Meals on Wheels brings back its popular foodie fundraiser and more local restaurant news

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The Ivy Inn’s Angelo Vangelopoulos will offer delectable bites for a good cause at the Meals on Wheels fundraiser Taste This! on Tuesday. Photo: Robinson photo The Ivy Inn’s Angelo Vangelopoulos will offer delectable bites for a good cause at the Meals on Wheels fundraiser Taste This! on Tuesday. Photo: Robinson photo

Meals on Wheels brings back its popular foodie fundraiser

Charlottesville prides itself on being a food-oriented town, with restaurants, food trucks and breweries popping up left and right. But what doesn’t always get as much attention is the food-and-drink world’s involvement when it comes to giving back to the community.

On September 15, more than a dozen local chefs, bakers and brewers will set up shop at the Boar’s Head Inn for Taste This!, a fundraising event for Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville/Albemarle. They’re volunteering their time and products at no cost to Meals on Wheels, according to volunteer manager Brittany Cane-Conley, and all the proceeds go to the organization. For $75 you can wander from booth to booth, tasting sample-sized portions from places such as MarieBette Café & Bakery, Gear-hart’s Fine Chocolates, Grit Coffee and The Local.

Taste This! has been around for years, but went on a brief hiatus due to staff changes, according to Cane-Conley.

“It’s the primary fundraiser for Meals on Wheels of Charlottesville/Albemarle,” she says. “So this year we’re kind of reinventing it.”

In addition to the 20 or so local purveyors serving up food, beer, coffee, wine and desserts, there will be a cash bar, a silent auction and live jazz music by the Bob Bennetta Trio.

Meals on Wheels Charlottesville/Albemarle delivers lunch to about 275 people per day, using close to 180 volunteers a week. Cane-Conley says people are often surprised to learn that the organization is 100 percent locally funded.

“Meals on Wheels has a sort of umbrella national organization,” she says. “But we receive all our support from local individuals and organizations.”

For more information about Taste This! and to buy tickets, check out www.cville tastethis.com.

Tea time

Good news for any Wahoos who don’t drink coffee. Argo Tea Café, a Chicago-based chain that is trying to change the way Americans drink tea, opened up a location on Grounds just in time for the start of the fall semester. The full-service counter is located in Wilsdorf Café, which is in the first-floor lobby of Wilsdorf Hall. Argo Tea has been making its way around the world, with locations in New York, Boston and Washington D.C., plus overseas in India and Kuwait. College campuses have become home to several of them, and UVA’s director of dining Brent Beringer says it’s a perfect match for UVA.

“On the most basic level, we have a lot of coffee operations here, and of course they serve tea, but it’s not quite the same,” Beringer says. “This is something completely different, and they just do some wonderful things from a food-and-beverage perspective.”

The menu features loose leaf teas from all over the world, plus signature drinks such as the Teappuccino, Mojitea and Iced Maté Laté. And for those of you who have been craving bubble tea, the milky iced tea with chewy pearls waiting at the bottom of the cup is available at Argo.

Marketing spokesman Aaron Brost says people in the U.S. still tend to associate the concept of tea with a bag in a glass of hot water with a lemon, which doesn’t do justice to the most widely consumed beverage in the world.

“Argo Tea has brought a new appreciation for tea,” Brost says. “They’ve really done that with all-natural ingredients, by fresh-brewing using loose leaf tea and injecting great flavor.”

The menu also offers a selection of paninis such as roasted tomato and spinach or wasabi ham and Swiss; salads featuring chickpeas, lentils, edamame or black beans; baked goods including muffins and macaroons; and breakfast items such as quiche and SpecialTea parfaits.

And, no, you don’t have to have a UVA dining plan to try it out.

Smoked or boiled?

You’ll probably see a lot of familiar faces running the food and beverage tents at this year’s Lockn’ festival—local favorites like Jack Brown’s, The Pie Guy, Castle Hill Cider and Shenandoah Joe Coffee will be ready for the hordes of hungry and thirsty festival-goers. New this year is Squeal or Scream, a pop-up restaurant put on by the guys behind Ivy Provisions, Brookville and The Rock Barn. (We use the term “restaurant” loosely considering it’s under a tent, but it will have full table service.)

According to Brookville owner Harrison Keevil, guests will have the option of barbecue, which will include brisket, pulled pork and chicken plus sides, or a low country boil of Rappahannock clams, shrimp, corn, potatoes and Rock Barn sausages. Both meal options are intended to be shared between two people, and the menu will also have beer, lemonade and tea.

“It’s going to be a nice place to come sit down, relax, listen to the music,” Keevil says. “We’ll start everyone off with a couple treats before they get the main event and then send them off with a cookie.”