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: 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: Julie Vu Whitaker

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Julie Vu Whitaker of Vu Noodles, which has just added a stellar Papaya Salad to an already stellar menu. Vu Noodles is open M-F from 11 am – 2 pm at both The Jefferson School and The Spot. Whitaker’s picks:

1) Fish Tacos at The Bebedero. “While there are lots of fish tacos out in the world of Latin cuisines, I like The Bebedero’s. I just love the taste of corn tortilla and the simple balance of savory, sweet/tangy salsa and a zing of jalapeno tartar sauce. A plate of the fish tacos and a margarita is perfection!”

2) Creole Beans and Rice at Pearl Island Foods. “You may be surprised that being Asian growing up, I mostly skipped the rice. The best days were noodle days. However after having Chef Javier’s Creole Beans and Rice, oh my gosh! I can’t have enough! And, the tangy kale salad (with mushrooms and watermelon radish) brings excitement to the meal.”

3) Seared Scallops at Hamiltons’. “I can eat my weight on this starter. Simple quality ingredients and colors, this dish has it all for me. Perfectly seared caramelized sweet scallops, and geez, the divine combo of Greek yogurt and jalapeno oil! Not to mention the texture of nuts and seeds. It’s gone way too fast!”

4) Roasted Veggie Bowl at Grit Coffee. “You can find me at Grit almost daily. I get my dark roast there when I’m working at The Spot. When I have time, my favorite breakfast and lunch is the Roasted Veggie Bowl. Oh my! Sweetness you get from roasted vegetables and then my all time favorite protein, hands down the incredible edible egg! The egg here is fried, crispy white and soft yellow. It is exactly how I love my fried egg.”

5) Cumin Tofu at Taste of China. “The menu is pretty extensive, with hot pots and hardy soups. Most times when I have been there, it looked like a lot of Asian people eat here so I’m thinking that this might be the real deal. Outside from my own tofu that I make for Vu Noodles, this place has my favorite tofu. It is the Cumin tofu. Quite simple, but oh so so good! The tofu is deep fried with a layer of a cumin seasoning. Served with plain white rice. That’s it! Not much to it! Doesn’t require much to please me though.”

Five Finds on Friday: Eric Breckoff

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Eric Breckoff, Culinary Arts Director at Piedmont Virginia Community College, where he helps to develop skilled chefs to put into Charlottesville restaurant kitchens. Breckoff enrolled his first students in 2013, and since then graduates have gone on to kitchens like The Alley Light, MarieBette, and Red Pump Kitchen. More information on the program is here. Breckoff’s picks:

1) Carne Asada Gorditas at La Michoacana. “Tragically, only three gorditas come to an order, and my wife and I have to share one and supplement with our second choice tacos: also carne asada, Mexican style. Frankly, you can’t go wrong with anything here.  Simple, down to earth, family-run restaurant that takes pride in their food.  Did I mention the margaritas?”

2) Kofta Kabob with Chick Peas at Afghan Kabob Palace. “My wife and I both love Middle-Eastern food, and Afghan Kabob Palace never fails to please. When it’s cool outside, the aush soup is comforting and warm. For starters, we love the samosas and the bolanee gandana. Crispy, delicious turnover packets of love. My go-to entrée is the kofta kabob and my wife loves the vegetarian plate (make sure you get the pumpkin and the chickpeas).”

3) Moules Frites at Brasserie Saison. “I could eat this every day the rest of my life. Perfectly cooked. Perfectly seasoned. Just the perfect food made with love and care.”

4) Piggie Smalls Pizza at Fry’s Spring Station. “A perfect restaurant to sit outside on a Friday after work and enjoy well crafted, delicious food made with love. A Piggie Smalls  pizza and a beer with the crispy gnocchi & beet salad makes a perfect meal.”

5) Sausage, Egg, & Cheddar on an Everything at Bodo’s. “Ok, I know everyone puts Bodo’s on their list. Why? It’s that good. An everything with egg, cheese, sausage is my morning go-to. Some might say I have a problem. I say I can stop anytime I want to, but why would I want to?”