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On 4/20/2016 at 3:47 PM, LauraB said:

We had a late lunch on the way back to DC at the BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville.  It was a gorgeous day and we were lucky enough to be able to sit on the porch.  We both had the pork platter which consisted of pulled pork and 2 sides.  The pulled pork was fine, although I felt it needed help from the Hot bbq sauce that was one of 6 sauces on the table.  I found my two sides, potato salad and spicy coleslaw, to be disappointing.  The spicy coleslaw was spicy alright, but it didn't seem fresh at all and I stopped eating it after a couple of bites.  The potato salad was very pedestrian. MrB had the baked beans which he liked, but frankly they looked to me like they'd come from a can.  Overall, I found this place disappointing.  We went a bit out of our way to come here and I don't think I'd do that again.  

Could be an off day--the beans really are good, despite appearances, but the best side are the hush puppies. It's a beautiful drive and I'd recommend going back if you are passing through 64 or 29 and have a hankering for barbecue.

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Don asked me to post something about Charlottesville, and I’m happy to help. I have lived here in the Charlottesville area for years, and it is an outstanding food town, to which I love to bring atten

From a recent trip to the Charlottesville area: Barbecue Exchange (Gordonsville) Two of us had: BBQ Lovers 4 Meat platter with ribs, pulled pork, chopped brisket, sausage, collards and mac and chee

We recently ate at four excellent Charlottesville restaurants. Lampo Pizza - my favorite of the four.  Great pizzas.  Great small plates.  Great looking beverage program.  Some of the best salumi

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On 9/23/2013 at 0:22 PM, ktmoomau said:

 We also ate at Sedona which is in Millbrook, that was really good, I liked their small plates, crabcakes, tacos and gorgonzola salad with steak were all good.  Very large beer list with lots of local beers on tap, multiple TVs at the bar make it a good place to go to watch a game if unlike my FIL and Hubby you don't want to sit in the rain at Scott stadium.  Looks so much better than the restaurant that was in that space previously.

I know I'm pulling up an old post, but I recently saw that Sedona Taphouse has been in expansion mode. There are locations in Fredricksburg, Troy MI, Norwalk CT, and soon in Mamaroneck, NY. This marks another Charlottesville restaurant that has gone chain out of our market and even into NYC (Carpe Donut also comes to mind).

As for the BBQEX sides conversation, I find the more adventuresome I get the more interesting the sides are. I will routinely get their pickled hot peppers and use them to wake up most any sandwich that I put them on, BBQ or cold cut. Their collard greens are also a favorite, but I make sure to give them a liberal dose of the NC vinegar BBQ sauce to jazz them up. Check to see if they have any special sides. I know I had a bourbon baked beans on one weekend trip that were a clear improvement over their standard ones. I haven't tried their slaw or potato salad because I've gone out to the stranger offerings each time.

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Don asked me to post something about Charlottesville, and I’m happy to help. I have lived here in the Charlottesville area for years, and it is an outstanding food town, to which I love to bring attention. We have excellent breweries, wineries, cideries, farms, butchers, bakers, cheesemongers, patisseries, coffee-houses, chocolatiers, markets, gelato, and yes, restaurants.

At the risk of self-promotion, IMHO, your best place to start for restaurants is The Charlottesville 29, my website about Charlottesville food and drink.  Among other things, it answers the question: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?  For those restaurants, it includes ordering guides, with recommendations from the chef of the restaurant as well as from other chefs and food personalities around town.

I also write for C-VILLE weekly, and there is some stuff there that’s not on the site, including perspectives on Charlottesville restaurants of guests who have joined me at meals for articles, like Roberto Donna, Tom Sietsema, and more.

Most of what is on the site speaks for itself, but there is one restaurant I had intended to single out in this initial post for its excellence: The Alley Light. Unfortunately, the outstanding chef just left, so I won’t spend as much time writing about it here until I've visited under his successor. In short, before leaving, Jose De Brito had been cooking in the zone.  Really spectacular cooking that rivaled any I’ve had in the country. It was a 2015 James Beard semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in the country, and De Brito was a 2016 semi-finalist for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. I don’t travel nearly as much as I once did, but I and others agree that Jose’s food held up well against food of top restaurants in other cities. I recently did a food tour of D.C. (Fiola Mare, Rose’s Luxury, The Dabney, Bad Saint, Convivial, Casa Luca, Rasika, and more), and nowhere did I find cooking that exceeded the quality of Jose’s. Unfortunately, he has left, and his talented sous chef has taken over. With his departure, I should mention that  The Ivy Inn, where two time James Beard semi-finalist Angelo Vangelopoulos cooks, is also excellent, if not as ambitious as The Alley Light.

