The Charlottesville 29

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

Potter’s Becomes The Veil Brewing Co.

veil

Just when you thought no one could top your David Cop-A-Feel costume, Potter’s Craft Cider has you beat. For Halloween, the cidery’s Charlottesville tasting room and cider garden is “dressing up” as Richmond’s The Veil Brewing Co. In today’s post-hype beer era, when one-time cult favorites now sit on shelves for weeks, Veil still somehow has lines out the door before they open every day, waiting to buy beer, which typically sells out. That may be in part because co-founder and head brewer Matt Tarpey once brewed at Hill Farmstead Brewery, a multi-time winner of best brewery in the world.

Veil’s beers will be available during Potter’s regular tasting room hours: Fri 4-10, Sat 12-10, and Sun 11-4, or until they sell out. In addition to Potter’s small batch ciders, four Veil beers will be on tap: 

Broz Broz Night Night – Broz Broz Night Night is the double dry-hopped version of 9% Citra DIPA Broz Night Out.

Still Striving – Still Striving is a brand new 8% DIPA. Veil is constantly trying new malt profiles, hopping techniques, sugar sources, etc. Always striving to make the perfect DIPA. This one is a step closer on the eternal quest. Hopped intensely with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Citra.

Lil Kitty Boi’s Day Off – Lil Kitty Boi’s Day Off is a recipe mash up of 100% Citra crusher IPA Broz Day Off and 100% Simone crusher IPA Lil Kitty Boi. Clocking in at 4.8% and hopped intensely 50/50 with Citra and Simcoe.

Child Support – Child Support is an unfiltered 4.5% house hoppy Pilsner. The rad thing about Child Support is that it’s single hopped with a rotating hop varietal. This batch uses Hallertau Blanc!

 

Bodo’s Bánh Mì

banhmi

“Bánh mìs” are everywhere, and color me skeptical. It’s not that I do not enjoy chefs’ riffs on the classic Vietnamese sandwich. It’s just that rarely do the riffs improve on the original, one of the world’s great sandwiches. Just as a pleasant cover of your favorite song might still make you want to hear the original, sometimes when I try a “bánh ” riff, even a good one, I find myself thinking: You know what I could go for right now? A bánh .

Worse is that riffs can cost several times more than the original. At Asian groceries, strip mall joints, or Vietnamese bakeries, I have bought bánh mìs for as little as $2 each. Sometimes, they would give you a half dozen for $10. Today, it’s hard to find just one for less than that.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the riffs are overpriced. Most restaurants follow a simple formula for pricing dishes relative to cost, and there is no reason to believe that the approach for gussied-up bánh mìs is any different. Nor am I opposed to innovation. Much of cooking involves starting with a time-honored concept and creating something new. That’s how I often  cook at home, and make drinks. And, Charlottesville does in fact have several excellent bánh mì riffs, like Tavern & Grocery’s and Ivy Provisions’.

So, it was with both skepticism and an open mind that I tried a bánh mì riff at Bodo’s recommended by one of the owners, Scott Smith. Working at bagel shop every day, Smith keeps things interesting by dreaming up unusual creations, such as lox on an everything, with watercress, corn salad, pesto, lettuce, onion, and EZ mayo. Sometimes his creations draw inspiration from other dishes, like a Cuban sandwich or his “Pad Thai” sandwich made with shrimp salad. Like a cooking show contestant restricted to what’s in the pantry, though, Smith is limited to the toppings on Bodo’s menu and the equipment in its kitchen. There’s no fish sauce for the Pad Thai. Nor a press for the Cuban.

With these limitations, Smith aims not to replicate originals but instead to draw on their ingredients and flavor concepts to create something new. For the bánh , Smith combines the sandwich’s signature earthy, sweet, acidic, peppery flavors, using what’s available. There’s no pork liver pate at Bodo’s, but there is chopped liver. And, there’s no cilantro, but there is watercress. Well, you get the idea.

The result? Delicious.

Because of the many ingredients, it does come in at a whopping $7.89. But, that’s still less than many bánh mì riffs. And no less delicious.

Here’s how to order it: ham on sesame, EZ chopped liver, EZ mustard, EZ mayo, horseradish, extra pepper spread, extra lettuce, extra watercress, cucumber, and sprouts.