The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Rachel Willis

Five Finds on Friday: Rachel Willis


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Rachel Willis, a New England Culinary Institute alum whose resume reads like a greatest hits of Charlottesville restaurants over the last few decades: Metropolitain, Continental Divide, L’Avventura, and Executive Chef of Clifton Inn.  Willis now runs Black Twig Farm with her husband, and also the much-acclaimed Cakes by Rachel.  Willis’ picks:

1)  Drunken Noodles with Beef at Pad Thai.  “The first time I went to Pad Thai was shortly after they opened.  I was eight months pregnant and with three other very pregnant friends. We devoured half the menu and were in ecstasy.  Within an hour of my son being born, I was begging my mother to go get me this dish.  Nothing ever tasted better.”

2)  Lobster Roll from Foods of All Nations.  “When in town doing the mad errand dash, I more often than not find myself stopping for this quick lunch. Theirs is the best to-go sushi in town. And the lobster roll is my favorite!”

3)  Orange Martini at Fardowners.  “Order only one . . . trust me.”

4)  Bratwurst and Fall Sown Spinach from Double H Farm.  “Richard was a close friend and I will miss him dearly.  What a blessing Ara and Gayane are here to carry on what he started.  The brats are perfect and if you are lucky enough to get some of the spinach they have right now, saute lightly and they are perfect together. Their soil grows great greens.”

5)  Princess Cake from Albemarle Baking Company.  “I haven’t had a slice in a long time, but I still hear it call to me all the way out here in Crozet.  There are some combinations that are just perfect.”

Five Finds on Friday: Chuck Shelton


On Fridays, we feature five foods selected by local chefs and personalities.  In anticipation of Cider Week, today’s picks come from Chuck Shelton, cider maker at Albemarle Ciderworks.  On Sunday, November 17, Albemarle Ciderworks will join several other top area cideries for a Hill & Holler party at Meriwether Springs Vineyard featuring small plates of food prepared by Amalia Scatena of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard.  Shelton’s picks:

1) Kolsch 151 and Vienna Lager at Blue Mountain Brewery and Devil’s Backbone.  “It takes a lot of beer to make a good cider and these are two of my favorites.”

2) Caramel Apples by Rachel Willis.  “Rachel can usually be found baking for her ‘Cakes by Rachel’ label or selling homemade caramel apples at local markets and festivals.  Anything she makes is delicious.  I just finished a caramel apple with pecans and cranberries before writing this.  Yum.”

3) Belmont at Bellair Market.  “Bellair Market is a classic staple for Charlottesville residents.  I’ve never had anything from the market that I didn’t like.  My favorite would have to be the Belmont.”

4) Meat in Charlottesville.  “This sounds very generic but the local meat products in the Charlottesville region are fantastic.  I go for bratwurst, sausages, and beef from The Rock Barn, Croftburn Market, and Gryffon’s Aerie, among others.  And, of course, all are very complementary to cider!”

5) Red Row from Caromont Farm.  “When I am in the mood for cheese, any of Gail’s cheeses satisfy but the Red Row is my favorite.”

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