Friday, October 26, 2007

Fox Park Coffee Bar

Behind Baja Bean and in line with the recently opened Black Cat Skate Shop and Kulture (head shop), Fox Park Coffee Bar opened under a blue awning last Wednesday. Having promised its opening since late August, NFC was eager to try the new java offering on the corner. Fox Park joins Starbucks and Higher-Grounds-in-Plan9. As for Fox Park's coffee, it's excellent. The standard cup contains a fair trade Haitian variety, available in light, medium, and dark brews. The espresso drinks also satisfy. A variety of cellophane wrapped pastries are available on the counter. Sitting is encouraged by a row of tables with metal chairs, a counter, and free WiFi. However, the lighting is a bit harsh and the walls currently bare; it needs more clutter. As a place to study Starbucks has its drawbacks (it's Starbucks); Higher-Grounds-in-Plan9 has the booths with free Wifi but could never be called cozy; its smaller space could make Fox Park the best place for reading/studying/caffeine on the corner, but instead, with its front windows, lighting, and metallic touches, it feels like a display case. Radiohead and Ben Folds made some repeat visits to the playlist. The radio (106.1 or 91.9) might be more egalitarian. All this aside, Fox Park's proximity and its amazing (quite caffeinated) product will foster repeat visits, but when I want a cozy spot on a rainy day, I'll travel downtown to the Mudhouse.

1325 W Main St
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 293-3307

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wilco - 10/20/07

Wilco played a stellar show at the Pavilion on Saturday night. (All I have to show for it is a crappy picture. Yes, Tweedy's wearing a cowboy hat) The sound was incredible and the band kept playing as seen below in the 27 song set list. Between this show and the Flaming Lips last year, The Pavilion is clearly the best live venue in town.

1. Sunken Treasure
2. You Are My Face
3. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
4. Shake It Off
5. Handshake Drugs
6. Impossible Germany
7. Sky Blue Sky
8. It's Just That Simple
9. Muzzle Of Bees
10. A Shot In The Arm
11. Side With The Seeds
12. Hummingbird
13. War On War
14. Via Chicago
15. Jesus, Etc.
16. Too Far Apart
17. Walken
18. I'm The Man Who Loves You
Encore 1
19. Misunderstood
20. Hate It Here
21. Heavy Metal Drummer
Encore 2
22. Red-Eyed And Blue
23. I Got You (At The End Of The Century)
24. Casino Queen
25. Outtasite (Outta Mind)
26. Hoodoo Voodoo
Encore 3
27. Spiders (Kidsmoke)


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Albemarle Pippin

An older text describes one of the area's claims to fame.

Along the eastern side of the blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, with Crozet near Charlottesville as center in the called the Piedmont, is another apple district from which large quantities of fine-flavored varieties are annually exported to England. The chief apples of this region are two dessert apples, Winesap and Albemarle Pippin, called after Albemarle County, Virginiia, but grown in the West under the name of Newtown Pippin. Thomas Jefferson grew this variety near Charlottesville, in Albemarle County, before the Revolutionary War, and the American minister to England in the first year of Queen Victoria’s reign, coming from that county, presented her royal highness with several barrels of Albemarle Pippins, which pleased her so much that she had the duty on apples removed; from that time to this the Albemarle Pippin has gone to England in steadily increasing quantities. It is said that where the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains west of Charlottesville, one can walk along the slope of the mountain for seven miles and pass continuously from one apples orchard into the next.

Smith, Joseph Russell. The World’s Food Resources. H. Holt and Co. 1919: 385.

Having collected a few of these treasures from Carter's Mountain - among the throngs of weekend visitors - it was time to see what all the fuss was about. An ugly apple indeed, the pulp was crisp and tart but with a nice finish. As these apples supposedly age very well, the rest will be eaten over the coming weeks. According to one of the cashiers on Carter's Mountain, the drought limited this year's crop of Pippins. This weekend and the last were the only times they were being offered. In a February 2007 Daily Progress Article one of the owners of Carter's Mountain said that Albemarle Pippin demand was not rising. With a decreased harvest this year and the weekend hoards, I picked my few apples from a couple handfuls left in the bin.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Working on a Saturday

For at least a week, the above sign has been hanging askew on W. Main Street just east of Spry's Barbecue.As the Cavaliers were taking on the Huskies, city workers quickly righted it.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mas Tapas

Since opening in 2002/2003, Mas Tapas has been joined by a number of other restaurants in the trendy Belmont neighborhood. Only a short walk from the downtown mall and with plenty of on-street parking, Mas is certainly accessible. And it is certainly another restaurant that can be added to the list when discounting Charlottesville food naysayers.

The yellow paper menu offers an ample list of dishes, either tapas size or raciones. While the chefs cook just behind the far end of the bar, the Sangria keeps the party going. For two people four tapas are reccommended. Papas bravas, plato de jamon, chuletas de cordero (lamb chops), and an apple dessert item can get things started if nothing jumps out. There is plenty of space. The outside patio is always full. Brunch receives rave reviews. There is a long bar with tables along the opposite wall. A sunken area in the back, empty during warm months, provides another group of tables.

Dinner for 2: $60

501 Monticello Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 979-0990