Five Finds on Friday: Michael Davis


On Fridays, we feature five food and drink finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Michael Davis, owner of The Wine Guild of Charlottesville. The wine-buying club’s next wine tasting and pop-up restaurant night is Wednesday, November 18, starting at 5:30 pm, at Kitchen Catering & Events, at 606 Rivanna Ave.  Open to the public, “A Night in South Africa” will feature seven staff-selected wines from South Africa, with food available for purchase by Kitchen Catering & Events and cheese plates by Nadjeeb Chouaf of Flora Artisanal Cheese. Davis’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken And Collard Greens at The Whiskey Jar.  “As a wine geek, I always think about ‘pairings,’ which is why I love to eat at The Whiskey Jar on Wednesday nights when the Rick Olivarez Trio is playing. There is something magical about the combination of that room with Rick’s flawless Gypsy Jazz. It takes you back in time and makes this California transplant feel truly southern.”

2) Horse’s Neck at The Livery Stable. “I like to take local winemakers to this subterranean watering hole and hear stories of how they give mother nature the middle finger year after year. Jake Busching, winemaker at Michael Shaps Wineworks gets his mail at this place, so grab the stool next to him and enjoy the ride . . . and the Horse’s Neck.”

3) Erin Scala at Fleurie.  “Ok, so Erin is not a food, she’s an experience. I love to sit at the bar with one of my wine geek buddies, usually Kevin Sidders from VinConnect, and have sommelier Erin just pour us wines she’s excited about. Ask her to pair them with some of Chef Brian’s outstanding food and you’ll see why I get so excited about food and wine pairings.”

4) Liver and Onions at Mel’s Café.  “While I’d like to spend more nights at Tavola, Mas, and Lampo, as a father of four I spend a lot more time at places like this. Mel and his wife define southern hospitality and their food is so soul-soothingly delicious that my pregnant wife opted to go here on her birthday. My kids love the ribs and cheeseburgers while my wife tries something different every time we go . . . which is often.”

5) Canelés De Bordeaux from MarieBette Cafe & Bakery.  “The Alley Light chef José De Brito turned me on to these when he served them at a party at his home. They were the only thing on the table that he didn’t make. One bite showed me why. The dark caramelized crust hides a tender golden center that causes you to eat a lot more of them than you thought possible. My advice? Buy twice as many as you think you’ll need.”