In this post, though, the place I’ll focus on is one that has received less attention outside Charlottesville. Perhaps the hottest place in town is Lampo.  Lampo is a Neapolitan pizza restaurant opened in late 2014 by four guys from Tavola, a place beloved in Charlottesville for ingredient-driven Italian food. Two Amys was a big inspiration for the Lampo owners, and when they opened, trying to match the quality of somewhere like Two Amys struck me as awfully ambitious for a tiny little place in Charlottesville by four guys who had never seriously cooked pizza. But, they studied hard, practiced, and received lots of input from Ettore Rusciano, of Menomale, a talented and knowledgeable pizza maker, who also happens to be a really nice guy.  Just over a year in, I’d say they’ve already matched the quality of Two Amys, if not exceeded it.  It doesn’t hurt that they are passionate and talented, too.

Yes, the pizzas are very good. One VPN representative called Lampo’s pizza the best he had ever had in the U.S – even better than Pizzeria Bianco. (I’ve never had Pizzeria Bianco, so I cannot opine.)  But, much of the great stuff is elsewhere on the menu, or not on the menu at all.  A special of General Tso’s Sweetbreads was stunning – the 2015 Dish of the Year.  Their panouzzi (sandwiches) are outstanding. When you order one, they start making the bread – an oval of pizza dough that is puffed and charred in less than 90 seconds. Their signature filling is porchetta, which the aforementioned Jose de Brito and several other chefs called the best thing they ate all year. Also great is the muffaletta, with house-made giardinera, and the spicy vegetable sandwich with hot peppers. Stellar charcuterie and cheese, too.  And, a wine and cocktail program to match the quality of everything else.

If there are any knocks on the place, one is that perhaps not everyone in D.C. will find it destination-worthy.  This style of restaurant has become a strength of D.C’s, so some may hesitate to travel 100 miles for it. That being said, I doubt you’ll be able to match the charming feel of the place anywhere in D.C.  Charlottesville is good at that.

Second, it is tiny.  About 20 indoor seats (more outside when weather permits). And no reservations.  This means there is a line just about every night.  (“Stand in a line for a tiny restaurant? – I don’t need to leave D.C. for that!”).

OK, that’s it for me. Holler if I can help with Charlottesville.

Cheers,

Simon

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7 hours ago, Simon Davidson said:

 

At the risk of self-promotion, IMHO, your best place to start for restaurants is The Charlottesville 29, my website about Charlottesville food and drink.  Among other things, it answers the question: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?  For those restaurants, it includes ordering guides, with recommendations from the chef of the restaurant as well as from other chefs and food personalities around town.

Thanks for joining the site! I'll agree, Simon's got a great website and way for others to find out more about the city. Even if I think he could have put La Michaocana in the spot vacated by El Tepeyac for good cheap Mexican in town...

Hurley's Tavern is a nice new break from the row of chain restaurants studding 29 North until you get to Timberwood Grill in Forest Lakes. I had a tasty (if overcooked) burger at Hurley's the other day and I will be back for more. It's obvious that they're pushing for the sports crowd, but we don't have that many options for that sort of thing that actually have a good parking lot. Don't go expecting the special combos the likes of the downtown burgers; you will be making your creation a la carte on the toppings, and it will be served on Texas toast instead of a bun.

The drama will start this weekend as the new mall at Stonefield will be starting a rival Farmers Market to the beloved City Market in downtown on Saturdays. There was disgust dripping from people at the downtown market telling me that Stonefield's was run by folks from Northern Virginia. Laughing at the attitudes aside, it will be good to get another market going to bring a local flavor to the north side of town and for the folks who live out by Greene who don't want to make the drive all the way to downtown Charlottesville.

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19 hours ago, pcollins said:

The drama will start this weekend as the new mall at Stonefield will be starting a rival Farmers Market to the beloved City Market in downtown on Saturdays. There was disgust dripping from people at the downtown market telling me that Stonefield's was run by folks from Northern Virginia. Laughing at the attitudes aside, it will be good to get another market going to bring a local flavor to the north side of town and for the folks who live out by Greene who don't want to make the drive all the way to downtown Charlottesville.

I see that this market is being run by Central Farm Markets.  We used to be regulars at their Bethesda, MD market location on Sunday mornings and we loved it.  We thought it was very well run with a lot of great vendors.  And bonus: they allow dogs at the market, which I realize is not to everyone's liking, but we enjoyed it.  Hopefully this new location will be equally successful.  

