The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: The BBQ Exchange

Five Finds on Friday: William Darsie


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from William Darsie, GM of MarieBette Cafe & Bakery, which is about to launch a new hybrid pastry that could rival its world-famous “bronut.” Stay tuned. Meanwhile, February is Hot Chocolate Month at MarieBette, with a different riff everyday. Darsie’s picks:

1) Porchetta Panuozzo at Lampo. “Sandwich is my favorite food, and this, undoubtedly, is the best one. There is a reason this place is considered by many to be the best restaurant in town. I could eat this sammy every meal, everyday, for the rest of my life and die a happy camper.”

2) Vegetables at Oakhart Social. “Oakhart is my happy place. Owners Ben and Tristan clearly know what they’re doing. The concept, the execution, the food and the vibes are all I want from a restaurant. I never thought I’d only eat vegetables for dinner and be thoroughly satisfied at the end: Brussels sprouts, shaved salad, and the charred carrots (please bring them back) to highlight a few. And who could forget the Barman, Albee Pedone. He gets the classics right and the cocktail and beer list are evidence of his experience, knowledge and insanity. But, to be honest, the dude just makes a bomb slushy.”

3) Goat Cheese from Caromont Farm. “Caromont Farm is more than just scenic countryside and goat cuddles. Gail, Daniel and Izzy are also making some bangin’ cheeses. My personal favorite is their hometown homage, Esmontonian. Put it in a salad, grate it on some pasta, or just eat it by the wheel.”

4) Pulled Pork Platter from The BBQ Exchange. “Coming from the West Coast I was never exposed to any ‘real’ barbeque, and I am thankful those dark days are over. The pulled pork melts in your mouth, the sauces are on point, and I love all their sides the same. The South can debate BBQ all they want, but the conversation stops here. Always worth the trip to Gordonsville.”

5) Ham Biscuits at JM Stock Provisions. “Did I mention sandwich is my favorite food? Sliced-to-order Tasso ham and some honey hot sauce stuff on a fresh biscuit is all you need to start your day off right. One is good, but do yourself a favor and shove two of these in your face. These things filthy, thank you gentlemen.”


Five Finds on Friday: Phyllis Hunter


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Phyllis Hunter, owner of The Spice Diva, soon to become The Spice Diva Emporium, in a new expanded space at Main Street Market.  The expansion will allow an even greater spice selection, cooking classes, weekly demonstrations, flours, beans, grains, nuts, oils, vinegars, more cocktail ingredients, teas, teaware, kitchen utensils, and even a cookbook corner for “finding the right recipe or keeping children entertained.” Follow along on their Facebook page for details.  Hunter said she had a hard time choosing among “superb Thanksgiving dinners at Ivy Inn, wild evenings at MAS, brunches at Brookville and Ace Biscuit & Barbecue, lunches at Feast! and Revolutionary Soup, and tacos under the stars at Brazos.” But her picks came down to “dishes that I have thought about over and over this year, and those that I can’t make at home.”

1) Beef Carpaccio at the C&O.  “When I had the first taste of this dish ordered for my husband Will’s birthday dinner, I swooned. It was seasoned with the perfect balance of arugula, truffled aioli, manchego and hashed potato. It was delicate while having amazing substance.”

2) Fried Chicken at The Barbeque Exchange.  “Last year was the first opportunity we had to attend the festivities at Porkapalooza. The legendary lard-fried deliciousness, prepared only once a year for this special occasion, has lived in memory. I think I might be able to get through the stress of moving the shop as long as I know that this coming Sunday is the day when I will taste it again.”

3)  Cucumber Martini at ZoCaLo. “One of best places to just sit at the bar to enjoy a quick bite and a drink before a concert at the Paramount is Zocalo. The original is made with Hendricks, but mine was made with Cucumber Vodka, Yellow Chartreuse, Orange, Lime, and Cucumber Water. Perfection!”

4) Santa Fe Enchiladas at Continental Divide.  “Being a Texan, one does occasionally crave really good Mexican. Each time we drag ourselves there at the end of a long week of Diva-ing, I tell myself that I will order something new from their menu. When I think of those stacked, cheese covered, plate-sized tortillas and their filling, it’s hopeless.”

5) Ham Biscuit at JM Stock Provisions.  “Saturday morning is our one day a week to get breakfast out. The artists at JM Stock take a luscious biscuit, spread it with hot mustard and fill it with layer after layer of mildly smoked, thinly sliced ham. It’s one of the joys of living in Charlottesville.”

Five Finds on Friday: Mitch Willey


On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Mitch Willey, owner of Clifton Inn, home to one of Charlottesville’s most influential restaurants, and recent winner of yet another award as C-VILLE’s best hotel or inn.  Clifton has just introduced a brand new a la carte menu, a first for the longtime prix fixe restaurant, which Willey says now “enables guests to stop by for just soup and salad or pasta and dessert, paired with the perfect glass of wine.” Clifton is also fast-approaching a milestone and big celebration. On October 22, the inn will host a 30th anniversary, poolside dinner dance “to honor the many gifted artists who started their culinary careers at Clifton,” says Willey.  Also, that night, Willey says, Clifton “will share some very exciting news. Stay tuned!” Willey’s picks:

1) Corn Cakes at Tip Top.  “I love to start the day being greeted by the delightfully friendly and efficient wait staff at Tip Top on Pantops. I settle into a window booth with my three morning papers (where the natural light is plentiful and I catch a nice view of the Blue Ridge) and order the corn cakes with a side of bacon. Decadent but splendidly so.”

2)  Pimento Cheese Fritters at Maya.  “One of our early chefs at Clifton, Christian Kelly (who the staff quickly designated as our resident George Clooney), has created a cult following at Maya and I am one of those cult members! I especially love to start a delicious dinner with Christian’s pimento fritters — light and cheesy, and the pepper jelly is divine. A perfect start to a terrific meal.”

3)  Pulled Pork at The BBQ Exchange.  “Craig’s pulled pork, with his creative array of sauces, is the way that I reward myself if I have really been working out because the indulgence is so amazing that I can only justify it if I have earned it!”

4)  Grilled Pork Chop with Grilled Peach Salad at Brookville.  “Harrison has so many delightful interpretations of pork that I find myself trying something new each time. In fact, my daughter’s rehearsal dinner was hosted there last Labor Day primarily because of this!”

5) Pear Ravioli at C&O.  “I can’t go very long without a generous helping of Dean Maupin’s pear ravioli at C&O — a dish he featured at my other daughter’s wedding when he was the chef at Clifton. It is so subtle in its flavor and somehow seems almost healthy as the fruit is front and center. As always, Dean gets the sauce just right and while often it is a starter, on occasion I have requested it as a main course since I just can’t get enough.”

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