is one of many fantastic offerings at my local ice cream parlor, whose other options include the (Jack) Salted Caramel.”

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Jeff White, Blue Moon Diner, 1985

Five Find on Friday: Melissa Stefaniak

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Melissa Stefaniak, founder of Single Baked Sweets, a new Charlottesville-based company making single-serve, bake-at-home dessert kits, like chocolate chip cookies and s’mores pie. All kits come with pre-measured dry ingredients in bakeware and simple instructions. Shop at www.singlebakedsweets.com. Stefaniak’s picks:

1) Cheeseburger at Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. “The ultimate comfort food to me is a simple, delicious cheeseburger and Jack Brown’s does not disappoint. Soft bun, melty cheddar cheese and wagyu beef patty – nothing else needed. Add a side of their Jack Brown’s sauce and it becomes a new addiction. Pairs well with a draft beer and good company.”

2) Chocolate Almond Croissant at MarieBette. “I’m not even a huge almond fan, but this pastry is one of my favorites in the world. Classic flaky, buttery croissant with a surprisingly sweet almond paste and chocolate center, topped with powdered sugar. It’s divine, indulgent and oh so sophisticated.”

3) S’mores Bread Pudding at Oakhart Social. “Not even sure where to begin to describe my own surprise, delight and gleeful satisfaction with this dessert. Nothing like what you would expect and 100 times better than your wildest dream. It’s deconstructed bread pudding. Puffy, fried dough, meets chocolate, meets brûléed marshmallow peaks and puppy chow crunch. Don’t order one to share, you’ll regret it – order one just for you because it’s so worth it.”

4) Chicken Wings at Doma. “You can get them in a variety of yummy flavors, and I recommend you order at least 20 in a variety of sauces. All are delicious, crispy and crave-able. Stay also for their dolsot bibimbap – full of fresh flavors and crispy rice.”

5) Orange Wines at Tavola. “Great atmosphere and great food, but what I love is their wine selection. If you haven’t tried one of their orange wines, it’s a must. Not only is orange on brand with UVa (wahoowa), but it’s a unique take on classic varietals. Perfect for sipping and enjoying the local scene.”

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Chocolate Almond Croissants at MarieBette