Posts Tagged Cuisine: American

The Local 

Tuna Steak Frites with wakame salad – good flavor but too thickThe local food movement has come a long way in two years. When we heard, in February of 2008, that there would soon be a restaurant in Belmont serving dishes made from Virginia farm ingredients, we thought it was a novel and brilliant idea. The Local opened a month later, and we were one of the first in line. That first meal was everything we hoped it would be – rustic and fresh, simple but whimsical. Unfortunately, all of the meals we’ve had there since have failed to live up to the promise of that first one, and… Read More

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St. Maarten Café 

Get your own stein at the bar or enjoy a beer under a marlin.Before there was Cheeseburger in Paradise there was St. Maarten Café. Tucked away on the dark side of the Corner, backed up against the railroad tracks, St. Maarten’s has been inconspicuously serving up juicy burgers, solid wings, and beachy cocktails for almost twenty-five years. It won’t win any prizes for popularity, but it’s not for lack of things to like.

The entrance is as drab and non-descript as a speak-easy, but the interior is festive, draped with enough ocean-faring paraphernalia to make Captain Quint feel at home. There are fish tanks, giant marlins on… Read More

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French Toast Cage Match: West Main vs. Blue Moon

West Main's Corn Flake-coated cinnamon roll french toastLet’s get ready to [have a stomach] rumble! Even if you’re not normally a French toast person, which I wasn’t until recently, this French toast is going to kick your derriere and leave you sucking your thumb in the gutter. This French toast is going to smash your face and send you to the dentist. Okay, so French toast doesn’t have the muscle to do all that, but it has all the cunning and sneak-attack deadliness of French Savate boxing, and cinnamon to boot. Don’t come crying to… Read More

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Food Find: Eppie’s Turkey Chili

IMG_0360If it’s Tuesday and the weather is brisk, there are few better lunch options than Eppie’s fabulous turkey chili. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Eppie’s, the downtown lunch staple offers up consistently good comfort food: the portions are large, the prices are low, and the menu appeals to kids and office workers alike. There’s a different lunch special every day, but for my lunch Tuesdays are king. The made-from-scratch turkey chili is tomato tangy but still has a good kick. It comes with a delicious cornbread wedge (filled with real corn pieces) and a healthy serving of cheese or sour cream on the side. This is no puny soup cup but an enormous bowl that will… Read More

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Beer Run 

Beer Run - 05For those of you who aren’t familiar with Beer Run on Carlton Road, here’s the premise: take a convenience store and fill it with beer and wine, throw in a cheap menu with bar classics like nachos and burgers, and add some picnic benches outside. This simple but smart idea has created a popular spot that’s great for the casual and devoted drinker. But I must admit – bring on the ire of the Beer Run devotees – I’m perplexed when people get really enthusiastic about this place. Maybe I just need to change my perspective. As a convenience store to grab a six pack on your way to a party, it’s a gold medal winner. As a casual… Read More

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Food Find: The Tavern’s Pumpkin Pancakes

tavern pumpkin pancakesThough I have a bias for all things pumpkin flavored, I think I’m being objective when I say that the pumpkin pancakes currently featured at The Tavern are the best food in the history of cooking. Thick but delicate, rich but balanced, and threaded through with cinnamony ginger pumpkin deliciousness, they have enough body to satisfy a hearty breakfast appetite, the edibility of a light pumpkin bread, and the fun of a holiday cookie. Even if you don’t add a whisper of whipped butter and a few ribbons of syrup as I do, you’ll be amazed by the flavor. Whether you’re a Tavern fan or not, a pancake eater or omelette eater, consider swinging by… Read More

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Maya Brunch 

Vegetable potato cake with smoked salmon, sour cream, and chivesWe have an unhealthy relationship with brunch. And by unhealthy I mean not only that we invest an alarming portion of our happiness in a positive brunch experience every weekend, but also that it is literally unhealthy. I eat lots and lots of bacon, and Erin eats lots and lots of fried potatoes. Our favorite brunch places and dishes are so entrenched in our lives that it’s an act of tremendous will to go somewhere else, as we did one recent Sunday when we went to Maya. It was fine, but I missed our usuals.

Maya offers a brunch menu that… Read More

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Cavalier Diner 

cavalier diner - 1I can say without hesitation that our recent trip to the Cavalier Diner on Emmet Street (previously Sam’s Kitchen) resulted in one of the worst meals we’ve had in Charlottesville. Or anywhere. It was so bad that for the few belchy hours that followed Erin kept asking me if I thought she was going to get sick. I forced a smile and assured her she didn’t eat enough for that. But I wondered.

The first sign of trouble is when you walk in. It’s nice enough from the exterior, and the interior actually isn’t terrible to look at. The problem is that it’s not so nice to smell. I don’t know how to describe it… Read More

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Hamiltons’ 

hamiltons - 01Hamiltons’ is one of those places that arouses in me only the mildest flicker of interest when I’m thinking about a night on the town. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the ethnic-American menu, which features stir-fry, spaghetti, and rack of lamb dishes right there next to each other. Or it could be the fact that no one ever recommends it to me or otherwise seems to be talking about it. Or maybe I would just prefer that the comma in their name come before the “s” instead of after. Whatever it is, I never feel much like going, which is still how I feel after our last visit.

We ate outside… Read More

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Baggby’s 

baggbys - 8If there is one thing that Charlottesville over-serves it’s sandwiches. We have a lot of spinach-artichoke dip and egg rolls and jalapeño poppers too — sometimes all on the same menu — but sandwich shops are squished into this city’s limits like so many turkey cold cuts. Some of them are skippable, but many serve up fresh ingredients in creative, well-executed combinations that are more than worthy of your lunch hour. Baggby’s is one such establishment. In addition to old faithfuls like egg salad and pastrami you can find newfangled genre-benders like the Sedona Read More

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