The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Bella’s

Five Finds on Friday: Kit Ashi

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Kit Ashi of Monsoon Siam, Monsoon Siam Togogo, and Urban Bowl, the downtown mall Thai/Vietnamese restaurant with a great weeknight deal on pho. Monday through Thursday night, Urban Bowl’s pho menu is just $7.99. Ashi’s picks:

1) Passion Fruit Cheesecake at The Alley Light by Chef Robin. “I like the softness and smoothness of the cream cheese, and the crust is perfect. The cream cheese is not too sweet, salty or sour. And, the lemon and orange zest on top goes well with the passion fruit aroma.”

2) Margarita Pizza at Lampo. “I love the thin pizza crust and the smoke from the charred dough. The sauce is perfect, too. I always have it with a spritz, which makes my lunch or dinner delightful. All of the chefs are so talented, and I can’t wait for their steakhouse to open.”

3) Lad Na at Thai Cuisine & Noodle House and Lemongrass. “This is a Thai’s dish. It is not a popular dish that people know here but it is one of my favorite dishes. I used to have it three time a week. We do not serve this at Monsoon Siam, but Thai Cuisine and Lemongrass are the places I go for it. It is wide noodles with bean gravy and Chinese broccoli. I love to order it with pork and add squid. The right way to eat it is to ask for the spice tray. Add one spoon of chili powder, three spoons of vinegar, mix it, and enjoy.”

4) Seafood Puttanesca at Bella’s. “I love seafood pasta in red sauce. The sauce here is not too thick, and its spicy and tart flavor goes really well with seafood. I can finish a family size by myself.”

5) Kao Mok Neua at Monsoon Siam. “It would be so wrong not to talk about this dish, my new favorite that I put on the menu. Meltingly tender braised beef in Thai southern style curry, rich in flavor and aroma. The sauce goes very well with jasmine rice stir fried in turmeric and curry powder. Crispy fried shallots add texture, while spicy mint sauce adds flavor contrast. It’s going to be the next best curry for Charlottesville.”

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Kao Mok Neua at Monsoon Siam

Five Finds on Friday: Tres Pittard

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Tres Pittard, the former chef of Charley’s Waterfront Kitchen in Farmville who is now sous chef of Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. This Monday, Commonwealth relaunches with a new menu of Modern Virginian Cuisine, in collaboraton with restaurateur Will Richey and chef Harrison Keevil. A preview of the new-and-improved Commonwealth. Pittard’s picks:

1) Orecchiette, House Sausage, Broccoli Rabe from Vivace. “First of all, I really like the outdoor seating here. The pasta and the atmosphere definitely tie in together, and all in all it is a very comforting experience.” 

2) Ham Biscuit from JM Stock Provisions. “How did I not know about these sooner? I enjoy everything about these and always contemplate if I’ve gotten enough of them on the walk to the car.”

3) Mexican Street Corn from Junction. “This was ridiculously good and I actually had to order another round to come out with the meal.”

4) Spinach, Goat cheese, Egg and Honey Pie from The Pie Chest. “Another thing I was recently introduced to but can’t seem to stop thinking about. And, the thought of these being available Saturday mornings at Draft for soccer is starting to blow my mind a little. Just that good.” 

5) Chicken Francaise from Bella’s. “Athough Bella’s serves family style, I could definitely have this one to myself. The entirety of the dish was on point, and I can see why this one usually sells out.”

Five Finds on Friday: Treat Huey

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Today is the 50th edition of Five Finds on Friday, where chefs and local personalities pick five favorite food items in the area.  To mark the occasion here at The Charlottesville 29, we have the picks of a Charlottesville resident who is among the top 29 in the world in his field.  In fact, tennis player Treat Huey is ranked exactly 29th in the world in doubles.  Next week, the undefeated men’s tennis team of his alma mater, UVa, will begin the NCAA Championship tournament, en route to its first ever title.  Oh yeah, Huey also happens to be a lover of food.  Huey’s picks:

1)  Yuca and Caramont Farm Goat Cheese Fritters at Commonwealth.  “This appetizer is ridiculously good.  Then you can not go wrong with any of the entrees especially if you get the smashed, roasted red potatoes as a side.  A great meal and then heading upstairs to Skybar to have a drink when there is good weather is a great way to end a day.”

2)  Local “Double H Farm” Berkshire Pork Chop at The Local.  “Get the blackberry cobbler with house made vanilla ice cream for dessert.  All the food is great, and the restaurant building and decor are also  reasons I come back and eat here as much as I can.”

3)  Cajun Crusted Tilapia wrap with Chipotle Dressing and Salt and Vinegar Chips at Zazus Fresh Grille.  “I have this at least once a week when I am in town.”

4)  Lunch Buffet at Milan Indian Cuisine.  “When I am really hungry, the lunch buffet at Milan is my go to.  One of my friends, Sanam, who moved here from India five years ago, took me here for the first time a few years back after raving about it and I have been hooked ever since.  The naan, curries and tandoori chicken are must haves.”

5)  Pasta al Forno and House Salad at Bella’s.  “Start with the large Bella’s house and then have the Pasta al Forno. Two people sharing these is the perfect amount of food.  Also, I recently ate at the bar because there was a wait and my friend and I got to talking with Ayo the bartender.  He’s a great guy and made dinner even more enjoyable.”