The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Ariana

Five Finds on Friday: Jose De Brito

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On Fridays, we feature five food finds from local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Jose De Brito, who once owned Ciboulette and is now the chef of The Alley Light.  De Brito’s picks:

1)  Croissant at Albemarle Baking Company.  “Having grown up in Paris, I am always looking for good French food. The croissants at ABC are my way to not be too home sick. They are very well made.”

2)  Kabuli Palow at Ariana.  “I generally do takeout once a month, and Ariana’s lamb dish is always my choice. Perfectly seasoned rice, nice stewed lamb and the carrot & raisin relish is tasty. I need to stage there so I can learn how to make those carrots.”

3)  Maiale Milanese at Tavola.  “One of the fortes of Tavola is the use of acidity in the kitchen.  A little bit of lemon juice will make your food shine.  My girlfriend also loves the clams (I do too), never a single grain of sand.”

4)  Lunch Buffet at Himalayan Fusion.  “Buffets have never been my cup of tea but the one at Himalayan Fusion breaks my rule, sometimes twice a week.  I come early for freshness. A plate of food from scratch and always seasoned properly for $7? Best value in C-ville.”

5)  Coffee at Shenandoah Joe.  “My coffee is black with no sugar, so I am sensitive to burnt coffee. Shenandoah’s coffee is perfectly roasted.”

Five Finds on Friday: Dahlia Lithwick

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s come from political observer Dahlia Lithwick, who is not just the nation’s leading Supreme Court writer, but also a lover of Charlottesville food.  Lithwick’s picks:

1)  Truffled Mushroom Ragout at The LocalMy ongoing problem is that although I love everything on the menu at The Local, if I don’t get the truffled mushroom pasta I get depressed.  Also, the one time I got a half-order I got depressed too.  Best just to scarf down the whole bowl and smile.

2)  Coriander Fish Rolls at Peter Chang’s China GrillThese are stupidly delicious.

3)  Must Khiar (cold yogurt soup) at Ariana Grill Kabob HouseYou are either a cold soup person or you aren’t.  But if you are and you haven’t had this one, you should.  Dunk their bread in it.  Use it as raita over everything!  Oh my god, just writing this makes me need some Right Now.

4)  Boquerones con ajo at Mas.  (Plump white Cantabrian anchovy filets in an olive oil, garlic, lemon marinade).  Possibly not a first-date food.

5)  Black Bean Breakfast Burrito at Bluegrass Grill and BakeryBut I could have picked any breakfast item at random and said the same.

Five Finds on Friday: Bryan Szeliga

Every Friday, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs, personalities, or readers.  This week is Bryan Szeliga, Chef at Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar.  Szeliga’s picks:

1)  Sushi at Seafood @ West MainI love the fact that they only serve sushi a couple of days a week when the fish is super fresh.  By only selling sushi when the fish is fresh, it shows to me a high level of respect for the fish.

2)  Methi Sauce at Royal Indian.  At Portland, OR’s Paley’s Place (where Szeliga previously worked), chef Vitaly [Paley] used to braise local lamb with hay from the farm.  Royal Indian’s version of Methi sauce reminds me of that culinary experience.  I love the grassy/hay flavor of fenugreek.  To me, it creates a connection to the food and the earth.   At Orzo, I buy fenugreek spice and methi herb from the Spice Diva and use it with Madeira to make our braised lamb.

3)  Gyro platter and chick peas at ArianaEver since the first time I tasted the food at Ariana I have been hooked.  Their flat bread is the best I have had.  I eat there at least once a week.  The gyro platter is great for lunch and at dinner I can’t get enough of their chick peas.

4)   Black Bean and Corn Relleno at Zocalo. This is a cool ‘upscale’ version of a typical crisp chili relleno. Their chilis are typically just the right heat but sometimes…watch out!

5)  Crispy Rock Shrimp Sandwich at The Box. – I really like the direction Chef Pei is going with the Box.  All of the sandwiches are good.  Most of the time I order the rock shrimp.  The firm texture of the shrimp with the crispy tempura with pickled vegetables and spicy mayo make for a perfect filling between bread.  Note: This was previously one of our picks on Two for Tuesday.  The sandwich seems to have a bit of a following.