The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Five Finds on Friday

Five Finds on Friday: Casandra Rodriguez

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Casandra Rodriguez of Vegan Comforts Soul Food, which opens this Sunday March 13, and will be open every Sunday and Monday to follow. Rodriguez has formerly served her vegan soul food at markets and pop-ups, and now has a temporary home at Royalty Coffee Sandwiches and Pastries on Cherry Avenue. A permanent venue is coming soon. Follow along for updates on Instagram. At Vegan Comforts, she’s particularly fond of the Vish Tacos, made from fried hearts of palm, as well as the “Slow Poke Rodriguez,” with Field Roast chorizo, simply egg scrambled in homemade salsa, topped with feta cheeze on a homemade buttermilk biscuit. Elsewhere in town, Rodriguez’s all-Vegan picks:

1) Pho and Crispy Rolls at Vu Noodles. “I get the crispy rolls just so I can dip them in the pho, and both together are so comforting, savory, and refreshingly delicious. I literally go here once or twice a week. Highly recommend.”

2) Portobello Philly at Firefly. “When I’m craving a Philly cheesesteak and don’t feel like cooking this is my go-to spot for it. It is so yummy.”

3) Creole Beans Platter at Pearl Island. “Wooo chile, this whole meal is the perfect combo. The creole beans are perfectly seasoned and the tostones with the sauce are to die for. Don’t get me started on the rice with the garlic kale. So so good.”

4) Won Ton Nachos at Botanical. “Ryan got me hooked on these nachos. They are so delicious. The cashew cheese sauce could pass for real cheese, first of all, and the toppings were so fresh and had the perfect crisp light touch. Def will be back for more.”

5) General Tso’s Cauliflower and Coconut Rice at Bang!. “Bring back the chickpea roll things, haha, no but seriously. My favorite dish from here right now is the General Tso’s cauliflower and the coconut rice. So comforting and filling.”

Five Finds on Friday: Ryan Becklund

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come Ryan Becklund, who left a job managing a vegan restaurant in the D.C. area to launch her own vegan restaurant in Charlottesville. Botanical opens tomorrow, March 5, in the former home to Java Java on the downtown mall. Becklund’s picks:

1) Any Vegan Croissant from Bowerbird Bakeshop. “I can’t believe that vegan croissants exist in Charlottesville and on top of that, these ones are perfect. Flaky, buttery, and delicious. You would never know they are vegan.”

2) Vegan Tater Tachos from Firefly. “Firefly has an awesome vegan menu overall, but these are my favorite on the list. Who doesn’t love a good tacho, especially with some rich cashew cheese?

3) Chili from The Juice Laundry. “This chili is a showstopper. It is vegan, but it could stand the test against any traditionally made chili. Definitely get it with the jalapeño cashew cream.”

4) Sweet Potato Tempura Roll from Now & Zen. “There are tons of veggie sushi rolls on the menu and all are great, but this is my go-to roll. I could eat it everyday.”

5) Marinara D.O.C. from Lampo. “A pizza without cheese is the only way I eat pizza. Without the cheese, the sauce and bread are the stars and that is exactly the case on this comforting, satisfying pie.”

Five Finds on Friday: Jaclyn Shaffer

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jaclyn Shaffer of Jaclyn’s Cookies, which makes stunning custom-designed cookies for birthdays, weddings, corporate events, and other celebrations, as well as offering private cookie decorating parties for both kids and adults. Shaffer also creates holiday cookies for sale to the public, with her next batches planned for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Follow along on her Instagram page. Shaffer’s picks:

1) Basan Paitan from Basan. “Hands down the most delicious bowl of ramen that I’ve eaten. I’ve spent a lot of time stalking this food truck the past couple of years, and I can’t wait to see what Basan and Mama Bird do with their new space at Umma’s.”

2) Kao Soi Chicken from Chimm. “If you haven’t tried Chimm yet, you need to visit. I love this curry so much because it’s the perfect combo of spicy broth, rich dark meat chicken and crispy fried wontons.”

3) Financier from MarieBette.  “Everything from MarieBette is fantastic, but the buttery, crunchy outside and sweet, tender inside of their financier makes it my favorite.”

4) Funghi from Lampo. “I don’t even like mushrooms that much, but this pizza is the bomb. I always try to branch out when I visit, but I find myself coming back to this pizza every time. The earthy mushrooms with cream sauce and cheese, cooked in a woodfired oven is pizza perfection.”

5) Banana Bread from Green House Coffee. “I have to shout out my local Crozet coffee shop. Every time I’m there I can’t help ordering their addictive banana bread with an iced coffee.”

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