My 200th blog post! Woot!
I ate a lot of things in 2012. But when the time came to compose my “Best Restaurants” post, I found it wasn’t the restaurants I remembered, but the dishes I ate. These are the bites (and brews) so scrumptious, so noteworthy, they deserve a mention. I outlined numbers 12-10 in this post, and numbers 9-7 in this post. Congratulations to all!
6. Chopped Liver. Sure, you hear everyone gushing about the appetizer served at Petit Pois, but have you ordered this delicacy at Bodo’s Bagels? Holy cow! Creamy, fatty, umami velvet reminiscent of the finest pate. I spread it on a bagel, but part of me wants to get out the kid gloves, toast points, and champagne. Bodo’s chopped liver is rustic, with flecks of onion, and a sweet nuttiness that makes you glad you ordered extra. We ate this as a special Christmas morning treat and fell into a deep love. Now EVERY Saturday you can kind find it on our breakfast table. Sure, chopped liver isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love it, you’re pretty persnickety about how good it needs to be. Bodo’s is the best I’ve had anywhere.
5. Spicy Plum Chutney. This condiment has changed my life. Kath and Matt at Great Harvest Charlottesville slather this sweet-spicy treat from The Virginia Chutney Co. on their popular housemade pimento cheese sandwiches. How fortunate they also offer it in jars to take home. You can also find it at Feast! I use it to marinade pork, tang up homemade barbecue sauce, add a sweetness to chili, and create a sweet-spicy element to grilled cheese. Seriously? The best grilled cheese EVER involves cheddar and some spicy plum chutney. Amen. And don’t even get me started on what it adds to my beloved tomato sammies. I even dumped some on a block of cream cheese over the holidays in homage to my “redpepperjelly” roots and served it with crackers. This stuff rocks!
4. Moto Pho Co. You’ve been 25 times already, right? The most anticipated restaurant opening of the year, at least to ME, was Moto Pho Co. When it finally opened its doors on West Main last summer you could hear people cheering for miles. Me the loudest. Who doesn’t love a hot bowl of pho? Savory beef broth, noodles, basil, bean sprouts, chewy tendon and spices. Death row meal. Comfort food heaven. Perfect for whatever ails you. It was amazing to me in a town so restaurant-centric that this lovely Asian offering hadn’t presented itself before now. I’d been eating pho in Richmond and Northern Virginia for decades! At last, at last, I can slurp to my heart’s content. Moto Pho Co. offers up a beautiful bowl. While the “regular” isn’t as large as the one at your typical “Pho 75” the flavors are all here at stupendous levels. The tendon is the best I’ve had anywhere. What I love the most is they keep tweaking their recipe. In the ever-elusive search for pho broth perfection. THAT my friends, will keep me coming back again and again. Pho-reaking amazing.
Stay tuned! My top 3 Charlottesville dishes of 2012 appear right here. Tomorrow!