There are no dessert sandwiches in The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches. The rules forbid it. But sometimes a craving hits for a little sweetness in a savory sandwich. Not too much. It must be balanced.
The Chicken Cheddar Fig Panini at Feast! is just that. A smear of fig jam on Albemarle Baking Co. focaccia lends just enough sweetness to complement the rest of the ingredients on one of the most popular sandwiches at Charlottesville’s beloved gourmet shop: sliced chicken, Vermont cheddar, mayo, and mustard. A few minutes on the panini press yields a cracker-like crust and tender interior that make the sandwich even more addictive.
Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Courtenay Tyler, co-founder of Tilman’s, which has lots of news this week. First, building on the success of the shop’s pop-ups, Tilman’s is launching a takeout menu. Today through Monday, from 12-6pm, guests will have the option of taking their order to-go or enjoying it “picnic style” on the patio. In addition to food and wine, there will be cocktails like Negronis, martinis, and sangria. Pre-ordering is preferred, but walk-ins are also welcome. Next, COVID-19 be damned, Tilman’s is planning a sister restaurant for later this year. In the former home to Tin Whistle Pub, Tonic will be a cafe and bar, with a patio and outdoor bar, offering small plates of vegetables, seafood, and fresh sandwiches, including house roast beef. Stay tuned for details and an opening date, likely this summer. Tyler’s picks, which focus on takeout and delivery options in the Culture of Takeout:
1) Tuna Avocado Carpaccio at Now & Zen. “This is probably the one dish in Charlottesville that I crave the most. It’s packed with big chunks of fresh tuna, avocado, and my favorite, tobiko. The wasabi dressing is always light, and the salad is perfectly dressed. My husband and I will wait in line for all of Chef Toshi’s small plates, but this is always the first thing that we order.”
2) Deonjang Jjigae at Maru. “Steven and Kay Kim are my next door neighbors at Tilman’s, and boy, did I luck out in that respect. They are incredibly nice. Kay has a sharp wit, and best of all Steven is an amazing chef. I love this Korean miso stew (don’t ask me how to pronounce it). It’s a big umami bomb, which I love. It has tofu and veggies and is a little spicy, and I always get it with clams. It comes with their homemade banchan, which has kim chi and other interesting things I can’t identify until I ask. I’m really happy if there’s pickled burdock that day.”
3) Any Soup at Bizou. “I have no idea how every single soup I have had from Bizou is amazing, but it is. Their shrimp bisque is actually the very first meal I ate here in Charlottesville, when I moved here in 2014. A mention on their specials board will definitely make me stop in. They have the butternut squash bisque on their to-go menu this week, and they are on my list for take-out. When things were ‘normal,’ they provided a much needed respite after a long day at Tilman’s. I enjoy sitting at that bar, and chatting with Rachel about her wine list. She has a great palate and point of view. And, she writes the best wine descriptions in town.”
4) Triple Citrus Pie at The Pie Chest. “Rachel’s pies aren’t super fancy. They are simple, and homey, and made with love, and in that, reflect Rachel’s personality. Her triple citrus is sublime. That texture! It’s such a treat.”
5) Chocolate Gelato at Splendora’s. “PK’s chocolate gelato is like no other. Deep, dark, intense. It may sound plain, but I promise you, it is not. It’s dangerous that PK is now delivering. All I have to do is call or text, and next thing you know I have my fix.”
Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Melissa Boardman, Wine Director of Fleurie, which is celebrating Virginia Wine Month with a very special meal. On October 21, Fleurie welcomes Lovingston Winery for a multi-course feast by Chef Jose de Brito, paired with Lovingston wines. Details here. Braised beef cheeks, celery root, rigatoni stuffed with oxtail, red wine & cacao reduction with a pine nut & raisin condiment? Reserve at (434) 9710-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Boardman’s picks:
1) Nachos and Margaritas at The Bebedero. “These nachos are a meal and a half. The chorizo meat topping is the way to go. The mornay cheese sauce is so flavorful. You can’t beat River’s selection of mezcal. I have him pick one for my margarita, which I also add jalapenos and cilantro to. The best part about all of this is that they serve a limited menu until 1 am. Perfect for an after-service snack.”
2) Foie Gras and Sauternes at Fleurie. “Chef Jose de Brito prepares this healthy portion of seared foie to perfection. It’s a great way to start a dining experience. You can also belly up to the bar for a quick decadent snack. However, it’s not foie gras without Sauternes. I’m loving the Sauternes from Rousset Peyraguey called Atropos. This unique, natural sticky spends six years in barrel before it is bottle. It’s a sweet treat that borders on savory.”
3) Sucuk Platter and a Glass of Emir at Sultan Kebab. “Sucuk is a Turkish sausage that reminds me of a spicy kielbasa, without the grease. In fact this sausage has a bit of a crunch. If you are really hungry or are there with a couple friends, add a plate of the Manti. Turkish marinated ground beef dumplings served with homemade garlicky yogurt, drizzle of crushed red pepper butter sauce and dry mint. My meal here is not complete unless I have a glass or two of Doluca’s Emir. It’s a super dry, mineral driven white wine from Turkey.”
4) Weisswurst and Hefeweizen at Court Square Tavern. “I like the platter with their potato salad. This veal sausage is light, airy and heavenly. They have a great selection of German beers. Ask Jeff to pick you out a good one. Hefeweizen and weisswurst use similar spices in their recipes, so it’s a natural pairing.”
5) Cheese Plate and a Bottle of Vouvray at Tilman’s. “I am a cheese freak! I could live on it (and wine) alone. I love Tilman’s because Courtney only picks the best of the best. I give the cheese monger on duty carte blanche to customize a plate for me. They know I like the powerful stuff. The other thing I love about Tilman’s is the retail pricing on bottles and minimal corkage fee.”