The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Lampo

Five Finds on Friday: Della Bennett

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Della Bennett of the personal chef service P L E N T Y, which offers weekly meal preparation, grazing boards, and intimate catering. Ask about her services at plentycville@gmail.com, sign up for her weekly menu at P L E N T Y’s website, and browse her culinary creations on Instagram at @plentycville. Bennett’s picks:

1) The Boss Wings with celery, Ranch, AND Blue Cheese at Wild Wing Cafe. “You can take the girl out of the wing joint, but you can’t take the wing joint out of the girl. To this day, The Boss wings are the only wings I’ll ever love, from the first job I ever had. At just shy of 5 feet tall, barely 18, ex-hostess turned only girl in the kitchen, I was slinging wings from the expo station. I think it was there that I learned to speak up and ask for what I wanted in life, which turns out, was equal parts boss wings on the fly AND respect from all the male cooks I looked up to. The Boss Wings are unlike any other wing you’ll find at WWC: marinated first, fried at least once, and then tossed in a top-secret spice blend while they’re still piping hot. That’s it. No sauce. A wing with no sauce? Trust me on this one. And I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or what, but I’ve always liked the ranch and blue cheese here.”

2) Cavoletti Di Bruxelles at Lampo“So, I guess I’m the girl who prefers the green over everyone’s favorite pizza. I’ve tried to recreate the Lampo salads for my clients but nothing quite compares to the real thing. The Brussels sprout salad is my pick: shaved Brussels and fennel, perfectly dressed, and then piled high with a lot of fluffy pecorino and the perfect amount of crunchy hazelnuts. Dreamy. And while I’m at it, I’ll also have the kale one that has all the crispity crunchity things on top (I know, they’re parsnips). Double INSALATE, hold the PIZZE, and a high five for every single person working there because they’re some of the coolest in town and make me feel all warm and fuzzy from the moment I walk in.”

3) Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls at Feast!. “I don’t always get the chocolate covered peanut butter balls when I go to Feast!, but when I do, I get the 6-pack. Okay, and that first part was a lie. I always always always get them. Every single time. They’re made with love, with the perfect chocolate to peanut butter ratio, by my friend, Natalie. (aka @zoonybug) and they’re ONLY available at Feast!, unless you are lucky enough to run into her at a dinner party because she always brings them and no one is ever mad about it.”

4) Panang Curry at Tara Thai. “This is the only time that tofu is my protein of choice – maybe it’s because my girlfriend is vegetarian and I don’t have a choice, maybe because it’s fried, but most likely because it is the best, most absorbent vehicle for the SAUCE. The sauce in this dish literally makes me weak in the knees and I am not too good to turn the bowl up and slurp it. Beautiful as it is creamy, a coconut milk-based broth with fresh basil and tiny pieces of peanut and bell pepper. If I’m being honest, the tofu/veggies/rice are just for looks.”

5) Charred Carrots at Oakhart Social. “Maybe it’s the fourth Smokey Rose talking, but this dish is my #1, my ride or die. It’s as if ‘carrots + ranch’ came back to school after summer break, and now they’re all grown up, with a deep voice, and a rather sophisticated mustache. From the craggy bits of charred stem (newsflash, you need to be eating this part of the carrot if you aren’t already) down to the tender sweet carrot, perfectly charred and caramelized in the wood-burning oven. If you’re dining with me, I probably already helped myself to all of the candied pecans. My bad. Another set of high fives to the overall vibe here. They get it.”

Five Finds on Friday: Shelly Robb

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Photo by Signe Clayton.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Shelly Robb, partner and GM of the soon-to-open Prime 109. As GM, Robb will oversee events in Prime 109’s private rooms, which, given the anticipation for the restaurant, may be in high demand as the holiday season approaches. You can start planning yours already by emailing:  primeevents@109steak.com.

In the background Robb provided about herself, such as her time at Bizou and Tavola, Robb included a detail more touching than any Five Finds participant ever has. “Side note: I have extremely supportive parents who never once made me feel guilty or not good enough for doing what I loved. When you choose to do something completely different from your education, and they are still proud of you and supportive: Priceless.” Robb’s picks:

1) Marinara D.O.C. at Lampo. “The light char, San Marzano, garlic, and oregano lend to a perfectly balanced pizza. I love spicy, so I often add a side of Calabrian chili. It is so simple and addicting.”

