The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Twenty Paces

Five Finds on Friday: Polina Chesnakova

Polina Picture

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come a woman with many culinary hats, Polina Chesnakova. Most significantly, she writes the excellent new food blog Chesnok. She also is Baker for Greenwood Gourmet Grocery, and has previously baked at Brazos Tacos and Paradox Pastry, been sous chef of Feast!, and written for Edible Blue Ridge and Our Local Commons. On July 13 at The Spice Diva, Chesnakova is giving a Georgian National cooking class. Tickets and info on this rare treat can be found here. Chesnakova’s picks:

1) Apricot Jam from Jam According to Daniel with Ricotta from Twenty Paces on 5-Grain Batard from MarieBette Cafe & Bakery. “I could honestly write an entire paragraph on each of these items alone, they inspire that much fervor. However, since I am limited to five picks, I figured I’d cheat a little instead.  Each ingredient is perfect in its own right, yet when you combine the three, you somehow create something so . . . simply good. I find myself craving this toast almost everyday and if I had to pick one breakfast, this would be it.”

2) Tom Kha Noodle Bowl at Pad Thai.  “If I’m having a bad day, the weather has been bad, or I just want something that will warm me from the inside out, I go to Pad Thai for this dish. It’s so easy to be tempted by everything else on the menu (hello pork belly drunken noodles, cabbage, lamb curry!), and many times I am. But, when I stick to my initial goal and order myself a huge bowl of this spicy, sweet and sour soup I am left satisfied, wanting no more.

3)  Mr. Rech at The Alley Light. “This is my favorite dessert in Charlottesville, hands down. Hazelnut meringues sandwich a praline parfait, which is then all bathed in a dark chocolate ganache. Each bite is a delightful play of textures and sensations, and you can’t get much better than classic chocolate and hazelnuts together. It’s pretty rich so do yourself a favor and share it. Or don’t.

4) BFP at Brookville.  “This Big F****** Pancake is where it’s at. Fried up in a cast iron skillet, it’s over an inch thick and doused in maple syrup and butter. You can get it with slabs of bacon cooked right in or in the summer, and my favorite, fresh local blueberries! In college, it was mine and my best friends’ “thing” (usually after a rough night), and we have made it a tradition to go there every time they’re all back in town.”

5) Anything I Cook On my Blanc Creatives Carbon Steel Pan. “I cook at home more than I eat out and man oh man! Cooking on this baby: perfect, even sear every time. Once, I cooked eggs on it and I swear they could’ve slipped right off, it was pre-seasoned so well. The only thing better than the pans themselves are the guys who make them. They are extremely passionate about their craft (“We’re like, skilled artisans!”), and it really comes through in all that they make. Good work boys (and Catalina)!”

Five Finds on Friday: Daniel Perry


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities. Today’s picks come from Daniel Perry, creator of the outstanding and rave-winning JAM According to Daniel. Perry’s coveted jams are available at stores around town and also directly from him Saturdays at City Market. “Every Saturday until Christmas, rain or shine,” said Perry, “100 unique local producers are waiting to enlighten you about why their product is different and why you need it in your life . . . Vote with your wallet!”  Perry is particularly excited that his apricot crop this year is sufficient to make his popular apricot jam, which happens only every 3-5 years.  Perry’s picks:

1) Roasted Pork Sandwich with pickled fennel and chipotle mayo at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery.  “The perfect combo of crunchy, fatty, and tangy – refreshing after a morning of berry picking.”

2)  Roasted Chicken and Yucca Frita at Al Carbon.  “This chicken smells so good that utensils are too slow.  Eating with both hands is recommended. It’s ‘fall off the bone’ tender, in a literal sense. And seeing the green charcoal rotisserie really seals the deal.”

3)  Fried Plantains at Pearl Island Foods at the City Market.  “Crunchy, slightly sweet, with a spicy slaw and garlic aioli. Just right for a mid-morning snack when tomato selection leads to decision fatigue.”

4)  Pulled Pork Soul Bowl with Fries and Bold & Spicy Sauce at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue.  “Ditch the bun, it’s just in the way. Get in touch with your inner carnivore.”

5)  Ricotta from Twenty Paces.  “Creamy, fluffy, and so refreshing. It’s great on bread, and amazing on a spoon. Try it with olive oil, maple syrup, and coarse sea salt, all at the same time. Like ice cream meeting yogurt and butter, spreadable mellow creaminess. So fluffy!”


Five Finds on Friday: Twenty Paces

Twenty Paces

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from the team behind Twenty Paces, the new sheep dairy and creamery on land leased from Bellair Farm. Still early in their first year of production, Twenty Paces’ outstanding ricotta is already available at Feast! and Flora, and also served at tavola, The Ivy Inn, and C&O, among others.  All four Twenty Paces partners are veterans of the farmstead cheese industry, and all are also big fans of breakfast, as their picks reflect.  For further information about the dairy, including investment opportunities, holler at them at

1)  Glazed Spudnut from Spudnuts.  Bridge Cox says that “a simple glazed spudnut from Spudnuts is all I need. Perfectly yeasty and glazed with just a bit of crunch.”

2)  Turkey Croissant from Blue Ridge Pig.  Kyle Kilduff says that the only thing he craves as much as Dr. Ho’s nachos (see #5), is Blue Ridge Pig’s turkey croissant. “Criminally underrated.  And, just as good for breakfast the next day.”

3)  Plain Bagel with Cream Cheese from Bodo’s.  Herd manager Tom Pyne says he has to get up and go quickly, but still makes time to prepare his toasted plain bagels with cream cheese, which he says he devours with wild abandon.

4)  Apricot Jam from Jam According to Daniel with HomeSlice from Sub Rosa Bakery.  Melanie Pyne says she likes HomeSlice bread from Richmond’s Sub Rosa with butter and apricot jam for “a tasty breakfast snack with ‘The Girls.'”

5)  NacHo’s at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie.  The team says that they often “quantify budget and lactation numbers, sketch big dreams, and figure out new ways to find private investors over Dr. Ho’s nachos and a pitcher of Long Hammer IPA.”



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