Sunday, November 7, 2010

food on the road: charlottesville

My apologies for being away for so long. Work has kept me busy and on the road frequently so both posting and having something to post about has been difficult. But I have gotten to try some new restaurants, and revisit some of my favorite out of town spots. I was in Charlottesville at least once a week this month so here are some of my top picks for Charlottesville. They are mostly around campus and/or downtown, since that's where I was working and staying, and typically quick/cheap eats to get on the go. And because I compare everything Charlottesville to Ithaca, my comparisons are below as well. (Try it: Downtown Mall= The Commons; The Corner= Collegetown; Jefferson Theater= State Theater; UVA < Cornell.)

Bodo's Bagels. My hosts insisted we brunch at Bodos, which resulted in a dozen bagels coming back to my house. So fresh they refuse to toast them, every New Yorker I know who has eaten these agrees they rank among NYC's finest. Assemble your own cheap sandwich, just be ready to order when it's your turn in line. Three locations, including the Corner.
Bodo's Bagels= CTB minus beer.

Revolutionary Soup. Perfect soup/sandwich/salad place that places heavy emphasis on local sourcing. One exception is if you order the "Student Special" ($6) which is a choice of three soups with a grilled cheese sandwich. Your soup and bread may be local, but your cheese is classic Kraft slices. You can get the 'Gourmet Grilled Cheese' which delicious cheese options. I have fallen in love with their Rosemary Potato Soup and am determined to recreate it. There are locations downtown and on the Corner.
Rev Soup= ABC (RIP ABC.)

Zazu's. Zazu's does most of its options one of two ways- as a wrap, or as a 'bowl' over rice. I've only been by once as it's near campus but not quite walking distance (especially when I'm working.) The Thai bowl won me over due to copious amounts of fresh chopped basil on top and a peanut sauce with a touch of spice. I'm definitely hoping to be back by in the future.
This seems like a place that would be Ithaca, but I'm not sure there is an apt comparison.

Semolina: Gourmet pizza bakers, I ended up here on a Monday night. Located on the Corner, The downstairs pizza pickup was somewhat busy but the upstairs fine dining area was dead. I hadn't expected it to be quite so fancy but it had a good vibe, and the staff was nice enough to give me the wireless password so I could work and enjoy pizza at the same time. I ordered the wild boar sausage with pistachio, an amazing combinations of flavors.
My Ithaca comparison fails here, as this is nothing like The Nines.

Splendoras/ Chaps: There are two creamy frozen dessert options on the mall and like to frequent both. Splendoras offers gelato while Chaps is pure American ice cream. Both are made in store using fresh ingredients but the results are very different. Some of the gourmet flavors overlap (I've recently had pumpkin at both) but only at Splendoras will you find salted caramel, Stracciatella, or grapefruit. Splendoras also serves excellent coffee and espresso. Chaps serves food but I've never sampled it.
Chaps= Purity

Other Charlottesville favorites?

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