The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: The Shack

Five Finds on Friday: Deirdre Armstrong

phildeirdre 2

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Deirdre Armstrong of Harvest Thyme Herbs, the  vegetable and herb farm, beloved by area chefs, that she founded with her husband Phil. Deirdre recently lost Phil to an unexpected illness, and he is now remembered as an unsung hero of the food community, whose passion and hard work made thousands of meals more delicious. Deirdre’s picks:

1) Whippoorwill Crowder Peas in Ham Broth at The Shack. “These heirloom crowder peas were a gift to Chef Ian Boden from Dr. David Shields, English professor, author and seed saving pioneer at University of South Carolina. Ian passed them along to us, and once I tasted this dish, I could see why he was so eager for us to grow them. Served with pickled Fresno chiles and schmaltz cornbread, to mop up the insanely good ham broth, these rich, savory peas are a revelation.”

2) Doe Hill Pepper Bisque at the Ivy Inn. “Phil was known for his hot peppers, but Angelo makes this impossibly creamy soup from a golden yellow sweet pepper that is a pre- 1900 family heirloom from the Doe Hill area in Highland County, Virginia. Summer sunshine in a bowl.”

3) Wild Mushroom Risotto at Maya. “Risotto is always a wise choice at Maya, but this umami- rich variation hits just the right note with woodsy Sharondale wild mushrooms and Greg’s special magic.”

4) Shrimp Tacos at Chicano Boy Taco. “Chilled shrimp makes this taco so refreshing to me. Topped with roasted corn, grilled onion, cabbage, cojita cheese and tangy chipotle mayonnaise, all wrapped in a perfect handmade corn tortilla, it is a healthy summer standout on a menu that’s chock full of tempting choices.”

5) Fig Chocolates from Santiago Chocolates. “Jim Dutton is a self- taught chocolatier, and his mastery of the art is evident in his unique flavors, gorgeous stenciling, and insistence on only the finest ingredients. Opening a box of his chocolates takes my breath away each time. If forced to choose a favorite flavor, I would have to pick the decadent fig filling, with port wine and anise. Best savored with a glass of port, of course!”

Five Finds on Friday: Ben Jordan

Jordan

On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Ben Jordan, winemaker and general manager of Michael Shaps Wineworks, which has just launched a brand new tasting room and also introduced wine growlers, a great new way to buy wine.  Jordan also has his own side project in aromatised wines and bitters, and has bottled the cult-favorite War & Rust.  Jordan’s picks:

1)  Grandpa’s Favorite at Pad Thai.  “Fried catfish, fried rice, and an omelette was a new combination for me, but now I have to work not to order it every time.”

2)  Dealer’s Choice at The Alley Light.  “The option of drinking-off-menu taps into the creative energy behind the bar, always a fun way to drink.”

3)  Sunday Lunch and Brunch at The Shack.  “I grew up in Augusta County, and it’s great to be able to stop in for the biscuits and gravy or the fried quail on the way to visit family. And, the drive to Staunton is shorter than some brunch lines.”

4) Dry-Aged Burger Grind at JM Stock Provisions.  “We make thin patties with this, and there is so much flavor that they work as simple burgers, without much need for adornment.”

5)  First Three Cheese Suggestions at Flora Artisanal Cheese.  “My strategy is to walk in, say something vague about what I want, taste what Nadjeeb offers, find it delicious, and then buy it.”

Five Finds on Friday: Todd Grieger

 Grieger

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Todd Grieger, Executive Chef of Red Pump · A Tuscan Kitchen, the new project from the team behind Pippin Hill set to open next month on the downtown mall.  Grieger is also a veteran of top area kitchens like Palladio Restaurant, Mas, C&O, and Maya.  Grieger’s picks:

1)  Pork Belly at BBQ Exchange.   “Smoked pork belly?!  What else is there to say?  It’s just delicious.  Covered in Colonel Bacon sauce and Hog Fire  sauce . . . that’s legit.”

2)  Prix Fixe Menu at The Shack. “Ian is super talented and the food is awesome. It’s the best deal to eat the food of one of the best chefs in the area.”

3)  Spencer Crawford’s Salumi at Palladio.  “I’ve eaten salumi all over, and his is just fantastic – best I’ve had.”

4)  Bocadillo at MAS.  “I don’t get in there as much as I like but the chefs there (Ketola and Mick) are my peeps. When I worked there I would eat one every day with smoked tomato aioli. It’s tasty.”

5)  Biscuits at Maya.   “If you want fluffy and delicious biscuits that are the real deal then you have to get the biscuits at Maya.  They are a rite of passage, working the veg station there, and Christian’s biscuits are the benchmark I try to achieve when I make them. My favorite snack when I worked there was two biscuits and ham gravy with Tabasco  sauce.”