The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Five Finds on Friday: Ellen Searcy


On Fridays we feature five finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Ellen Searcy, the winner of the drawing to be our first reader participant.  An attorney who has lived in Charlottesville since 2006, Searcy has been obsessed with rabbit since Craig Hartman served bunny sausages at Fossett’s in 2008.  Searcy’s picks:

1)  Duck, Bunny, & Pig Stew at MAS Tapas.  “My favorite food in Charlottesville.  Whenever it’s on the menu, we order one, then regret not ordering two.”

2)  Rabbit Terrine at JM Stock.  “When my husband’s out of town, dinner is always a slice of their rabbit terrine or award-winning country pate with some Albemarle Baking Company bread, mustard, cornichons, a glass or two of wine, and a Double Trouble chocolate cupcake from Pearl’s next door.”

3)  The Dubliner at Beer Run.  “Corned beef, Swiss, and Colcannon on pumpernickel. Seasonal in March but it would be awesome year round.”

4)  Risotto at The Alley Light.  “You can’t go wrong with anything on their specials menu (and it’s hard not to order their rabbit or pork rillette every week), but their risotto is the best I’ve had. It’s cozy yet sensual.”

5)  Chocolate Milkshake at Colleen Drive-in.  “You can call ahead and they’ll have the milkshake waiting for you in the freezer so you don’t have to wait outside in the cold while they make it.”

Five Finds on Friday: Kirk Smith


On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Kirk Smith, Chef of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar.  Tomorrow, from 11 am to 4 pm, Commonwealth is hosting Soupapalooza, where top area restaurants will go head-to-head in a battle of soups.  You can sample all of the outstanding entries and then enjoy a bowl of your favorite, all while supporting Habitat for Humanity.  Smith’s picks:

1)  Santa Fe Enchilada at Continental Divide.  “With some ‘Danger’ and ‘Wait a Minute’ hot sauces.”

2)  Spicy Chicken Burrito at Mono Loco.  “Often on the weekly specials list.  I love the jalapenos inside and the refreshing side salad to cool things off.”

3)  Conserva al Spada and then Margherita D.O.C. Pizze at Lampo.  “Delicious selections at this new favorite.”

4)  Omakase at TEN Sushi. “Please include a couple of pieces of Hawaiian Walu!”

5)  Seafood Charcuterie Board at The Alley Light.  “Please.”

Hoy Tod at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House

Hoy Tod

“Are you sure?” the waitress asked, suddenly looking very worried.

“Yes,” I said.

It’s not like I was ordering fugu, the daring delicacy that recently hospitalized five men in Japan.

All I asked for was Hoy Tod, a staple of street food in Thailand that some people call the most popular dish in Bangkok, but which can be difficult to find stateside.

A special this week at Thai Cuisine and Noodle House, it is a pancake-like omelet of battered fried mussels (or oysters) served atop bean sprouts.  As with many Thai dishes, customers can tailor the flavor to their tastes, in this case by adding as much as they’d like of the Thai-style sriracha with which it is traditionally served.  I like to flood mine with it.  A shaker of pepper allows even more custom-spicing.

As I devoured the dish, I was struck by its similarity to a popular bar food here in the states: Buffalo chicken wings.  Standing in for the fried chicken are meaty and greasy battered mussels.  While, the vinegary sriracha offsets all of the grease with heat and tang similar to traditional Buffalo sauce.  And finally, like stalks of celery do for wings, the cooling and crunchy bean sprouts provide contrast.


hoy tod 3





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 141 other followers