Window into Mediocrity


Coming soon!


Calvino Cafe

Taking up where Milano left off, Calvino has moved into a notoriously difficult-to-promote space jutting out of the Main Street Market. Fortunately, Kate the owner goes out of her way to make your experience here well worth the trek to almost-downtown. Calvino is the new Greenberry's, the new Mudhouse, the new place to study. And thank heaven most people haven't figured that out yet.

But this blog has never been about studying, or, let's face it, I'd be studying instead of writing. This blog is about food. So to the food!

Kate has managed to do a remarkable thing with this tiny space; go seasonal with a limited menu. For the summer, a shrimp and spinach number with deliciously roasted tomatoes has a bright lemon zing. It might be the most "refreshing" lunch in town for this time of year. In the winter, shrimp is traded with lamb for a stick-to-your-ribs wrap. It is bested as comfort food only by 1) the pork and tuscan bean wrap, also at Calvino, and 2) my mom's brisket. And, perhaps most importantly, there is flavor. It avoids all of the complaints I had regarding Orzo's Orzo, despite being run under the same flag. I can't imagine going to Orzo for lunch when better, cheaper food is around the corner.

Breakfast may be another matter. While the egg paninis are good, they harken back to the awkward panini that Orzo was trying to pull off for lunch. The large chunk of egg is filling, but a bit greasy, and makes it difficult to taste anything else. That being said, unless you want to wait for Bluegrass Grill & Bakery, Calvino has the second-best breakfast in town. Impressive when dozens of restaurants now pretend to serve brunch.

The blended drink options are supposedly fantastic as well; I am yet to try them, so consider this review partially incomplete. But the coffee is certain amazing - significantly better than a place like Greenberry's - and Kate cares about what she serves which clearly comes through.

Buried in there is the main problem. The owner may care, but no one can be there 24 hours a day. Beware of the service when the owner is absent - the children get lazy, the food gets half-assed, and it seems people are more concerned with perfecting their mozy than getting you a delicious wrap.

All in all, Calvino is unquestionably worth it (lord knows I'm there more than I'm in my own apartment) and a fantastic place to study. A final note: bring a sweater - that place gets chilly.

- M.

I have a dream

Of reshaping this blog into a general food blog. Not just reviews, but recipes, gadgets, food knowledge in general. This is primarily because I wanted a page somewhere that has a list of all mushrooms, and which ones had stems you could eat, and which ones had stems you could not.

But it's frankly a lot of work. If I don't have any readers. So if this is something you'd like to see (and contribute to? possibly?) let me know!


A Comment

Occasionally I make food-type comments here, especially where (as now) I haven't been to a new place in a while. So here's one.

Oprah had someone on her show on Wednesday telling people to baste their turkey every 15 minutes. This practically ensured that millions of housewives all over the planet served dry turkey last night. I thought it was settled that basting was bad, and that opening the oven often released the heat and thus increased the cooking time.

Thoughts? Did you baste?


Climbing the Heights

Boylan Heights

Thank Gd Orbit went out of business. Srsly? Srsly. That place was kind of a dump and filled with dive bar awkwardness. Ug. And you know what? It's been replaced with a restaurant. A good restaurant. Nay, a great one. This may have to enter the Charlottesville top 10.

Boylan Heights is a burger joint, yes, and Charlottesville is kind of famous for it's amazingly delicious burgers. The White Spot, even chains like Five Guys, have a huge rep for some unknown reason amongst UVA students. I personally don't like either. They're greasy and they don't sit well. I don't want to eat something knowing that it's gonna give me mud butt in about 15 minutes. Yeah, I said mud butt. In a food blog. What? So in my opinion, Boylan Heights beats them both hands down. Because the burgers are good. Not like "mm this grease is coating my throat so it must be good." Like actually, really good. And you remember its goodness. It's not like a bad night drinking, which feels good going down but you rarely remember it fondly. Go to Boylan Heights. Don't eat Five Guys and drive.

Ok, now on to an actual review! Boylan Heights hit three notes really well: the beer, the appetizers, the burgers. To be honest, all I had was a Guiness, so I can't talk about more indie beers there. But the menu seemed extensive, and certainly designed to complement this gastropub feel. The appetizers are remarkably good. Who knew corndogs could be this good? Really plump Kosher hot dogs (really, the only good kind, and this coming from someone who worships at the altar of Pork) in a delicious batter with a zingy-but-not-too-zingy sauce. Let's be real, if anyone is going to be prejudiced against a corndog it's me. But these are craveworthy. Plus, you'll be those cool kids who ordered corndogs when everyone else thought it was silly.

Onto the burgers. There are two options for this, the first is to choose from a pre-set selection of 5 or 6 burgers, including the B.O.M.B. (the Burger Of the Month Burger, brought to you by the Redundancy Center for Redundancy). But why do that when you can build your own....on scantron. That's right, in keeping with the "college" theme of the whole restaurant, the menu is on a scantron sheet complete with number two pencils. You can choose the following, all for less than $8:

Type of bun (regular? english muffin? no bun, if you're avoiding carbs, but srsly, who does that nowadays? Atkins is so 2003).

Type of patty (veggie? turkey? beef? - you can double up for an extra $2.something bucks)

A sauce
A cheese
3 regular toppings
Extra money for premium toppings

The options are limitless. Feeling traditional? There's always a beef burger on a bun with mushrooms, onions, bacon, some provolone or swiss, mustard. Or go greek, with turkey and tzatziki sauce with some feta, cucumbers, and olive tapanade. There are probably hundreds of choices. Enjoy.

Oh, and make it a combo with some DELICIOUS sweet potato fries. They're healthier for you than regular fries. Srsly. Sweet potatoes have so many nutrients...most of which leave during the frying process, but ignore that part.

All in all, Boylan Heights may be one of the best Charlottesville has to offer.