The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: The Pie Chest

Five Finds on Friday: Kate Ellwood

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Kate Ellwood, GM of Citizen Burger Bar, who juggles a full-time restaurant job with being a mother to her daughter Avery. “Family is a big part of my life and what keeps me grounded in this industry,” says Ellwood. “My husband and my daughter are what keep me going. Avery is growing up in the restaurant world, and it’s so fun sharing this special lifestyle with her. She lights up my life.” Ellwood’s picks:

1) A.M. Biscuit at Beer Run. “My go-to day off spot. A place that feels like home. My daughter loves the basket of toys they keep on hand, and the kids’ menu is pretty awesome. The A.M Biscuit has been my breakfast staple for years. It’s a house baked cheddar scallion biscuit with scrambled eggs and your choice of cheese (the Gouda is amazing), and I always top it with bacon. They have a great selection of dark beers and, with the new addition of the back bar, there’s always a large selection of brews to choose from.”

2) Iced Mocha at Splendora’s. “I know it’s going to be a great day when it starts with a cup of coffee from Splendora’s. Most days I’m here twice a day. Coffee in the morning and an iced coffee in the afternoon. I had the iced mocha recently and it was out of this world. Of course the gelato is something special. I love when PK does the beerlato. From the bright yellow building on the way in and the friendly staff, I would challenge someone to leave there without a smile on their face.”

3) White Pizza at Vita Nova. “Favorite pizza spot on the mall. There’s never a long line and the staff is super-friendly and efficient. We order their pizza for our employee meetings, and our staff is hooked. They have this delicious white sauce, cheese pizza that is, hands down, the best slice of pizza I’ve experienced. It tastes like you’re eating pasta on a pizza.”

4) Hand Pie w/ Scrambled Egg, Yukon Potato, Cheddar, and Gravy at The Pie Chest. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the sweet pies, the dark chocolate cream pie especially. I would eat it for breakfast at least once a week. Then I discovered the breakfast hand pies and that was a game changer. The Yukon potato, cheddar, gravy, & egg is my fave! Super delicious. It always brightens my day to see Tina and Rachel in the shop. Great people, great pies.”

5) Double Bass Chocolate Stout from Starr Hill Brewery. “My favorite brewery in town, since the beginning. I love visiting the tap room in Crozet on my days off. It’s a short drive, and a nice escape. Their Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout is my favorite seasonal beer. They do this fun seasonal Box of Chocolates 12 pack. It’s released in November, and I’ll be drinking those for the next few months.”

Five Finds on Friday: Siân Richards

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Photo by Will May

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Siân Richards, co-owner of Market Street Wine. When Market Street Wineshop closed in February after the owner retired, long-time employees Richards and Thadd McQuade came to the rescue and are resurrecting the shop as Market Street Wine. “We hope that as things are changing so much in Charlottesville, we will be able to continue an institution that the community has loved while also giving it a bit of new life,” says Richards. Tomorrow, April 21, Market Street Wine officially opens its doors, with an Open House from 1-4 pm. Richards’ picks:

1) Egg, Cheddar and Salsa Hand Pie at The Pie Chest. “I love going into The Pie Chest. I love the space and the smell of chai, and I love looking at all the beautiful pies laid out for sale. My real Pie Chest addiction is the vegetarian breakfast hand pie. I have eaten way more of those than is probably advisable in these last weeks while we have been getting the shop ready to open. They are beautifully made, delicious and filling. Stopping to pick one up feels more like a special treat than a meal to go.”

2) Tofu Vegetable Pho at Thai Cuisine and Noodle House. “The tofu pho at Thai Cuisine was a really pleasant surprise. I am always on the lookout for a super tasty bowl of noodles without meat and I was thrilled to find that theirs was fragrant and savory and really good.”

3) Sauteed Escarole and Margherita Pizza at Lampo. “I love going to Lampo. I am really impressed that they are able to balance offering a meal that is carefully prepared, in a comfortable atmosphere, and at a very reasonable price. I always feel like I have had a nice meal out without a scene or a big bill. Their small wine selection is equally balanced.”

4) Grilled Cheese To-Go Wrapped in Wax Paper from Timberlake’s. “A grilled cheese and a bag of chips from Timberlake’s has some kind of sensory/memory mojo for me. The smell, the gooey cheese and the feel of the wax paper. Perfect.”

5) Asparagus from Crazy Farm at City Market. “I am not a morning person but 7 am City Market grocery shopping is where it’s at. Before the crowds. I always feel so rich walking home with my bags bursting.”

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Five Finds on Friday: Alicia Walsh-Noel

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alicia Walsh-Noel, Manager of Brasserie Saison, which celebrates Sunday each week now with “Eggs Benefit,” brunch from 11 am to 3 pm with live jazz and specials from the bar. A portion of proceeds go to a different charity each month, and this month it is The Charlottesville Free Clinic. Walsh-Noel’s picks:

1) Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam. “This dish is an ultra comforting curry noodle soup. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of flavor and texture: the sweet curry to the funky pickled cabbage and onions and then the slurpy egg noodles to the crunchy noodle garnish. There’s a reason it’s not available from their to-go-go location – you have to eat it in the restaurant for the full experience. I crave this whenever it’s cold outside or I have a cold or when Antarctica is cold.”

2) Peanut Butter Pie at The Pie Chest and an Almond Latte from Lone Light Coffee. “If you didn’t already know about this place, when you’re walking up 4th St., the aromas will lure you into their door. When you enter, it’s as if you’ve been transported into a quaint New England town –there aren’t many places in Charlottesville that can do that. Tucked within The Pie Chest is Lone Light Coffee, which makes incredible coffee drinks and their own almond milk in-house. The stuff is delicious! I seriously have a hard time getting coffee anywhere else. Rachel Pennington, the owner/baker of The Pie Chest is incredibly talented. You can’t go wrong with any of her sweet or savory pies but I really dig the peanut butter because it’s a little of both. The real deal-sealer is that the crust is PERFECT every time.”

3) Commander Chicory Blue Cheese from Twenty Paces. “So apparently studies are saying that cheese addictions are a real thing? I always blamed it on my French heritage but now even my doctor is telling me to stop! Le sigh. I first had this cheese at Lampo. Then again at Lampo. Then again. And then…well, my husband runs the kitchen at Champion Taproom and he put it on…get this: CHICKEN WING TACOS. OMG. I die now. Anyway, it’s stinky and smoky and I would most likely have it as my last meal.”

4) Whatever Lumpia is on Special at Champion Tap Room. “Speaking of my husband, Jon Bray has this move where he puts things into Filipino egg roll wrappers and then fries them. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. His original has ground pork and dates that he serves with garlicky vinegar sauce. But lately he’s been getting a little wild, making Cheeseburger Lumpia for a kids event and a Buffalo Chicken version another time. This week, it sounds like he’s going with a more traditional pork and shrimp version that should be tasty. Maybe it’s cheating to put your own spouse on this list, but if this is about a memorable and emotional connection to food, Jon’s super-creative twists on Filipino classics are both seared into my memory and make me so happy!”

5) Oyster Mushrooms and Grits at Oakhart Social. “I couldn’t possibly write a Five Finds without mentioning Oakhart. This place is like home to me and I’m stoked at the love they have received so quickly from the Charlottesville community. It’s rare to find a chef that can execute vegetable dishes with the skill that Tristan does and these mushrooms are one of my faves! They make a delicious star of the show with pickles, buttery grits, and crispy, fried chickpeas. Follow that up with all the Fernets and hugs for a foolproof Oakhart evening.”