Last year I took on the difficult task of selecting my five favorite things to eat from local restaurants. But a lot changes over a year: new delights are discovered, and old favorites are eaten frequently enough to result in overdose and temporary avoidance. So it seemed time for a new Best in Chow to capture my five favorite dishes at this point in time. Some things never change, of course: a perfectly fried dish sits atop both lists.

#5 Pimento Deviled Eggs
How to make already delicious, decadent deviled eggs even better? Add some pimento cheese, of course. While more restaurants are adding deviled eggs to their menu (still not enough), I think Rapture’s are the best in town. Their local, free range eggs have the perfect blend of pimento tanginess, and they’re topped with spiced pecans. Note to all restaurants: more deviled eggs and pimento cheese on the menu, please.
#4 Dan Dan Noodles
Peter Chang’s Taste of China
It’s hard to pick just one favorite from Chang’s world of spicy delights, but the Dan Dan Noodles is my most frequently ordered dish. It’s a hearty serving of two kinds of noodles combined with pork or beef and a sweat-inducing combo of spicy chili oil and Szechuan peppers. Crushed peanuts add a delightful crunch for one of the best umami flavors you can find. We have always been too busy eating these to take a picture, but it is somewhere on the table in this image.
#3 Duke/Dutchess
Bluegrass Grill & Bakery
For awhile the long lines and hungry waits got to me and Bluegrass dropped from our regular brunch rotation. But they lured me back with a new brunch specials menu that’s filled with dynamos. None better, in my opinion, than the Dutchess: english muffins topped with two eggs, tomatoes, spinach, delicious dill havarti, and rich avocado hollandaise. The creamy indulgence is offset just enough by the vegetables for a perfect brunch option.
#2 Japanese Wagyu Beef Roll
There aren’t a lot of things more decadent than a meal at Ten. Unless you become addicted to the delicious Wagyu Beef rolls. Why aren’t more places piling beef on top of sushi rolls? Brilliant. Ten takes avocado and lettuce rolls and then adds the magic: wagyu beef (breeds of cattle known for “intense marbeling” resulting in a more tender and flavorful beef) that is marinated in kalbi, a Korean bbq sauce.
#1 Fried green tomatoes and pickles at BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, VAFried Pickles
BBQ Exchange
BBQ Exchange’s Craig Hartman and his team should start an international frying academy to teach the world how to do it, as everything they fry is deliciously seasoned and incredibly crispy without being oily. In this case, the savory fried crunch is the perfect package for a warm, tangy pickle. Add a side of dill ranch and I’m in food heaven. Pictured here with the also delicious fried green tomatoes.