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Simon, I am so glad you are here!  Please keep posting.  I love Charlottesville 29 and read it regularly. We still live in the DC area, but are hoping to make the move to C'ville within the next couple of years.  Do you know where Jose de Brito is going?

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On 5/5/2016 at 4:57 PM, LauraB said:

Simon, I am so glad you are here!  Please keep posting.  I love Charlottesville 29 and read it regularly. We still live in the DC area, but are hoping to make the move to C'ville within the next couple of years.  Do you know where Jose de Brito is going?

The Inn at Little Washingtonhttp://www.c-ville.com/jose-de-brito-joins-kitchen-staff-inn-little-washington/

 

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On 5/5/2016 at 4:39 PM, LauraB said:

I see that this market is being run by Central Farm Markets.  We used to be regulars at their Bethesda, MD market location on Sunday mornings and we loved it.  We thought it was very well run with a lot of great vendors.  And bonus: they allow dogs at the market, which I realize is not to everyone's liking, but we enjoyed it.  Hopefully this new location will be equally successful.  

It seemed fairly successful for their first day. There was a tactical error though. The market was on a green grassy field and Charlottesville's had as much rain as DC has lately. So that meant there were puddles everywhere and just a lot of mud by day's end. It certainly isn't the downtown market, but it was nice to see a few new vendors in the area. I'm going to keep watching it.

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Considering the weather this week I am hoping that Stonefield gets the clue and switches the market's orientation to use the sidewalks instead of the grass. This rain lately is something else.

Otherwise this post is just to get a little activity to check the board stability. Glad to see it back up and trying to keep the Cville thread alive.

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Heading to Charlottesville Memorial Day weekend and had been looking forward to revisiting Alley Light.  Good thing I checked here to find out Jose De Brito had left!  Everything Simon said above was true-- Alley Light was absolutely phenomenal when De Brito was there.  Debating on whether to go anyway and see how it is under the sous-chef...

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On 5/4/2016 at 1:31 PM, Simon Davidson said:

 

Don asked me to post something about Charlottesville, and I’m happy to help. I have lived here in the Charlottesville area for years, and it is an outstanding food town, to which I love to bring attention. We have excellent breweries, wineries, cideries, farms, butchers, bakers, cheesemongers, patisseries, coffee-houses, chocolatiers, markets, gelato, and yes, restaurants.

 

At the risk of self-promotion, IMHO, your best place to start for restaurants is The Charlottesville 29, my website about Charlottesville food and drink.  Among other things, it answers the question: if there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?  For those restaurants, it includes ordering guides, with recommendations from the chef of the restaurant as well as from other chefs and food personalities around town.

I also write for C-VILLE weekly, and there is some stuff there that’s not on the site, including perspectives on Charlottesville restaurants of guests who have joined me at meals for articles, like Roberto Donna, Tom Sietsema, and more.

 

Most of what is on the site speaks for itself, but there is one restaurant I had intended to single out in this initial post for its excellence: The Alley Light. Unfortunately, the outstanding chef just left, so I won’t spend as much time writing about it here until I've visited under his successor. In short, before leaving, Jose De Brito had been cooking in the zone.  Really spectacular cooking that rivaled any I’ve had in the country. It was a 2015 James Beard semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in the country, and De Brito was a 2016 semi-finalist for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. I don’t travel nearly as much as I once did, but I and others agree that Jose’s food held up well against food of top restaurants in other cities. I recently did a food tour of D.C. (Fiola Mare, Rose’s Luxury, The Dabney, Bad Saint, Convivial, Casa Luca, Rasika, and more), and nowhere did I find cooking that exceeded the quality of Jose’s. Unfortunately, he has left, and his talented sous chef has taken over. With his departure, I should mention that  The Ivy Inn, where two time James Beard semi-finalist Angelo Vangelopoulos cooks, is also excellent, if not as ambitious as The Alley Light.

...

OK, that’s it for me. Holler if I can help with Charlottesville.

 

Cheers,

 

Simon

 

Simon, have you been back to Alley Light since Chef De Brito departed?  Can you or anyone else vouch for whether it continues to be one of Charlottesville's best options?

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On July 20, 2016 at 2:36 PM, youngfood said:

Simon, have you been back to Alley Light since Chef De Brito departed?  Can you or anyone else vouch for whether it continues to be one of Charlottesville's best options?

I can -- it does! 

