Megan J. Headley

Megan J. Headley ate and drank her way through the food and wine worlds of New York, San Francisco, and Florence before pulling up a permanent seat at Charlottesville's bountiful table in May 2006. After a few years as an accidental restaurateur, she began writing The Working Pour in June 2009, contributing to All You Can Eat in January 2011, then took on the enviable yet filling job of Food & Wine Editor in September 2011. With other writing projects and a plucky preschooler under her domain, hobbies beyond cooking, making Playdoh snails, and orchestrating weddings between Snow White and Eeyore have been shelved for the time being.

Organic chicken liver paté with cornichon relish and dijon mustard is among the classic appetizers on the menu at Tastings of Charlottesville. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Tried-and-true Tastings of Charlottesville

With new restaurants in the spotlight, it’s easy to forget about our culinary forerunners. And nothing about Tastings of Charlottesville, the space under the Market Street parking garage, lets on to the gem that lies within. After 22 years, it’s still, as owner Bill Curtis calls it, “Charlottesville’s best-kept secret,” and though it’s tempting to […]

Photo: John Robinson

Will forage for food: Local dinner series borrows and thrifts

For the food-obsessed, the traditional restaurant experience can sometimes be a snooze. If it’s not a here today, gone tomorrow pop-up, a dinner cooked by a guest chef flown in from Copenhagen, or a meal centered around an especially fatty type of swine, they’d rather stay home and cook the next recipe in their sauce-splattered […]

It's the cheesiest. The Citizen Burger Bar menu offers two different grilled cheese choices. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Glorious grilled cheese: Toasty, easy, and just plain tasty

The combination of buttered bread with melted cheese goes far beyond its simple ingredients. Once grilled (and dipped into a steaming bowl of tomato soup), it delivers instant comfort. The illustrious sandwich has grown up since its Campbell’s days and these local examples highlight the icon in all its gooey glory. There’s a lot on […]

Transitional, easygoing red wines from Italy's Piemonte region will keep you warm this fall. File photo.

The obscure reds of Piemonte

Now that our nights are dipping down to cellar temperatures, we can turn our attention back to red wines. No need to jump the gun though. There’s a whole category of transitional reds equivalent to fashion’s blazers that’ll warm you up and keep you going in style—unlike the Gigondas and Snuggie reserved for wintertime. Freisa, […]

At Brookville, a loaded potato gets gourmet fixins'. Photo: John Robinson

Hot potato: All about the spuds

Potatoes don’t get much starring glory in the culinary world. Mashed, roasted, hashed, caked, or baked, the humble spud is usually the sideshow of the plate. Versatility’s a virtue, though, and these dishes raise the lowly tuber to holy heights. At Brookville Restaurant, the loaded baked potato goes gourmet: crinkly, roasted fingerlings get topped with […]

Eppie's Santa Monica salad.

Big ass salads: Large and in charge

There are those salads that make you feel deprived the minute you order them. And then there are those salads that make no apologies, satisfying like a steak and potatoes. They’re of generous size and chock full of delicious (and not necessarily healthy) ingredients. We call them Big Ass Salads and we love them. These […]

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A back-to-school wine quiz to test your vinous knowledge

Summer’s on its way out and with it go the breezy drinks that require little more thought than “what time is it anyway?” Let’s brush up a bit on the beverage that makes adulthood and the return to routine much more bearable. 1. What are the by-products of wine’s fermentation process? a) Sugar and vinegar […]

Photo: John Robinson

Beet it: Getting to the root of this fall favorite

For those of you out there who don’t like beets, you’re missing out. Since many a beet-hater’s distaste comes from having first tried them in a can (instead of raw or roasted), it’s time to try again, but this time, without holding your nose closed. Beets’ hues range from ruby red to gold to pink-and-white […]

Photo: John Robinson

Camino chugs along serving a crew of regulars

There will always be restaurants that change hands so often that it’s hard to keep track. While the little cheese wedge of a restaurant next to the Vinegar Hill Theater has stood as its current incarnation—Camino—for nearly three years now, it was Il Cane Pazzo for three years before that, and L’Avventura for eight years […]

About 91 percent of the wine produced in the Rhône Valley, which stretches from Vienne to Avignon, is red. File photo.

