Barbeque Exchange: Worth the Drive

About ten minutes in to dinner I turned to Shaun and said, “You know what? I’ve never had barbecue before now.” My well-kept secret stunned him, but the shock faded as we both realized the more surprising thing about that revelation was what I was really saying: “I never had barbecue…until I became a vegetarian.”

Barbeque Exchange is a restaurant off of Main Street in nearby Gordonsville that often tweets things like, “STICKY LOVE BACON!!!!!!!!” or “oh, and yes, we have bacon doughnuts today…” so you could see why an herbivore like me would easily overlook it. But the moment I discovered that they had vegetarian barbecue, I was sold. Since we were out in the country this afternoon hiking, we figured it would be the perfect evening to make the trip.

The place has a quaint, barn-like feel, with wooden benches in lieu of tables and a front porch covered with pumpkins and figurines of pigs [tripped over those a few times]. The BBQ “pit” is outside near the parking lot, so you smell the smokiness as soon as you park your car.


You enter, line up, and order from an assembly-line-style spread [think: like a Chipotle or Subway but INFINITELY COOLER]. As soon as I chose the “Fu-Q” [smoked tofu barbecue oh my god], the Barbecue Genius Girl immediately let me in on which side dishes were also vegetarian [which I really, really appreciated, by the way]. Surprisingly, I was only unable to have two of the eight or nine sides. I ended up with the “Fu-Q” Platter: smoked tofu barbecue, cornbread, and two small sides of mac-and-cheese and pepper cabbage. Who could forget their selection of pickles? I got a little cup of garlic ones to snack on.

TOFU: good thing my arm got in the way. 😦

Shaun got a pork belly platter with a pumpkin muffin, broccoli salad and macaroni salad.

and a tiny sample of spicy slaw.

To share: fried pickles. These put every fried pickle I have ever had to shame. I guess this is the perfect time to reveal that I’ve eaten fried pickles on more than one occasion.

you don't even need that ranch.


sauces to sample.

Shaun sipped on a Starr Hill from the cold case, while I tried [for the first time!] a Kutztown Diet Birch Beer, bottled right around the corner from my hometown in PA.


THIS MEAL WAS BOMB. There’s really no other way to say it. “Delicious” seems too dainty. Bomb. Like,  sweet-and-spicy-and-creamy flavor EXPLOSION in my mouth. There were some stars that shined brighter than others: the broccoli salad – made with peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, carrots, broccoli and more [also loved how the server immediately asked if we had any allergies when we ordered it]; the cornbread; the pumpkin muffin [tasted like Thanksgiving morning]; and of course, my tofu barbecue. The combination of smoky tofu and sweet barbecue sauce added a new dimension to a protein I eat all too often. I could do without the mac-and-cheese [too thick for my liking], but everything else blew my mind.

Barbeque Exchange truly is a gem. It allowed me to take part in a Southern tradition that I never would have experienced otherwise, and it allowed Shaun to satisfy a meat craving without leaving me in the dust. It’s the perfect compromise.

Shaun, before the meal: “Oh my god I could eat here once a week.”

Shaun, halfway through the meal: “OK, maybe once every two weeks.”

Shaun, after finishing his meal and the leftovers from mine: “OK, maybe this place will be a special treat.”

It’s definitely number one on the dinner list for the next time we head to Barboursville Vineyards. It’s just a few, worthwhile miles down the road!

IN OTHER NEWS: We came home to a bird in our upstairs bathroom. More specifically, he was hiding in the toilet.




There’s no sign of an entry point, but we certainly don’t recall him being in there this morning before we left. We freed him by shooing him out an open window, but not before he hid under the bed. What is more, the bird fiasco happened after we pulled over on Route 20 to attempt to save a stray beagle who was running in the road. We couldn’t catch him, and ended up stopping traffic on both sides of R20, so we had to forfeit our cause… I hope the little guy is alright. Cross your fingers!


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Categories: C-Ville, Food


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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