The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Petit Pois

Five Finds on Friday: Debbie Ward-McKeon

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from reader Debbie Ward-McKeon. In celebration of the Culture of Takeout, all autumn long Five Finds on Friday features readers selected at random in weekly drawings. Also part of the prize is a $100 restaurant gift certificate, like Ward-McKeon’s to Petit Pois. Check back Monday, November 23 to enter next week’s drawing, which includes a $100 gift certificate to Conmole. Ward-McKeon’s favorites from the Culture of Takeout:

1) Grilled Local Pork with Spatzle, Kale from Petit Pois. “Local pork straight from Autumn Olive Farms. Follow Petit Pois online to see daily menus. If you see coq au vin, head over for lunch, dinner, or take out. Check out Land by Hand. I ordered the Chef’s Share for my kitchen. So many choices.”

2) Chiles Toreados y Cebollitas from Al Carbon. “It’s an art to elevate the vegetables. A side dish of whole spicy jalapeños grilled with fat white onion bulbs still attached to their green tops. Take home two orders. They are just as delicious the next day. You know about the Al Carbon chicken. I order enough dark meat for two days.”

3) Peasant Beef & Pork Bolognese from Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar. “Start with a Negroni made with Bombay gin, Dolin sweet vermouth, Campari, and an orange twist. Followed by angus beef & Duroc pork, pomodoro, chili flakes, and cream swirled into a Bolognese married to rigatoni. Finish with olive oil and rosemary cake with lemon curd and whipped cream. Select table side or curbside service. Sign up for Orzo emails which include the new Passport Menu.”

4) Melanzane Alla Parmigiana from Tavola. “I like Tavola’s courses served family style. Order takeout online and serve it up at home.

Antipasti misti for 2: a selection of artisanal cheeses and cured meats, olives, grilled artichokes and pickled sweet peppers.
Paste: Pappardelle Bolognese, a tender house made pasta, with a local beef and pork Bolognese sauce topped with grana padano.
Entrata: Melanzane alla parmigiana, layering of breaded eggplant, San Marzano tomatoes, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, and basil.”

5) Apple Brioche with Pastry Cream from Albemarle Baking Company. “Apple brioche is always first on my pastry takeout list. Currant scones, baked currant doughnuts, and cinnamon buns follow the brioche. Throw in an oatmeal raisin cookie which is unlike any oatmeal cookie I have ever eaten. Pack it all up and take it home.”

Takeout But Still Cooking Strong: Chef Jose de Brito Thrives in the Culture of Takeout

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“Takeout but still cooking strong.”

That’s how Chef Jose de Brito punctuates his social media posts during the Culture of Takeout. The acclaimed chef who once helped The Alley Light become Charlottesville’s first James Beard semifinalist for the nation’s best new restaurant has not allowed the pandemic to plague his passion and creativity. Officially Pastry Chef at Fleurie, but filling various roles for the restaurant and its sister Petit Pois, de Brito has been busy. For one, he launched a “Bake Sale” of pastries like Tartes aux Fraises, Gateau de Voyage, Tarte Saint Louis, Gateau a la carotte, and Le Homard dans sa Tarte. He also prepares pop-up family-style meals to-go, like Duck a L’Orange – a whole Polyface Farm duck stuffed with Autumn Olive Farms pork, duck, walnuts, and figs, with candied orange sauce and pickled oranges. For Easter, our gratin of lamb shoulder and potato was the type of dish that is so delicious you feel sad when it’s gone. And, in the height of asparagus season, he created one of the most beautiful things I have ever eaten.

Yet, though de Brito’s dishes often look like works of art, his own view is that eye-appeal can be overrated. While de Brito’s fuse is longer than it once was, he still has little patience for chefs who elevate appearance or concept above taste. To de Brito, food — all food — should be yummy. The pleasure of one bite should make you eager for another.

It was de Brito’s fondness for yumminess, in part, that prompted me to ask him to cook  takeout for a guys’ night this week. Socially distanced, we gathered on a friends’ patio for drinks and dinner. Under the circumstances, yumminess was paramount. So, I asked de Brito to make whatever he wanted.

He chose Les Farcis de Provence — a summery Provencal dish of vegetables stuffed with ground meat and rice. As a child in France, de Brito admits, he disliked the dish. Intensely. Recently though, “I finally beat my fears and achieved a really tasty farcie,” says de Brito. First, he confits the vegetables in olive oil and coats their inside with a marmalade of tomato and shallots. Next he stuffs them with a mixture of ground beef, ground Autumn Olive Farms pork, herbs, and rice. Finally, he tops them with garlic breadcrumbs, and into the oven they go.

The result? Yumminess achieved.

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Petit Pois Auction: Autumn Olive Farms, Nose-to-Tail

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Here is your chance to experience Petit Pois like you never have before, while helping to feed the area’s hungry: The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions. Along with all of the other restaurants in The Charlottesville 29, Petit Pois has created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for whoever pledges the highest donation to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of Petit Pois and Autumn Olive Farms, the entire winning bid goes directly to the food bank. And, thanks to the efficiency of the food bank, each dollar donated creates four meals for the area’s hungry.

The Petit Pois signature experience for The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions:

Autumn Olive Farms, Nose-to-Tail

Petit Pois owner Brian Helleberg is so committed to supporting local producers like Autumn Olive Farms that he buys whole hogs at a time, which his kitchens break down for nose-to-tail cooking with magnificent results, like the 2018 Dish of the Year.

The auction winner and up to 24 guests will get a first hand look at why Helleberg finds Autumn Olive Farms to be so special: a nose-to-tail experience of the farm and its product, which is so revered, by chefs, diners, and award committees. Upon the group’s arrival, farm owners Clay and Linda Trainum will treat the group to an educational tour of the beautiful farm. Then, the group will sit down for a farm feast prepared by Helleberg and Petit Pois chef Brian Jones. Helleberg will buy an entire Autumn Olive Farms half-hog for the experience, and, for the feast, will roast larger cuts like shoulder. The remainder – loin, rib, chops, etc. – Helleberg will cryovac and freeze for the auction winner, so they may enjoy Autumn Olive Farms pork all year long. Plenty of local beer and wine will wash down the farm feast.

“I hope that this event will help illuminate the relationship between chef and farmer and showcase the importance of truly great ingredients,” Helleberg says. 

It’s a culinary experience of a lifetime: Autumn Olive Farms, Nose-to-Tail.

Note: The auction winner will schedule the dinner at a mutually convenient time for Autumn Olive Farms and Petit Pois.

Bidding

Bidding has ended for the Petit Pois experience. Winning bid: $3,000