Restaurantarama is no different than anyone else. Frankly, at this time of year we are about as enthusiastic about working as we would be about lying naked on a mound of maggoty meat. The late-summer doldrums have set in with a vengeance. We can barely even type these words, so great is our ennui. So we can’t say we hope you’ll understand when, this week, we fail to report anything recognizable as “news.” Actually, we don’t care whether you understand or not.
Sigh. In lieu of news, how about a road trip? How about several of them? This week: restaurants you have to drive to, for a long enough period of time that you can listen to most of a CD during the trip. Like, for example, Grill 151 out in Nellysford. Roll down the windows and pop on some Harry Belafonte for the drive.
The Caribbean tones of Belafonte are in honor of the Puerto Rican background of Juan and Helene Delgado, who opened the grill in March. Their “diner food with a Latin twist” has met with success, says Juan: Already, their secret-family-recipe pancakes have earned a mention on the Food Network’s “Road Tasted” show, and they plan to package the mix for online sales. Also look for tilapia tacos, plus American standbys like steaks and tuna melts.
Or, throw some Bill Monroe on the deck to accompany your drive to Scottsville, where the Dew Drop Inn has recently reopened and thereby revived a link to the days when the bluegrass Monroe helped invent, and the Dew Drop itself, were new. (Our history may be fuzzy here, but Restaurantarama reminds you: We do not care.) The Dew Drop is a family-style place, featured on “The Waltons,” that’s just been revamped by its new owners, Billy and Fran Milstead. (Down the street, Timm Johnson’s River Rock Chop House, opened in February, has now been subsumed by his longer-established Brick Café, right next door. It’s all one big restaurant now.)
Finally, you could fill your ears with the James Bond Orchestra while driving your Aston Martin to Gordonsville for a visit to the 007 Café, but Restaurantarama doesn’t recommend it: They’re closed.
Greek to us
Every month, the Market Street Wineshop hosts a pair of wine dinners, usually at Escafé, during which wines and foods are pleasingly paired and diners are educated about the nuances of this or that wine-producing region. Restaurantarama pulled up a chair at the August dinner in order to swill, make that learn about, Greek wines and to gobble, make that savor, some dishes from that sunny country.
Aside from getting a salad without a tomato (What the hell? Everyone else’s salad had a tomato), we had a lovely time. The tomato thing seemed less important after the fourth glass, and Market Street’s Robert Harllee was charming as he expounded on Greek winemakers’ recent improvements. One reason for this is that the Greeks no longer widely use pine resin as a wine preservative—a change we wholeheartedly support. Another hot tip cribbed from Harllee: This fall will mark the arrival of the glass cork as a widespread replacement for the traditional and, some say, flavor-destroying cork cork.
Finally: The 2003 Xinomavro was hot.
Sandwiches for school
Littlejohn’s Corner location has posted a help-wanted sign referring to a new branch on the campus of Piedmont Virginia Community College. We couldn’t get anyone at the deli to comment, but we’ll keep trying—maybe when these dog days are over.
You heard it here first: A Vavino employee tells us that Coran Capshaw is to buy that Downtown wine bar. More as this story develops.
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