The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Rebecca Edwards

Five Finds on Friday: Matt Beck

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Matt Beck of Oakhart Social, which this weekend hosts an event to help Tavola’s Rebecca Edwards prepare for the Diageo National Finals in the United States Bartenders’ Guild annual World Class bartending competition. (That’s Charlottesville for you. One restaurant celebrates the success of another.)  This Sunday June 2, at 4 pm, Oakhart Social is opening its private event space to the public for Sunday/Funday, offering a menu of cocktails that Edwards will bring to next week’s National Finals competition. Details here. Beck’s picks:

1) Uni, Ankimo and Otoro Nigiri at TEN. “The quality of the fish and the temperature of the rice are just a few of the small details that make sushi extraordinary, and the crew at Ten always nails it. If I had to pick three pieces that they do exceptionally well I would always choose Uni, Ankimo and Otoro, but you really can’t go wrong regardless of what you order.”

2) Dealer’s Choice at Tavola. “Rebecca and Steve and the rest of the wonderful staff do an excellent job of serving delicious seasonal cocktails without unnecessary pretense. It’s always a pleasure to pick their brains. I generally get a Dealer’s Choice and let them have some fun.”

3) Bamboo Pork at Cafe 88. “It’s not on the regular menu, but if it’s being run as a special it’s a must get. A delicious stir fry of pork, bamboo shoots, chilies and ginger. It’s probably one of my favorite lunches in town.”

4) Porky Things at Little Star. “I’ve tasted most of the menu, and everything is delicious and thoughtful and you should order it all. But, I always get charcuterie from Sylvanaqua. Chris from Sylvanaqua is raising and curing some excellent products. Try to save a little room for dessert though.”

5) Wednesday Night Bar Menu at Prime 109. “The price and ambiance on Wednesday night are pretty great. Eat a sandwich or another of the specials that they offer at the bar, listen to some live jazz, and order a cocktail, and you’re bound to have a good time.”

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Prime 109 bar Photo by Kailee Taun

Tavola’s Rebecca Edwards: National Bartending Finalist

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Photo by Shannon Sturgis.

Rebecca Edwards, of Tavola Cicchetti Bar, has reached the National Finals in the United States Bartenders’ Guild annual World Class bartending competition, sponsored by Diageo. The competition “attracts the country’s best bartenders who represent the craft and elevation of the art of cocktail creation,” says the USBG, “with the ultimate goal of representing the U.S. at the global competition.”

To reach the National Finals, Edwards first had to qualify for the Regional Finals, as determined by an expert panel’s review of a large pool of applicants’ essays and cocktail recipes. Edwards entered the Hestia, which is currently on the cocktail menu at Tavola. It is Zacapa 23 rum, amontillado sherry, coffee liqueur, lemon, and burnt sugar, smoked with applewood.

On the strength of her cocktail and essays, Edwards became one of just ten finalists to reach our area’s Regional Finals, April 28-30 in Minneapolis. There, she competed in three rounds against the best in our region, judged on drink quality, hospitality, presentation, technique, and creativity. First, in the “signature” challenge, entrants created a cocktail inspired by Scotland, host of the this year’s Global Finals. Next, in the “single ingredient” challenge, each entrant chose a single ingredient inspired by their home region, and had to use every part of it to make twists on classic cocktails. From Virginia, Edwards used peanuts, and invented a peanut martini, a peanut margarita, and a peanut old fashioned. Finally, in the “lightening round” challenge, entrants had eight minutes to make six original cocktails, four of which are created in advance, and two of which must be dealer’s choice, invented on the spot. Edwards finished with a full minute to spare. 

The National Finals are June 8-11 in Lexington, and if Edwards were to win that, she’d be off to represent the United States in Global Finals, September in Scotland, for the chance to be named the World Class Bartender of the Year. 

Congratulations to Rebecca. No wonder The Charlottesville 29 called one of her cocktails among the best of 2018.

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2019 USBG World Class Southern Regional Finalists, Photo by Shannon Sturgis

 

 

Five Finds on Friday: Rebecca Edwards

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Tavola Cicchetti Bar’s Rebecca Edwards, creator of one of the best cocktails of the year. With several great bartenders in town now, “Dealer’s Choice” reaped rewards all year long in 2018. Even among that elite group, though, Edwards’ Smoke & Ashes stood out. Edwards stirs together Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Meletti Amaro, Cocchi Dopo Teatro, and a pinch of salt, before placing the glass under a glass dome filled with applewood smoke. Edwards’ picks:

1) Wedge Salad at Oakhart Social. “I walk into Oakhart and I’m immediately in my happy place. Most of the time I’m there with my coworkers to get drinks after a Saturday night shift, but when I do get in there at normal people dinner hours, the wedge salad is an absolute must. The combination of the creamy poppy seed dressing with the everything bagel spice is heaven when paired with the pickled red onion and the crunch of baby gem lettuce. My fiancé, Steve, is essentially a carnivore and even he consistently craves this salad, so this dish is kind of a miracle.”

2) K.I.S.S. Caprese at Ivy Provisions. “As a vegetarian in a super meat-loving town, I eat A LOT of caprese sandwich variations. The K.I.S.S. Caprese is the one I consistently crave—even though I sometimes eat it multiple times in one week! Their fresh mozzarella is buttery and melts in your mouth, and it perfectly contrasts with the bitter kick of the arugula. I like to add avocado; it makes for a messy and delicious lunch feast.”

3) Vesper Martini at Lost Saint. “Colin and his team have a wonderful cocktail menu all around, but one of my favorite aspects of this place is their huge foundation of classic cocktails. Vespers have kind of fallen out of style in recent years (maybe because they’re shaken instead of stirred) but as far as martinis go they’re my absolute favorite. Boozy yet deceptively smooth, a Vesper is always a great end to a long bar shift. I usually leave the gin choice up to Colin—he almost always has a new product I’m excited to try.”

4) Burrata and Artichoke Ravioli at Tavola. “This one might be cheating because it’s a special and Chef Dylan only runs it once every few months, but I’m including it because this is truly one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. (I’m not the only one—my mom has me text her every time it’s on the specials board!) House-made ravioli stuffed with burrata cheese and artichokes, topped with truffle butter, roasted artichokes, grana padano and chives. It’s a dish that reads as incredibly rich, but it ends up being decadent yet light at the same time. Paired with a glass of Catarratto, every bite is an absolute dream.”

5) Tofu and Veggie Drunken Noodles at Pad Thai. “This is another one I’ll sometimes order multiple times a week. When I eat Thai food I usually prefer a sinus-clearing level of spice, and this dish definitely delivers. The noodles are cooked perfectly and there are a generous variety of veggies to add crunch. Definitely my favorite Thai food in town!”

Smoke & Ashes

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