Posts Tagged Good for Dates

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards 

View of rolling hills from the patio at Pippin Hill Farms & Vineyard outside Charlottesville, VAGo. To here. Now. Seriously. Stop reading and go while there’s still some daylight to illuminate the view. Go before 5pm, while they’re still serving food. Because there are great views to be had elsewhere – King Family or Veritas, for example – and then there’s this. There is perfectly fine food to be had elsewhere in the region – Blue Mountain or Dr. Ho’s, for example – and then there’s this.

If you ever went to… Read More

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Moo Thru 

Moo Thru barn frontBeing born in Vermont and now a Charlottesville townie, it only slightly pains me to say Absolutely Forget about Ben & Jerry’s and Arch’s. Just don’t even bother (with the gentle exception of gooey brownie). The best ice cream you have ever eaten in your life is only an hour or so away, straight up 29 at Moo Thru. For your own sake, and the sake of your wardrobe which does not appreciate being drenched in summer sweat, take a field trip somewhere up 29 and stop by Moo Thru. The silkiest deeply flavorful farm fresh milk turned into fresh cold treats will draw your eyes into the back of your head and make your eyes smile and… Read More

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Aberdeen Barn 

The infamous cheese jar with breadstick.Sometimes you can only take so many organic vodka drinks and fusion tapas at swanky places downtown. You need something different for date night. You need the Aberdeen Barn. The Barn is a Charlottesville classic that takes you back to the days when the drinks were strong, the steak was red, the lettuce was iceberg, and one only heard rumors about people called vegetarians that lived in California.

On our recent visit, we got gussied up and headed to the red barn off Rt. 29. The hostess led us into the dimly lit room that was awash with white hair patrons and bow-tied waiters. We tucked into our cozy… Read More

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The Inn at Court Square 

Entry room We thought we knew all the top restaurants in Charlottesville and vicinity. Clifton Inn, Duner’s, Mas, Tavola. Maybe Palladio and Ventana, too. Whenever someone asked for a fine dining recommendation, we pulled something off this list. How silly we were. How naive! One of the best restaurants in Charlottesville has been right under our noses for years, tucked away above an antique store on Court Square.

A walk up the stone and brick steps leads you into a romantically lit lobby, with the dining room beyond. Both are lushly furnished with fine antiques and pristine white linen. The atmosphere is hushed, maybe even to a fault, depending on the kind of evening you’re looking for… Read More

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Food Find: Ten’s Tasting Menu

Ten - 10While Ten is undeniably one of the tastier restaurants in town, it doesn’t scream “bargain dining.” You can eat sushi flown in from the Pacific while sitting at a swank bar that feels more New York than Charlottesville, but you’re going to pay a premium to do so. Or so I thought, until a recent visit to Ten when we discovered their tasting menu.

As we were debating the eight-course tasting menu, our server (bless her heart) told us it was enough food for us to share. She was right: if we had each ordered the tasting menu, it would have been a painful roll home. But splitting the tasting was more than enough food for two (unless you’re… Read More

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Open kitchen at MasI’m ambivalent towards tapas. On the one hand, it’s fun to try a variety of flavors over the course of an evening, and since they’re built for sharing they promote a more social dining experience. On the other hand, my taste buds are usually sufficiently excited by the standard two or three courses of a non-tapas meal, and I’m not a good sharer. Regardless of which camp you’re in, this hip bacony beacon in Belmont will make a believer out of even the least adventurous and sharingest among us.

The physical space of Mas is unusual. Situated funkily in the hairpin elbow of Carlton Avenue and Monticello Road, the yellow-umbrella’ed patio, which would… Read More

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Fabulous bar area opening to courtyardOnly in a food town like Charlottesville do you find “anglo-franco tapas style comfort food” served up in a former service station. Zinc, the bistro on Main Street where you can get anything from fish and chips to steak tartare with quail egg, has a lot going for it. The beautiful courtyard patio feels far removed from the street and is one of my favorite outdoor eating spots. The bar area is cool and usually uncrowded, and the interior hints at its garage past while showcasing an open kitchen and funky industrial feel.

The menu reinforces the quirky blend of personalities with a wide range of options for… Read More

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The now expanded bar areaIt started many moons ago, when Ventana was just a cozy little bar, with the seafoam margarita. As a devoted margarita supporter, I fell a little in love. Who knows what crazy sorcery or scientific prowess happens to mimic delicate ocean bubbles in delicious and alcoholic form, but I was sold. Add in the shockingly spicy jalapeño and cool cucumber margaritas and Ventana became one of our favorite bars in town.

When we heard the news that Ventana was expanding beyond its primary bar identity to full-fledged restaurant with a larger French-influenced Mexican menu, we were excited but apprehensive. Sometimes fusion just becomes funny, and we wondered how the cozy but swank vibe… Read More

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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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C & O Restaurant 

c&o - 19Whenever parents come into town or there’s something to celebrate, I go all Pavlov’s dog and start salivating for C & O’s Artichoke Paté. That’s the great thing about C & O: yes, it’s an institution in this town. But it’s that rare institution that continues to produce good, inventive food, and I think it’s hard to beat for a special night out.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside (especially during the day before the torches come out) but the charmingly incongruous Pepsi sign outside marks one of the most charming interiors in town. The back patio feels far removed from the downtown scene, the Mezzanine is as cozy as can be with a wood burning stove… Read More

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