Knife & Fork | Spring 2023

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Big S|ster. —

April – November

Farmers in the Park

May - September

Wednesdays, 3:00 -7:00 pm

Shop fresh produce, herbs, plants, grass-fed meats, crafts and baked goods from over 100 local vendors. SNAP accepted at City Market.


Lit±l= S|ster. Open for Breads, Pastries, Coffee, and Takeout Breakfast, Lunch & Brunch. MarieBette Café & Bakery · 700 Rose Hill Drive, Charlottesville · 434.529.6118 Petite MarieBette · 105 E Water Street, Charlottesville · 434.284.8903 SHOP LOCAL
City Market
100 E. Water Street
Saturdays, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Meade Avenue

Smyrna offers simple, locally-sourced dishes inspired by Mediterranean and Aegean cuisine in a large, open space that fronts Cville's restaurant row, West Main Street. Clean, tasteful décor and great ambience are anchored by an iron side bar. Towards the back, an open kitchen allows for guests to watch the actionfrom chicken and lamb skewers on a charcoal grill, to a delicate fish stew and a sumptuous hamachi crudo. the care and love with which the chefs create eclectic Aegean dishes is palpable and delicious!

Wednesday - Sunday 5 - 10 pm 707 W Main St. (434) 956-4250


The Taste of Turkey, Experience a world renowned delicacy from Turkey in the heart of downtown Charlottesville.

Our authentic and delicious Döner Kebab is prepared in the Turkish street food tradition with homemade falafel. They are served in pita sandwiches, in wraps and in bowls.

It is healthy, affordable and delicious.

dine in, take out or delivery options.

111 W Water St, Charlottesville (434) 328-8786

Virginia’s finest steakhouse since 1965. We are open Wednesday- Saturday from 5pm for Inside Dining & Curbside Pickup. Outside dining available weather permitting.

Please call for reservations 434-296-4630

2018 Holiday Drive 434.296.4630 |

Thibaut-Janisson was born from a long friendship that began in a Grand Cru village in the Champagne region of France and continues today in Blue Ridge Mountains of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Thibaut-Janisson Winery | Charlottesville, Virginia | (434) 996-3307 |


Amuse Bouche

8 Tools of the trade

A former chef is arming local pros with artful tools.

11 Making moves

Wine Guild’s new spot includes an expanded wine bar.

12 Trail of a legend

Follow the map to Edna Lewis’ best recipes.

13 I dip, you dip...

An easy recipe from Botanical Fare’s Ryan Becklund.

The Dish

15 A brunch spot

Antwon Brinson’s star turn on HBO’s “Big Brunch.”

19 Bringing the heat

Two Fire Table’s popups are turning it up.

16 bucks

That’s what a dish of steak frites’ll run ya at Black Cow Chophouse’s happy hour. PAGE 25

20 Food as fuel

A former influencer explores the wellness space.

23 For veg-lovers

Give it up for these five veg-focused dishes.

25 Chop talk

A Q&A with the folks behind Black Cow Chophouse.

38 The Last Bite

Little gems at Pippin Hill.

ON THE COVER: Three hot dishes from Smyrna.


Knife&Fork 5 308 E. Main St. Charlottesville, VA 22902 (434) 817-2749 n TABLE
CONTENTS KNIFE & FORK, a supplement to C-VILLE Weekly, is distributed in Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the Shenandoah Valley. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Knife & Fork Editor Caite Hamilton. Copy Editor Susan Sorensen. Art Director Max March. Graphic Designer Tracy Federico. Account Executives Lisa C. Hurdle, Brittany Keller, Gabby Kirk, Theresa McClanahan,
Vogtman. Production Coordinator Faith Gibson. Publisher Anna Harrison. Chief Financial Officer
Miller. A/R Specialist Nanci Winter. Circulation Manager Billy Dempsey. ©2022 C-VILLE Weekly ANNA KARIEL
of the gate, Charlottesville’s new Turkish restaurant is a culinary dumpling darling. We spoke to owner Orhun Dikmen and his star chef, Tarik Sengul, to see what’s in their secret sauce.
The Smyrna story PAGE
PHOTO: Anna Kariel
Private Events Contact our Event director, to discuss details and request a quote! Kate Caldwell and more! At some of the best restaurants in town
& dinner meetings

Onsite & banquet facilities available

Onsite catering, wedding & banquet facilities available

American Regional Cuisine Featuring steaks, scallops, salmon, pork chops, chicken, pasta & other seasonal fresh food

American Regional Cuisine Featuring steaks, scallops, salmon, pork chops, chicken, pasta & other seasonal fresh food

We offer several gluten-free, vegan and vegetable choices

We offer several gluten-free, vegan and vegetable choices

Check Our Website ( for Current Hours of Operation, Scheduled Entertainment & Happenings

Minutes from the lake on Rt. 522, 4533 Zachary Taylor Hwy., Mineral Va 540-894-4343 •

Check Our Website ( for Current Hours of Operation, Scheduled Entertainment & Happenings

Minutes from the lake on Rt. 522, 4533 Zachary Taylor Hwy., Mineral Va 540-894-4343 •


Artful implements

Former restaurateur Vu Nguyen has a new culinary endeavor: creating handmade tools for home cooks, inspired by the pros.

Tell me briefly about your background and how it led you to start The Dustworks.

I’ve either worked in the food industry or a design-focused company. My foray into food started at Bizou in my last semester at UVA. Then a short stint on the restaurant scene in Chicago before jumping ship and landing at Crate & Barrel with the intention of getting into furniture design. That led me to a drafting program from whence I emerged as a CAD monkey at an architecture firm in D.C.

Then hubris sidled up to me and made me open a restaurant in C’ville. Then another. Then I closed one. Then the other.

Defeated and adrift, I found shortlived respite at Whole Foods before succumbing to the temptations of a new restaurant opportunity. It was at Brazos where I crossed paths with Blanc Creatives, which I thought was just the coolest game in town, especially having just read Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford. So I went to seek employment with them but more importantly, to seek purpose. Then the pandemic provided the perspective to recalibrate my priorities, et voila. I enjoy keeping a toe in the food world but not having to deal with stress of dealing with perishable goods.

Where does the name come from?

The name refers to all the dust, both metal and wood, that gets produced and kicked up during the process of

making things. The evidence of work or testimony to transformation, I suppose. It also loosely alludes to the idea of a temporal life cycle, the whole “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” thing.

What would you say is The Dustworks’ aesthetic?

“Apple Photos App Filter: Dramatic Warm 50-75%”

Dining at Blue Hill in a chore coat and work boots

Refined texture

Tuxedoed bedhead

With his line of handmade kitchen tools, onetime restaurant owner Vu Nguyen keeps a toe in the food world without the “stress of dealing with perishable goods,” he says.

8 Knife&Fork Amuse-


Given your culinary history, do you design with chefs/pros in mind? My experience definitely informs my decisions from product selections to ergonomics. I think about the tools I used back in the day and what other cooks geeked out over, then try to replicate and interpret them for home use. Some items, like Fenster, the mini offset spatula, will likely never gain traction with the home cook, but line cooks and chefs eat it up. Given the exposure and insight the home consumer has into the chef world these days, there seems to be more of an appreciation and willingness to budget for pro-quality tools for home use.

How many items are in your catalog and what are a few highlights?

There are currently nine in the family ranging from a chef’s knife to cocktail picks to spatulas to oyster shuckers. Rose, the bench knife, has been getting a lot of action from both pros and home cooks. Diane, the cherry spatula, has made her way into many happy households. I’m particularly pleased with Janey, the bread knife named after Janey Gioiosa of Janey’s Bread, and Anna, the Japanese style vegetable knife named after Anna Gardner of Umma’s. Two cool designs for two cool women.

