Next week, the 2017 edition of The Charlottesville 29 will be announced, answering: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29? While the list is limited to brick-and-mortar restaurants with a Charlottesville address, much of our area’s great food these days comes from sources with no address at all. Although it took a while to take hold, the food truck scene is certainly upon us, with all kinds of great options visiting breweries, vineyards, cideries, and elsewhere around town.
Tomorrow, February 1, we will announce The Charlottesville 29’s 2017 Best Food Truck. To be eligible, a food truck must have been in operation since January 1, 2016, and must regularly serve the Charlottesville area.
Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Kelley Tripp, chef and co-owner of The Fitzroy, which has just launched a Sunday brunch that is a throwback: a buffet. Check out the array of items here. Tripp’s picks focus on foods that inspired the culinary direction of The Fitzroy. “I love all the well-deserved praise that amazing restaurants like MAS, C&O, Oakhart Social have garnered,” says Tripp. “Here is a nod to dishes that helped guide us into the comfort food realm of our menu at The Fitzroy.”
1) Pastrami Reuben at Smoked BBQ Co. “I have been a fan of Justin since his days of crushing lunch at The Carving Board with his wife, Candice. Needless to say I was pretty excited to hear about his new venture a couple of years ago with the food cart on the mall and the driven attentiveness he gives his food. He never skips corners, and makes miracles happen with his smoker and cart. My favorite is the house cured pastrami with homemade 1000 island and sauerkraut. The meat is perfectly cooked and the smoke seems really to stand out in this perfectly balanced sandwich.”
2) Maiale Milanesa at Tavola. “Nothing quite brings me back to my mother’s cooking faster than a perfectly breaded thin cut of pork. The fact that I can then head to the back and experience the wizardry of Christian Johnston and his Cicchetti Bar is something that will always get me in the door. I have had the pleasure of watching and working alongside Christian, and seeing the fruits of his labor couldn’t make me more proud of his accomplishments and subsequent amazing reviews.”
3) Nachos at The Bebedero. “I think most of us hold a special place in our heart for the perfect plate of nachos, and I can’t say that I have had better than the one they serve at The Bebedero. Paired with one of the house margaritas, the combination of the longaniza, house pickled peppers, and rich cheese sauce make this truly as comforting a dish as I can recall.”
4) Tonkotsu at Mican. “Living downtown means I’m always just a short walk away from some rewarding ramen. I have tried most of the ramen at Mican, and each is fantastic but this one stands out to me as their finest. Both chicken and pork in a perfectly seasoned broth really makes any day a little bit better.”
5) Sherwood Farm 150 Day Dry Aged Tartare at Lampo. “Cutting out after work and enjoying some food and drinks at Lampo is one of my weekly mainstays. The four-headed monster of Loren, Mitch, Andrew, and Ian are seemingly always pushing the envelope on their specials and I love to get a hold of them when I can. This particular dish, prepared in a ‘classic’ approach, is one of the finest small plates I have had the pleasure of tasting. Perfectly balanced, with sea salt, capers, and the other usual suspects, it makes for an exceptional experience. Their extended hours of dinner service allow for a late meal, perfect cocktail, and an unsolicited Cubs score.”
On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities. Today’s picks come from Justin van der Linde, who runs the hugely popular food truck Smoked BBQ Co. Van der Linde’s picks:
1) Chili Broth Steamed Mussels at Zocalo. “The smokey, spicy broth is awesome along with the grilled tortillas. Never been there without ordering the mussels!”
2) The Whole Menu at Kabuto. “Super fresh, super friendly, and fairly priced, This place is my new go-to!”
3) Smoked Turkey Croissant at The Blue Ridge Pig. “Yes, I do get extra dill sauce. Don’t judge me! Worth the ride every time.”
4) Blueberry Spudnut at Spudnuts. “I’m not sure how you make donuts better, but Spudnuts sure does. If you haven’t been . . . Go!”
5) Burger at Riverside Lunch. “‘Flat Out’ still the best! Crispy, cheesy and so delicious!”