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!”
If you want to understand Charlottesville’s food community, you need to know its heart. In all of my years writing about our food community, no virtue stands out more. Yes, it is a talented bunch. Passionate, too. But, above all, when one has a need, others rush to fill it.
Immediately, the food community leaped to her aid. A Go Fund Me Page, started the very next day, has raised nearly $150,000; a list of volunteers to make daily meal deliveries to the Redshaws filled as soon as it was announced; and, one after another members of the community asked what they could to do help. While no set of words or images can capture the compassion the food community has shown, the recent Rally for Allie did offer a glimpse.
It all started with host Pippin Hill, and owners Lynn Easton Andrews and Dean Andrews. Not only did the Andrews donate their facility, but they and their staff planned it all, too. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that Pippin Hill is so experienced and skilled in special events, being one of the nation’s best wedding venues. But, events like this take a lot of work. And, for the past several weeks, on top of all of their regular responsibilities, Pippin Hill staff organized and executed a massive event, all to benefit Allie and her family.
With Allie as their inspiration, every chef knocked it out of the park. Every one. Hartman is an example. “I wanted to do a dish that has the word angels in it, because I felt that it would be appropriate for the Redshaws,” Hartman said. “That made me think of the dish Angels on Horseback.” Hartman’s riff included a fried oyster atop a cube of pork belly, all bathing in a pool of Outer Banks style striped bass chowder.
Next were the many donors of auction items for the event. To recruit donors for charitable auctions can often require active solicitations. Not this one. We simply posted a link to a donation form, and watched the donations flood in. Despite doing almost no solicitation, we received more than sixty donations of special experiences, services, and other items from generous donors.
Also not to be overlooked are the guests – 200 in all — who gladly paid $50 per ticket to join the food community in supporting Allie. Long after tickets sold out, I received repeated inquiries from people asking if there were any way to attend the sold-out event. When I told them unfortunately no, invariably they’d respond: “That’s okay, I’ll donate anyway,”
Finally, there are the Redshaws themselves. Not everyone has the character to accept help with grace. For people to whom generosity feels foreign, receiving it can leave them uncomfortable in their own skin. But, Allie and Ian are two of the kindest souls you could ever meet. Generous in their own spirit, accepting the help of others with dignity and gratitude has come naturally.
In the end, the event raised $35K for Allie’s recovery fund, to help with expenses of treatment, rehabilitation, and a prosthetic. Thank you to everyone involved for making the Rally for Allie such a wonderful celebration of the compassion of the Charlottesville food community. If you would like to donate or help the Redshaws, you may email charlottesville29@gmail. com