Each product is named after a person. Some are people I’ve worked with in restaurants who are now running their own businesses. It’s rad to be in the company of such fearless, creative, and resourceful folks. I’d like to think we’ve been on the same path this whole time and that community gives me comfort. Other people are cultural icons or characters that have made indelible impressions on my formative years like Audrey Hepburn, Diane Lane, Blake Schwarzenbach, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Fred Fenster. The whole exercise is not only fun but keeps me focused on intention, never letting the product just be a soulless thing.

Find The Dustworks on Instagram @the_dustworks, by email at, or at the Crozet Arts Festival May 13 and 14.

Knife&Fork 9
10 Knife&Fork LOCAL EATS, LOCAL BREWS, FROM THE BEST LOCAL LEGEND. BRUNCH • LUNCH • DINNER • DRINKS 973 Emmet St N., Charlottesville, VA 22903 • • @ralphsampsonsatr

Who moved my wine and cheese?

The Wine Guild of Charlottesville has officially moved into a new location at 600 Concord Ave., next door to Ace Biscuit & BBQ. For years, the Guild has been Charlottesville’s go-to spot for its finely curated selection of wine and beer, acting as a personal sommelier to its members and retail customers for over a decade. Owners Priscilla and Will Curley have expanded the wine bar, and say traditional Wednesday tastings will continue, plus an educational series launching in the new year. “The additional space means we can offer more interesting wine from around the world,” says Will, along with “a small kitchen serving great drinking snacks: cheese and meat plates, olives, almonds, and plenty of tinned fish.” Check them out at—Will Ham

Knife&Fork 11 AmuseBouche STEPHEN BARLING
The Wine Guild’s Will and Priscilla Martin Curley look forward to welcoming oenophiles (and everyone else!) to their new space on Concord Avenue.

Eat like a legend

Culinary icon (and Freetown native) Edna Lewis helped refine (and define) America’s understanding of Southern cuisine. Once called “the South’s answer to Julia Child,” Lewis penned four cookbooks’ worth of recipes, from corn pone to Christmas dinner. From now through May, menus in several area restaurants—including Barbeque Exchange, Champion Ice House, and The Market at Grelen— will serve dishes using some of her best for The Edna Lewis Menu Trail. Find Apple Brown Bettys, Brunswick stew, and hot biscuits with fresh strawberries. Check for more information.

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Vibrant Food Fun Cocktails Communal Patio 609 East Market St. 1 block north of the Downtown Mall BRITTANY MILLER AT SHENANDOAH IMAGERY please call 434.972.9463 to reserve in advance 826 Hinton Ave • now accepting reservations for holiday parties in our new private dining room please call 434.972.9463 to reserve in advance 826 Hinton Ave • now accepting reservations for holiday parties in our new private dining room Reservations at • 434.972.9643 826 Hinton Ave • rustic • italian • food • wine craft cocktails • cicchetti bar BEST RESTAURANT • BEST CHEF BEST WINE LIST • BEST ITALIAN THANK YOU CHARLOTTESVILLE! WINNER

Keep it corny

“This recipe was given to me by the mom of one of my best friends. This is my go-to recipe for get togethers, tailgating, basically any event where people want an easy-to-make, super fresh dip. It is beloved by all and it is hard to stop coming back for more.”

Black Bean, Corn, and Avocado Dip

 2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)

 bag frozen shoepeg/white corn (thawed)

 2 avocados (skins removed and diced)

 1 bunch green onions (thinly sliced)

 Fresh cilantro (chopped)

 2 cloves garlic (minced)

 1 lime (juiced)

 Drizzle of olive oil

 ¼ cup red wine vinegar

 1 tsp. salt

 1 tsp. black pepper

 1 tsp. onion powder

 1 bag tortilla chips

Mix all ingredients together in a serving bowl and season to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips.

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—Ryan Becklund, owner, Botanical Fare



APRIL 28th



Savor a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings from this Louisville-based chef.

The flavors and family recipes of Guajiros Miami Eatery will be presented in a unique style.

Joining us from bloom in Roanoke, dine among the vines with fresh ingredients and inspiration from our own backyard.

Experience cajun flair and an outdoor culinary show from a pioneer in elevated Southern cooking,

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151 Veritas Lane, Afton, VA
Bourgeois Nate Sloan
Mayorga Brothers Jeffrey Potter

Local chef Antwon

A brunch to remember

Knife&Fork 15
about his appearance on HBO Max’s “The
Big Brunch”

The Dish

The first episode of “The Big Brunch” opens on chef Antwon Brinson. He stands almost in silhouette over a hot pan, stirring a sauce that coats some delicious-looking meatballs. Brinson is framed by his steel teaching kitchen, an everything-you-could-need creative cooking space at his business Culinary Concepts AB, located just off Barracks Road. In this HBO Max reality series, Brinson’s voice is the first we hear: “As a chef, you wear three hats. You’re a mentor, you’re a coach, and then you’re a chef.”

That balance is a guiding principle for Brinson, whose culinary career has shifted from navigating the precise world of fine dining to running his five-week cooking program in Charlottesville. The bootcamp at Culinary Concepts AB is a cooking crucible that prepares novices and experts alike for a career in the restaurant industry, meeting a tangible need for qualified staff in town. But the culinary bootcamp does more than just teach students how to dice and sauté; it teaches them how to set goals and meet them.

“I want you to walk away from this and feel like, ‘I’ve learned a lot about myself. And I feel confident going out into the workforce and with the skills that I’ve gained here,’” says Brinson. “And it may not even be cooking, it may be something else, but you found yourself through this journey.”

Brinson embarked on a new journey himself when he joined the inaugural cast of “The Big Brunch,” a new cooking show executive produced and hosted by Dan Levy that premiered last fall. The competition’s variously themed challenges tested Brinson’s culinary acumen by asking him to cook in a totally unorthodox way.

“When you think about cooking, you think about cooking from the context of, ‘What cuisine am I gonna cook? What protein am I gonna use? Is this a vegetable dish? Is it a seasonal menu?’” says Brinson. “You don’t think about cooking from the perspective of, ‘A dish that inspired you through your childhood,’ or, ‘A dish that speaks to where you are currently on your journey.’”

Those sort of abstract directives center each episode of “The Big Brunch,” which, true to its name, tasks contestants with reimagining brunch through their own personal lens—first with a starter item, and then with the main course.

“It challenged all of us to cook from a place that none of us had ever cooked from before,” says Brinson.

In that first episode, we meet chef after chef from across the country: a proud cook of Cantonese cuisine from Asheville, North Carolina, a sprightly Long Island baker, a vegan auteur from El Paso, a self-taught Richmond restaurateur, and on and on. There are 10 in total (three from Virginia!), and it’s clear from the moment we meet the judges that these earnest chefs will be duking it out for cash—$300,000, in fact.

But this isn’t “Chopped,” despite the tears shed each episode. “The Big Brunch” is a big love-fest, a celebration of the art of cooking that specifically centers each chef’s community-focused passion project as the beneficiary of the grand prize. The leisurely timed hour-long episodes encourage the audience to get to know each chef, to learn about their drive and ambition and identity. And the production of the show allowed the chefs to get to know each other better, too.