2) Hop Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider. “I remember the first time I tried their cider. I was the general manager at Bizou and Tim brought by a sample of their Farmhouse Dry. I’ve since been hooked on pretty much everything they make.”

3) Pinot Noir from Ankida Ridge. “One of the first Virginia wines I fell in love with. I am so excited to try their Brut Sparkling as well.”

4) Palak Paneer or Vegetable Vin D’Alho at Milan. “Indian hot with a side of garlic naan. A once a week must.”

5) Dry Aged Steaks at Prime 109. “Ian has done an amazing job with our dry aging program. It is honestly the best steak I’ve ever had.”

 

Five Finds on Friday: Chrissy Smith

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Chrissy Smith, Wine Buyer at Beer Run, where you can enjoy any bottle of any wine from the store’s selection for just $7 corkage. A Certified Sherry Wine Specialist, Smith is planning an upcoming sherry seminar to help guests better understand a wine style she says is “underappreciated and misunderstood.” Follow Beer Run’s Facebook page for updates. Meanwhile, Smith also hosts a free wine tasting every Friday at Beer Run from 6 – 8 pm. Smith’s picks:

1) Margherita D.O.C. & Polpettine with any of the fabulous Italian reds at Lampo. “I’m not sure how many times Lampo has graced these lists, but I’m about to give them another notch on The Charlottesville 29 post. The talented crew there has created my personal perfect pizza — a crust that is just thin and doughy enough with the perfect amount of char and bite. My favorite combination is the Margherita D.O.C. and meatballs (you have to save that sauce for dipping the crust) with any of Andrew’s carefully-curated selections. Although, my preferred glass of red with this combo is anything of the Piedmontese persuasion. I’m a Margherita pizza lover in general, and since they offer two variations, my fiancé and I did a side-by-side comparison of the standard Margherita & the D.O.C., and while both are utterly delicious, the Mozzarella di Bufala adds a creamier, meltier, more flavorful sensation to the D.O.C. that steals my heart every time.”

2) Boquerones with/ an extra squeeze of fresh lemon, Pan de Casero, and a Manzanilla Sherry at MAS Tapas. “While there are many dishes I drool over at Mas, one of the simplest combinations are the boquerones (Cantabrian white anchovies marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic) with a little squeeze of lemon, the slow-fermented, hearth-baked bread, and a Manzanilla sherry, especially of the En Rama or unfiltered variety. The sea air brininess & freshness of this sherry from the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda make it a quintessential match to the fresh and powerful flavor of the marinated anchovies.”

3) Uni Nigiri & Chirashi Don with Junmai Daiginjo Sake at TEN Sushi. “Super fresh Uni (sea urchin) over perfectly prepared sushi rice is one of my favorite sushi pleasures, and TEN provides not only the highest quality fish in town, but also the best rice–a touch warm and just sweet & vinegary enough. The purity & freshness of a Junmai Daiginjo is a delightful counter to the creamy, ocean flavors of great Uni. But one cannot survive on Uni alone! And I love the variety in the Chirashi don, which is basically a bowl of chef’s choice sashimi over sushi rice, which is both filling and extremely delicious.”

4) Salmon Linguine with Sparkling Brut Rosé at Beer Run“While I have many go-to dishes at Beer Run, whenever I’m there once the dinner menu begins, you can almost always find me enjoying the Salmon Linguine. It’s a generous filet of perfectly-cooked Atlantic salmon with wilted spinach, garlic-compound butter, and capers over linguine. One of my favorite pairings is the Treveri Brut Rosé–an organic, Washington state sparkling rosé made in the Champagne Method from the Syrah grape–which cuts through while also enhancing the decadent flavors of the salmon and butter.”

5) Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas with a Reposado Tequila, Cointreau Margarita with salt at Continental Divide.”I love the Continental Divide. If I could, I’d cozy up to the bar, eat comforting food, and chat with the amazing staff every night! If I absolutely had to choose one dish from my usual meal line-up (I like to make it a three-course deal), it would be the Spinach & Mushroom Enchiladas and a margarita with a reposado tequila, Cointreau, and a healthy salt rim. While this might be a sacrilegious treatment of enchiladas to some, I like to chop them up a bit with my fork and mix all the goodies together to ensure an even distribution of deliciousness in every bite.”