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Heading to Charlottesville next week, and we will be first-time visitors.  Three of us are older than 21, and one will be 19 next week. (The youngest is a vegetarian.) We plan to stay in an Airbnb a few miles outside of town, and our itinerary will include the typical attractions of Monticello, UVA, etc. Sadly, it won't be a wine-tasting trip, but I will survive.

Would be grateful for any tips/advice to maximize our two night visit.

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14 hours ago, reedm said:

Heading to Charlottesville next week, and we will be first-time visitors.  Three of us are older than 21, and one will be 19 next week. (The youngest is a vegetarian.) We plan to stay in an Airbnb a few miles outside of town, and our itinerary will include the typical attractions of Monticello, UVA, etc. Sadly, it won't be a wine-tasting trip, but I will survive.

Would be grateful for any tips/advice to maximize our two night visit.

Friday, the 19th, begins UVA move-in weekend, which has historically been a godawful traffic day in town but has been mitigated the past few years since they have split the dorm openings into two days. As I'm sure many folks here are, I'm happy to make suggestions, but it would be helpful to know what type of places you are looking for.

Off the top of my head, I'd recommend Beer Run (craft beer, great black bean nachos), The Shebeen (south african pub), The Virginian (classic bar on the UVA corner, just bar food but amazing mac and cheese), Lampo (neaopolitan pizza, in a tiny place so there is usually an awful wait, get there at 11am), South Street Brewery (good local beer), and, of course, Bodo's bagels (heaven on earth).  

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1 hour ago, tentimesodds said:

Friday, the 19th, begins UVA move-in weekend, which has historically been a godawful traffic day in town but has been mitigated the past few years since they have split the dorm openings into two days. As I'm sure many folks here are, I'm happy to make suggestions, but it would be helpful to know what type of places you are looking for.

Off the top of my head, I'd recommend Beer Run (craft beer, great black bean nachos), The Shebeen (south african pub), The Virginian (classic bar on the UVA corner, just bar food but amazing mac and cheese), Lampo (neaopolitan pizza, in a tiny place so there is usually an awful wait, get there at 11am), South Street Brewery (good local beer), and, of course, Bodo's bagels (heaven on earth).  

Thank you for the tips. Fortunately, we will be departing Friday morning, so we won't have to deal with the back to school madness. 

I suppose my request was a bit vague, and that's because I'm looking for just about anything other than Indian. (My son is not a fan. :unsure:) Your suggestions look great, and are much appreciated!

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5 hours ago, tentimesodds said:

Friday, the 19th, begins UVA move-in weekend, which has historically been a godawful traffic day in town but has been mitigated the past few years since they have split the dorm openings into two days. As I'm sure many folks here are, I'm happy to make suggestions, but it would be helpful to know what type of places you are looking for.

Off the top of my head, I'd recommend Beer Run (craft beer, great black bean nachos), The Shebeen (south african pub), The Virginian (classic bar on the UVA corner, just bar food but amazing mac and cheese), Lampo (neaopolitan pizza, in a tiny place so there is usually an awful wait, get there at 11am), South Street Brewery (good local beer), and, of course, Bodo's bagels (heaven on earth).  

Just make sure to think twice about The Oakhurst Inn. :)

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I just added tentimesodds to my list of "people I trust for restaurant recommendations".  Two of the spots he/she recommended, Beer Run and Lampo, are also on the Charlottesville 29 blog/site, and both places were outstanding. This was my first visit to "C-Ville, and I was impressed by the quality and variety of food available, particularly because the town is relatively small.

Beer Run was our choice for our first dinner, and it was a perfect way to wrap the day up. The draft beer list is impressive, and multiple serving sizes  are available for the adventurous or undecided. I really enjoyed the Potter's Farmhouse dry cider, which is an "inspired by saison" style cider. Dry and crisp, it was a complex and interesting, and perfect for a hot summer's night. On the other end of the spectrum, I introduced my college-going son to Natty Bo. A bargain (?) at $2 for a pint. 

We all enjoyed our meals, but I was particularly impressed with the salmon banh mi. By no means was it traditional, but it hit all the right notes for my tastes. Served on homemade focaccia, which was very light and soft, it featured grilled salmon strips, the typical banh mi vegetables. Someone knows what they are doing here, because the addition of pickled peaches was  just perfect.  Check out the dessert case as well. 

Following a visit to Monticello the next day, we decided on lunch at Lampo. Holy cow--this place serves world class Neapolitan pizza. If you enjoy that style of pizza, read no further, and just go. 

