1) Honey Bunch at Java Java. My unofficial office makes these same cookie-meets-mini muffins as C’ville Coffee, and while they’re not as BIG at Java Java, they’re more densely packed with the oats, coconut, honey, brown sugar, butter, and flour that make them so chewy…and so perfect for breakfast!
2) Ginger Scone at Albemarle Baking Company. Made only on Fridays, these buttery delights packed with spicy chunks of candied ginger and topped with crunchy turbinado sugar sell out fast. Wait, did I say Fridays? I meant, um, Wednesdays.
3) Vodka Gimlet Up with Fresh Lime and a Splash of St-Germain at Zinc. Just about any bar who doesn’t mind my Sally in When Harry Met Sally ordering style (and who carries the fragrant elderflower liqueur) will make this, but I love the airiness of the bar at Zinc and the attention they devote to their cocktail program.
4) Bellissima Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. It’s been mentioned before, but I’ll mention it again: A chewy, charred whole wheat crust (made with Steadfast Farm’s wheat) strewn with roasted tomatoes, puddles of fresh mozzarella, ribbons of fresh basil, sea salt, shavings of salty Turner Country Ham, all topped with local arugula that’s been tossed with shaved parmigiano, lemon, and olive oil? My favorite salad and my favorite pizza in one perfect pie.
5) Melanzane al Parmigiano at Tavola. Michael Keaveny’s recipe is the best I’ve ever had. Thin rounds of eggplant get breaded with a secret ingredient (I’ll never tell!) and lightly fried before being stacked on the plate, free form, with ricotta, mozzarella, and parmigiano cheeses between the layers and a bright, garlic- and basil-laced San Marzano marinara sauce all around it.