The Charlottesville 29

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Tag: Justin Vesser

Introducing the Deli-Egg Roll

When it comes to food, some people are just different. You think about your next meal during your current one. You perseverate for hours about lunch. In your day job as a pharmacist, you daydream of opening your own restaurant. Food is on your mind, always.

One recent Sunday night, when I should have been sleeping, I instead was thinking about food. I sent an email to Justin Vesser, the UVa pharmacist behind The Tennessean Steakhouse, the passion project he operates a few times a year for charity. I wrote: “I’ve never tried doing it, but you could be just the man for the job. Deli-Egg Rolls. The ingredients for a Bodo’s Deli-Egg (without the egg) inside an egg roll.” He replied the next morning: “Well if that’s not a ‘eureka moment,’ I don’t know what is. I’ll take it to the test kitchen.”

Fast forward two weeks, and voila.


Deli-Egg Rolls
by Justin Vesser

  • Approximately 1 lb. Bodo’s Deli Meats (Pastrami, Corned Beef, Ham, Salami, Capicola)
  • 4 slices each: Muenster, Aged Swiss, Provolone
  • 1 Tbsp Everything Bagel Spice
  • 1 Package Egg Roll Wrappers
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Peanut oil

Go to Bodo’s and order one plain bagel with pastrami, corned beef, ham, salami and capicola. It’s all going to get chopped up at home, so save one stroke and ask for it to be cut in half. Prepare to have the cashier give you the hairy eyeball, and to be judged by the person ordering next to you.

Finely mince all of the meat and cheese slices, and thoroughly mix with bagel spice in a large bowl.

Beat egg in a small bowl and use a brush or your fingers to wet the edges of an egg roll wrapper. Plop a generous amount of the deli mixture in the middle and fold one corner up over the mix. Fold each side in, pinching to make sure there is a good seal and finish by rolling over the remaining corner.

Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep pot  to 350 degrees.

Gently drop egg rolls into oil in small batches, turning frequently until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 2 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

A deli-egg needs egginess and creaminess, so I served it with a fresh hollandaise sauce for dipping.




Five Finds on Friday: Justin Vesser


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Justin Vesser of The Tennessean Steakhouse, a brand new series of dinner parties at Vesser’s home to raise money for charity. Vesser is a passionate home cook, and The Tennessean Steakhouse is his way to play restaurant chef by creating a “bistro” on his back patio, all for a good cause. Guests do not pay for their meals except for a recommended donation to the SHE Shelter. There is a different theme each month, and first up is Argentina via Earlysville, a “fire-roasted, chili-rubbed tour through South America, celebrating the cuisines of Argentina and Brazil .  .  .with some Virginia and Tennessee additions.” Menu below. Book your slots here, and for updates on future events, follow along on the Tennessean Steakhouse Facebook page. It’s clear from his picks that Vesser knows his food, so grab some friends, support a good cause, and try something a little different for a way to spend a Saturday night. Vesser’s picks:

1) Spicy Fried Calamari at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “The Fat & Sassy was our gateway food for Ho’s with that salty ranch dressing and those little garlic bombs, but the calamari is the sleeper hit, and my single favorite dish anywhere. The squid rings are great, but the little heady tentacle pieces, soaked up with all the spicy Thai sauce, are just a killer bite of food.”

2) Heaven on a Bun at The Barbeque Exchange. “The Heaven isn’t on the regular menu, but rather is taped to the glass along with the Hell and the Purgatory. I get mine with chopped brisket instead of pulled pork, and it is a total knockout punch with lettuce, tomato, a sunny egg, baconaise, two giant pieces of sticky love bacon, and the secret weapon, a single, house-made waffle cut potato chip. Add a few dabs of Poltergeist sauce and tell Saint Peter I said ‘Hello.'”

3) The Hungry Norman at Bluegrass Grill & Bakery. “The combination of English muffins with blackberry jam, spicy sausage links, goat cheese, perfect poached eggs and immaculate hollandaise sauce sounds totally crazy, but it is the definitive breakfast food for me. Plus, the place is very cool for families with little, crazy kids.”

4) Cavoletti Di Bruxelles at Lampo. “With all the stellar food and creativity at Lampo, it may sound odd to go with a vegetable. However, it’s the one thing we get every single time. Four-ish perfect forkfuls of crunchy, bitter shaved Brussels sprouts with a tangy dressing. It makes you feel better about attacking a meatball sandwich, to boot.”

5) Meat and Cheese Board from Feast! “The Feast crew obviously love their jobs, and enlisting their help in putting together the perfect charcuterie for a big crowd, or more likely for just one big guy, is always a blast. I have turned so many people on to my Feast discoveries like the Pig & Fig Pate, mole salami, and well-aged gouda, loaded with crunchy crystals.”

tsteakhouse menu

Beef 17

“Beef 17” – Timbercreek Farm rib-eye, strip, and short rib with 17 sauces and garnishes


“Elvis” – Amy Vesser’s banana bread, crisped in butter and bacon fat, with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter sauce, and lardons

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