I understand the place is popular, so I was glad to see it wasn't crowded when we walked in. The four of us decided to order the Cavoletti Di Bruxelles, Insalata Verde, Margherita D.O.C, Hellboy, and an artichoke pizza whose name escapes me. Both salads were perfectly dressed and seasoned. The brussel sprouts salad reminded me Michael Waxman's version, and the insalata featured baby gem lettuce (anyone know where I can find this locally?), parmesan crisps, and a perfect vinaigrette.

On to the pizzas. The margherita was perfect-- as good or better than Pupatella and the rest of the D.O.C. purveyors in the DC area. The Hellboy was delicious. Perfectly spicy--don't be afraid of the scorpion chile honey. The carciofi  pizza was the unanimous favorite. My comments don't do it justice, but it featured tender artichokes and an amazing herb-based oil (similar to chimichurri in consistency).  The staff was very friendly, and I wished I had time to enjoy the rest of the very creative food and drink menu. 

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On 8/21/2016 at 1:17 AM, DonRocks said:

tentimesodds has been on my list!

On 8/20/2016 at 7:22 PM, reedm said:

I just added tentimesodds to my list of "people I trust for restaurant recommendations".  

You guys are too kind! (And I'm a dude.)

Glad to hear you had a good visit to our little town. I need to get back to Lampo to try that Hellboy...

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Ate at a lot of places in Cville over the NYE holiday and few days before.  

Bellair Market in Ivy- grabbed a Wahoo Nation- bbq chicken, cheese with sprouts added for a quick lunch, which was delicious and a nice change of pace from ham and other stuff we had eaten.

Red Pump- this is one of my favorites in Charlottesville.  I started with the kale caesar, which was very pungent with anchovies- I like that, but if not take head.  I had the beef angliotti, which was delicious and very rich.  I also got to try a bite of the lobster stuffed pasta (maybe a tortellini, but not sure) which was also delicious, although I thought the lobster was a touch overdone, but just a touch.  I had the zeppole for dessert- this was just a great dish the doughnuts were delicious and the wiped up in some sauce they were even better.  I think we also had a side of brussels- which were roasted, but I can't remember.  I don't remember what wine we had, but it was good.

Public Fish and Oyster- this is my other favorite restaurant there right now.  NYE happened to fall during a night in which they had happy hour, so Hubby and I got a few oysters to start- I can't remember exactly which varieties, but we enjoyed them, I thought they were shucked very well, with lots of juice.  Their bread is really good, noticeably good.  I had the PFO pan roast, which was just delicious- mussels, clams, shrimp, green beans in a delicious brother with some rice.  This was just a perfect rich, warm dish that I would eat over and over again if waistlines didn't change.  We also had roasted brussels for the table that were good roasted brussels.  For dessert I had a bite or two of chocolate tarte, which was incredibly rich, but again very good.

The Virginian- we ate here on accident trying to go to a place nearby that was closed.  I had their salmon special with dill sauce, caesar salad and steamed veggies.  Wasn't a star meal, but the salmon was perfectly acceptable, the caesar and steamed veggies were what you would expect and it was a nice detox after some very rich foods.  

Fitzroy- we just had drinks here.  The drinks were very good, the food coming out of the kitchen looked great.  

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While this happened a month ago, I was very sad to read about this awful accident that happened to one of the chefs at Lampo:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/foodnews/chef-allie-redshaw-loses-hand-in-kitchen-accident/ar-AAnQHR4

Not surprisingly, the community has shown a great deal of support: https://charlottesville29.com/2017/03/28/all-heart-the-rally-for-allie/

 

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Wow, I haven't seen my in laws in Cville for a long time, I can tell by the last time I posted!  We went down this past weekend, and ate a lot of meals out.

Charlottesville:

Hot Cakes Gourmet - we were in Barracks for an errand and were hungry after going to Martha's Market.  I got the Fried Green Tomato BLT.  The bacon was very crunchy- which normally I don't like it that crunchy, but it needed to be pretty crunchy so the sandwich was easy to eat.  I thought overall it had very good flavor.  MIL and SIL both got capresse sandwiches which didn't have any discernible oil or balsamic and as such was somewhat dry.