“I would have never imagined that I would go on a show and meet people and say they’re gonna be my friends for the rest of my life,” says Brinson. “We’re cooking from a place of, ‘I want to change my community, I want to make this industry better.’ … To be in a room with nine other contestants that feel the same way that you do about their community, and they’re expressing themselves with food that way, it was remarkable.”

As the competition heats up and contestants get eliminated one by one, it’s evident the chefs are competing not against each other but against themselves. Each one has a comfort zone—like a tried and true banana bread or a predilection for mushrooms. Judges Levy, Sohla El-Waylly, and Will Guidara sniff this out quickly, and steadily push the chefs to refine or expand their repertoire. In one brunch, the contestants play a challenge so safely that the judges call a mulligan and order them to start over from scratch, to really push themselves. As a result, the contestants return with dishes so outstanding the judges can’t bear to eliminate anyone. “That was a comeback for the ages,” says Guidara.

It’s in that same episode that Brinson very publicly embraces his love for Ethiopian food, a cuisine he cooks regularly at home but has shied away from professionally.

“In my career as a chef, in all the places that I’ve worked, I’ve never put Ethiopian food on the menu. Never,” he says in an interview segment on the show. “It was fear. ‘It’s not familiar. Will the guests like it?’ And being here, this competition has really helped me grasp an identity.”

“I love learning about my culture because I didn’t grow up with it,” Brinson says. “So I just started cooking Ethiopian food on HBO. … That’s what they [the judges] were able to do, they were able to pull this out from all of us, had us all cooking from a place of vulnerability.”

Originally from Niagara Falls, New York, Brinson says he didn’t grow up thinking he would be a chef. He didn’t have a strong culinary presence at home—but he did know that when his grandmother was baking desserts for the holidays, it brought the whole family together. He found that food was an equalizer: It’s at the center of many memorable moments in his life. That belief in the unifying power of food led him to join his high school’s cooking team (where he made it to state competition on his first try), and eventually to the Culinary Institute of America, where he refined the skills he would use as a high-end chef in kitchens from the Virgin Islands and Hawaii to Palm Springs and San Francisco. His latest stop in Charlottesville saw him take on the role of executive chef at Common House, before leaving the restaurant biz entirely to open his cooking school.

Throughout his travels, Brinson held tight to the adage that food helps people connect and build communities. He immersed himself in each location’s culture to become a better chef—“I knew that if I understood the culture it would give me a profound understanding of the cuisine,” he says—which means he learned to cook food from a wide variety of culinary traditions. He came to “The Big Brunch” confident that he could pull a range of recipes from his pocket at a moment’s notice, but the competition’s time crunch and increasingly abstract expectations actually had him cooking much like he does at home: in a freeform, improvisational way.

At home, Brinson opens the refrigerator without a plan, and takes stock of what he can cook with and what he can salvage from leftover ingredients. It’s an experience that he says harkens back to his youth, when his mother always seemed to be missing one key ingredient he’d need to make a sandwich. He made do, and his quick thinking served him well on HBO Max as the timer marched on.

“Challenge three, the farm-to-table challenge, is really where I just changed,” says Brinson. “The challenge was, like, cook one vegetable. And I just literally went ham. I had four or five different techniques on the plate, I had mushrooms

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throughout it with different textures. … In that moment, I realized, I’m just gonna fucking cook. I’m gonna stop trying to dig deep. What is the food saying to me? What do I feel in this moment? And that’s what I’m gonna go with. That’s what got me through the competition.”

Though there are similarities between how Brinson cooks on TV and how he cooks at home, his tenure on “The Big Brunch” was anything but familiar. Cameras swooped around him as he prepared his dishes, and interview questions flew at him fast while he was working. He and the contestants were urged to only interact on set, so that their most authentic thoughts and feelings could be captured raw. And after each brunch, the chefs were subjected to 15- to 20-minute critiques (often shortened to barely 30 seconds in the show).

There’s no TV magic on “The Big Brunch”: Each episode is a truncated version of a 12hour shoot, and every dish served up is exactly representative of what the chefs were capable of in that challenge. Things can and do go wrong, and when Levy rings the bell to signal everyone to stop cooking, the chefs better be ready to present whatever they have—even if it’s missing ingredients or portions.

“You got one shot,” says Brinson. “You literally have one shot to nail it. If you fuck it up, well, that’s what you get.”

As much as he enjoyed the experience, the Charlottesville chef isn’t dying to get on another cooking show.

“I was gone for a month,” he tells me, sitting at a table in Culinary Concepts AB. Brinson is surrounded by the stations that his students use in culinary bootcamp, the same kitchen that we see him cooking and teaching in at the beginning of the show. “I think that if I was to do another cooking show it would have to be more focused around what I’m currently doing, it has to be in line with my mission. Something that highlights the work, something that highlights the students, something that really highlights the outcome. I would want it to be less about me and more about the inspiration that happens when you create a space like this.”

Brinson’s dedication to his new role as a business owner and teacher is an outgrowth of the tireless, laser-focused work ethic that powered him through his career in high-end resorts. He draws considerable inspiration from his mother, who was a foster parent while he was growing up.

His mom suffered from back pain, but “then she gets a foster kid that’s an emergency placement that could possible die because they’re on a ventilator,” says Brinson, “and all of a sudden she has no back pains, anything, and she is determined to make sure this kid makes it through the night.” Her hyperfocus and vigilance continues to inspire the chef to “find a focal point and go hard,” a lesson he passes on to his students.

“What we’re doing here, man—restaurants and food service providers all around the world need something like this,” says Brinson. “People need something like this. And our goal is to scale this thing across the nation. And that’s the vision.”

This story originally ran in C-VILLE Weekly.

Tune in

Want to see how Antwon Brinson did in the competition? Check out “The Big Brunch” on HBO Max, where all episodes are now streaming.

Knife&Fork 17 The Dish
With $300,000 on the line, chef Antwon Brinson repped his culinary school on a tough HBO cooking competition.
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Dinner out (really out)

Two Fire Table takes us back to camp

Whether it’s s’mores in the backyard, burgers and ears of corn on the grill, or fresh-caught fish when you’re camping, there’s something about fresh air and a fire that makes food taste better. Two Fire Table wants to bring that feeling to your next gathering—and you won’t even have to build a bonfire.

Two Fire Table is the dream child of Sarah Rennie, an advocate for communal meals, seasonal eating, and wood-fire cooking. But she’s also savvy enough to know that while many people may savor the experience of eating outdoors, most of us would prefer to have her handle the tongs.

Two Fire Table’s offerings are literally soup to nuts. Tell Rennie where, when, and how many, and she will develop a tailored menu—appetizer, local protein, two seasonal sides, and dessert. The day of, she shows up with all the cooking equipment (custom-made for her, including her own portable fire pit), as well as dishes, utensils, linens, glassware, and even tents. It’s the best combination of camping and cuisine.

Rennie’s path began with culinary school in Asheville, North Carolina, and an internship at Farm & Sparrow, a wood-fired bakery and mill where the emphasis is on local produce and regional grains.

“I learned about seasonal eating, about using your farmers’ market, and about cooking in the most authentic way,” Rennie says. “Cooking over a fire, you have to be more attuned to what you’re doing throughout the process—it’s very focused; you can’t be thinking about anything else.”

From Farm & Sparrow, Rennie went to Sub Rosa Wood-Fired Bakery in Richmond, and stayed for six years, eventually becoming kitchen manager (“It was the best experience; I was baking my heart out,” she says). Rennie became the bakery’s croissant master, and worked with local farmers to create pastries using seasonal ingredients from strawberries and pears to jalapeños.

