The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Lost Saint

Five Finds on Friday: Millie Winstead

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Millie Winstead, Director of Development for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, the beneficiary of The 2019 Charlottesville Restaurant Auctions. In the auctions, now underway, the restaurants of The Charlottesville 29 have each created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for whoever pledges the largest donation to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. And, the food bank in turn takes each dollar and creates four meals for the area’s hungry. Winstead’s picks:

1) Atun a La Parilla at MAS. “I would go to MAS any and every day. The menu changes all the time and everything they make is so good. But, one thing that I always include in my tapas choices is the tuna. It is perfectly cooked (rare) and is seasoned with just the right amount of grey sea salt.”

2) Fruit Focaccia at Albemarle Baking Company. “Another place I would visit every day, in my perfect world, is ABC. Our family’s Saturday morning would not be complete without a stop at Gerry’s. After a stroll through our city’s wonderful farmer’s market, we always visit ABC to get my fruit focaccia, a variety of pastries for the rest of the family, and a baguette for a future weekend meal.”

3) Watermelon Salad with Crab at Little Star. “This is a new find and I can’t wait to go back and have more. The flavors were unexpected – who would think to put those two things together? I’m so glad they did because the sweet and savory combination was perfect.”

4) Dealer’s Choice at Lost Saint. “This place feels special, kind of like you have to be from here to know it even exists. Tucked away within Tavern & Grocery, it is a perfect get-away with a friend or date. And, the bartenders know their business. Let them guide you and teach you, and sit back and enjoy.”

5) Weekly Soup from l’etoile Catering. “I miss having Mark at a physical location I can go whenever I want, but this is the next best thing (unless you want to invite me to a party you have him cater!). Working for the food bank, I travel throughout central and western Virginia. When I find myself passing through Crozet, I stop to see what Mark has put in his cooler on his porch, a.k.a. what will be my family’s dinner that night. I know it will be delicious.”

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Five Finds on Friday: Rebecca Edwards

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Tavola Cicchetti Bar’s Rebecca Edwards, creator of one of the best cocktails of the year. With several great bartenders in town now, “Dealer’s Choice” reaped rewards all year long in 2018. Even among that elite group, though, Edwards’ Smoke & Ashes stood out. Edwards stirs together Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Meletti Amaro, Cocchi Dopo Teatro, and a pinch of salt, before placing the glass under a glass dome filled with applewood smoke. Edwards’ picks:

1) Wedge Salad at Oakhart Social. “I walk into Oakhart and I’m immediately in my happy place. Most of the time I’m there with my coworkers to get drinks after a Saturday night shift, but when I do get in there at normal people dinner hours, the wedge salad is an absolute must. The combination of the creamy poppy seed dressing with the everything bagel spice is heaven when paired with the pickled red onion and the crunch of baby gem lettuce. My fiancé, Steve, is essentially a carnivore and even he consistently craves this salad, so this dish is kind of a miracle.”

2) K.I.S.S. Caprese at Ivy Provisions. “As a vegetarian in a super meat-loving town, I eat A LOT of caprese sandwich variations. The K.I.S.S. Caprese is the one I consistently crave—even though I sometimes eat it multiple times in one week! Their fresh mozzarella is buttery and melts in your mouth, and it perfectly contrasts with the bitter kick of the arugula. I like to add avocado; it makes for a messy and delicious lunch feast.”

3) Vesper Martini at Lost Saint. “Colin and his team have a wonderful cocktail menu all around, but one of my favorite aspects of this place is their huge foundation of classic cocktails. Vespers have kind of fallen out of style in recent years (maybe because they’re shaken instead of stirred) but as far as martinis go they’re my absolute favorite. Boozy yet deceptively smooth, a Vesper is always a great end to a long bar shift. I usually leave the gin choice up to Colin—he almost always has a new product I’m excited to try.”

4) Burrata and Artichoke Ravioli at Tavola. “This one might be cheating because it’s a special and Chef Dylan only runs it once every few months, but I’m including it because this is truly one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. (I’m not the only one—my mom has me text her every time it’s on the specials board!) House-made ravioli stuffed with burrata cheese and artichokes, topped with truffle butter, roasted artichokes, grana padano and chives. It’s a dish that reads as incredibly rich, but it ends up being decadent yet light at the same time. Paired with a glass of Catarratto, every bite is an absolute dream.”

5) Tofu and Veggie Drunken Noodles at Pad Thai. “This is another one I’ll sometimes order multiple times a week. When I eat Thai food I usually prefer a sinus-clearing level of spice, and this dish definitely delivers. The noodles are cooked perfectly and there are a generous variety of veggies to add crunch. Definitely my favorite Thai food in town!”

Smoke & Ashes

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Five Finds on Friday: Patrick McClure

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Patrick McClure, General Manager of Tavern & Grocery, which this week won 2017’s Best New Restaurant. McClure also manages and co-owns the restaurant’s downstairs bar Lost Saint. McClure’s picks:

1) Iced Coffee from Splendora’s Gelato. “I hope PK will forgive me for hipping more people to this, but the iced coffee from her shop is absolutely the best I’ve ever had. I’m a regular to the extent that most of the folks behind the counter will start pouring mine as I’m coming through the door. A simple recipe and the cold Toddy method of brewing produce a rich but mellow brew with low bitterness and a mild nuttiness. I drink it black, and try to start every work day with one. Their gelato is pretty amazing as well.”

2) Magical Mystery Tour Pizza from Mellow Mushroom. “I know, I know, everybody loves Lampo. Me too! Luckily for me, my favorite pizzas are like apples and oranges, and I don’t have to compare them. The wonderfully spongy and heavily parmesan-dusted crust Mellow consistently delivers is my style, and the combination of pesto, mushrooms, jalapenos, spinach, feta and mozzarella cheeses is perfect. I sometimes add bacon to this vegetarian pie.”

3) Malt Whiskey from Spirit Lab Distilling. “Charlottesville’s oldest distillery is the one you probably haven’t heard of yet, and Ivar Aass is producing some great distillate. He’s patched together a solera-style barrel aging system that has produced (only) 94 bottles to date of handmade single malt that is rich in toffee and vanilla notes with a smoky backbone that I can’t wait to enjoy again.”

4) Ham Biscuit from JM Stock Provisions. “I have only had this twice. The early risers usually buy all of them before I can get to JM Stock, especially since I think pre-noon is early morning. The perfect biscuit, tender tasso ham, honey and just enough hot sauce to wake you up are worth setting my alarm for.”

5) Cocktails from my Favorite Charlottesville Bars: Oakhart Social, Tavola Cicchetti Bar, and The Alley Light. “My peers around town (and my teammates at Lost Saint) are producing cocktails on the level of the great cocktail bars in the country, and I’m excited for more people to find this out. Go see Albee or Brendan at Oakhart Social, Steve at Cicchetti, Micah at The Alley Light or Carrie and Colin here at Lost Saint, and you’ll be treated to excellent service and a bevy of delicious and balanced flavor combinations that will open your eyes to the great American history of cocktail culture.”