Vivace - apparently the in-laws have taken everyone here, but me.  Which is a shame because this place could be in my regular rotation, it's the type of food I really like to eat.  Italian-red sauce joint with a nice patio.  We had calamari as an app, which was nicely breaded and prepared, I liked the marinara sauce served with it.  I liked the bread they served, nice air pockets and texture.  Starter salads were fine- nothing noteable, but fine.  I got the spaghetti with Virginia clams and housemade sausage it says with tomatoes, but it is more like in a chunky tomato sauce.  This was a HUGE portion, that I made more of a dent in than I would like to admit.  But the sausage gave the dish some spice, the tomato sauce was seasoned nicely and the clams were fresh.  I would recreate this dish at home.  Hubby polished off a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.  SIL got an orchiette dish that was tasty, as well.  Our server was maybe one of my favorite servers of all time.  He was charming in a I can be a little silly sort of way.  He was very nice, joked with us just a little, was very attentive, but not overly attentive and just nice.  This place doesn't rush you through a meal, they paced things nicely.  I definitely will go back here.  If I could move this restaurant into the space occupied by Willow, I would be there at least once every two weeks.

Crozet:

Smoked Kitchen and Taphouse - Hubby and I had beers, they have a small but nice list with Virginia options.  Hubby had pulled pork with delicious dirty rice, that was sort of a cross between dirty rice and rice pilaf and collards.  He said they had a nice mustard sauce and I think he also liked the vinegar sauce, which is more his thing normally.  I had the pulled pork nachos with cheese sauce, avocado, beans and salsa picante.  These were pretty darn good nachos. Big portion- too much for me to finish despite being VERY hungry.  I would say dinner for two, app for four.  I liked the cheese sauce a lot- it was like a queso, with an ample portion, but not in a way that made the chips too soggy.  There was a good portion of bbq and avocado, it had nice heat.  It could have used more beans, but that is a small critique.  We sat outside as the inside was mobbed with squealing little babes while we were there, and it was nice outside, but there were some flies, trade-offs.  I would go back here too.  In fact might take a friend who likes BBQ here if she comes down with me in November.

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We recently ate at four excellent Charlottesville restaurants.

Lampo Pizza - my favorite of the four.  Great pizzas.  Great small plates.  Great looking beverage program.  Some of the best salumi we've eaten since our trip to Italy two years ago.  

Fleurie - classic French fine dining.  No discernible flaw really and a couple dishes are as good as any we had in Paris.  It's really really good.

Alley Light - still worth seeking out.  The menu actually reminds me of Osteria in Philly (we always hit Osteria when going to Philly).  The execution and ingredients are good, and the preps are just enough off the beaten path to offer some enjoyable surprises.

Public Fish and Oysters - they have decent Happy Hour deals.  Pretty good oyster and clam selection.  Good mussels and oyster preps.  It's a nice airy space.  I like it a lot more than Hank's.

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On 8/24/2016 at 1:30 PM, tentimesodds said:

Glad to hear you had a good visit to our little town. I need to get back to Lampo to try that Hellboy...

I finally had the Hellboy a few weeks ago and it is ridiculously delicious.

On 10/2/2017 at 3:53 PM, ktmoomau said:

Crozet:

Smoked Kitchen and Taphouse - Hubby and I had beers, they have a small but nice list with Virginia options.  Hubby had pulled pork with delicious dirty rice, that was sort of a cross between dirty rice and rice pilaf and collards.  He said they had a nice mustard sauce and I think he also liked the vinegar sauce, which is more his thing normally.  I had the pulled pork nachos with cheese sauce, avocado, beans and salsa picante.  These were pretty darn good nachos. Big portion- too much for me to finish despite being VERY hungry.  I would say dinner for two, app for four.  I liked the cheese sauce a lot- it was like a queso, with an ample portion, but not in a way that made the chips too soggy.  There was a good portion of bbq and avocado, it had nice heat.  It could have used more beans, but that is a small critique.  We sat outside as the inside was mobbed with squealing little babes while we were there, and it was nice outside, but there were some flies, trade-offs.  I would go back here too.  In fact might take a friend who likes BBQ here if she comes down with me in November.

I've gone to Smoked a couple times now and it is really good. I also like the mustard sauce (which is my preferred style) but the other ones (save east Carolina vinegar style, which I hate in all forms) are great too. The fried chicken is also incredible and I have read that the burger is the best thing on the menu. If only they would serve it on their rooftop (they have a separate menu there) (https://smokedkt.com/the-rooftop/) which has an unbelievable view. On sides, the mac and cheese is great but I didn't care for the baked beans, probably a personal preference (had sausage in it and was just different than any other beans I've had).