Eventually, Rennie’s husband wanted to start his own business as a fly-fishing guide, which

meant being closer to the mountains, and they bought a house in Scottsville.

“I’d always enjoyed being outdoors—I’m a horse person, I’ve been riding since I was 4,” Rennie says, and she began thinking about being a trail guide. She took a summer job out West to learn about trail-guiding, then came a trip to Argentina to learn more about campfire cooking. Amazed by one rider who brought a packet of herbs for the fish cooking over the fire, Rennie recalls, she began to think about combining her love of the outdoors with her devotion to seasonal and conscious cooking.

“I wondered how I could translate this [outdoor cooking experience] and move it around,” she says. “I wanted it to be portable. I wanted to share my perspective on communal eating with others.”

Rennie began practicing.—“I cooked many, many chickens in my backyard”—to learn about timing, when to turn the bird, how to achieve crispy skin and well-cooked but moist flesh. Her husband was more than happy to taste-test the experiments.

Part of the fun of creating Two Fire table, Rennie says, was figuring out how to make moveable wood-fire cooking work. She found metal craftsmen who could make customized equipment—from grills, spits, and tripods to hanging saucepans and Dutch ovens—that she could transport in her car and set up on site. She also developed a network of butchers, suppliers, and farmers because “it always helps to know where your food comes from.”

In 2019, she launched Two Fire Table. “When I first started, I would build a ‘feeder fire’ from which I started others—that’s where the name came from.” Rennie has created meals for family events, weddings, and social gatherings for groups from bird hunters to chefs. She’s got the logistics down—chopping and ingredient prep, including making sauces and dressings, is done ahead of time. Food is served family-style, everyone around the tables passing dishes, because for Rennie that’s an integral element of the experience. “For me, this is about connection—creating community around the fire.”

Knife&Fork 19 The Dish
JENNIFER WILSIE KATIE THOMPSON KATIE THOMPSON A baker who enjoys being outdoors, Sarah Rennie combined her two loves and created Two Fire Table.

Byrd’seye view

Local social media personality considers food and wellness

Charlottesville-based wellness guru Renee Byrd was a successful influencer before being an influencer was cool.

Byrd launched her blog, Will Frolic for Food, in 2012. The goal was to “provide free tools for living well … recipes, advice, yoga videos, and entertainment to sensitive souls.” In a few short years, she was working part-time hours while making a full-time income through advertisements and sponsored posts.

20 Knife&Fork THE DISH

But a bout with illness and a dose of influencer fatigue began to fray Byrd’s enthusiasm. At the end of 2020, she stepped away from her successful blog, which had earned her notice from national outlets like the Food Network, Better Homes & Gardens, and Self, to focus on her personal life and well-being.

“The thing that bothers me is the culture around influence,” says Byrd. “It can be very egotistical and fake. Thankfully, a lot of the people I’ve worked with in the past in the food realm have been great. I’ve always thought, ‘If you are going to be an influencer, be in the food space; they are kind people that are there to be educators.’”

Now, married and living in Belmont with her beloved Australian sheepdog and a baby on the way, Byrd is plotting her way back into influencer culture.

After stepping away from Will Frolic for Food, Byrd continued to create content through comedy. With a background in theater and music, she has counted herself an artist, photographer, writer, musician, yoga teacher, and entrepreneur over the years. To stay active, she developed an off-beat Instagram presence doing comedic skits with characters like the insatiable Sugar Gollum and a cringey cohort of earnest commune members. She took on

issues as heavy as abortion and as light as hiking sandals. She grew her Instagram following to nearly 40,000.

“My philosophy about comedy is to be true to your own perspective,” Byrd says. “I have been very deeply involved in the wellness and food industry, and I know a lot about all those worlds. I feel it’s important to be a voice within the food world, because there is a lot of bullshit.”

Her next step is to get back to Will Frolic for Food. While she finds so much of the food and wellness influencer space to be about “greenwashing” and selling under the guise of selfhelp—“there is so much stuff out there that you don’t need to be healthy or happy,” she says—she still believes in the power of the medium.

Byrd, who also runs Frolic Coffee at the Ix Farmers Market with her husband, a wellness

coach by training, has always focused on freeform health journeys. Folks have to follow their own path to happiness, she says, and they can do so many things to improve themselves without spending any money.

“There is a lot of amazing work being done, but it’s buried,” Byrd says. “In the wellness and health and food world, you get the best results with self-led discovery. A lot can

be done with a health coach, but they can’t just tell you what to do. Proper coaching is being a masterful asker of questions so people can come to their own conclusions. To reach your own unique, ideal health, some people need to run a lot, and some people need to walk a lot.”

This story originally ran in C-VILLE Weekly.

Knife&Fork 21 The Dish
To reach your own unique, ideal health, some people need to run a lot, and some people need to walk a lot.”
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On the menu

Five dishes that will make a vegetarian feel loved

Eating out as a vegetarian can be disappointing, to say the least. While joints like GRN Burger and Botanical Fare have dedicated entire menus to tasty vegetarian and vegan eats, many restaurants only offer a token vegetarian dish. So for those who are tired of the seasonal vegetable plate, grain bowl, and mushroom risotto, we found five delicious dishes from area eateries that make dining out as a vegetarian fun.

Green Giant, Now & Zen Choosing

what to order from Now & Zen’s extensive veg menu can feel like an impossible task. Thankfully, our server came in with a clutch recommendation—the Green Giant. The extra-large sushi roll is stuffed with sweet potato tempura, cream cheese, avocado, and cucumber, and topped with spicy mayo, eel sauce, tempura flakes, and scallions.

[Right] Philly Cheeseshroom, Kitchen-

ette This neighborhood sandwich shop is known for its meaty eats, particularly the Hot Wet Beef, but its vegetarian sandwiches are just as tasty. The Philly Cheeseshroom is a satisfying take on its meat counterpart, and features a blend of mushrooms sautéed with onions and roasted red peppers, provolone, shredded lettuce, and house mayo on a sub roll.

Kimchi Fried Rice, DOMA Korean Kitchen

Eating DOMA’s Kimchi Fried Rice is like having a delicious home-cooked meal, which is no surprise considering owners Imsook “April” Lee and her husband, Doyoung Moon incorporate recipes passed down from family members. The simple-but-flavorful dish is prepared with butter and spicy kimchi, topped with a fried egg, and served with doenjang soup. Take it to the next level by adding cheese and tofu.

Egg Paffle #1, Iron Paffles & Coffee This decadent, flaky waffle sandwich is the perfect brunch meal. Made with egg, cheddar, and housemade sriracha mayonnaise, the paffle is easily converted to vegetarian by substituting tempeh bacon for regular bacon. Iron Paffles’ menu is entirely customizable, and offers alternative preparations for multiple allergies and dietary preferences.

Rigatoni Verdi con Zucca, Tavola It’s all about the sauce with Tavola’s rigatoni verdi con zucca. A sage-marsala cream ties together this seasonal dish, which features heirloom squash, mushrooms, pecorino, and amaretti crumble, served atop housemade pasta. The flavor is seriously unforgettable.

This story originally ran in C-VILLE Weekly.

Knife&Fork 23 The Dish

The only bad burger is the one you didn’t eat

COMING APRIL 17-23, 2023


Surf to turf

Public Fish & Oyster team starts beef

On the seminal hip-hop album Enter the Wu-Tang, an interviewer asks the renowned rappers about their ultimate goal. Before Raekwon offers a dubious, circuitous response, Method Man sums it up: “Domination, baby.”

