Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pizza at the Crossroads

Photo from doctorhos

If you're ever south of Charlottesville on Highway 29, don't pass up that brightly white-lit shopping center at the corner of 29 and Plank Road in North Garden. Off at the end of the 29 North side you'll find Dr. Ho's Humble Pie. It's just about as humble as the rock group of the same name.

It's a pizzeria, yes, but has a full service menu and bar. One inside, you'll forget you are in a shopping center, with its walls of wood covered in posters, photos, Grateful Dead memorabilia, bumper stickers and you-name-it. The waitstaff are all heavily tattooed - at least all the women that were working there last night were. OK, let's not mince words: It looks like a dive.

But the food is definitely upscale. The soup of the day was leek, and the pizza special, which we ordered, came with roasted tomatoes, shaved country ham and fresh mozzarella on a delicious rustic crust, topped with a huge mound of baby arugula and big squares of Parmesan. The large size was more than enough to feed three hungry skiers and a friend, and we were so full that we couldn't possibly squeeze in one of the very enticing desserts listed on the chalkboard. The restaurant says it uses mostly ingredients from local providers and food artisans.

We'll be back!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When is a dessert not a dessert?

When the dessert includes the words "sweetbreads," "parsnip custard" or "dragon's breath popcorn."

GQ magazine, what were you thinking?

You can see the slideshow here.

Photo from Schwa restaurant, Chicago; slideshow by Alan Richman.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Underrated Mexican beers

Maybe the title of this post should be "Under-distributed Mexican beers" - because those of us who have tasted them have enjoyed them, but we find few other beer lovers who have any idea what we are talking about.

But there's new hope for a more widespread distribution of Noche Buena (my favorite Christmas beer, with the little poinsettia on the label) and Indio (Jim's favorite that he had feared had passed into oblivion): Heineken is buying up their parent company, Femsa (see the New York Times story, here).

Or will the corporate gorilla just focus on two or three most profitable brands and ditch the rest, so that even in Mexico we will be deprived of our favorite brews? Time will tell.