The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Now & Zen

Five Finds on Friday: Lee O’Neill

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Lee O’Neill of Radical Roots Farm, a longtime participant in the Charlottesville City Market, which now has a chance to be named the best farmers’ market in the country. Vote here!

Meanwhile, Radical Roots is joining other local producers and artisans in Food From our Farms 2020, a socially distant harvest dinner benefiting Local Food Hub. For a recommended donation of $100 per person, you will receive a locally sourced fine dining experience, delivered right to your door. Meals are prepared by APimento Catering and Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farm, with desserts by Albemarle Baking Company, and beverages from Blenheim Vineyards and Blue Ridge Bucha. You will also receive bonus goodies from Back Pocket Provisions and Catbird Co., a Local Food Hub tote, and a recipe book with recipes from Radical Roots, MarieBette, The Pie Chest, and more. Dinners are available 9/26 and 10/3, and tickets must be purchased one week in advance. Support the Local Food Hub! Tickets and information here. O’Neill’s picks:

1) Coco Verde Acai Bowl from The Juice Laundry. “The ultimate treat after a long day of farming and making deliveries.  Nutritious, hydrating and a meal in itself.”

2) Coconut Macaroons dipped in Chocolate from Albemarle Baking Company. “Sweet and savory all wrapped up in one.  I love these for a nice gluten free treat.”

3) Peach Sorbetto from Splendora’s. “Any in season fruit is amazing, especially with a touch of basil or mint. Refreshing on a hot, summer day.”

4) Spicy Salmon Sushi Roll from Now & Zen. “I love fresh sushi and any roll from Now & Zen is amazing. Combined with shrimp spring rolls and a bowl of miso soup . . . perfection.”

5) Drunken Noodles from Pad Thai. “Perfect on a cool autumn day to warm you from the inside out.”

Five Finds on Friday: Courtenay Tyler

Courtenay

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Courtenay Tyler, co-founder of Tilman’s, which has lots of news this week. First, building on the success of the shop’s pop-ups, Tilman’s is launching a takeout menu. Today through Monday, from 12-6pm, guests will have the option of taking their order to-go or enjoying it “picnic style” on the patio. In addition to food and wine, there will be cocktails like Negronis, martinis, and sangria. Pre-ordering is preferred, but walk-ins are also welcome. Next, COVID-19 be damned, Tilman’s is planning a sister restaurant for later this year. In the former home to Tin Whistle Pub, Tonic will be a cafe and bar, with a patio and outdoor bar, offering small plates of vegetables, seafood, and fresh sandwiches, including house roast beef. Stay tuned for details and an opening date, likely this summer. Tyler’s picks, which focus on takeout and delivery options in the Culture of Takeout:

1) Tuna Avocado Carpaccio at Now & Zen. “This is probably the one dish in Charlottesville that I crave the most. It’s packed with big chunks of fresh tuna, avocado, and my favorite, tobiko. The wasabi dressing is always light, and the salad is perfectly dressed. My husband and I will wait in line for all of Chef Toshi’s small plates, but this is always the first thing that we order.”

2) Deonjang Jjigae at Maru. “Steven and Kay Kim are my next door neighbors at Tilman’s, and boy, did I luck out in that respect. They are incredibly nice. Kay has a sharp wit, and best of all Steven is an amazing chef. I love this Korean miso stew (don’t ask me how to pronounce it). It’s a big umami bomb, which I love. It has tofu and veggies and is a little spicy, and I always get it with clams. It comes with their homemade banchan, which has kim chi and other interesting things I can’t identify until I ask. I’m really happy if there’s pickled burdock that day.”

3) Any Soup at Bizou. “I have no idea how every single soup I have had from Bizou is amazing, but it is. Their shrimp bisque is actually the very first meal I ate here in Charlottesville, when I moved here in 2014. A mention on their specials board will definitely make me stop in. They have the butternut squash bisque on their to-go menu this week, and they are on my list for take-out. When things were ‘normal,’ they provided a much needed respite after a long day at Tilman’s. I enjoy sitting at that bar, and chatting with Rachel about her wine list. She has a great palate and point of view. And, she writes the best wine descriptions in town.”

4) Triple Citrus Pie at The Pie Chest. “Rachel’s pies aren’t super fancy. They are simple, and homey, and made with love, and in that, reflect Rachel’s personality. Her triple citrus is sublime. That texture! It’s such a treat.”

5) Chocolate Gelato at Splendora’s. “PK’s chocolate gelato is like no other. Deep, dark, intense. It may sound plain, but I promise you, it is not. It’s dangerous that PK is now delivering. All I have to do is call or text, and next thing you know I have my fix.”

pie

 

Five Finds on Friday: Chrissy Benninger and Kyra Miller

Bluegrass

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come Chrissy Benninger and Kyra Miller – the mother-duo daughter behind Bluegrass Grill & Bakery, which Benninger owns and Miller manages. They have both joint and separate picks:

1) Princess Cake at Albemarle Baking Company (both). “This cake has been our family’s favorite for years, especially for birthdays, and it even made an appearance as Kyra’s wedding cake. I would break my strict autoimmune diet any day of the week for a piece of Princess Cake.”

2) Volcano Roll at Now & Zen (both). “Now & Zen is one of our ‘special dinner’ places to go. We’ve had numerous plates there but the one we love the most is the Volcano Roll. Everything there is fresh and huge, and the staff is amazing.”

3) Cinnamon Maple Twist at Paradox Pastry (Kyra). “I have had the pleasure of working with Jenny, and was able to try many of Paradox’s buttery, sweet, delicious pastries. The cinnamon maple twist is incredible and possibly one of the best sweets I’ve ever had.”

4) Campechano Tacos at Tacos Gomez (Kyra). “The closest you’ll get to a traditional Mexican street taco. The homemade tortillas and sauces are amazing! My husband I always order the campechano tacos. And make sure to get a horchata, if you’re lucky enough to go when they are serving them.”

5) Roasted Chicken at Al Carbon (Chrissy). “I had a different choice in mind and then, for some reason, I thought about this chicken. It is literally the best chicken I have ever had. The. Best. I can eat half a chicken by myself. Whatever they do to that chicken is something blessed by culinary angels.”

Al Carbon Rotisserie Chicken, Charlottesville, VA 10/05/2015

Photo by Tom McGovern