Presumably that’s also the endgame for Daniel Kaufman, the Public Fish & Oyster proprietor who’s moving his empire from sea to land with a new eatery, Black Cow Chophouse. The traditional steakhouse opened on Main Street in the old Zinc/Threepenny/Little Star location on February 15. A week before opening, Kaufman spoke to Knife & Fork about where Black Cow fits in his own ultimate goal.

Knife & Fork: Why a steakhouse, why now?

Daniel Kaufman: I said many times that after COVID I was never opening another restaurant. The only person I would have opened a restaurant with was my former chef, Gregg Dionne. He was the longest-serving chef at Public. So, I said, if Gregg wants to do something, I’ll do it. He said he had an idea, and Black Cow was born.

How closely related to Public is this concept?

We considered putting something in the name like, by “Public Fish & Oyster”—I think we’ve developed a pretty good reputation there. I think people like us, and we do things the right way. But each restaurant operates completely independently. There are some dishes that read the same on both menus—when things are tried and trusted, it makes sense to keep doing them.

What’s on the menu at Black Cow?

Product is at the center of what we do. We are not associating with a specific farm or doing all dry-aged or all local. We don’t want to put ourselves in a box. If we find some good wagyu

from Australia, we’ll make it available. We want to offer delicious and good value food, regardless of how long it has been aged. We’ll do some game, pork, and lamb, but beef is very much the heart of what we are doing.

That approach actually sounds similar to what you do at Public.

That’s a good way to look at it. If I see good oysters available, I will buy them and make them available. I certainly buy from a handful of Virginia producers every single week, but we also do oysters from the Northeast, the Northwest, and even New Zealand and Mexico.

Can we assume the sides and other dishes will be seasonal?

Absolutely. We have a “little salad” we are going to include with every steak. Whenever you used to go to a restaurant, you got a salad; we’re throwing it back to those days. I was talking to Chef about what the salad would look like and he said, “Why the hell would I sell a salad with tomato, when you can only get a good tomato three months of the year?” Seasonality is very much the thing. If it’s not good, we don’t want to sell it.

What kind of bar program are you planning?

Our bar manager is Scott Coales, who has a lot of experience running beverage programs. He has put together an awesome craft cocktail list,

and I’m working on the wine. We’ll have eight carefully selected draft taps. One thing that has been very successful at Public, and we would like to replicate at Black Cow, is the happy hour. At Public, we do dollar off raw oysters from 4 to 6pm. Here, while for the most part we don’t do composed dishes, the one exception is that from 4:30 to 6pm for happy hour, we’ll have a chef’s choice steak frites for 16 bucks.

What’s unique about Black Cow compared to other traditional steakhouses?

Little Star was a great restaurant. They were succeeding. They just didn’t want to do it anymore. And one thing that they had that we might not have otherwise done on our own, is this grill—the most magnificent grill. Every piece of meat is going to be done over oak wood smoke on that grill. The flavor is absolutely unbelievable.

There’s been some change on West Main Street lately. What’s your take? I’ve been hearing for nine years about how things are changing. But Oakhart and Maya and Orzo, those guys are all killing it. I wouldn’t want to be in any other neighborhood in Charlottesville. It’s a beautiful street and at the center of everything. I have been very lucky and privileged to be supported by this community for nine years now, and I really hope they welcome this as a new addition to West Main.

Knife&Fork 25 The Dish
EZE AMOS Public Fish & Oyster owner Daniel Kaufman said he’d never open another restaurant unless it was with chef Gregg Dionne. Enter Black Cow Chophouse.

Tuesday - Saturday 11am to 9pm

Saturday Brunch 11am to 3pm

Sunday Brunch 10am to 4pm


434-823-1841 for reservations.
for Menus


New West Main spot gets big buzz taking Turkish beyond street food

28 Knife&Fork

Photography by Anna Kariel


Knife&Fork 29
30 Knife&Fork A burger joint with a passion for craft beer: A big shout out to those who voted for us, we love beer, burgers, and you! Best Burgers 109 2nd St SE. - (434) 244-0073 - Best Brunch Thank you for voting! We look forward to seeing you for brunch soon! (434) 465-2108 - 817 W Main St. -


“Craft beer drinkers share the love … and everything I see is people will still gladly pay extra for flavor, quality, and to support local brewers and craft.”

McMindes notes that, locally, most breweries have gone the Champion route and try to control the downstream consumption environment by running restaurants instead of taprooms only. His approach? Stay on brand. Reject the trend.

Finding a balance

Even Charlottesville’s beer can’t be controlled.

Yes, we know citywide production should be about 23,500 barrels next year. But we also know that crouched just outside of town are major brewing industry tigers who stand to top that production by at least five-fold.

Starr Hill, opened by Mark Thompson in downtown Charlottesville in 1999 before craft beer was cool, can reportedly dump nearly 30,000 barrels annually from its Crozet and Roanoke brewhouses. Devils Backbone, purchased by A-B InBev in 2016 to the chagrin of beer nerds, boasts production of 84,000 annual barrels. And Blue Mountain, whose owner Taylor Smack also runs South Street Brewing downtown, makes almost 3,000 barrels per year.

Several other players dot the 151 corridor—Thompson’s Brewing Tree, WildManDan Brewery, Hazy Mountain—which has become a destination for beer lovers, many of whom have no idea what’s going on down the road in Charlottesville.

“That corridor is only getting busier and busier,” Warwick says—and 3NB is look-

When Hunter Smith launched Champion Brewing Company in 2012, he says he wanted his brand to be a foil to the area’s big players like Starr Hill, Blue Mountain, and Devils Backbone.

ing to get in on the 151 action; the team has purchased the assets of the former Wild Wolf Brewing Company and plans to run it under its own label. “It’s such a destination,” Warwick says. “It’s definitely the hub in Virginia for amazing alcoholic beverages, from wine to beer to hard cider to distilling, even mead.”

When Smith launched Champion, he in fact wanted his brand to be a foil to the big players right outside town. Starr Hill, Blue Mountain, and Devils Backbone

“There’s something really special about being able to go to a neighborhood brewery and drink a beer that was packaged literally an hour before you’re drinking it,” says Josh Skinner, director of brewing operations at Selvedge Brewing.

had seen so much success selling lagers; he and Champion would carve their niche in unique ales and one-off releases. “We used to joke that we never needed to brew a single lager beer,” Smith says.

That outlook has changed,

Smith admits, as so many things have on the local beer scene. For years, Champion was the biggest brew producer inside city limits. The company pushed its Woolen Mills Missile Factory, named after the brewery’s flagship IPA, to a 15,000 barrel capacity in 2016, with lagers a major part of the mix.

But last year, Smith and Champion moved the production site outside town. The new brewery was “essentially a construction site” most of the year, Smith says, brewing only 2,500 barrels in 2022. This year, Smith expects the number to be back up to nearly 7,000.

For Champion, other things over the last several years were beyond control. The closure of two Champion Hospitality Group restaurants was only the culmination of the group’s supply chain and consumer demand issues.

“Expansion through restaurants has always been something that we had hoped to do in partnership. We are a brewery. We are not restaurant experts,” Smith says. “But I have to laugh. Expanding through restaurants when we did was a stroke of bad luck.”

Smith says the future is under control, though, and it’s a sentiment that’s reflected by brewers all across the hamlet.

“Last year was really tough,” Smith says. “But without going into great detail, keep watching. We are not done.”

