Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dr. Ho's Humble Pie

Feeding North Garden and C-ville for a few years, Dr. Ho’s makes some excellent pies. About 9 miles south of Charlottesville along 29, Ho’s sits on the left at the intersection with Plank Road Rt. 692. The shop anchors a white two story shopping center called The Crossroads Store. The d├ęcor is hippie, random trinkets and pothead cliches, quite a contrast to the polished exterior of the building. Even with Mellow Mushroom on the Corner, there is enough room in this town for two nexi of drug culture and pizza.

Currently pitchers of Red Hook IPA Long Hammer are on draught for $9. They only have one draught beer but plenty of bottles, Sierra Nevada if you want to join the table reminiscing about Phish tours of yore. Having gone years ago, when the place was under previous ownership, I reckoned a Humble Pie seemed appropriate. A smorgasbord with sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, cheddar, a humble pie will do much to dampen that beer buzz. No one leaves underfed. Criticized by some for being topping heavy, this is part of the charm of Ho Pie. As a pit stop to or from points south of Charlottesville, Dr. Ho will not disappoint those craving some good old hippie pizza.

3586 Monacan Trail Rd
North Garden, VA 22959
(434) 245-0000

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day?

The April 15-21 C-ville ("Picking through your curbside recycling") ran a short article about where the materials collected by the RWSA and City of Charlottesville really end up. It turns out that once a day a truck heads to Richmond where the items are sorted and either discarded or sold in bulk, sometimes to as far away as China. Aw shit! The website doesn't provide much more information about where all the stuff goes. It only addresses how easy it is to contract with TFC. A 19News story gave more of an idea where the trash ends up. For county recyclers, here's the RWSA site. We're moving in the right direction, but it's not perfect yet.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Changes at the Anderson Bros. Building

The Cavalier Daily confirmed some rumors today. (see article) It was only a matter of time for Plan 9 on the corner to meet its demise, but Just Curry, Satellite Ballroom, and Higher Grounds are all viable. Having hosted a number of awesome shows in the last three years under the pressed tin ceiling, Satellite Ballroom will be unlikely to reproduce a similar atmosphere elsewhere in town. I think the warehouse next to Atlantic Futon on Commerce Street could be a good spot. It looks empty whenever I've looked in the windows. Just Curry is going to do well in the new transit center location and it sounds like another Corner location may eventually happen. Higher Grounds makes so much money in the hospitals, it may want to just concentrate its efforts, but more coffee places are always a good thing.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Making Room

There are numerous construction projects going on around town. Some of the more notable ones include the South Lawn Project, demolition of the former Boxer/Central Fidelity Bank building, and demolition of a hospital parking garage to make way for the Emily Couric Cancer Center (which began this last weekend). A trip to NYC a week ago showed that some construction trends are unlikely to catch on here, such as building on top of another building (9th Ave in the 50's) or tearing the back off a church to both save the facade and erect a high-rise apartment building behind it (East Village).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pete's Park -n- Eat

Heading to the Northeast from C-ville often takes one on Route 29 at least as far as Interstate 66. The largest town along this road is Culpeper but pulling that far off the Seminole Trail to find food isn't the best option when trying to make good time. As an alternative to the fast food chains lining the four-lane byway, Pete's Park-n-eat in Opal, Virginia offers the same items as the McDonald's across the street, burgers, fries, and shakes, as they were meant to be served.The fries were fryer crisp, the best part of the road snack. The burger was a thin wafer of bland meat substance that left a bad taste afterward. Waiting longer than at a fast-food restaurant creates anticipation, but the burger was a real disappointment. The milkshakes are much better than the chemical ooze McDonald's dispenses. The selection at Pete's is amazing, from pizza and subs to shrimp baskets and burgers. Plus, there are some overgrown little-shop-of-horrors tropical plants standing watch inside the fifty year old building. With all this character, it's worth stopping once, but there are enough other options to and from Charlottesville to keep me hunting for the perfect food stop on James Madison Highway. Bavarian Chef? Madison Pig 'N Steak? Next time.

Pete's Park-N-Eat
Intersection of 29 and 17
10088 James Madison Highway, Bealeton
phone (540) 439-8928

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Charlottesville CSA's

The April 1-7 C-ville Weekly featured an article about area CSA's. The article provided some excellent background information on the growing number of community supported agriculture organizations. I recommend reading it. I had not before heard of the hard times that befell the Best of What's Around (BOWA) last summer. It turns out "members were offered refunds because of a hitch in production, and a large percentage...left the CSA." Of those with workshares, most of them stayed. Perhaps with more invested in time, those with workshares understood the difficulty of keeping up production. Unlike a few of the other featured farms, BOWA still has some shares available this summer.

The article within the article ("Trouble in paradise: Controversy grows over Horse & Buggy Produce", p. 22) discussed Horse & Buggy, which technically isn't a CSA. The title makes it sounds as if there is a controversy. The bottom line is that CSA people are upset because Horse & Buggy takes customers that would otherwise join a CSA. Brett Wilson, an effusive and energetic overalls-wearing man, runs the outfit. He buys produce in wholesale lots, a majority coming from Mennonite farmers near Dayton, VA. Some food may come from as far away as Pennsylvania. Therefore, the food isn't exactly local, but it's better than food from California or Chile. Second, some of the farmers use pesticides. Not mentioned in the article, but something that struck me as counter to the aims of the local, spray-free movement, was that the lettuce is grown hydroponically. Does hydroponic lettuce from Virginia have less of a carbon footprint than organic lettuce from CA? Maybe. So, Horse & Buggy is not a CSA and it's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. Plus they have excellent bread, granola, chickens, apples, cucumbers, and eggs.

The winner in my mind is Appalachia Star farm. It's family run and there are 2-3 acres in production providing 50 shareholders 40 different varieties of vegetables for 22 weeks for $328. Keep an eye out of them at the downtown market.