FOOD- THE DISH- The joy of cooking: BBQ-ers say good-bye to Adkins
Pig Daddy's owner Steve Adkins, seen here in 2005, will be missed in the BBQ community.
FILE PHOTO BY CHRISTINA BALL
Last week, friends, family members, and BBQ lovers around town mourned the loss of Stephen Douglas Adkins, 39, who died suddenly on November 11. Adkins owned Pig Daddy's BBQ on Avon Court, just off Avon Street Extended, and his concoctions have been a familar presence at UVA football games as well as at places like the Bellair and Shadwell markets.
"Steven was very passionate about his style of BBQ," says champion BBQer John Atkins, owner of the BBQ Connection. "He once related to me that cooking BBQ gave him great joy in pleasing his customers."
Indeed, Adkins expressed that joy to Dish in a 2005 column ["Avon calling: Pig Daddy's moves BBQ indoors," June 9, 2005]. Atkins' landscaping career did include a couple of run-ins with customers that were written up in the Hook's "Fearless Consumer" column, and after the 2002 drought put the kibosh on that business, he started cooking BBQ full time. He never looked back.
"No one ever told me, 'This is the best mulch job I've ever had,'" he said, "but they do say it about my barbecue."
Guestbook entries on the Teague Funeral Home's website (teaguefuneralhome.com) and on the Daily Progress website (dailyprogress.com) describe Adkins as someone who could always make people laugh, could imitate the lion in the Wizard of Oz perfectly, and could make some awesome hush puppies. Family members could not immediately be reached for comment, so we're not sure yet if Pig Daddy's will keep making its fab BBQ, but we'll keep you posted.
"He will be truly missed in the Charlottesville BBQ community," says Atkins.
Along with Fleurie, Hamiltons' at First and Main, Ivy Inn Restaurant, L'étoile, Mas Tapas Bar, OXO, Palladio Restaurant, Petit Pois, Revolutionary Soup, and many other restaurants in town, Basic Necessities in Nellysford is part of the local slow food revolution. Now owners Kay Pfaltz, Keith Dix, and Bev Lacey have upped the ante by hiring one of the area's original slow-fooders, Chef Gail Hobbs Page, who'll be guest-chefing at the little Nelson County eatery several nights a week.
"Gail is one of Charlottesville's original 'localvores'," says Pfaltz. "For the past 12 years, she's been a leader in our Eat-Local movement. She passionately embraces the philosophy that if it can be trucked in from somewhere else, it can be produced right here in Central Virginia!"
The idea is that locally produced food– produced within a 100-mile radius of where you live– is the complete package when it comes to eating healthy, protecting the environment, and taking a stand against the corporate, government-subsidized farm industry. (Unfortunately, it appears the government is taking its own stand against local foodies. Recently, local farmers Richard Bean and Jean Rinaldi were arrested for mislabeling their pork products. Perhaps that's why so many refer to the movement as a revolution.)
Page was recently featured on the PBS series Endless Feast, which focused on chefs across the country who "cook locally." She also owns Caromont Farmstead Chevre and makes goat cheese with milk from her herd of 60 Nubians, Alpines, and La Manchas in southern Albemarle.
Pfaltz, a writer who teaches in Mary Baldwin's adult degree program and leads food, wine, and literature tours to France, opened Basic Necessities in 1997 with her partner, Judy Nelson (yes, of Martina Navratilova fame) after living in Paris for 10 years.
"I felt rural Nelson County needed the basic necessities of life," says Pfaltz. "... good wine, fresh bread, real cheese and chocolate, the things found on every street corner in France."
While Pfaltz admits their cuisine isn't really French, it's fresh, homemade, and local and/or organic when possible.
"We try to stay far away from factory farmed meats and the big food companies such as US Foods, Sysco, and the like," she says.
Pfaltz describes the atmosphere as provençal or Mediterranean. With only six tables out back on a screened porch, and a working fireplace in the winter, it could also be described as a unique, cozy little getaway.
"We're small, casual, and kind of funky," she says.
Dinner to go at Café LaJoi
Amy Bishop at Café LaJoi, which opened in the old Baggby's Gourmet Sandwiches Forest Lakes location in September, reports that the eatery will now be open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until 7pm for dinner, and will offer delivery service in Forest Lakes subdivision and surrounding areas. As we've reported before, Café LaJoi is a family affair, run with the help of Bishop's husband, Lee, and her mother, Vicky Branham, as well as other family members. And as readers may recall, the Bishop/Branham clan also opened Hoo's Brew– next door to Dürty Nelly's on JPA– back in February.