The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Timbercreek Market

“Best Thing I Ate All Year” 2017

No matter what else may be going on in the world, every year is a good food year. Each December we celebrate the Charlottesville food year by looking back at our latest trip around the sun and asking top area chefs: what was the best thing you ate all year? Here are the picks from 2016 and 2015. And, below are this year’s picks in chefs’ annual tribute to Charlottesville’s bounty. Meanwhile, check back here next week for The Charlottesville 29 pick for 2017 Dish of the Year.

Mitchell Beerens (Lampo)

Crispy Lamb Shank at Oakhart Social. “The lamb shank at Oakhart Social was the best thing I ate all year. Crispy crust that gave way to super succulent meat. I’m pretty sure it was served with hummus and harissa. Super simple and super soulful. That’s what I love about Tristan and Ben’s spot.”

Shank

Tim Burgess (The Space, Bang!, and Bizou)

Biscuits at Floozie’s Pie Shop. “I had the garden omelette, grits and biscuit at Floozie’s Pie shop in Louisa last February.  The omelette was really good, fluffy farm egg goodness, but not the star here. The biscuit took me back to my childhood, the best I’ve ever had and I’ve made a lot of biscuits in my day.  Then the grits, stone ground, salty, cheesy, buttery boom. I was floored by the meal, but shouldn’t have been, Jade and Debbie can flat out cook. Their pies are the real deal too.”

floozie

Jose de Brito (Fleurie)

Cotoletta di Maiale Alla Milanese at Tavola. “My dining etiquette is that when I return dining in a same establishment I rarely reorder the same dish except in extraordinary circumstances, and that would be when I was presented with a good dish. Tavola’s pork a la Milanese is the one dish that breaks my code of conduct. It never miss, I tried to break from my bad habit; once or probably twice I did order another dish. Although the restaurant is tasty across the line, when the pork is executed flawlessly it is close to saintliness. The other day, a guest of Fleurie asked me after service what was my favorite dish in Charlottesville. Before answering her I asked her the same question and we both answered simultaneously, the pork milanese at Tavola! You see when the breading on the cutlet is perfectly breaded, the sear is of the right color, neither too light or too dark, the capers have been slightly sautéed to take out the rawness, the tomatoes roasted a la perfection and the baby arugula wilted with kindness, the sum of all those delicate little details added to a butter emulsion laced with a drop of Meyer lemon, when that emulsion has the right body, the perfect amount amount of butter to cling to the breading, it is definitely, without any doubt my choice for best dish in C-ville. (Although, after reflection, the porchetta sandwich at Lampo is a close one and another dish that has made me break my rules, I usually never eat sandwiches , but I guess I am off subject, sorry!) And now to finish my little pamphlet. Let ourself ponder about what the French Chef Joel Robuchon once said: ‘What makes a good cook from a great cook, it is all about the details.’ The Milanese at Tavola has all the right details. Arrivederci, good people.”

Laura Fonner (Duner’s)

Smoked Jerk Jackfruit by Prime 109. “I had the pleasure of judging food for a cook-off at Highland Orchard Farms and Lampo participated by debuting some of the items that will be on their new menu at their downtown steak house Prime 109. Their lamb and duck kielbasa and dry aged Szechuan peppercorn pastrami were out of this world. Amazing flavors. Amazing textures. But the standout dish that blew me away was actually their young smoked jerk jackfruit. I taste a lot of things all year long but this is the first thing this year that actually surprised me, which is what I look for in new dishes. The flavor is perfect, sweet and spicy. The texture was similar to meat and I am sure it will actually fool people into thinking they are eating some sort of jerk meat. Hats off to those gentlemen. I look forward to seeing what else will come from that restaurant!”

