The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: The Spice Diva

Simon’s Sunday Morning Spice


It’s not quite John Paul Jones Arena, but I’ll take what I can get. Beer Run’s new drinks menu, I was surprised to see, includes The Davidson, a delicious blend of IPA and pale ale. To my knowledge, this is the second food-or-drink item in Charlottesville to bear my name.


The first, I think, was Simon’s Sunday Morning Spice. Last year, a good friend of mine went through a serious Bloody Mary phase. When he came over one day to watch some hoops, I tried to create his best Bloody Mary yet. I bought Bloody Brilliant mix (of course), by Back Pocket Provisions, some lemons, and Tito’s Vodka. Then I wondered what I could do to rim the glass, and thought of Everything bagel spice. Brunch, bloodies, bagels, and Everything spice. It all seemed to make sense. So, I went to see The Spice Diva, and asked if she had an Everything bagel spice blend. She did not, but said she would be happy to assemble one. It was, well, brilliant.

Fast forward more than a year, and Simon’s Sunday Morning Spice, as it came to be known, just won a Golden Fork Award, as one of the top cravings of the year at Edacious. Yes, it’s great for rimming Bloody Mary glasses, but, it turns out, lots of other uses, too. The Spice Diva recommends it as a crust for seared tuna, Edacious suggests it on pasta, and I love it sprinkled on a halved avocado. Then, on Christmas Day, I discovered that it is also an outstanding addition to melted butter served with a steamed artichoke.

Happy New Year.



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: Sara Adduci


Photo by Justin Ide.

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Sara Adduci, cheesemonger of Feast!.  Last weekend, Adduci helped make Charlottesville proud at The Cheesemonger Invitational, in New York City, where top cheesemongers from around the country competed against one another in cutting, selling, tasting, wrapping, and proving their cheese knowledge.  Adduci finished in 4th place while fellow Charlottesville monger Nadjeeb Chouaf took 2nd place.  A great showing for Charlottesville.  Adduci’s picks:

1)  Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue.  “I just adore breakfast and brunch foods and these are simply fantastic! It’s truly hard for me to pick a single item in this category, because I also have a big crush on the ginger scones from Albemarle Baking Company and the BFP (big f****ing pancake) with bacon from Brookville.”

2)  Spanish Tuna Salad and White Bean Salad from Feast! with Pea Shoots from Manakintowne Specialty Growers. “Mix these three items together in a bowl and you get my ever-so-lazy, non-cooking, dinner or lunch more often than I care to admit.”

3)  African Curry Powder from The Spice Diva.  “Simply saute any gorgeous, local veggies that suit your fancy with garlic, onions, and this flavorful, not too hot, green curry, top with toasted pine nuts and serve over the nutty, Kagayaki 6 Grain Rice blend from Seafood @ West Main. Delish.”

4)  Farmhouse Dry Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “I love this stuff, in all its bone dry, bubbly, apple-y glory. It is great on its own and also great as a cocktail mixer. I like it with the brown liquors, but I seriously think you could use it wherever club soda is called for with great success. I have some mulberry gin steeping and I look forward to trying them together.”

5)  Linguica Sausage from The Rock Barn. “I just can’t get over my deep affection for this Portuguese style sausage. I make a simple marinara with a couple of links of this sausage pulled from the casing, add fresh sheep and goat milk ricotta from Twenty Paces, some fresh spinach or basil and serve it over pasta. Then, the next day I take the leftover sauce, add black beans, and serve an over-easy egg on top. So good.”

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