The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Tavola

Five Finds on Friday: Josh Zanoff

Zanoff

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Josh Zanoff, the ZZ Top guitarist Partner in Ten Course Hospitality who manages The Whiskey Jar and The Bebedero. One of Zanoff’s most beloved employees, Romaine Brooks, recently lost his life. You can show that Brooks is gone but not forgotten by helping his family cope with the financial impact of his death. Here’s how to shower Charlottesville’s love on Brooks’ grieving family. Zanoff’s picks:

1) Vibe at LW’s Livery Stable. “I know Five Finds is supposed to be all about the food but to me there is a close relationship among the food, the aesthetic, and the feelings that any eatery evokes. Livery gives me that good feeling. It comes across in the food and in the cocktail program. It comes across in knowing that the building and business have been in the same family since 1849. It’s our cool quiet local joint where the bartenders know your name and where you leave feeling taken care of.”

2) Cavolfiore Caramellato at Tavola. “The best cauliflower I’ve had anywhere, ever. The transformation of ordinary ingredients to extraordinary plates is a magical power of a great chef. This transformation at Tavola, similar to when chefs like Harrison Keevil roast a humble chicken, keeps me coming back for more just like their wine program does. It’s a place to go to get inspired.”

3) Large Iced Americano at Splendora’s. “If I start my day at The Whiskey Jar or The Bebedero then it’s our Trager Brothers blend of course, but it really depends on which way I walk to work. Sometimes it’s Java Java, or Lone Light inside Pie Chest, or Mudhouse but I usually try to aim right for Splendora’s. The Illy blend they use makes the Americano look right, smell right, taste right, and it gets you feeling right whether or not you throw in a couple ma’amoul.”

4) Beer Cheese Tots at Draft Taproom. “I crave food that comforts. Food that feels like a warm hug from places that feel like home. Riverside has always filled that niche very well, but lately I’ve also been drawn to Draft Taproom. I would never have imagined a joint with 65 taps would have a scratch kitchen. I assumed freezer to fryer but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’d never heard of anyone doing potato tots from scratch before I started eating there.”

5) Southern Hospitality as formerly served by Romaine Brooks at The Whiskey Jar. “While it is not something that we order or pay for or eat with a fork, it is something that feeds our soul. We all know we can get a burger and some fried chicken and an Old Fashioned just about anywhere around here, even at our gas stations. What you can’t get anywhere are people who really care like Romaine. What sets one restaurant apart from another isn’t only the food but how that restaurant makes you feel overall. Romaine Brooks made you feel good. He made you feel like you were a part of something. He made you feel important and he made you feel taken care of. He was a part of our lives for many years at The Whiskey Jar and at Parallel 38 where his brand of hospitality will be missed dearly.”

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Five Finds on Friday: Priscilla Martin

priscilla

They love wine, restaurants, and each other. After last week’s picks from Will Curley, today’s Five Finds on Friday come from his fiancée, Priscilla Martin, General Manager and Wine Director of Tavola. Martin’s picks:

1) Sausage, Goat cheese, and Honey Hand Pie from The Pie Chest. “Growing up with an English father, savory pies were one of my favorite parts about winter visits to my grandparent’s house. The hot and flaky breakfast hand pie from The Pie Chest has all the good things about a savory pie but with a delicious modern twist. Walking the Downtown Mall in the winter with one of these and a cup of coffee is a great Charlottesville treat. Also it means I get to eat pie for breakfast – so let’s just say I ‘brexit’ one of these from the shop pretty frequently.”

2) Chicken Liver Pate at Oakhart Social. “My best friend is, ironically, the pickiest person in the entire world. I took her to Oakhart Social and she almost stabbed me for the last piece of what she referred to as meat butter.”

3) Beet Salad at Brasserie Saison.My fiancé is a manager here and so I am not exaggerating when I say that I eat this salad at least twice a month. I normally love roasted beets but something about Chef Tyler’s combination of creamy stracciatella cheese, crunchy puffed rice, and tart pickled red onions make it my all time favorite beet salad. Paired best with the Chenin Blanc by the glass from Wine Director Will Curley’s excellent wine list.”

4) Tacos Al Pastor from Tacos Gomez. “Coming from Chicago, my first question when I asked when I moved to Charlottsville was: ‘Where do I get good Mexican food?’ Our bar manager Steve Yang referred me to the food truck Tacos Gomez. Specifically, the al pastor tacos are my absolute favorite – perfectly cooked and extraordinarily flavorful. Since then, Steve brings them to me almost every Thursday for manager meeting and consequently has just been voted ‘best human alive’ in C-Ville’s ‘best of’ awards.”

5) Albarino from Afton Mountain Vineyards. “As a sommelier, one of the best parts about moving to Charlottesville is living in a wine making region. It’s been absolutely fantastic becoming friends with wine makers and actually seeing the ins and outs of the production. The wine itself here isn’t bad either, and my favorite summer white is the Albarino being produced from Afton Mountain. It’s a perfectly crisp and high acid white wine for the summer but with some great orchard fruit and floral notes that add complexity.”

Five Finds on Friday: Will Curley

Curley

Porron skills.

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Will Curley, Wine Buyer for Ten Course Hospitality and Manager at Brasserie Saison, which has just launched its onsite brewery and will soon open a basement bar called Coat Room. The reservation-only, wood-paneled dining space below Brasserie Saison will offer an exclusive list of special beer, wine and cocktails. Curley’s picks:

1) Maiale Milanese at Tavola. “Call it comfort food, fat kid food, or just happy food, this is the dish that I think about days in advance of any meal at Tavola.  The grilled lemon sauce with peppery arugula and a perfectly fried pork cutlet hit all the high notes and are best paired with whatever Wine Director Priscilla Martin wants to pour that day.”

2) Al Pastor Tacos at La Michoacana. “Moving from Chicago to Charlottesville has brought some amazing things; a role at a great new restaurant, the chance to meet people inside and outside the wine & restaurant world, and a gorgeous, historical town with an amazing food & drink scene.  What I miss most, however, is the breadth of Mexican food options that were available to me in Chicago. From Nayarit-style seafood to Oaxacan moles, the varieties of delicious, affordable food there are seemingly endless.  Overall, The Bebedero is top-to-bottom my favorite Mexican in town, but sometimes you want filling, cheap and quick, and La Michoacana is all three.”

3) Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “Chef Tyler Teass introduced me to this Charlottesville staple recently, and I’m still upset at him for not showing me sooner.  Smash burgers > pub burgers.  Cheap beer and the friendliest wait staff.”

4) Frisee Salad at Petit Pois. “My favorite and most-visited restaurant in Chicago was a tiny neighborhood bistro, and I was happy to discover that same soul at Petit Pois.  Classics are classics for a reason, and the combination of egg yolk, lardons, frisee and a perfectly balanced mustard vin make a great light lunch.  Pro tip: combine with chicken liver mousse, escargot and a bottle of rose, and kiss your afternoon goodbye.”

5) Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit from Timbercreek Market. “Chef Tucker’s light, fluffy, gigantic biscuit sandwich is the perfect way to start your day, even more so when your day starts at 11 am after a long Saturday night service. Plus, Tucker is always happy to talk shop and give advice on the restaurant scene here in town.”