The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Bang

Five Finds on Friday: Natalie Siler

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Natalie Siler, the woman behind Charlottesville’s favorite chocolate peanut butter balls. After a decade in the Pittsburgh restaurant industry, the Charlottesville native returned home in 2012 in search of a job with a more traditional schedule, when fate and Charlottesville generosity intervened. A “friend of a friend” asked if Siler would like to carry on the peanut butter ball recipe she had been making for Feast!. Siler accepted, and when she took her first batch to Feast!, she recalls, “the woman at the counter popped one in her mouth, and said: ‘Great! We will need 300 more.” Six years later, the peanut butter balls remain a sensation, as she now makes 600 per week to meet holiday demand. Available only at Feast!. Siler’s picks:

1) Black Bean Nachos at Continental Divide. “On paper, they might not sound like anything out of the ordinary, but when you add the squeeze bottle of Wait a Minute sauce and one of Matt’s margaritas, it is unpretentious and wonderful. If I have room, one of the daily specials from Seven Hills never lets me down. I like to sit at the curve of the bar and come early.”

2) Italian Sub at Anna’s Pizza #5.  “I grew up in Charlottesville and many of my favorite dishes and spaces exist only in memory now, but 34 years later, the Italian Sub at Anna’s Pizza #5 has stayed happily identical to how I remember it tasting after a swim meet on a Wednesday night. A satisfying crunch, the tangy house dressing and one of the best beer pitcher deals in town. Don’t change, Anna.”

3) Honey Ginger Martini at Bang!. “This drink makes me think of my sister. Her name is Ginger and she lives in Austin, which is where I was first introduced to Tito’s Vodka. (My dad claims to have played cornhole with Tito himself). And, this drink is perfect for a kick in the pants to get you going for a show downtown. House pickles and sweet potato gnocchi always follow.”

4) Cheese from Caromont Farm and Our Lady of the Angels. “I’m a sucker for a cheese plate. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite one, but Pippin Hill and The Local come to mind. I’m always excited to see Caromont Farm on the menu. After my snuggle session with the goats last year, I always like to think I played some tiny part in making it taste so good. But I’m always looking for that bright red wax wheel that covers the gouda from of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. It’s made in the mountains near Crozet and if anyone is not sure what I might want as a gift, the two pound wheel will do just fine.”

5) Tuna Avocado Carpaccio at Now & Zen. “The first time I ordered this and the almost-table length salad was placed in front of me, I giggled like a small child. It hit all the marks for me. Protein. Spice. Greens. Texture. I always over order here, but I can never not get this salad.”

Five Finds on Friday: Courtney Hildebrand

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Courtney Hildebrand of The Catering Outfit, the full service caterer that recently launched pop-up lunches and dinners at its Carlton Road kitchen. Lunches are every Thursday, and the first dinner installment will be Saturday, August 18: Basque Seaside Dinner, with chef Tomas Rahal of Quality Pie. Details and reservations here. Meanwhile, The Catering Outfit’s sister restaurant, The Shebeen Pub and Braai, serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday, with house made Bloody Marys, acoustic music, and even outdoor patio seating on swings (yes swings). Hildebrand’s picks:

1) Mexican Street Corn at Junction. “In a town with lots of new street corn options, Melissa still has my favorite! It’s one of their shared plates so you can enjoy a small order by yourself or get a large to share with your friends. The chili-lime dressing is amazing.  Junction also has my favorite cocktails in town. I love to try anything Alec creates. My current favorite is Rum Communion with brown butter rum and notes of pineapple & lime. It’s hard to have just one of these yummy cocktails!”

2) Spicy Shrimp Dishes at The Local, Bang!, and The Shebeen Pub and Brai. “I am a sucker for a great shrimp dish. I have a three way tie for the best shrimp dish in town, as I will always order these if I am at one of these establishments. My picks are the Crispy Shrimp at The Local, the Firecracker Shrimp at Bang!, and the False Bay Crispies at The Shebeen Pub and Braai. They are all so tasty and it is just too hard to narrow it down to just one pick!”

3) Green Giant Roll at Now & Zen. “Now and Zen is one of my favorite spots to go to dinner with a small group of friends. Everything on the menu is mouthwatering, but the Green Giant Roll is always a pleasant surprise for friends who shy away from vegetarian dishes. This giant roll with sweet potato tempura, avocado & cream cheese stands up to any of their other signature big rolls.”

4) Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo. “My sister and I love to go Zocalo for dinner when we can make time to have a night out together. We always start with the cheese fritters & raspberry-chili glaze, and then split the salmon dish for our entrée. The entire menu always sounds amazing, but we rarely stray from these picks on our sister dinner date. Zocalo also offers margarita flights which is always a good start to a night out!”

5) Big Baby Sake from North American Sake Brewery. “They have not quite opened their doors yet, but I have had a chance to try the new Big Baby Sake from the soon-to-be-open North American Sake Brewery. Andrew Centofante’s creation is one of the best sakes I have ever tried. I am excited for what he & Jeremy have in store once they open their doors next week.”

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Braised short rib sandwich, a recent pop-up lunch at The Catering Outfit

 

Five Finds on Friday: PK Kamath

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Photo by Jen Fariello

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from PK Kamath, co-owner of Fry’s Spring Station and Ivy Provisions. Fry’s Spring Station has just launched DoGood Mondays, where each Monday the restaurant donates 10% of sales to a local school or non-profit. This Monday, it will be Hoos Heal 5K, benefiting the UVa Nursing School. Eat, drink, and be charitable. Meanwhile, for Sunday’s Concert for Charlottesville, Fry’s is hosting Dough for Charlottesville, a Starr Hill Brewery tap takeover where $1 from every Fry’d Dough will go to the Concert for Charlottesville fund. And, if you don’t have tickets, Fry’s is livestreaming the concert. Kamath’s picks:

1) Pork Rib Chop at The Ivy Inn. “The pork rib chop is my go-to, but the amuse bouche that magically appear at the table are also part of what takes this place from great to really special. Add Angelo and Farrell’s personal touch and well, it’s as good as it gets.”

2) Tuna Nori Roll at Bang! “Ok, here’s the thing. It has NOT been on their menu in a while. I’m bringing it up here, with the simple hope of someone at Bang seeing it, feeling terribly regretful for the mistake they have made (sarcasm!!) and putting it back on the menu (not sarcasm!!). In all seriousness, this is our go-to weekday date night spot. The menu is filled with great flavors and textures and the dressed vegetables/salads in most of the dishes are what makes it for me.”

3) Kibbeh Platter with Fire-roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Eggplant and Sesame Green Beans at Sticks. “The entire menu is delicious and it’s simple food, done right. Without question, my 11-year old daughter’s favorite restaurant, from even before she had a full set of teeth (hummus is amazing).”

4) Peri-peri Wings with a side of Peri-peri sauce at The Shebeen.. “Hot, spicy, meaty, spicy delectable goodness. Walter’s wings and an ice-cold Narragansett Lager put me in my happy place. I’m pretty sure my spirit animal is a chicken wing.”

5) Taiwanese-style Pork Chops with Scallion Pancakes at Cafe 88. “Although this place is very unsuspecting, Li is about as talented as it gets, and she cares about what she’s feeding her customers and it shows. Really damn good. Really, really damn good.”