Jackfruit

Craig Hartman (BBQ Exchange)

Crab Stuffed Squash Blossoms at Ivy Inn. “Angelo Vangelopoulos created a tasting menu for our 31st anniversary. It was world class. Our first meal with Angelo was in 1993, and watching his growth as a chef has been a real joy. He really has grown in a great direction! The whole meal was stellar but the crab stuffed squash blossoms with sweet corn sauce was unforgettable, and his father’s tomato-braised pole beans were life changing! Then, not to forget the pig brain amuse bouche, which was genius.”

squash

Michael Keaveny (Tavola)

Short Rib at The Coat Room at Brasserie Saison.  “I had a short rib with carrot ‘BBQ’ sauce in The Coat Room at Brasserie Saisson that was pretty memorable. It was crispy on the outside and tender inside. Great contrast in texture, and the sauce was surprisingly delicious. Great dish! I will miss Tyler’s food, though all indications are the new chefs are killing it!”

shortrib

Michael McCarthy (Dr. Ho’s)

Chocolate Croissant from Little Hat Creek Farm. “Spectacular if not amazeballs! I’m good for one or two every time I visit the Nelson county farmers’ market.”

choc-croissant-1911

Jenny Peterson (Paradox Pastry)

Braised Beef and Macaroni at The Alley Light. “I have to say, it’s sooooo difficult to pick a ‘best.’ I think a ‘best’ is so often situation specific. Was it who I was with on a perfect evening after a very, very long work week? Then it would be the comfort of the Braised Beef with Mac at The Alley Light.”

Tomas Rahal (MAS)

Soft-poached Duck Egg with Perigord Truffles, asparagus, moliterno di tartuffo at MAS tied with Mike Ketola’s Salt-citrus Cured Albacore Loin with grapefruit and Brussels leaves salad, also at MAS. “JF Legault’s soft-scrambled farm egg with Alba truffles was a close third. I’d love to give props to other spots, but these dishes were transcendent.”

Duckegg

Ian Redshaw (Lampo)

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup at Cafe 88. “Available Friday and Saturday, dine-in only, this hidden gem is worth every last drop.”

Noodlesoup

Ivan Rekosh (Zocalo)

Roast Beef Panuozzo at Lampo.  “If I had to choose one thing, it’d probably be the aged roast beef sandwich with provolone at Lampo. I remember eating it and thinking this is the best sandwich I’ve had in a long ass time.”

beef

Wilson Richey (Ten Course Hospitality)

Crispy Scallops at Brasserie Saison. “I know you are not supposed to pick your own restaurants, but Tyler really nailed that dish and I just can’t make something up. The textures are one of the most stand out parts of the dish: the crunchy exterior, the creamy puree beneath it, and the crisp celery root on top. It’s just perfectly balanced flavor and texture. There are a lot of things going on. I could eat those scallops every night.”

scallops

Andrew Silver (Roots Natural Kitchen)

Ma Po Tofu at Taste of China. “I have discovered that I really like soft tofu (Zzzam also has really good soft tofu). It is spicy, numbing, hot, aromatic and tender. Pairs perfectly with stir fried snow pea shoots and a cold Tsingtao.”

tofu

Angelo Vangelopoulos (Ivy Inn)

Sourdough Bread by Tucker Yoder at Timbercreek Market. “I was lucky enough to have Tucker gift me a loaf (I think he owed for some truffles or something), and my family and I ate it for days. The crust is thick, it’s full of grains (I think his wife grinds the wheatberries?), has amazing chew and long lasting flavor. My son’s eyes lit up when he tasted it for the first time and he asked ‘WHERE did you get this?! It’s AMAZING!'”

sourdough1

Tristan Wraight (Oakhart Social)

Foie Gras with Passion Fruit Gelée at Fleurie. “Hot Damn. Those guys are actually cooking, and well. You don’t see real cooking all that much these days.”

foiegras

Tucker Yoder (Back 40)

Persimmons from Edible Landscaping. “These persimmons right here from my man Dan. Chased with a shot of tequila or mezcal.”

