FOOD- THE DISH- Divine brunch: Fellini's serves up omelets in drag

Farmer Richard Bean was arrested September 21 for mislabeling his pork products, which are purchased by area restaurants, but local support for his Double H Farm is still strong.

Whatever Fellini's #9 might lack (and Dish isn't saying there is a lack) in the typical measures of a restaurant's success– food quality, atmosphere, service, etc.– they more than make up for in sheer inventiveness. First, owner Jacie Dunkle hosts a trivia night that has become a Tuesday night tradition, then there's a "blind dining" night, where diners are served and must eat with the lights out (Incidentally, Dunkle says the blind dinning event was a "huge" success). Now prepare for an eye-popping Sunday drag brunch.

Taking their cue from Godfrey's in Richmond, where drag queens (or female illusionists, if you prefer) perform and serve brunch every Sunday, Fellini's is working on a third drag brunch, which Dunkle plans to host every third Sunday if the event continues to be popular. The next one is scheduled for November 18. 

"We sort of modeled it after Godfrey's," says Dunkle, "but we don't have a stage, and the drag queens only perform, they don't serve. But it has been great fun."

Indeed, the drag brunch at Godfrey's has become legendary, featuring such divas as Codi Collins, Amallia Black, Deja, Chelsea Pearl, India Spaulding, and Alvion Arnell. 

Can Charlottesville divas compare? 

While Dunkle doesn't name names (except for "Dallys," who'll be there November 18) she says the drag queens vary from month to month, which makes for some special surprises at each brunch. And who knows? You might even see someone you know!

Meals on Wheels celebrates 30!

Now here's a fun and morally balanced way to spend Sunday, November 18– go to Fellini's drag brunch in all its epicurean splendor, then atone by attending a Harvest Dinner at Hamiltons' at First & Main to benefit Meals on Wheels. 

You'll still indulge your senses with a six-course dinner– without the big hair, thick eye-shadow, and red lipstick– but the $100 you'll spend per plate will go toward serving up hot meals for folks unable to cook for themselves or leave their homes for a night out. 

Kudos to Meals on Wheels, an organization that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and to Kate and Bill Hamilton, who continue to support worthy causes while serving up some of our area's finest cuisine. So, show some support, people– call 434-293-4364 for tickets.  

Juice me!

Last weekend, Elliewood Avenue on the Corner saw the opening of a healthy alternative to fast food–Sublime All-Natural Food & Juice Bar. Featuring such crunchy delicacies as wheat-grass shots, fresh squeezed organic juices, and organic coffees, teas, cookies, and other guilt-free yummies, the juice joint is planning a Grand Opening weekend ceremony beginning Friday, November 2, complete with a ribbon cutting by City Councilor and Vegetarian Festival Founder Dave Norris. 

"There'll be introductory specials and delicious samples all weekend," promises owner Tim Rose. "So, come on down and enjoy the fun of delicious vitality!"

Man, if Sublime has as much vitality as its owner, we could all be juicing it on the Corner.  

Wagons circle the Double H

On October 20, the plight of Nelson County farmers Richard Bean, 62, and Jean Rinaldi, 60, who were arrested September 21 for mislabeling their pork products, made page one of the Washington Post. As the Hook reported last month [ "Pork bust: Local farmers arrested," September 27], Double H Farm owners Bean and Rinaldi found themselves in some deep pig slop when they broke several FDA regulations regarding the processing of their pigs, and used old labels on their pork products that said "Certified Organic," even though the meat was not organic.  

"Using the old labels was a knuckle-head move on our part," Bean admitted to the Hook, acknowledging the "rule is still the rule, even though it may be wrong." 

"But," he added, "it was certainly not an attempt to defraud anyone."

While some people– particularly organic farmers who believe that breaking the rules give small farmers a bad name– have expressed little sympathy for Bean and Rinaldi, supporters of the local food movement have come to their aid.

"I spoke to Richard Bean this week, and he said he was so grateful and humbled by the community support he and Jean are getting," says Kate Collier of Feast, who is continuing to buy as much produce from Double H as she can use. "I think the arrests have raised people's awareness of the issue and kicked them into action in support of our small farmers. I hope our legislators listen and fight for the small farmers." 

Collier says the arrests have pushed her and others into political action, such as sending letters to the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and local politicians calling for more support for local farms and farmers. Collier also says a wall in the Main Street Market has become a hub for the latest news and information about the local food movement. Last weekend, she reports, Polyface Farm's Joel Salatin held an event to discuss changing state legislation for local farms.

"As Michael Pollan said in his talk at Sweet Briar College two weeks ago, 'We vote with our forks and pocketbooks,'" recalls Collier. "Shopping local keeps the character of our community viable."