The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: MarieBette Cafe & Bakery

Five Finds on Friday: Jessica Hogan

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jessica Hogan of Farmacy, a health-focused food trailer coming soon that will showcase local and organic foods. While the trailer remains under construction, tomorrow morning at the Tom Tom Fest farmer’s market you can be the very first to enjoy a sneak preview, when Hogan and her boyfriend and business partner Gabino Gonzalez will be offering their breakfast tacos and burritos. Follow along here for updates. Hogan’s picks:

1) Buttermilk Pancakes at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “MarieBette is one of my favorite places to go, especially for breakfast. In my opinion it’s the only place to get good buttermilk pancakes with strawberries. Quality ingredients are what make the difference. Delicious!”

2) Chicken Salad at Feast! “Feast has many things I like, but my favorite is their organic chicken salad. It’s perfect on a salad or in their chicken salad sandwich made on fresh ABC ciabatta. It is the perfect consistency and spice and tastes great. I am also a fan of their concept – a grocery store supporting our local artisans and farmers. I am all about supporting local and eating organic food.”

3) Pupusas at Beer Run. “Sunday Brunch at Beer Run is amazing. I have worked there for five years and yet I have even chosen to have my birthday brunch at Beer Run before! Where else would I go? The food is local, organic, and incredible. The pupusas and the strata are two of my brunch favorites, but in all honesty you can’t go wrong any day of the week. It’s just so tasty, and is actually why I wanted to work there to begin with.”

4) Gnocchi with Truffled Mushroom Ragout at The Local. “The Local has great food,  and my favorite dish of theirs is gnocchi. Since I don’t eat beef, they are very accommodating and let me put their truffled mushroom ragout on them instead, and it’s absolutely lovely! I love that they use three kinds of mushrooms in it from Sharondale farm.”

5) Chocolate Praline Crunch Cake at Albemarle Baking Company. “Albemarle Baking Company has so many things I like. Hard to name a favorite. The chocolate praline cake is so moist and delectable, with its layers of chocolate and praline. It’s creamy and crunchy, and made with some of the finest ingredients.”

Five Finds on Friday: Jeff Latchum

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come Jeff Latchum of wine importer Williams Corner Wine. If you’re shopping for wine and unsure what to buy, check the labels on the backs of the bottles. Find one that says “Williams Corner Wine,” and you know it will be good. This Sunday, Latchum, a natural wine expert, will be at Blenheim Vineyards Library Series to teach a natural wines class, showcasing some of the finest natural wines in the world. Just fifteen tickets will be sold. Call (434) 293-5366 for yours. Details on this and other Library Series events here. Latchum’s picks:

1) Jamón and Rancio Sec at MAS Tapas. “Yes I’m shilling for something we sell and writing my entire piece about wine. Catalan tradition of completely oxidized, non-fortified wine that pairs well with literally anything salty and savory, from jamón to seafood. Ask for Domaine de Rombeau.”

2) Shad Roe and German Riesling at Tastings. “Tucked away from the hoi polloi, have a glass or two from the dozens of open bottles or grab a bottle off the rack and enjoy it for a small corkage. Idiosyncratic and proud of it, also the best place to buy a special occasion or specific vintage wine. He might even still have shad roe to nibble on with a dry German Riesling (ask for Ulli Stein or Peter Lauer).”

3) Meatloaf and Champagne at Bizou. “An often overlooked list for thoughtfully chosen wines at a reasonable price, especially the Champagne and you should be drinking more Champagne! It will make you look (or at least feel) dreamy scarfing down a delicious plate of meatloaf.”

4) Ham Biscuits and Chenin Blanc from Foods of All Nations. “You’ll need a full case of wine, and Tom and Frankie can help. The Wine Store to explore! Make sure to start looking at the back label and becoming fluent with the importer. I am certain you will find kinship with a handful, as many are doing excellent work. It’s never been better to be a consumer of wine! While there, I suggest buying a MarieBette olive baguette, ham biscuits, and some fried chicken, for friends, or just you, the dog, and the case of wine. For ham biscuits and fried chicken I would suggest Chenin Blanc from Domaine aux Moines, Savennieres Sec 2015.”

5) Tuna Nicoise and Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc at MarieBette Café and Bakery. “Five Finds has found and celebrated many wonderful things about MarieBette, but did you know that they have an affordable bistro wine selection to complement the long list of lovable superlatives? Jason, Patrick, and Will are the best, made all the more adorable with a glass of Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc. My pairing for either is the Tuna Niçoise.”

Introducing the Prezzant

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MarieBette Cafe & Bakery is at it again. The same bakery that created the international “bronut” sensation in 2015 has just unveiled a new hybrid pastry. And this time, they may not need the boost of an online media craze. From good old fashioned word of mouth alone, the pastries are already selling out faster than the bakery can make them.

Not much of a gift recipient, I used to tell my loved ones during the holidays that I would prefer their presence to their presents. But, if prezzants had been around back then, I might have reconsidered. Half pretzel, half croissant, MarieBette’s prezzants are outstanding. Like most good bakers, MarieBette’s Patrick Evans is a perfectionist, and, after experimenting by dipping croissant dough in lye, he took his time before deciding his latest creation was ready for release.

It shows. The lucky few who have tried a prezzant have raved. “Love the smokiness and buttery crunch,” one said. “OMG. It’s absolutely amazing,” said another. “What dreams are made of,” another swooned. And, “Had a bite and not gonna lie: I died.” Even top chefs are impressed. “I went at 10 this morning to buy all they had left. There were only five left,” said Tucker Yoder of Back 40 Restaurant. “Buttery, crunchy, flaky. All the good things of a croissant with added pretzel awesomeness.”

Now, if we only get our hands on some more.

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MarieBette’s Patrick Evans: 

“The prezzants were born out of doing a bunch of tests for traditional pretzels that we are offering now for our wholesale clients. My friend Sharlene McNeish (who runs Levain Baking Studio here in town and is a very passionate baker herself) was helping us develop a recipe and for about two weeks we were doing different recipes everyday.

We had really jumped in and were going crazy with the recipe testing. During that time we had this lye solution on hand. The solution has a very high PH and when it you dip the unbaked pretzels in it and bake them, they lye reacts chemically with the heat and gives the pretzels the classic color and crust and adds that unique rich flavor that is so quintessential to pretzels.

We make croissants daily so while in my testing mode, I curiously dipped some scraps of croissant dough in the solution, sprinkled some with a bit of pretzel salt, and some with our own ‘everything’ mix,  and baked them to see how they’d come out. The results were amazing. Everyone who tasted them went crazy over those first few morsels. We made a few more tests, then a few more, learning, experimenting with shapes, and refining the process each time . . .

When I lived in NYC I used to get pretzel croissants at one of my favorite bakeries, but they didn’t have the lye bath and the dark crust and unique taste that comes from it. And it seems a few places do a ‘cretzel’ with a croissant dough shaped like a pretzel, but seemingly no lye. In Europe, some German bakeries sell ‘laugencroissants’ (meaning lye croissants) but I’ve heard those aren’t the same either. In any case, it’s an amazingly unique flavor that you have to taste to really understand, and we are thrilled to offer that in Charlottesville!”