Persimmon

Five Finds on Friday: Joy Ting

joyt

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Joy Ting, Winemaker and Head Enologist at Michael Shaps Wineworks, and co-creator of a new wine from Jake Busching Wines called Orphan. In 2015, when Busching had just started at Michael Shaps, surplus Pinot Gris grapes (“orphans”) gave Busching and Ting a chance to experiment. Treating white wine grapes as red, they fermented the juice in contact with the skins. The result was initially “rough and tight,” Ting recalls, and needed time.

Fifteen months later, Ting says, the unusual bronze wine had reached its potential, but still needed an identity. Enter Will Curley (Wine Buyer for Ten Course Hospitality and Manager at Brasserie Saison), Priscilla Martin (General Manager and Wine Director at Tavola), and Joy’s husband Paul. What started as a conversation over sandwiches at Kitchen(ette) soon became a passion project. Orphan no. 1 was born. The very limited production will be available later this month exclusively at Brasserie Saison and Tavola, and by retail only from The Wine Guild and http://jakebuschingwines.com/. Ting’s picks:

1) English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich at Timbercreek Market. “Made with a house-made English muffin, a farm fresh egg, breakfast meat (bacon or sausage, depending on the day) and cheese, this is a great way to start the weekend. It is a Saturday ritual in my family to stop at Timbercreek for breakfast on the way home from the Farmer’s Market. My husband and I are in withdrawal since they have been closed for remodeling, but we are excited to see the newly redone space.”

2) Ma La Fish at Taste of China. “My first experience with tongue-numbing ma la spice was at Taste of China, and it was a revelation. It is used in many dishes there, but the fish is my favorite. Its perfectly fried to be crispy outside, warm and tender inside, with ma la energizing the whole thing.”

3) Fried Chicken and Collards at The Whiskey Jar. “I love the relaxed atmosphere at the Jar, and although I have tried pretty much everything on the menu, it is all I can do not to order this every time.  Some things are classics for a reason.

4) Pairings at Fleurie. “This is where my husband and I go for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. The food is great, no matter what we order. Erin Scala and her team pair unique and delicious wines with each dish, enhancing the flavors and the experience.”

5) Fleur de Sel Caramels from La Vache Microcreamery. “These caramels are just the right texture with just the right balance of sweet and salty.  They are beautifully packaged and make great gifts. There are other flavors (like milk stout, lavender and honey, and sweet tea), that are all delicious, but again, I like the classics.”

TheOrphanage_LabelExploration_D1_Proof

 

Five Finds on Friday: Zach Miller

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Zach Miller, co-owner of Timbercreek Market, set to re-open next month with the addition of a new onsite restaurant, Back Forty. While the market will still offer meat and produce from Timbercreek Farm and other local sources, Back Forty will be a full-service restaurant under the direction of chef Tucker Yoder. “Back 40 is his restaurant,” says Miller. “We simply are along for the ride.” For that ride, Chef Yoder says to expect “a more refined version of the things we are doing now.” There is even a bar with house cocktails, and Yoder has already begun jarring cherries in rye and sorghum for that very purpose. Miller’s picks:

1) Falconer Hoppy Wheat Ale from Champion Brewing Company. “You can always find a Champion at our house, but this beer is at the top of my list. Hunter’s beers are all great which is why we are collaborating on a special release with Champion for our new restaurant. We will grow the crops and Hunter will create a magic beer.”

2) The Steakhouse Burger at Citizen Burger Bar, served rare. “Shameless self promotion? Yes. But what is there not to like? So many great flavors in between the greatest bread in town – an Albemarle Baking Company brioche.”

3) F8 by Jake Busching Wines. “Jake’s wines are great! The F8 is not only great but the grapes are grown by my friend Carl Tinder, so knowing the farmer makes it a win and it’s really good to top it off!”

4) 434 Summer Pale Ale from Three Notch’d Brewery. “Another find in our kitchen. It is a delicious light drinking summer beer that our beer buyer, Maggie Slinkman, has made a staple at the market for the summer.”

5) Spicy Peanut Tofu at Revolutionary Soup. “This is my go-to spot for lunch when I am downtown. If I eat lunch it needs to be light and quick and Rev Soup delivers every time.”