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.

Get your syrup fix with the chestnut cheesecake from tavola. Photo: Elli Williams

Sticky business: Maple syrup pours onto local menus

With days this cold and dark, a little trickle of sweetness goes a long way to cure a mean case of cabin fever. But reserving syrup for breakfast is selling the elixir short. These places around town are seeing the forest through the trees (and they’re not just maple) by treating us to syrup in […]

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Will the tyranny of Robert Parker’s 100-point system prevail?

In December, Robert Parker, the 65-year-old lawyer-cum-wine-scoring demigod, sold a substantial portion of his bi-weekly newsletter, The Wine Advocate, to a group of investors in Singapore. And, a mere month after telling the Wall Street Journal that he would never give up editorial control, he bequeathed his editor-in-chief title to Singapore-based, former Australian wine correspondent […]

While traditionally produced Brunello owes something to the Tuscan sun, it’s Montalcino’s arid climate and complex marine soils that elevate the humble grape, Sangiovese, to holy heights. File photo.

Brunello di Montalcino’s under the Tuscan shadow

Americans have a love affair with Tuscany and few grapes are as quintessentially Italian as the cherished region’s workhorse, Sangiovese. Chianti Classico may be where it’s best known, but it’s in Brunello di Montalcino (where the grape’s grosso clone accounts for 100 percent of the wine) that it’s the most revered. That’s not saying a […]

New York strip club: The Downtown Grille makes for a surprising ladies' night spot. (And don't you dare back down from this 16-ounce steak!) Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Ladies’ night out at the Downtown Grille

Steakhouses, one of the few truly American culinary genres, maintain their appeal by being, in large part, the same the nation over. They typically sport dark wood and leather, a suited host, a wine list heavy on Napa Cabs, iconic starters and sides, melt-in-your-mouth steaks, and frightful prices. Testosterone-dripping man caves, the Scotch flows neat […]

Illustration: Matt Pamer

Doomsday drinks to die for

This is it. On Friday, December 21, we’re all going to die. Our Christmas gifts, 401(k)s, and unexpressed love will go unclaimed. It’d be highly irresponsible for me to advise liquidating your bank accounts, but I can suggest liquidating a pearl or two from your wine cellar (or sock drawer) to enjoy with loved ones—and […]

These ain't SpaghettiOs! Maisie munches down on her favorite, tavola's pork ragu. Photo: Cramer Photo

Good eaters: How to raise an omnivorous child

According to karma, I should have a picky child. (I once threw a fit when my parents stopped at Wendy’s because the hamburgers there are square instead of round.) But not only has Maisie never even eaten a fast food hamburger in her nearly five years of life, but she’s a better, more adventurous eater […]

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Choosing wines for Thanksgiving is easier than you think

Nothing makes a wine columnist feel the freakishly swift passage of days more than the realization that it’s Thanksgiving wine recommendation time yet again. Every year, I consider taking a different approach—or even skipping it entirely, hoping that no one will notice the omission of what’s become an annual expectation. (Especially tempting after our beer […]

Fennel pollen-rubbed pork tenderloin with serrano ham and local apple hash, roasted delicata square, and broccoli rabe. Photo: Elli Williams

Savor the season with squash

With its hard skin, seed-filled cavities, and often unruly size, winter squash can intimidate even the savviest cooks. It’s absolutely worth tackling though—not only is squash inexpensive and packed with vitamins, but it’s also one of the only relics from the garden that can feed you through the winter. Fortunately, even if you don’t get […]

Gabriele Rausse spoke to the group gathered at Staunton's RR Smith Center for the Thomas Jefferson Wine Event. Photo: Ashley Twiggs.

The Judgment of Staunton: Making Thomas Jefferson proud

Every cork dork loves a wine battle, especially when it involves rubbing France’s les nez in how good our wine’s gotten in the past five years. At the third annual Thomas Jefferson Wine Event in Staunton on October 13, Virginia wine won over French in four out of seven blind pairings. But save one man […]

The fish soup with pickled mustard greens at Gingko is a healthy choice. Photo: John Robinson

Bitter and beautiful: Eat yer greens

You can almost feel yourself getting healthier with every bite of the dark, leafy greens that flourish come fall. Nevermind if they’re braised with ham hocks, drenched in cream, or studded with bacon. From collards to bok choy and all the shades in between, these restaurant dishes make it a downright pleasure to eat your […]

Dustin Caster and three friends, all named Chris, opened Scottsville's James River Brewing Company in early September. Photo: John Robinson

Southside brews: James River Brewing opens in Scottsville

Nelson County’s not the only place to go for local beer. Champion Brewing Company, a nanobrewery off Avon Street, will be on Downtown Charlottesville’s map by Thanksgiving weekend, and Scottsville, our neighbor to the south, just got its own place for suds. James River Brewing Company, owned by a team of four beer-loving friends (three […]

Photo: Andrea Hubbell

Say “ahh” not “eww” to these bizarre foods

There’s no such word as “eww” in an omnivore’s vocabulary. While these dishes are far from the beetles and brains that TV personalities get paid to eat, they require a more adventurous palate than your typical restaurant offering. Of course, those brave enough to consume them will be most deliciously rewarded. Nothing cures a hangover […]