On Fridays we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities. This week’s picks come from Stu Rifkin, the restaurateur and real estate maven who has done it all when it comes to Charlottesville restaurants: owned them, ran them, and brokered their sale. From April 7 thru 14, restaurants of the Charlottesville Restaurant Group, for whom Rifkin has consulted, are offering $50 gift certificates for just $25 each, with all proceeds going to the care of Wes Chang, TEN chef Pei Chang’s todller son who is undergoing treatement for stage IV neuroblastoma. Purchase yours at MAS, Mono Loco, Blue Light Grill, TEN Sushi, and Three Notch’d Grill. Or, you can contribute directly at the website www.weschang.myevent.com.
Rifkin’s relationship with so many restaurants made his picks particularly difficult, as he might have chosen Calamari Tempura from TEN or a BLT on Rye with Fried Pickle Chips and extra thick Ranch from The Nook. Excluding restaurants where he “eats for free,” Rifkin’s picks:
1) Cherry Star at Spudnuts. “Or any donut frankly. We are truly blessed to have such a simply perfect donut shop in town. CW Llad immortalized the Cherry Star in a poem on the back page of C-VILLE many years ago. I’ve been consuming them regularly ever since.”
2) Pepperoni Pizza at Whole Foods. “Sad but true that some of the best pie in town comes from a grocery store. It’s not consistent, but when they get it right it’s unsurpassed deliciousness.”
3) Bambino Cone at Splendora’s. “Choose a flavor and get a small scoop on a tiny cone. It’s a perfect palate cleanser and a tasty treat. Salted Caramel Gelato or Grapefuit Sorbetto works for me.”
4) Tacos Campechanos at Don Panchito Taco truck on 29N. “I’ve tried them all and these guys knock it out of the park. The campechanos combine carne asada and chorizo.”
5) Smoked Turkey Croissant, Potato Salad and Limeade at The Blue Ridge Pig. “Their Dill Sauce is transcendent. I would eat anything they put it on.”