Five Finds on Friday: Landon Saul

by Charlottesville29


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Landon Saul, chef and co-owner of Vivace Italian Restaurant, which this week participated in a fundraiser involving the signature dish of one of the town’s most devastated by last week’s earthquake in Italy. Vivace raised $500 for relief efforts. On September 20, Vivace is also joining the Meals on Wheels fundraiser Taste This, featuring an array of tastes from restaurants and drink purveyors. Saul’s picks:

1) Tacos Al Pastor at Al Carbon. “As many of my friends and family know, I am obsessed with tacos (after four trips to Mexico). Slow roasted pork shoulder rubbed with dried chiles, pina, salsa verde, cilantro and onions on light-as-air tortillas. Also, the cemitas with coal roasted local chicken, avocado, jalapeno, oaxaca cheese and salsa roja on fluffy torta bread is everything a sammie should be. Pro tip: order it spicy with a negro modelo. The elote con mayonesa (street corn) and the frijoles charros (brown beans) are also not to be missed.”

2) Polpettine al Forno and Peroni at Lampo.  “Andrew Cole is cultivating a fantastic cocktail, beer, and wine list from the Aperol Spritz with prosecco, draft Peroni, and Brunello. Loren Mendosa and crew crank out wood fired local beef and pork meatballs with mozzarella and pecorino that are simply delicious. Ian’s cavolo nero (kale salad) and cavolfiore al forno (roasted cauliflower) are perfect to round out the meal. Did I mention you can also have the meatballs as a pizza or panuozzi? That’s what I call winning and these guys do it every day.”

3) Bocadillo Jamon at MAS Tapas. “Mas is my wife’s and I’s go-to when we want to celebrate life and indulge. Boquerones (white anchovies from Spain), the bocadillo with jamon, manchego and alioli on hearth baked organic bread, artichokes on the plancha, carne asada, and a fantastic bottle of Rioja makes my life complete. Chefs Tomas and Mike use the best imported and local ingredients simply and perfectly.”

4) Cocktails and Housemade Gnocchi at Parallel 38. “Ask the bartender what he recommends. You won’t be disappointed. I had a barrel-aged Manhattan that was simply magical.  Also, the ability to sample wines by the ounce is a nice feature. Housemade flat bread with labneh is my go-to along with the gnocchi, chorizo potatoes, local chicken skewers, and the wonderful array of artisanal meats and cheeses.”

5) Bottle of Coke and a Double Bacon Cheeseburger at Riverside Lunch. “This is my birthday lunch every year. Perfectly seared and seasoned beef smashed on a flat top in all its glory with all the fixins. Shoestring fries and a bottle of coke fly me to the moon. I’m in heaven. (When I want a more gourmet burger I head to Boylan Heights with organic beef and of course tots! Also the best beer specials in town.)”