The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Junction

Five Finds on Friday: Bridget Meagher

Bridget

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Bridget Meagher of Catbird Kitchen, a new craft sauce company, where the longtime chef and owner of Roanoke’s Alexander’s restaurant uses ingredients from her Ivy farm to create small batch sauces, like Vahotcha Hot Sauce, Vahotcha BBQ Sauce, and Double Chocolate Caramel. Stop by the City Market Holiday Market tomorrow to sample her sauces and create custom gift boxes. Or, find them at Feast! and Greenwood Gourmet. An active supporter of nonprofits that benefit women and children, Meagher is helping members of the Charlottesville Women in Food provide meals for the homeless through PACEM. Details on how you can help or donate are here. Meagher’s picks:

1) Skillet Roasted Mussels at Tavola. “I’m not the first person to say these guys have the corner on quality mussels and a la minute preparation. The simplicity of the ingredients belies the pure magic as they come together with high heat, technique and timing. I wish it weren’t so hard to get a table.”

2) Ham Biscuit at J.M. Stock Provisions. “As a New Orleanian by birth with deep SW LA roots, I’m kind of skeptical about guys in Virginia taking the leap into tasso, of all things. It’s sad to say, but so many folks just don’t get Cajun charcuterie right, but J.M. Stock has done it. Not only are the smoky flavors spot on, the quality of the cut puts it into premium category. And shaved onto that warm biscuit—it is heavenly.”

3) Fried Oysters with Aioli at Duner’s. “Long before I met and got to know the talented Laura Fonner, Duner’s was our go-to for fried oysters – plump bivalves, perfectly breaded and fried. In LA (that’s Louisiana not the other LA), fried oysters are a daily staple and these can compete with the best. Since Duner’s is only 5 minutes from our little farm, this is neighborhood comfort food at its best. But now I’m looking at her Parmesan Bread French Toast, Steak, and Tomato Hot Sauce Beurre Blanc-yum! Maybe she might consider using Vahotcha Sriracha for that sauce?”

4) Local Rabbit, Andouille & Chipotle Étouffée, Dirty Rice, Crispy Crawfish Tails, Fried Okra at Junction. “Ok, so I’m on a Gulf Coast roll here. Melissa creates magic with any dish, but smothered rabbit is a favorite of mine and this dish really shines.”

5) Shenandoah, Light Roll, and Baguette from Albemarle Baking Co. “To me, these are some of the standouts in a solid line up of superior baked goods. The Shenandoah, with the pears, is just sublime. The baguette has been such a mainstay in town for so long that people might forget that there was a time when real baguettes were hard to come by, and Gerry changed all that. I’ll take one home to break and enjoy with my stash of Caromont Esmontian. The light roll, buttered and toasted on the flat top, rounds out one of the best burgers you’ll ever taste. Made with Seven Hills ground beef and doused with my Vahotcha BBQ Sauce, I call it The Catbirger.”

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Catbirger

Five Finds on Friday: Courtney Hildebrand

Courtney

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Courtney Hildebrand of The Catering Outfit, the full service caterer that recently launched pop-up lunches and dinners at its Carlton Road kitchen. Lunches are every Thursday, and the first dinner installment will be Saturday, August 18: Basque Seaside Dinner, with chef Tomas Rahal of Quality Pie. Details and reservations here. Meanwhile, The Catering Outfit’s sister restaurant, The Shebeen Pub and Braai, serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday, with house made Bloody Marys, acoustic music, and even outdoor patio seating on swings (yes swings). Hildebrand’s picks:

1) Mexican Street Corn at Junction. “In a town with lots of new street corn options, Melissa still has my favorite! It’s one of their shared plates so you can enjoy a small order by yourself or get a large to share with your friends. The chili-lime dressing is amazing.  Junction also has my favorite cocktails in town. I love to try anything Alec creates. My current favorite is Rum Communion with brown butter rum and notes of pineapple & lime. It’s hard to have just one of these yummy cocktails!”

2) Spicy Shrimp Dishes at The Local, Bang!, and The Shebeen Pub and Brai. “I am a sucker for a great shrimp dish. I have a three way tie for the best shrimp dish in town, as I will always order these if I am at one of these establishments. My picks are the Crispy Shrimp at The Local, the Firecracker Shrimp at Bang!, and the False Bay Crispies at The Shebeen Pub and Braai. They are all so tasty and it is just too hard to narrow it down to just one pick!”

3) Green Giant Roll at Now & Zen. “Now and Zen is one of my favorite spots to go to dinner with a small group of friends. Everything on the menu is mouthwatering, but the Green Giant Roll is always a pleasant surprise for friends who shy away from vegetarian dishes. This giant roll with sweet potato tempura, avocado & cream cheese stands up to any of their other signature big rolls.”

4) Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo. “My sister and I love to go Zocalo for dinner when we can make time to have a night out together. We always start with the cheese fritters & raspberry-chili glaze, and then split the salmon dish for our entrée. The entire menu always sounds amazing, but we rarely stray from these picks on our sister dinner date. Zocalo also offers margarita flights which is always a good start to a night out!”

5) Big Baby Sake from North American Sake Brewery. “They have not quite opened their doors yet, but I have had a chance to try the new Big Baby Sake from the soon-to-be-open North American Sake Brewery. Andrew Centofante’s creation is one of the best sakes I have ever tried. I am excited for what he & Jeremy have in store once they open their doors next week.”

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Braised short rib sandwich, a recent pop-up lunch at The Catering Outfit

 

2018 Best New Restaurant Finalists

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After the final entry tomorrow, The 2018 Charlottesville 29 will be complete, answering: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29? To be eligible for this year’s 29, a restaurant must have been open continuously since January 1, 2017. This allows restaurants time to get their footing and prove themselves before being considered. But, many restaurants that opened in 2017 are still worthy of recognition. And, they are in the running for Best New Restaurant.

The 2018 Charlottesville 29 Best New Restaurant will be announced this Monday, March 5. The finalists are: