The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Petit Pois

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


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

Five Finds on Friday: Sarah Humphrey


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Sarah Humphrey of Fellini’s, which was among the picks this week in chefs’ Best Thing I Ate All Year. Fellini’s now hosts weekly Martini Wednesdays, with martini specials and Sinatra-era classics by decked out pianist Sammy Horne. And check Fellini’s Facebook page for updates about their special celebrations on Christmas Eve and NYE. Humphrey’s picks:

1) English Muffins from The Bread Basket. “Ginny from The Bread Basket has a lot of fans. She is particularly known for her beautifully twisted baguettes which are featured in several restaurants. But have you tried her English muffins?  Heavens to Betsy!  They have the same glutinous, dense quality as some of her other breads, and are slightly salty, and just wonderful.  I adore the whole wheat version. My husband and I have used them in the past for brunch, and they are a fantastic foundation for all sorts of Eggs Benedict dishes.  They make a great egg sandwich.  They are perfect for big, gloppy burgers because they stand up to all the juices and goo without breaking down like brioche. And I love them with just a little unsalted butter and blackberry jam.”

2) Almond Pave from Patisserie Torres. “I love most almond desserts, but this is my new favorite.  It’s made with cake soaked in almond syrup, and the interior is light and fluffy but soooo soft and moist. The exterior is slightly crackly, with almond cream coated in sugar and sliced almonds.  t’s a sweet pastry, for sure, but not cloyingly so. It’s more decadent and less messy than an almond croissant. This new patisserie has a lot of gems and I’m excited to have them here!”

3)  Chicken Liver Mousse (or any appetizer) at Petit Pois. “I mean, I’d be content to sit inside or outside of this charming restaurant with a glass of sparkling wine and just eat Albemarle Baking Co. baguette and butter. The service is always perfect.  And the appetizers!  If they have steak tartare available, order it!  It is sublime.  The French Onion Soup is nearly over the top, it’s so thick and rich and flavorful. The mussels are always plump and perfectly cooked and there’s a ton of mirepoix left in the bowl for you to spoon up. The escargots are exactly what you’d hope for, bathing in butter with a generous amount of parsley and garlic.  I have to get them almost every time I’m there.  My favorite might, however, be the chicken liver mousse.  It’s served with crostini, but it’s so rich I prefer it with plain baguette.  The mouse is gorgeously seasoned with cognac and it’s impossibly smooth and refined,  It’s practically a condiment.  Have you tried it on corn on the cob?  Seriously, I brought some home and it was awesome. Sorry, Chef.”

4)  A tie (Thai! no pun intended!) between Yum Woon Sen and Guay Tiew
Tom Yum at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House. “This is my favorite cuisine, and my favorite Thai place in town. I cannot decide between these two dishes, but I feel that both of them are often overlooked. For appetizers, people gravitate toward fried items or fresh rolls, but Yum Woon Sen is a great cellophane noodle salad. It strikes the perfect balance or sour, sweet, and spicy, with ground pork, cilantro, red onions, peanuts, and fish sauce. I love it hot, cold, or room temperature. My other choice is a Thai noodle soup.  It is so, so elegant. If you wanna be really cool, ask for sen mee instead of the rice noodles. This broth is pretty sweet, so I add a lot of sambal and jalapenos in vinegar. It’s great with meat, but I also enjoy it vegan with fresh (not fried) tofu and vegetarian broth, and I add extra veggies. Almost nothing makes me happier.”

5) Chocolate Truffle Torte at Duner’s. “Pastry Chef Linda Steiner is amazing, and Duner’s is so lucky to have her. Everything she makes blows me away. This dessert is not always on the menu, but it can be found fairly often. It is a great gluten-free dessert option to those who are tired of crème brulee. It’s super rich and fudgy, like the interior of a chocolate truffle. The best part, really, is the crust–it’s all nuts and I’m wild about it.  There’s a touch of cinnamon which really elevates this torte. Duner’s serves it with whipped cream, berries, crème anglaise, and raspberry coulis, but all you really need is two bites of the torte. I can’t rave about it enough.  If you’re full from dinner, get a slice to go.”


Chicken Liver Mousse at Petit Pois

Five Finds on Friday: Carol Davidson


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Carol Davidson. It’s my mother’s 39th birthday again today, and she is celebrating by sharing some of her favorite foods from her many Charlottesville visits. You could make a case that The Charlottesville 29 is all her fault. After all, she is responsible for, well, my existence, and she also kindled my passion for food at an early age by including me in my parents’ outings to fancy French restaurants and allowing me to order an extra appetizer while they ate dessert. Happy Birthday. My mother’s picks:

1) Chicken Liver Pate at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. “Three pates dominate my list. First, the chicken liver pate at Pippin Hill is not just good to eat but comes elegantly served in its own glass container. Paired with one of their outstanding white wines on their beautiful patio, it makes for a heavenly lunch. Once I asked if I could take one with me for a train ride to Florida. They kindly obliged – but only on the condition that I return the container to them in due course; good reason to go back for more!”

2) Chicken Liver Mousse at Petit Pois. “Then, the pate at Petit Pois has always been a must when I visit Charlottesville. I don’t think I have ever missed an opportunity to enjoy it, and it is especially nice when the weather is good enough to sit outside on the patio on the downtown mall watching the crowds go by.”

3) Foie Gras and Passionfruit Mousse at Fleurie. “Pate de foie gras is, maybe, my favorite food. At Fleurie it is outstanding, particularly when Jose makes some for Simon to bring as an extra Christmas present for me to enjoy in Connecticut. I don’t know if it’s a staple on the menu but, if it is, it is not to be missed; and, if it isn’t, request it!”

4) Bacon and Egg on a Plain Bagel at Bodo’s. “No visit would be complete without breakfast at Bodo’s – a Charlottesville institution and, to my taste, the best anywhere.   Just a simple egg and bacon bagel hits the spot every time.”

5) Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company.  “Finally, for something sweet, the marzipan covered Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company is absolutely delicious. But you have to like marzipan, of course!”

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