The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Tavola

Five Finds on Friday: Patrick McClure

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Patrick McClure, General Manager of Tavern & Grocery, which this week won 2017’s Best New Restaurant. McClure also manages and co-owns the restaurant’s downstairs bar Lost Saint. McClure’s picks:

1) Iced Coffee from Splendora’s Gelato. “I hope PK will forgive me for hipping more people to this, but the iced coffee from her shop is absolutely the best I’ve ever had. I’m a regular to the extent that most of the folks behind the counter will start pouring mine as I’m coming through the door. A simple recipe and the cold Toddy method of brewing produce a rich but mellow brew with low bitterness and a mild nuttiness. I drink it black, and try to start every work day with one. Their gelato is pretty amazing as well.”

2) Magical Mystery Tour Pizza from Mellow Mushroom. “I know, I know, everybody loves Lampo. Me too! Luckily for me, my favorite pizzas are like apples and oranges, and I don’t have to compare them. The wonderfully spongy and heavily parmesan-dusted crust Mellow consistently delivers is my style, and the combination of pesto, mushrooms, jalapenos, spinach, feta and mozzarella cheeses is perfect. I sometimes add bacon to this vegetarian pie.”

3) Malt Whiskey from Spirit Lab Distilling. “Charlottesville’s oldest distillery is the one you probably haven’t heard of yet, and Ivar Aass is producing some great distillate. He’s patched together a solera-style barrel aging system that has produced (only) 94 bottles to date of handmade single malt that is rich in toffee and vanilla notes with a smoky backbone that I can’t wait to enjoy again.”

4) Ham Biscuit from JM Stock Provisions. “I have only had this twice. The early risers usually buy all of them before I can get to JM Stock, especially since I think pre-noon is early morning. The perfect biscuit, tender tasso ham, honey and just enough hot sauce to wake you up are worth setting my alarm for.”

5) Cocktails from my Favorite Charlottesville Bars: Oakhart Social, Tavola Cicchetti Bar, and The Alley Light. “My peers around town (and my teammates at Lost Saint) are producing cocktails on the level of the great cocktail bars in the country, and I’m excited for more people to find this out. Go see Albee or Brendan at Oakhart Social, Steve at Cicchetti, Micah at The Alley Light or Carrie and Colin here at Lost Saint, and you’ll be treated to excellent service and a bevy of delicious and balanced flavor combinations that will open your eyes to the great American history of cocktail culture.”

 

Five Finds on Friday: Alec Spidalieri

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alec Spidalieri, who will run the bar at the highly anticipated restaurant Junction, set to open soon in Belmont. Coming soon, a full preview. Meanwhile, Spidalieri’s picks:

1) Dea Marrone at Tavola Cicchetti Bar. “My work-neighbor Tavola has always been one of the very best places in Cville to dine. How could they have possibly gotten any better? Christian Johnston answered this question to the applause of many when he started the cicchetti bar program in the back space of the restaurant about a year and a half ago. Christian has since moved on to our nation’s capitol to further develop his skills as a drink-maker, but he’s left his baby in good hands with Steve Yang, who has continued to expand the program and done a fantastic job carrying on the integrity and quality of the bar. I don’t know if I can pick a single favorite, but it may be the ‘Dea Marrone, with brown butter-washed Bulleit Bourbon, Averna Amaro, brown sugar, sage, cider, and yellow Chartreuse. Rich but very well balanced.”

2) Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll at Now & Zen. “I don’t really want to know how many pounds of chef-owner Toshi’s sushi I’ve consumed over the last few years. It’s fresh, it’s fantastic, and it’s one of the very best values in town. Plus, the staff is extremely friendly. I will always point people Now & Zen’s way if they’re looking for great sushi.”

3) Big Bad Wolf at Bluegrass Grill and Bakery. “Probably my favorite breakfast dish of all time. There’s a reason these guys always have a line out the door! The Big Bad Wolf is basically a souped-up Eggs Benedict with ham, bacon jam, chipotle hollandaise, and spinach (to convince yourself that you’re being healthy perhaps?) Yes please!”

4) Platinum Rum from Vitae Spirits. “I love rum and I’m fond of using local products, so it’s a good thing that there are some killer rums coming right out of my hometown, courtesy of Ian Glomski’s Vitae Spirits. Vitae’s Platinum Rum is something I’ll reach for every chance I get, but their whole lineup is solid, and I hear they’re developing even more products. I can’t wait to try them all out. I plan on using their Golden Rum in my house-made Horchata during the colder months at Junction.”

5) Pulled Pork Sandwich at The Local Smokehouse. “The Local crew took over the old Belmont Barbecue space and opened up shop back in April. It seemed like a natural way to move into the lunch territory for us that would suit our style and play up our strengths well. Chef Matty was very scientific and methodical about his recipes at this spot; I don’t know how many times I went into work at The Local and was forced to ‘taste test’ different pork and brisket techniques (not that I’m complaining). All that work on his part paid off very nicely. It’s all quite edible, but a pulled pork sandwich slathered in beer mustard is the ticket for me.”

Five Finds on Friday: Ian Glomski

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Ian Glomski, PhD, founder of Vitae Spirits, the new distillery on Henry Avenue, beside Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. Current offerings are Platinum Rum, Golden Rum, and Modern Gin.

Vitae is open for tastings, tours, and bottle sales, Wednesday through Sunday, and just introduced a weekend brunch cocktail menu to pair with Ace Biscuit food, which you may bring to the distillery from next door. Glomski’s picks:

1) Ol’ Dirty Biscuit (customized with an egg sunny-side up on top) at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue. “Being raised a Yankee, I’ve surprised myself with how much I have embraced Southern food tastiness. The ODB’s fried chicken, pimento cheese, sausage gravy, and flaky biscuit touch my soul… maybe I was Edna Lewis in a past life.”

2) Kouign Amann at MarieBette. “When I moved back to the US after a stint living in Paris, I thought I’d never taste this ‘croissant on steroids’ again. A true Breton masterpiece, the kouign amann has only five ingredients, there is nothing to hide behind, so each of those ingredients as well as the execution has to be impeccable.”

3) Linguine alla Carbonara at Tavola. “It is very rare for me to ever order a dish more than once at a restaurant, yet here I am time and time again drawn to eating this creamy pancetta-y linguine cooked perfectly al dente Tavola. I can’t quite explain it…it’s just so satisfying!”

4) Carolina Jumbo Shrimp and Grits at Hamiltons’. “Once again my inner Edna Lewis makes me weak at the knees when it comes to Hamiltons’ shrimp and grits. There’s something so right about the combination of the sea mingling with the smoky tomatoes and creamy grits.”

5) Ramos Gin Fizz at The Alley Light. “This is the drink I use to test whether a cocktail bar is up to snuff. Who would think a cocktail made with cream and egg whites could dance so lightly on your tongue when mixed just right? Those Alley Light folks got it down pact.”