The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Tavola

Five Finds on Friday: Jason Boorman

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jason Boorman, General Manager of Kardinal Hall, and winner of this week’s reader drawing to participate in Five Finds.* “Picking just five things in this town is extremely difficult,” says Boorman. “The amount of talent and offerings in Charlottesville are deserving of their own novel, each chapter dedicated to one restaurant or menu. I was tempted to do my five finds on just fried chicken alone! If it was my last day in this town though and I had to choose, these would be the first five things I would have to check off my list.”

1) Pastrami, Swiss and Mustard on Everything Bagel at Bodo’s. “You can put just about anything on a Bodo’s everything bagel and I will eat it, but I will wait in line on a Saturday morning for this sandwich!”

2) Tuna Tartare at Zocalo. “One of my favorite things to do is app hop on the downtown mall and it always starts with the tuna tartare. I’ve tried to duplicate this at home and gave up.”

3) Capellini Frutti Di Mare “Fra Diavolo” at Tavola. “Seafood is fresh, pasta is cooked perfectly, and that sauce . .. . my favorite pasta dish hands down. Order a side of bread with it, because leaving any sauce in the bowl is an absolute sin!”

4) Porchetta Panuozzi at Lampo. “I could do a five finds on just Lampo, but I’ve had dreams about this sandwich before. The house made porchetta is phenomenal, house bread is the perfect vessel and the crunch from the broccoli rabe ties it all together. If you haven’t had it yet, go there now, it will change your life.”

5) Nachos with Beef and Extra Tomatillo Salsa at Beer Run. “I started dating my girlfriend right around the time Beer Run opened. This was the first dish we had there and now we can’t go there without ordering it. It’s pretty bad when the bartender doesn’t even have to ask how you want them.”

*(The random drawing was open to all readers, whether in the restaurant industry or not. But, non-industry readers deserve appreciation, too, and so next week’s Five Finds on Friday will come from a non-industry winner of the drawing.)

Five Finds on Friday: Steve Yang

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Steve Yang, bar manager of Tavola Cicchetti Bar, which now offers a late-night menu, Thursday-Saturday at 10 pm. Tavola after Ten’s menu will change each month to showcase favorites of a different Tavola staff member. Last month it was New England clam shack food from chef-owner Michael Keaveny, and this month it’s Yang, himself, with pork dumplings based on his mother’s recipe. Yang’s picks:

1) Torta Al Pastor at Tacos Gomez.”If you’ve ever talked tacos with me you’ve probably heard me rave about the cabeza tacos. But if you haven’t tried their tortas, you’re really missing out. They are probably the best sandwich in Charlottesville. Shout out to the late Luke Smith for introducing me not only to this place, but to a deep love for tacos.”

2) Steak and Fromage at Tavern & Grocery. “If you need any more indication of my opinions on this sandwich, I had two of them for brunch last Sunday. The staff upstairs at Tavern & Grocery and downstairs at Lost Saint are all fantastic and can always guarantee a good time. I also seem to have a reputation as a giant eater there. When I asked for a box last time I had dinner there, I could hear cheering from the kitchen.”

3) Chicken Philly at Beer Run. “This has to be my most eaten item on this list. I live right around the corner from Beer Run, and it’s an easy and delicious item to grab before I head into work. Plus, it was my first restaurant job in town and I can always see people I know when I go there. As a bartender, I know I have many bars I frequent but sitting at the Beer Run bar always feels like home.”

4) Milanesa Cemitas at Al Carbon. “People rave about the chicken and for very good reason, but the cemitas (a specific type of torta) are fantastic, especially when papalo is in season. Also, don’t miss out on their two styles of street corn. They just moved into their new location next door and everything about an already great experience is now even better.”

5) Polpettine Panuozzo at Lampo. “The beauty of a place that serves food until midnight is that I get off work before then in the early half of the week. If I haven’t had enough staff meal or am just particularly hungry after a shift, the meatball sandwich always hits the spot. My girlfriend and assistant bar manager Rebecca Edwards is particularly attached to the Margherita Pizza with a side of calabrian chili oil.”

Yang: “I just realized I accidentally did entirely sandwiches and I’m pretty okay with that.”

 

Five Finds on Friday: Josh Zanoff

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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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