Since the day is nearly here to be thankful for everything in our lives, particularly delicious food, I’ve taken on the difficult task of selecting my top five favorite things from local restaurants. There’s so much I like to eat in this town of ours that it feels akin to choosing a favorite child or Bravo reality tv show, but I persevered. So please enjoy a special Best in Chow, presented with great gratitude to those who make these delicious things. Consider it my version of Five Dishes You Eat in Heaven. And don’t forget to chime in with your own favorites.

#5 The best Pad See Ew in Charlottesville and just about anywhere.

Pad See Ew
Lime Leaf

I try to eat Thai food as often as possible yet I’m incapable of ordering anything except Pad See Ew, stir fried wide flat noodles mixed with veggies, egg, meat or tofu, and a savory soy sauce. This means that I’ve had Pad See Ew many times in many different Thai restaurants – and Lime Leaf does it better than anyone. I recommend mixing it up with both chicken and tofu.
#4 bbq exchange - 05

Pulled Pork BBQ
The Barbeque Exchange

While there are many good things to say about Gordonsville’s Barbeque Exchange (glowing review coming soon!), for now I’ll focus on the Pulled Pork BBQ, which I started craving two hours after our first visit there and haven’t stopped since. My advice for maximum enjoyment? Go with the Pulled Pork Platter. Pile the meat high with coleslaw. Ponder the difficult selection of which two sides to select and then pick one of the homemade pickles and mac and cheese. Choose the cornbread over the roll on the side. Head to your table and load it up with one of the five sauces offered. Feel happy.
#3 And then: the maple and bacon waffle with grilled peaches.

Maple and Bacon Waffle
Brookville

There had to be a sweet player in my dream line-up and Brookville‘s savory-sweet mix of classic breakfast flavors is hard to beat. Given Brookville’s ever-changing menu, I can’t guarantee the waffle will be available on your next visit but a variation of it has made a fair amount of appearances. The waffle is perfectly cooked with flecks of bacon, loaded with peaches in the summer and apples in the fall. It’s been my favorite dessert recently, but I’d also make it my favorite breakfast dish if Brookville opens its doors for Sunday brunch.
#2 Bucatini with spicy marinara and tangy sausage

Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Tavola

I’ve yet to experience a less-than-impressive pasta dish at the fabulous Tavola, but the Bucatini stole my heart on my first visit and will always be my true Tavola love. The thick Bucatini noodles are mixed with a surprisingly spicy, chili-filled marinara sauce, red onions, lots of parmesan, and perfectly cooked cubes of pancetta. Amore.
#1 taste of china - crispy eggplant

Dried Fried Eggplant Szechuan Style
Taste of China

It’s already a feat to make my number one favorite dish in Charlottesville. Taste of China made it a more impressive accomplishment by starting with eggplant, a food I’ve never liked. How do they take a slimy something I avoid at all costs and transform it into a lightly fried, sweat-inducing and tongue-numbing hotness that’s about as addictive and delicious as anything I’ve eaten? Szechuan magic that makes me forget about Peter Who? Whether you love eggplant or hate it, get to Taste of China and prepare for spicy bliss.