Rhône’s white wines are as worthy as its reds

Behind every good man is a good woman—and behind every good red wine is a good white one. From the precipitous slopes of Côte-Rôtie to the stone-stacked soils of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (and many of the 150 miles in between), southeastern France’s Rhône Valley produces red wines deserving of adulation. Though standing in their long-cast shadows are […]

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Fig out! Savory and sweet is this feast-worthy fruit

Fresh figs, worshipped by cultures worldwide since 4000BC, are proof that there’s a higher being. Looks deceive, until rough skin the color of a bruise gives way to a shiny geode-like interior. Figs’ texture is anything but structural though—they quiver when you cut them and their delicate seeds crunch ever so slightly between your teeth. […]

Photo: Andrea Hubbell

My other kitchen: Chef Chris Humphrey’s common ground

Restaurant people know that the best way to avoid passing your spouse like a ship in the night is to marry another restaurant person—double points if she works in the same restaurant. Rapture’s Executive Chef Chris Humphrey and longtime waitress, Sarah, tied the knot last fall and now see one another at work six days […]

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You had me at B… BLT, that is

The BLT, that divine triumvirate that defines the taste of summer, makes good use of the late season tomato whose flesh isn’t quite as taut as it used to be and whose juices need little coaxing before they’re dripping down your arms. These eight places have their own takes on this glorious sandwich that’s a […]

C&O owner Dave Simpson and a team of oenophiles are making their way through the 6,000-bottle treasure trove Elaine Futhey left behind after retiring two months ago. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

A changing of the guard in C&O’s cellar

No story on the C&O would be complete without mention of its wine cellar. We’ve crowned the calligraphied list Best of C-VILLE seven-plus years running and it’s won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence every year since 1996. But regulars will notice a gaping hole in the list next time they visit—the person who (literally) wrote […]

Dean Maupin completed his purchase of the C&O on June 4, but don’t worry—no big changes are in store. Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Always warm, always charming, always C&O

Inside the C&O’s big wooden door, it was cool and dark and reminiscent of lovely evenings spent there—some for occasions, others for a final drink on a night I wasn’t ready to end. Volumes could be filled with patrons’ stories, but it was those of proprietor Dave Simpson (who’s eminently quotable, but especially on the […]

Early Mountain Vineyards hosts its third annual Holiday Open House the weekend of December 8. Photo courtesy Early Mountain Vineyards.

Early Mountain Vineyards celebrates the best of Virginia

Walking into Early Mountain Vineyards never having been to Sweely Estate in the five years that it stood as such before narrowly escaping two foreclosure sales in 2010, I couldn’t help but think, “No wonder.” Jess and Sharon Sweely clearly spared no expense when they transformed the 305-acre Madison County farm into a state-of-the-art operation […]

Promises, promises. The folks at Shenandoah Joe say their iced brew is the best you’ll ever have. Photo by Andrea Hubbell.

Cool beans: The buzz on local iced coffee

When a hot afternoon turns sleepy, iced coffee’s the perfect pick-me-up to get you through the rest of the day. Aficionados seem to be split over which method makes better iced coffee. Some say coffee needs to be cold-brewed to temper its bitterness. Others insist that hot coffee-turned-cold is the only way to maintain its […]

Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce? Trust us—you’ll want the White Spot’s legendary Gus Burger with all the fixins’, including the fried egg. (Photo by Ron Dressel)

Bodacious burgers: Get your hands around one of these

When a burger craving strikes, little can be accomplished until you’ve got your hands around a bun with meat juices dripping down your chin. Here’re 10 big-league, non-chain burgers that satisfy (and inspire) the meanest of cravings. Boylan Heights’ Room 121 tops an organic beef patty with American cheese, bibb lettuce, beefsteak tomato, bacon, diced […]