The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Oakhart Social

Five Finds on Friday: Gay Beery

Gay Beery

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from chef Gay Beery, of A Pimento Catering, a guest on the latest episode of the Charlottesville-based podcast Edacious, where you can learn all about her career and why she considers her catering jobs like “her babies.” Beery’s picks, “with implied apologies.” she says “to all the wonderful things I’ve missed here – I love you all still”:

1) Whole Grain Rye from Little Hat Creek Farm. “A recent pleasure of mine (or should I say obsession) is the whole grain rye from the kind people at Little Hat Creek Farm. I think of this bread as more of a kornbröt, dense with moist grain, hinting at a custard-like texture, just crying out for butter (I oblige). Though, I also slather it with fromage frais from Caromont Farm (thank you, Gail). I do love all slow-risen, high-moisture breads and this provides. This is definitely one of my ‘desert island’ foods – it could keep despair at bay for at least a week or two, and conveniently would likely be almost as good the fourteenth day.”

2) Funghi Pizza at Lampo. “Does this really need any explanation? Probably not. But I will say that no matter how many times I’ve had this, I still want more. Thankfully, Lampo has a wine list that always entices and I’m pretty sure I’ve never ordered the same wine twice – so there’s that. And I’ll order escarole off any menu that offers. Glee.”

3) Coupe Maison at C&O. “C&O has owned a piece of my heart for one reason or ten for the last two decades. In their care, I’ve celebrated weddings and funerals (yes, they were celebrations), birthdays and just having seen the baddest band at The Rose (it was always okay to arrive here at 1:30 AM and know you could stay a while). For all those years, the C&O has offered some comfort and love on white china and white linen. Respect. Their bartender roster is as notorious – if more skill-based – as the Parking Lot, with some overlap. Out of everything on the menu, I think the most lasting impression has come served in a tall glass – the Coupe Maison. Too much for me, but I like to watch.”

4) Vegetables at Oakhart Social. “So far, Oakhart Social has yet to leave me NOT amazed. The thrill of reinvention is alive and well in this kitchen, especially if you like to dig into a meal rich in vegetables. Crisp or fork tender, braised or fried, with or without the adornment of animal protein, every dish from this kitchen sings. I always order the flatbread special, I never tire of their shaved salad (dates, yes), and whatever they do with a carrot, you know it’s going to exceed your expectations. (I’ve had a real thing for carrots this year, the high of which I experienced at the eponymous Via Carota in NYC. If you’re in the city, just do it.) Their meat dishes are all fabulous, indeed, but I most often eat just the veg here, because there is more than one could want, and that is a sincere pleasure. Great cocktails! But as someone who can really only manage one and a half glasses of the average wine pour, I love the incremental ways you can order wine here, without the emotional burden of waste or overindulgence.”

5) Fried Chicken from Wayside Takeout . “My husband, who is sitting with me right now, is demanding I include the Wayside, as their fried chicken (and my favorite, fried gizzards) are our last-minute go to when we are too tired to cook and teetering over the hangry edge of a day. We recently learned the limits, though, on a sad Sunday when we both had to work and each held out the carrot (there’s the carrot again, ha), and discovered, mid chicken skin fantasy, that they are civilized and observe their Sundays away from the shop. Bless ‘em.”

“Why does any of this matter? Because food is love. It’s true.”

 

Five Finds on Friday: Alicia Simmons

simmons

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alicia Simmons, sous chef of Tavola, which has just enhanced its already-stellar pasta dishes by switching to house-made linguine, bucatini, and pappardelle. Check it out at their Eat Well, Do Good fundraisers, each month in Tavola’s Cicchetti bar, where you can enjoy platters of bucatini and meatballs with proceeds going to charity. Follow along on Tavola’s Facebook page for details and dates. Simmons’ picks:

1) Fried Chicken Sandwich at The Fitzroy. “Charlottesville has no shortage of good fried chicken, but this sandwich is a stand-out. The chicken is always perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, but the lemon cayenne aioli really takes this sandwich to the next level. It has the perfect amount of kick to it without being overbearing.”

2) Salted Dark Chocolate Sorbet at Brasserie Saison. “If I’m on the downtown mall, I always try to stop into Brasserie to try whatever flavor of gelato or sorbet is on special. There is always a new and inventive flavor I want to try. That being said, I love the salted dark chocolate sorbet in particular. As a chocolate lover, I really appreciate when a kitchen can take what seems to be a simple concept but then perfectly executes it—in this case, chocolate sorbet that is silky, rich, and balanced with the hint of salt at the end.”