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We only ate out once over Easter- we went to Downtown Grille- I had their fish special which was very good, halibut with a really nice broth and some poached veggies.  But I am always a bit perplexed by restaurants that offer some entrees with sides and some without, the two specials had sides, but Hubby and FIL did not, but the shared sides were too much for just the two of them (and the brussels had way too much balsamic).  And in reality, the portion of our proteins were so big we likely didn't need salads, but that is hard to judge.  I just felt like you couldn't order the right amount of food.  There was also an odd cheese like odor in the restaurant.  It just wasn't one of my favorite Charlottesville meals.

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Went to Charlottesville for the weekend:

Be Good- Fast casual in the Barracks Road shopping plaza with Anthropologie.  It is mostly salads, grain bowls and grass fed burgers?  I had an avocado grain bowl with chipotle sauce, black beans, quinoa, carrots, etc.  It was good, although I could have done with about 1/3 less dressing.  SIL and MIL had the salad version of my bowl with chicken- same problem on the dressing, but all the ingredients were good.  The menu was definitely interesting if you are trying to eat somewhat healthy, and they had vegetarian and vegan options.  But it isn't a destination restaurant.

Junction- now this is worth a drive across town.  It's in Belmont.  They had a large menu of shared plates and entrees, as well, with a somewhat southwestern theme to it.  We shared chips and dip plate (large) over 5 people.  The guac was good, the salsa I thought was very good, the queso was not good- it was too runny, and had a consistency which wasn't gritty per se, with large grit, but it wasn't smooth. Also some of the chips were noticeably stale, and many were broken.  I know they make their own, and it was really humid that day, and part of them were fine.  I am sure we could have asked for a new batch, but we just didn't it wasn't that bad and we ate the guac and salsa with other things.  I had soft shell crab over fried green tomatoes, micro-greens and some sort of sauce with a little grainy mustard mixed in- it was delicious- crisp, good flavors.  I also got a medium of the charred carrots with goat cheese and brussles sprouts (because they were out of beets).  The carrots were amazing, the medium is a big serving, I would say more than 3-4 people as a side.  Hubby and I ate some and took some home.  The brussels weren't anything anyone else isn't doing.  I would rather of had the beets, but they were fine.  Hubby had pork loin stuffed with chorizo and he really enjoyed that, as well.  Everyone really liked their dishes.  They had a nice selection of cocktails which were well made and wines/beers.  

Their is a cajun restaurant across the street in Belmont that I saw that I now want to try though.  It looked super cute and casual and fun.

Whiskey Jar- we went here for brunch.  The menu isn't huge, Hubby picked three sides and had a ham biscuit, collards and mac and cheese, it all looked good.  I had the scramble with no cheese.  Hashbrowns were of the moist and saucy variety, but they had good flavor.  The scramble was fine.  I had a hard time picking something from the menu, I think I am just getting over brunch in many ways.  Once in a while I want some benedict, or hash, but I just find most of brunch so heavy and without any veggies.  Based on who they source from though, I would think dinner would be good.

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Sticks Kebob Shop- got pick up from there.  This is a perfectly ok place, it is essentially gentrified kabob in my mind, but not mad for a quick meal.  One a platter you get one stick, one side, a small bit of salad (not enough to say a side really), and rice. With two wedges of pita.  You can add on sides and more sticks.  I would have preferred less rice, more veg.  I think Zoe's Kitchen is much better, IMHO, but I don't think this place is a chain, which is nice.

Glenmore Country Club- had a really terrible lunch here.  The beef vegetable soup had no vegetables in it and so much fat that it would form a skim of fat on top if not stirred frequently in my bowl.  My Mom's french onion soup had big chunks of onion that were not carmelized, the crouton was tough you couldn't cut it with a spoon and since they didn't carmelize the onions they had to thicken the soup and it was not appealing, either.  The difference between the small salad and large salad was about the most pronounced difference one could imagine, I wish they had a medium.  The small comes on a plate that was about bread plate size and was like a small side.  The large is a huge bowl of salad that is more than I could likely eat in one setting.  Anyway, we were there to see my in-laws house construction, and I may just need to stick with a burger or etc.

Yoder's- this is more outside of Ruckersville towards Culpepper a bit.  Cafe, grocery, deli, bakery with mennonite foods and other goods.  Your typical bulk market on steroids, with a great deli.  We got chili, a steak sandwich and a bologna sandwich, all were quite good, the sandwiches had a good amount of meat, the bologna was thin sliced and good, the roast beef was good.  They have a nice selection of all sorts of baked goods, etc.  I would stop here again.

