Food Events

Cuisine Cage Match: Restaurant Week (The Hook) vs. Restaurant Week (vmvbrands.com)

In case you haven’t heard already, there are two restaurant weeks coming to town. One is the semi-annual tradition put on by The Hook 1/21-27, at cvilleyum.com, while the other is a new event this year by vmvbrands at charlottesvillerestaurantweek.com, arriving one week after The Hook’s, from 1/28-2/3. Calling itself the “official” 2013 restaurant week, this new contender clearly beat The Hook to the punch, bringing restaurants on board with great speed and agility. And it did so using The Hook’s own tactics – similar pricing, charity beneficiary, one week later. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. That’s what the great

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On the Market, Part 5: Early Summer 2012

pantheonpopsiclesIt’s getting real hot real fast, and even the children electric with youth and sporting a total lack of self-imposed limits aren’t sure if they enjoy the humid heat making sweat rings on their t-shirts and scorching unprotected skin to the shade of a ripe tomato that will hurt tomorrow, but mom has aloe and ice cream and everything will be alright. Either by ignoring the sunburn on purpose or just in the excitement of the bubbling crowds and half-forgotten smells, the farmer’s market calls once again.

In Season

Greens, greens and nothing but greens! Chard, kale, salad greens, scallions, peas, garlic scapes!, strawberries, and so on. An early wet spring brought in greens by the armful, perfect… Read More

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Grass & Grub Pop-up Restaurant: Lions & Lambs

Grass & Grub pop-up restaurant at The Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, VAListen here, folks, because I’m about to drop some seriously profound philosophizing on you. Like, these go to 11-level philosophizing. Ready? Food is the new rock ‘n’ roll. Food shows like Iron Chef and Top Chef get far more viewers than any weekly televised concert would, and personalities from these shows – Anthony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio – are selling out live performance venues like the Paramount, and bigger, all across the country. Women fawn over them as they sign autographs and wave to the flashing bulbs. Rising chefs, often heavily inked and smoking cigarettes, wield their finely tuned instruments in places like “kitchen stadium” to create works of… Read More

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2nd Annual Midtown Street Fair: BBQ Cook-off

Maya's smokily delicious pulled pork with peach mustard sauce at the 2nd Annual Midtown Street Fair in Charlottesville, VASaturday was the perfect day for the 2nd Annual Midtown Street Fair. Amidst live music, thumb wrestling contests, face painting, and the Derby Dames, was an intense BBQ Cookoff. We had the pleasure of being judges, alongside Police Chief Longo, City Manager Maurice Jones, and Director of Neighborhood Development Services Jim Tolbert.

Blue Moon Diner, Horse & Hound Gastropub, Maya, Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar, and Zinc offered up their best pork plates for West Main BBQ bragging rights. Orzo’s rich saucy Q was the winner, followed by runner-up Maya’s pulled pork with peach mustard sauce… Read More

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On the Market, Part 4: Season of the Goat

Caromont cheeseAccording to Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont farm, “seasonality is everything” in cheese making. The flavors of the goat milk go from lemony and creamy in the new-grass spring flush following birth, to a nutty and “goat-y” flavor coming from caproic, caprylic, and capric acids during the hot central VA heat in the middle of the lactation cycle. Spring goats’ milk makes for an explosion of activity for Caromont, and Gail says it’s absolutely the best time to be making and eating fresh chevre.

But I want fresh chevre in February! You can, says Gail, but “fresh chevre in February is like a tomato in February” – it’s cheating nature. In order to get that February chevre, Gail reckons some cheese maker has… Read More

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On the Market, Part 3: In a Pretty Pickle

pickles-3Fresh Crunch was located last week on the Western side of the market, next to the road across from South Street. Matt Brass’s father is the Culinary Arts director at CATEC and while he’s 5 years deep into pickling (sold at his short-lived deli), the canning is as recent as the public pickle selling. While his ambitions drive him towards larger scale production and product growth, we are lucky to have him around at least for now with ingredients sourced from NOVA and seasonally rotated. Right now try his Sweet Hots, which I’ve been putting on sandwiches to a great tangy effect, but he also has beets, standard pickles, carrots and others.

The most important thing about his flavors is the… Read More

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On the Market, Part 2: Seasonings, Early Summer 2011

Berries - 1Sandwich greens for lunch, cooked greens and salad for dinner, strawberry jam for breakfast. Strawberries will be in season until early June, which is about when blueberries will be coming into season, closely followed by raspberries and cherries (super short season, 10 days! really!).

I recently went strawberry picking with some good friends; truly brilliant idea on their part, pick a crap-ton and make half-pints of jam as wedding favors! While you can have a good time out there in the patch leisurely picking, chatting and snacking (it really must be in their business plan… right?), strawberrying is not the easiest of pickings. There is a lot of bending over, lots of dirt, and in the end you… Read More

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On the Market, Part 1: Jamming Out

jam-1This is the first in a series of City Market profiles by Kip, a new writer here at Mas to Millers.

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Full disclosure: Every year I buy a case of jam and glorify in it as long as possible, and my raving is actually featured on his website.

The point here is that the jam you get at the supermarket is super sweet and somehow lacking in fruit pieces and intense flavor. This stuff that we’re used to is a product of the large industrial food chain we’ve built around ourselves, blah blah blah . You know the spiel. We’ve screwed ourselves by communizing our food chain, conglomerating producers, equitizing but reducing average quality, increasing the… Read More

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Bacon Night at Blue Moon Diner

Bacon Bloody MaryLove, Thy Name is Bacon…

This was my first time trying Blue Moon Diner’s Annual Bacon Lover’s Menu on Valentine’s Day. And to hell with my cardiologist, I’m planning to do it again next year.

We started off with the bacon bloody mary. The horseradish overshadowed the bacon by a long stretch, but whatever the olives were stuffed with was a hit at the table. I admit I hadn’t noticed the BLT Martini on the menu and I think I may have preferred that. I’m planning to try it when it reappears on their menu during the summer months.

The first course was a little vague on the menu, but the plate contained spicy batter dipped… Read More

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Albemarle County Fair

Funnel fat.It’s time for funnel cakes, roosters, the scrambler, dart games, and the saddest “Fun House” ever at the annual Albemarle Fair. We headed there on opening night to get our fix of fried food and family fun. Everything was as we remembered it: the bottle top game was impossible, the kids sugar-hopped and excited, and the setting beautiful. Unfortunately, the food also remained sadly uninspiring.

For a fair that highlights what’s great about our community – agriculture, crafts, music – why doesn’t it highlight local food? With the exception of Pantheon Popsicles, the Charlottesville Mennonite Church’s Funnel Cake Booth, and Richmond’s Famous Dave’s BBQ chain, all the food seemed to be generic stands that travel across the country… Read More

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