3) Fried Catfish at Oakhart Social. “I love Nashville, and the Nashville hot sauce on this dish brings me straight back to one of my favorite cities. There’s nothing like perfectly fried catfish that melts in your mouth. This dish has a great amount of heat that is balanced with the napa cabbage and apple salad—not to mention the addition of pimento cheese, one of my favorite Southern classics.”

4) Wings at Doma. “I can’t choose just one flavor. I usually go for both the Korean Hot and the Sweet Chili. One of the things I love about these wings is that they’re just as good on the go as they are when you’re dining in. They’re definitely one of my cravings on a busy work day when I don’t have time to cook (for myself!).”

5) House Gin and Tonic at Tavola’s Cicchetti Bar. “I always look forward to the Cicchetti Bar’s Gin and Tonic at the end of a long shift. The house made tonic is packed with citrus, so it almost feels like I’m drinking something healthy. The way they add a little vermouth to the mix really smooths out the bite that’s usually associated with gin. This drink is a must have for summer nights.”

Five Finds on Friday: Alicia Walsh-Noel

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alicia Walsh-Noel, Manager of Brasserie Saison, which celebrates Sunday each week now with “Eggs Benefit,” brunch from 11 am to 3 pm with live jazz and specials from the bar. A portion of proceeds go to a different charity each month, and this month it is The Charlottesville Free Clinic. Walsh-Noel’s picks:

1) Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam. “This dish is an ultra comforting curry noodle soup. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of flavor and texture: the sweet curry to the funky pickled cabbage and onions and then the slurpy egg noodles to the crunchy noodle garnish. There’s a reason it’s not available from their to-go-go location – you have to eat it in the restaurant for the full experience. I crave this whenever it’s cold outside or I have a cold or when Antarctica is cold.”

2) Peanut Butter Pie at The Pie Chest and an Almond Latte from Lone Light Coffee. “If you didn’t already know about this place, when you’re walking up 4th St., the aromas will lure you into their door. When you enter, it’s as if you’ve been transported into a quaint New England town –there aren’t many places in Charlottesville that can do that. Tucked within The Pie Chest is Lone Light Coffee, which makes incredible coffee drinks and their own almond milk in-house. The stuff is delicious! I seriously have a hard time getting coffee anywhere else. Rachel Pennington, the owner/baker of The Pie Chest is incredibly talented. You can’t go wrong with any of her sweet or savory pies but I really dig the peanut butter because it’s a little of both. The real deal-sealer is that the crust is PERFECT every time.”

3) Commander Chicory Blue Cheese from Twenty Paces. “So apparently studies are saying that cheese addictions are a real thing? I always blamed it on my French heritage but now even my doctor is telling me to stop! Le sigh. I first had this cheese at Lampo. Then again at Lampo. Then again. And then…well, my husband runs the kitchen at Champion Taproom and he put it on…get this: CHICKEN WING TACOS. OMG. I die now. Anyway, it’s stinky and smoky and I would most likely have it as my last meal.”

4) Whatever Lumpia is on Special at Champion Tap Room. “Speaking of my husband, Jon Bray has this move where he puts things into Filipino egg roll wrappers and then fries them. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. His original has ground pork and dates that he serves with garlicky vinegar sauce. But lately he’s been getting a little wild, making Cheeseburger Lumpia for a kids event and a Buffalo Chicken version another time. This week, it sounds like he’s going with a more traditional pork and shrimp version that should be tasty. Maybe it’s cheating to put your own spouse on this list, but if this is about a memorable and emotional connection to food, Jon’s super-creative twists on Filipino classics are both seared into my memory and make me so happy!”

5) Oyster Mushrooms and Grits at Oakhart Social. “I couldn’t possibly write a Five Finds without mentioning Oakhart. This place is like home to me and I’m stoked at the love they have received so quickly from the Charlottesville community. It’s rare to find a chef that can execute vegetable dishes with the skill that Tristan does and these mushrooms are one of my faves! They make a delicious star of the show with pickles, buttery grits, and crispy, fried chickpeas. Follow that up with all the Fernets and hugs for a foolproof Oakhart evening.”