Monday, November 3, 2008

Hidden (and not so hidden) Gems in Charlottesville, VA

It was UVA's homecoming weekend (and Halloween to boot), which meant that yours truly was headed back to her alma mater for a reunion with friends (and some favorite eats).

Like most alumni, I have fond memories of eating at some local spots. One popular spot at UVA is Arch's, a frozen yogurt shop. Arch's always has vanilla and chocolate frozen yogurt, and a variety of Wow Cow (non-dairy options) flavors. As I drove down 29 into grounds (thats campus for you non-Hoos) I knew I wanted to stop at Arch's for a snack before heading to the Lawn to check out the trick-or-treaters. As I have been craving everything pumpkin, I could only hope they would be offering that particular flavor.

Pumpkin soft serve with chocolate chips.

As I looked up at the flavor offerings I spotted the elusive pumpkin! I asked for a sample (knowing that the wow cow flavors can be hit or miss). It tasted creamy, and sweet with hints of spices. I decided to go with it, topping my selection with chocolate chips. Another good choice would have been the gooey brownie topping (I could eat this half cooked batter all by itself)!

What tasted good at first, gave way to an artificial aftertaste. The chocolate chips saved it, but I wouldn't recommend this pumpkin yogurt. Best to stick with one of the more traditional flavors.

Tomato basil soup at Cafe Europa.

A hidden gem located right on the corner on Univeristy Avenue is Cafe Europa. This restaurant serves up a variety of dishes with a mediteranean flair: hot and cold sandwiches, side salads, and soups. While most places on the corner, were packed on homecoming weekend, this little place was relatively empty. Which worked out well for me and my friends. One of my favorite things to get here is the tomato basil soup. It is sweet and creamy with lovely strands of fresh basil. It is one the best tomato soups I have ever eaten. It comes with a crusty french baguette. On a cool fall evening there is nothing better.

Beaver Creek in Charlottesville, VA.

So I mentioned that it was homecoming weekend and there was a big game vs. Miami right? Well, we spent an unconventional afternoon on gameday. AJ, Dan, Malia, Veronica, and I drove down Ivy Road out to Beaver Creek to enjoy the beautiful weather and some delicious sandwiches.

A turkey, harvarti, cranberry on seven grain baguette from Bel Air.
A popular sandwich place with fourth years and the law student crowd is Bel Air, a deli hidden inside a gas station off of Ivy Rd. These sandwiches were awesome. The turkey was juicy, and the herb mayo and cranberry sauce sang of autumn. There is nothing better than eating a great sandwich in the grass on a sunny cloudless day. The view of the water and changing leaves didn't hurt either. Dan proclaimed his turkey sandwich "the best sandwich I have ever eaten". How's that for a recommendation.

Turkey, calamata olive sprea, lettuce, and tomato on whole wheat everything bagel.

Last but not least, I must mention Bodo's bagel bakery. I eat at Bodo's at least once everytime I visit Charlottesville. This is quite possibly my favorite bagel place. The bagels are served warm. They are chewy, with a soft interior. My favorite bagel being the whole wheat everything. If you are sick of the typical egg, cheese, and meat breakfast sandwhich I would urge you to go with the turkey and calamata olive spread. The olive spread is salty and rich (no need to add cheese). The turkey is juicy and the garlic, onion, and poppy seed pack on more flavor. Now that's a sandwich perfect for anytime of day!


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