31 March 15 –21, 2023 @cville_culture CULTURE THIS WEEK
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Traditionally filled with beef, Smyrna’s version of manti dumplings contains Sharondale mushrooms, dehydrated tomato, garlic yogurt, and a pepper butter sauce.


raki-balik, a fish crudo with fennel-infused compressed melon and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette, Sengul conceived the dish around fluke. But because the fish is difficult to obtain at sushi-grade, he’s transitioned to hamachi, commonly known as yellow tail in the States.

Other Smyrna menu items have a surprisingly familiar feel. Sourdough bread, for example, is extremely common all over Turkey, Sengul says, but “maybe they advertise it better in France and Italy.” The burger, ground in-house, and rib-eye steak preparations both get Sengul’s careful attention to technical detail—the latter garnished with delicate gem lettuce and crispy pommes dauphine and finished with that homemade jus—despite not being Aegean dishes per se.

“Beef is not common in Turkey, but I live in Virginia,” Sengul says.

According to the classically trained chef, the two beef dishes are probably the trickiest Smyrna serves. They’re simple constructions, so they both come down to executing the techniques Sengul learned in Colicchio and Robuchon’s restaurants.

After about eight months of service, Sengul says Smyrna is only just finding its groove. It’s been tough to retain service industry staff post-COVID, and he’s still working to train everyone to his standards and have them working from the same culinary philosophy.

“This will evolve—with seasonality, but it also depends on the team,” Sengul says. “As our cooks get more comfortable, we may have some more experimental dishes … more playful and fun dishes. We are conservative at the moment.”

Knife&Fork 33
“I take the techniques I learned from working in New York and the spices and memories from Turkey. It is the combination of those that makes our food what it is.”
The raki-balik combines a yellowtail crudo with fennel-infused compressed melon and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The restaurant’s charred octopus is accompanied by bok choy and potato, then drizzled with an Aegean sauce known as salgam.

From your everyday beers, cocktails & dinner, to your post-work meetings, weddings and more, Kardinal Hall has you covered.

Come enjoy innovative, locally-sourced cuisine in our European-inspired beer hall & spacious outdoor beer garden. Our 28 draft lines & carefully curated bottle list includes a vast array of local, national & imported craft beers sure to satisfy any beer lover. We also offer hand-crafted cocktails & a wine list focused on thoughtful wines from sustainable producers.

34 Knife&Fork 722 Preston Ave.
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Pour me another

Breweries and cideries

Albemarle CiderWorks What started as an orchard for rare and heirloom apples grew into a popular area cidery. Tastings and tours are available for $5-10 per person. 2550 Rural Ridge Ln., North Garden. 297-2326.

Blue Mountain Brewery Well-liked brewery serves up its local drafts, plus light fare for lunch and dinner. 9519 Critzers Shop Rd., Afton. (540) 456-8020.

Blue Toad Hard Cider Large outdoor space, classic pub food and, of course, hard cider. 9278 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Afton. 996-6992.

Bold Rock Cidery Virginia’s largest (and growing!) cidery. Free tours and tastings daily. 1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford. 361-1030.

Bold Rock Distillery at the Barrel Barn Multiple rare styles on tap at this creative space. 1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy. Suite A, Nellysford. 361-1030.

Brewing Tree Beer Company Artisanal Brew Trail spot from the founder of Starr Hill. 9278 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Afton. (540) 381-0990.ww

Bryant’s Hard Cider & Brewery Gluten-free, sugar-free ciders with history dating to 1865. 3224 E. Branch Loop, Roseland.

Castle Hill Cider Enjoy a glass of Terrestrial on the octagonal porch or explore the grounds. Open for tastings daily. 6065 Turkey Sag Rd., Keswick. 296-0047.

Champion Brewing Company Beerfocused kitchen offerings, plus five ales on tap. 324 Sixth St. SE. 295-2739.

Coyote Hole Craft Beverages Cider and sangria in Lake Anna. 225 Oak Grove Dr., Mineral. (540) 894-1053.

Decipher Brewing Company Veteran-owned and operated, with awardwinning craft beers. 1740 Broadway St. 995-5777.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Nelson’s hip brewpub—award-winning craft beers, lunch and dinner. 200 Mosbys Run, Roseland. 361-1001.

James River Brewing Co. There’s only beer here. 561 Valley St., Scottsville. 286-7837.

Octania Stone Brew Works Ruckersville’s own alehouse celebrating “Octoney” (look it up). 14902 Spotswood Trail, Ruckersville. 939-9678.

Patch Brewing Company From the owners of Cville Hop On Tours. 10271 W. Gordon Ave., Gordonsville. (540) 466-8536.

Potter’s Craft Cider Handcrafted cider out of Free Union, with a city tasting room. 209 Monticello Rd. 964-0271.

Pro Re Nata Brewery A farm brewery and food truck offering up to 12 craft beers and live music. 6135 Rockfish Gap Tpke., Crozet. 823-4878.

Random Row Brewing Co. No food (but there are food trucks!), but nearly 12 beers on tap. 608 Preston Ave. 284-8466.

Rockfish Brewing Nano-brewery with two location. 201 W. Main St., Downtown Mall; 900 Preston Ave., 566-0969.

Selvedge Brewing Unique small-batch wine in a converted factory setting. 1837 Broadway St. 270-0555.

South Street Brewery Brews and food from the folks at Blue Mountain. 106 W. South St. 293-6550.

Southern Revere Cellars Craft beer and blended wines in Louisa. Open Thursday-Sunday. 1100 E. Jack Jouett Rd., Louisa. (540) 260-5494

Starr Hill Brewery A can’t-miss spot since 1999. 5391 Three Notched Rd., Crozet. 823-5671.

Three Notch’d Craft Kitchen & Brewery Craft beers and beer-infused pub food. 520 Second St. SE. 956-3141. Sour house: 946 Grady Ave. 293-0610. Wood Ridge Farm Brewery “From the dirt to the glass” brewery 165 Old Ridge Rd., Lovingston. 422-6225.


Devils Backbone Distilling Co. Virginia straight bourbon whiskey with views of Ragged Mountain. 35 Mosbys Run, Roseland. (540) 602-6018.

Ragged Branch Distillery Virginia straight bourbon whiskey with views of Ragged Mountain. 1075 Taylors Gap Rd. 244-2600.

Silverback Distillery Rye whiskey, monkey gin and Beringei vodka. 9374 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Afton. (540) 456-7070.

Spirit Lab Distilling Single-malt whiskey and amaro behind a red door. 1503 Sixth St. SE. 218-2605.

Virginia Distillery Co. Single-malt whiskey from the Blue Ridge. 299 Eades Ln., Lovingston. 285-2900.

Vitae Spirits Award-winning rum and gin in a hip spot for sipping. 715 Henry Ave. 270-0317.

Waterbird Spirits No tasting room, but catch these canned cocktails in stores nationwide. 201 W. Water St.


Afton Mountain Vineyards Try the Albarino, a limited-production, estategrown white only available in the summer. Tastings are $15 per person for five wines. 234 Vineyard Ln., Afton. (540) 456-8667.

Ankida Ridge Vineyards A Sumerian word that means “where heaven and earth join,” Ankida marks the spot—at 1,800’ on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 1304 Franklin Creek Rd., Amherst. 922-7678.

Barboursville Vineyards Routinely listed on national “best winery” lists, Barboursville is a true destination—for the wines and the scenery. Open for tastings ($15 for six wines). 17655 Winery Rd., Barboursville. (540) 832-3824.

Blenheim Vineyards Established in 2000 by owner Dave Matthews (yep, that Dave Matthews), Blenheim’s timber-frame tasting room looks down into the barrel room. Tours and tastings

are $25 per person. 31 Blenheim Farm. 293-5366.