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1 hour ago, ktmoomau said:

Yoder's- this is more outside of Ruckersville towards Culpepper a bit.  Cafe, grocery, deli, bakery with mennonite foods and other goods.  Your typical bulk market on steroids, with a great deli.  We got chili, a steak sandwich and a bologna sandwich, all were quite good, the sandwiches had a good amount of meat, the bologna was thin sliced and good, the roast beef was good.  They have a nice selection of all sorts of baked goods, etc.  I would stop here again.

I love Yoder's! For the last 4 years we've visited a farm a few minutes north of Yoder's and we've popped into Yoder's on every visit. The baked goods and sandwiches are delicious, and they have a great playground (with many Adirondack chairs nearby for parents to sit and watch kids) as well as a cute petting zoo. They're closed Sundays.

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Carmello's- In the shopping center with the AutoZone and Marshalls.  The inside isn't much to speak of, this place used to be in another location.  It was very family friendly and we saw lots of tables with kids.  Our waiter was very nice, but extremely frazzled.  He didn't quite know what they had, didn't have, and just seemed to say whatever came to the top of his mind (he said they had no cappuccino because the staff drank it all?).  I got veal parmigana- which was a huge plate of veal, it came with a really small side of spaghetti that was overcooked and dry.  The veal itself was good.  Hubby got gnocchi and it compared to the veal it was a really small portion, so I gave him what I didn't eat.  I always think it's kind of tough when entrees have real disparities in size, it just makes it hard to know what to expect.  We had a bottle of Veritas cab franc which was quite good.  In addition there was a glass of riesling recommended by the waiter for my SIL she didn't drink it, just wasn't feeling it.  I sipped it and it was a little on the sweet side, but I really think it just needed to be a bit cooler and would have been better.  Anyway, I won't really be rushing to go back.  I had wanted to go to Vivace, but they just couldn't take a res for our party size.

Bebedero- we went here on Saturday around lunch time and they had a brunch menu.  It was very breakfast focused, I had wished there were a few more items that were a bit more lunch.  Hubby had the fish tacos, the one kind of lunch thing other than a salad and soup, which he said were very good, and made up for the abysmal ones he had in LA.  They looked very good.  I had huevos rancheros- which was eggs, beans, and a very salty chorizo sausage in ranchero sauce with sliced avocado and tortillas.  I didn't mind that it wasn't your typical version you get in the US with the tortillas already in the dish, and instead served on the side, but the whole avocados and sausage pieces meant it was a little difficult to eat.  I thought it was quite good, but just overly salty.  I would go back to try some other items at dinner.  I don't know that this is my favorite lunch though based on the brunch menu.  But I love the decor and I think at dinner they likely have some very good things.  

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19 hours ago, Keithstg said:

Sure - I'll take recent as anything from 2019 - just pre-covid.

The recommendation comes with a caveat.

We enjoyed our dinner at Lampo Pizzeria so much that we wanted to return for a second night. But our server mentioned that the owners had recently opened a steakhouse, right in the middle of the pedestrian mall, called Prime 109, so in the name of variety, we tried that instead.

We went to the upscale Prime 109, in an old bank building, and we wished we were back at the pizzeria. Everything was needlessly fussy, and the meal was merely "good" (and much more expensive) - honestly, it was surprising that both restaurants had the same owners: Lampo was truly special; Prime 109 was pleasant, but overly ambitious for what was arriving from the kitchen.

If it makes your decision(s) easier, Lampo is doing carryout only, and Prime 109 is closed for the foreseeable future.

Screenshot 2020-07-25 at 21.44.42.pngScreenshot 2020-07-25 at 21.43.29.png

Some pictures:

Lampo (don't let the first picture deceive you; that Little Gem Salad was great - that's a warm, mild lemon sauce on the bottom, the Little Gem Lettuces were lightly grilled and placed on top, and then the blanket of high quality, grated cheese - it was really delightful and if there was a predominant flavor it was slightly of lemon):

IMG_2109.jpgIMG_2112.jpgIMG_2114.jpgIMG_2120.jpg

Prime 109 (the cream settled down (literally) after a few minutes in both the mushrooms and the spinach (*)):

IMG_2144.jpgIMG_2148.jpgIMG_2150.jpgIMG_2151.jpgIMG_2152.jpgIMG_2154.jpgIMG_2155.jpg(*)IMG_2158.jpgIMG_2156.jpgIMG_2157.jpgIMG_2159.jpg

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15 hours ago, Keithstg said:

Thanks! We're staying at Farmington, so takeout is an option, just not a super-desirable one. Could work for lunch though. Thanks again.

While you're there, you can steal their chef. :)

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