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: 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.”

Five Finds on Friday: Derek Mansfield

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Derek Mansfield of Tilman’s, the new spot that some are saying is just what the Downtown Mall needed, with eat-in or takeout sandwiches, cheese, wine, beer, and gourmet items. Mansfield’s favorite way to enjoy it is “sitting at the bar with The Big Board (our best cheese and charcuterie of the moment) and a glass of our Scaia Corvina in front of me.” Mansfield’s picks:

1)  Tacos de Lengua, Mexican Style at La Michoacana. “The most authentic taco place in town, and truly the only place I’ve had good lengua anywhere in the area. The whole menu is fantastic, but I have to say I go for three tacos (always one lengua) more often than anything else.”

2) A Dozen Oysters and a Glass of Chablis at Public Fish & Oyster. “Delicious, fresh shucked, interesting oysters that rotate regularly enough to keep the interest piqued. All this provided by an extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff in a San Francisco wharf-like atmosphere.  Unique and fantastic!”

3) Manhattan followed by the BBQ Platter at The Whiskey Jar. “Come for the bourbon, stay for the great local food, and stay longer for the entertainment. All in a warm welcoming environment. I bring the family, go with out of town guests, or just stop by for a drink and a chat with the awesome team there.”

4) Anything Savory at The Pie Chest. “Thank goodness for Rachel and The Pie Chest!  They have brought a great new concept to Charlottesville, and I love finding out what’s in the case. Pro tip: go early enough to not miss out because when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

5) Steak Bavette at Bizou. “Classic French bistro meal in a classy bistro setting. Great room, great buzz, phenomenal wine list, and a friendly team that’s happy to hang for a second at your table and have a chat about what’s happening in C’Ville.”

Five Finds on Friday: Tres Pittard

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Tres Pittard, the former chef of Charley’s Waterfront Kitchen in Farmville who is now sous chef of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. This Monday, Commonwealth relaunches with a new menu of Modern Virginian Cuisine, in collaboraton with restaurateur Will Richey and chef Harrison Keevil. A preview of the new-and-improved Commonwealth. Pittard’s picks:

1) Orecchiette, House Sausage, Broccoli Rabe from Vivace. “First of all, I really like the outdoor seating here. The pasta and the atmosphere definitely tie in together, and all in all it is a very comforting experience.” 

2) Ham Biscuit from JM Stock Provisions. “How did I not know about these sooner? I enjoy everything about these and always contemplate if I’ve gotten enough of them on the walk to the car.”

3) Mexican Street Corn from Junction. “This was ridiculously good and I actually had to order another round to come out with the meal.”

4) Spinach, Goat cheese, Egg and Honey Pie from The Pie Chest. “Another thing I was recently introduced to but can’t seem to stop thinking about. And, the thought of these being available Saturday mornings at Draft for soccer is starting to blow my mind a little. Just that good.” 

5) Chicken Francaise from Bella’s. “Athough Bella’s serves family style, I could definitely have this one to myself. The entirety of the dish was on point, and I can see why this one usually sells out.”