Bluestone Vineyard Award-winning small-batch wines in the Shenandoah Valley. Open daily for tastings. 4828 Spring Creek Rd., Bridgewater. (540) 828-0099.

Brent Manor Vineyards Sample wines from the vineyard and a selection of nearby Virginia wines. Tastings are $12 per person. 100 Brent Manor Ln., Faber. 826-0722.

Burnley Vineyards One of the oldest vineyards in the Monticello Viticultural Area. Tastings are $4 per person. 4500 Winery Ln., Barboursville. (540) 832-2828.

Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery Try the Quattro—a blend of riesling, gewurztraminer, viognier, and traminette—at this spare but relaxing spot. Open for tours and flights. 9423 Batesville Rd., Afton. (540) 456-8400.

Chateau MerrillAnne The wines at this Orange spot are award-winning, but don’t skip the Vinocello either. 16234 Marquis Rd., Orange. (540) 656-6177 Chestnut Oak Vineyard Single-varietal, single-vineyard wines from Petit Manseng to Chardonnay. Weekend tastings from noon-5pm. 5050 Stony Point Rd., Barboursville. 964-9104.

Chisholm Vineyards at Adventure Farm Beef meets wine at this familyowned winery. 1135 Clan Chisholm Ln., Earlysville. 971-8796.

Chiswell Farm & Vineyard Locally crafted vintages from the folks behind Chiles Family Orchards. 430 Greenwood Rd., Greenwood. 252-2947.

Cunningham Creek Winery Once a working cow farm, this winery offers Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. 3304 Ruritan Lake Rd., Palmyra. 207-3907.

DelFosse Vineyards & Winery Try the reds at this off-the-beaten-path spot 30 minutes from Charlottesville. $22 for a classic tasting, $12 for a wine flight. 500 DelFosse Winery Ln., Faber. 263-6100.

DuCard Vineyards A successful grape-growing business bloomed into what’s now this boutique winery. Tastings are $10 per person. 40 Gibson Hollow Ln., Etlan. (540) 923-4206.

Early Mountain Vineyards Beautifully appointed facility, with a terrace for mountain and vineyard views while sipping. 6109 Wolftown-Hood Rd., Madison. (540) 948-9005.

Eastwood Farm & Winery Governor’s Cup gold medalists mix delicious wine with a stunning setting. 2531 Scottsville Rd. 264-6727.

Everleigh Vineyards & Brewing Company Two collectors of fine wine started this vineyard in 2015. Find wine, beer, and cider. 9845 Jefferson Hwy., Mineral. (804) 356-0059.

Fifty-Third Winery & Vineyard

There’s something for everyone—including sangria—under Fifty-Third’s LEED-certified roof. Open for tastings daily. 13372 Shannon Hill Rd., Louisa. (540) 894-5253.

Flying Fox Vineyard Named after the weather vane on the vineyard’s main building, Flying Fox boasts a limited production of merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, viognier and pinot gris. Highway 151 and Chapel Hollow Road, Afton. 361-1692.

Gabriele Rausse Winery The Father of Virginia Wine’s eponymous winery still sets the standard. 3247 Carters Mountain Rd. 981-1677.

Glass House Winery Don’t miss the tropical conservatory next to the tasting room—or the handcrafted chocolates! 5898 Free Union Rd., Free Union. 975-0094.

Grace Estate Winery This 50-acre vineyard on scenic Mount Juliet Farm produces 14 varietals .5273 Mount Juliet Farm, Crozet. 823-1486.

Hardware Hills Vineyard Formerly known at Thistle Gate Vineyard, this Fluvanna spot still boasts a lively lineup. 5199 W. River Rd., Scottsville. 286-4710. Hark Vineyards Beautiful views and delicious wine? We’re set. 1465 Davis Shop Rd., Earlysville. 964-9463.

Hazy Mountain Vineyards and Brewery With 86 acres under vine, there’s a little something for everyone at this Afton winery—including beer! Tastings are $14-20. 240 Hazy Mountain Ln., Afton. Tastings $15-20. (540) 302-2529.

Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery The bread and butter at this medievalthemed winery is the authentic honey meads. Try the Dragon’s Blood. Open for tours and tasting. 2800 Berry Hill Rd., Nellysford. 361-1266.

Honah Lee Vineyard Tastings are $15 at this award-winning (dog-friendly!) Gordonsville spot. 13443 Honah Lee Farm Dr., Gordonsville. (540) 406-1313. Horton Vineyards More than 40 different dry, fruit and dessert wines abound at this winery just outside of Barboursville. 6399 Spotswood Trail, Gordonsville. (540) 832-7440.

Jefferson Vineyards Grab a bottle of meritage and get a spot on the tree deck for a picturesque afternoon. Tastings are $12. 1353 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy. 977-3042.

Keswick Vineyards Dog-friendly tasting spot located at the historic 400-acre Edgewood Estate. Tastings daily. 1575 Keswick Winery Dr., Keswick. 244-3341. Kilaurwen Winery Artisanal wines near Shenandoah National Park. 1543 Evergreen Church Rd., Stanardsville. 985-2535. King Family Vineyards Frequent Governor’s Cup award winner, King Family is also the site of polo matches every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend to mid-October. Tastings are $15-20. 6550 Roseland Farm, Crozet. 823-7800. Knight’s Gambit Vineyard More than five acres of petit verdot, pinot grigio, merlot and cabernet franc located on a rolling hillside near Whitehall. 2218 Lake Albemarle Rd. 566-1168.

Lazy Days Winery A boutique winery that’s home to local festivals like the Virginia Summer Solstice Wine Festival. Open for tastings. 1351 N. Amherst Hwy., Amherst. 381-6088.

36 Knife&Fork

Loving Cup Vineyard & Winery A certified-organic vineyard and winery tucked away in the hills. Open FridaySunday, 11am-5pm (March-December). 3340 Sutherland Rd., North Garden. 984-0774.

Lovingston Winery A densely planted 8.5 acres yields wine of high-quality fruit. (Word to the wise: Leave your pups at home; there are two here already!) 885 Freshwater Cove Ln., Lovingston. 263-8467.

Meriwether Springs Vineyard The post-and-beam event space is just the beginning—there are also two ponds, a three-acre lake and beautiful Ivy Creek here, which flanks the property. Open for tours and tastings. 1040 Owensville Rd. 270-4299.

Merrie Mill Farm & Vineyard Creativity abounds at this weird and wonderful spot—from the décor to the wine. Tastings are $25. 594 Merrie Mill Farm, Keswick. 365-3006.

Michael Shaps Wineworks Sample Virginia wines in the spare but stylish tasting room, as well as the Premiere Cru burgundies, grown and bottled in France by owner Michael Shaps. $10 for a tasting of 12 wines. 1781 Harris Creek Way, 296-3438; 1585 Avon St. Ext. (Wineworks Extended), 529-6848.

Montifalco Vineyard If “falco” means hawk in Italian, you could say this winery is one to watch. 1800 Fray Rd., Ruckersville. 989-9115.

Tasting Room & Taphouse at Mount Ida Reserve Find wine, craft beer, and a full restaurant at this Scottsville spot. 5600 Moonlight Dr., Scottsville. 286-4282.

Mountain Cove Vineyards Even better with age? The first batch of wine here was made in 1976. Open for tours and tastings. 1362 Fortunes Cove Ln., Lovingston. 263-5392.

Moss Vineyards Fifty-two acres with views of the Blue Ridge, including nine under vine with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet Franc, merlot, petit verdot and viognier grapes. Open for tastings Friday-Sunday. 1849 Simmons Gap Rd., Nortonsville. 990-0111.

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards Try a glass of the Merlot Reserve while having lunch at the Farm Table & Wine Bar. 5022 Plank Rd., North Garden. 202-8063.

Pollak Vineyards Located between Charlottesville and Wintergreen, this 98-acre farm produces 27 acres of French vinifera. Open Wednesday-Sunday. 330 Newtown Rd., Greenwood. (540) 456-8844.

Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery

Sip a glass of chardonnay in Prince Michel’s tasting room, above the barrel cave and tank room. Tastings and self-guided tours. 154 Winery Ln., Leon. (540) 547-3707.

Rappahannock Cellars West Coast wine on the East: A desire to raise their 12 children in Virginia led Rappahannock’s owners to relocate from California. Open year-round for $15 tastings. 14437 Hume Rd., Huntly. (540) 635-9398.

Better with friends

Blenheim Vineyards taps Fine Creek Brewing Company for new release

There’s nothing that forges stronger bonds and solidifies friendships quite like collaboration. Whether combining resources, such as different raw materials, or providing an area of individual expertise, it’s exciting to work as a team to produce a new or better result. Blenheim Vineyards and Fine Creek Brewing Company did just that when they teamed up for the release of the Collaboration Wine line.

Charlottesville’s Blenheim Vineyards has a longstanding relationship with Fine Creek Brewing Company, headquartered in Powhatan. In the past, Fine Creek has used barrels from Blenheim, and incorporated different varieties of the vineyard’s grape pressings in some of its beers. Blenheim has hosted pop-up events where Fine Creek poured beer at the winery, and Fine Creek has likewise hosted Blenheim to pour wines at the brewery, where they also feature Blenheim on a list that supports the Virginia wine industry.

That professional partnership led to personal friendships, says Tracey Love, who oversees sales, events, and marketing at Blenheim. “We have become good friends with Mark [Benusa, Fine Creek’s owner], the brewer Brian Mandeville, and the taproom staff,” says Love. “It felt like a natural progression to invite them to sit down with Kirsty [Harmon, winemaker at Blenheim], and work together on these two wine blends.”

Collaboration blends are priced at $20 a bottle, and take the place of Blenheim’s On the Line blends, a limited-release series intended to help provide healthy meals to frontline workers and others in need during the pandemic. With these new wines, as with their recent launch of the Oenoverse wine club, Blenheim is focused on promoting community and inclusiveness.

Collaboration White is a blend of chardonnay, viognier, arneis, albariño, and petit manseng. It was aged 15 percent in oak barrels and 85 percent in stainless steel. On the nose, there are notes of sweet lemon-lime, white peaches, apricot, and beeswax. On the palate, the wine is medium weight and textured, with strong acidity and flavors consistent with the nose.

The Collaboration Red is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and petit verdot. It was aged 75 percent in oak barrels and 25 percent in stainless steel. The nose is deep and full of red and black fruit, raisins, and blueberries, with hints of vanilla, smoke, and flint. On the palate, the wine is medium weight in structure with flavors of black plum, fig, raisin, and a long finish with hints of smoke. A bit brooding on first taste, it is best when given time to open up.

“A chance to tie the Virginia beer and wine scenes together in any capacity is a great thing, and getting to do it with your friends makes it that much better,” says Benusa, calling Blenheim’s staff, “some of our favorite folks in the industry.”—Paul Ting

Pour me another

Rassawek Vineyards No tasting room; these folks grow grapes for other wineries. 6276 River Rd. W, Columbia. (804) 396-3098.

Revalation Vineyards A horse farmturned-small-batch vineyard from two scientists by trade. 2710 Hebron Valley Rd., Madison. (540) 407-1236.

Reynard Florence Vineyards These folks bottle wines in the style of France’s Loire and Burgundy regions. Tasting flights are $12. 16109 Burnley Rd,, Barboursville. (540) 832-3895. Septenary Winery Seven acres under vine at this stunning property, where Old World winemaking techniques abound. 200 Seven Oaks Farm, Greenwood. (540) 471-4282.

Sharp Rock Vineyards Once a working family farm, Sharp Rock is now a vineyard, winery and bed and breakfast. Tastings and self- guided tours available. 5 Sharp Rock Rd., Sperryville. (540) 987-8020.

Stinson Vineyards The cozy tasting room opens to a quaint patio for sipping award- winning wines and noshing on farm-fresh snacks. Tastings are $7, $10 per person for groups of 10 or more. 4744 Sugar Hollow Rd., Crozet. 823-7300.

Stone Mountain Vineyards A rustic winery offers panoramic views of the surrounding counties from 1,700’. Wine flights available. 1376 Wyatt Mountain Rd., Dyke. 990-9463.

The Barn at 678 Vineyard Have a seat on the porch of this charming barn and watch the world go by. Tastings are $12-16. 6045 Governor Barbour St., Barboursville.

Trump Winery Virginia’s largest vineyard, Trump offers 200 acres of French vinifera varieties. Tastings are $22-32. 3550 Blenheim Rd., 984-4855.

Valley Road Vineyards Vineyard and tasting room at the head of the Rockfish Valley. Tastings are $28 per person for six wines. 9264 Critzers Shop Rd., Afton. (540) 456-6350.

Veritas Vineyard & Winery Awardwinning wines at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bring a picnic basket! 145 Saddleback Farm, Afton. (540) 456-8000.

Weston Farm Vineyard & Winery

Small, family-owned winery. Must love dogs: Charlie and Suzie, the owners’ French bulldogs, often roam the property. $10 tastings. 206 Harris Creek Rd., Louisa. (540) 967-4647.

White Hall Vineyards Call ahead to reserve a cheese plate from the neighboring monastery to enjoy with your tasting. 5282 Sugar Ridge Rd., White Hall. 823-8615.

Wisdom Oak Winery Make your way down the long gravel road to get to an intimate tasting room and outdoor picnic area. 3613 Walnut Branch Ln., North Garden. 984-4272.

Woodbrook Farm & Vineyard Near James Madison’s Montpelier, this family-owned vineyard celebrates horse country. 11461 Spicers Mill Rd., Orange. (540) 219-1874.

Knife&Fork 37

The Last Bite

Sweet as we remember

Frequent visitors to Pippin Hill might recognize a fan favorite on the menu this spring: petit verdot cupcakes. A throwback to the venue’s former chef Amalia Scatena (who included them on her menu when she was at the kitchen’s helm), the mini dessert has been resurrected by Executive Chef Victoria Cosner.

“I love redoing things my way to bring back a nostalgic feeling for our wine club members,” she says.

To make them, Cosner adds Pippin Hill’s petit verdot to her chocolate cake batter, giving the cupcakes a rich, earthy flavor. She tops each teeny treat with a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream, then drizzles an agrodolce of petit verdot and red wine vinegar. Sprinkled with some Maldon salt and a few chocolate curls, each moist little cake proves that good things do come in small packages.

38 Knife&Fork
11:30am - 9:00pm | 2162 Barracks Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903 | (434) 244-9818 WINNER CHINESE


The Legendary Mill Room

The Mill Room Restaurant is a highlight of Boar’s Head Resort infused with history and inspiration from the local scenery. Whether dining inside or on the terrace, each room within the restaurant offers its own sophisticated ambiance with a unique view of the bucolic resort landscape.

Reservations: or (434) 972-2230

Owned and operated by the UVA Foundation