The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: La Michoacana

Five Finds on Friday: Jamie Barrett

Barrett

CSA Farm Share season is here, and today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jamie Barrett of Bellair Farm, which still has a few of this year’s CSA Farm Shares available. Short for “Community Supported Agriculture,” a CSA involves members paying for several months of a farm’s produce for the growing season early in the year, in shares. Once harvesting begins, each week members stuff their bags full of the farm’s current best fresh-picked produce. Bellair offers shares in two sizes, with five different pick-up locations around town. Details here. Barrett’s picks:

1) Shan City Chicken from Peter Chang’s.  “I love everything at Peter Chang’s but this dish is always part of my out-of-control take out order. Salty, spicy and perfectly crisped bits of chicken surrounded by chili peppers. I always try to taste just a little on the ride home and end up slopping the whole thing up by hand while I drive. It’s a spectacle.”

2) Cabrito Tacos Mexican Style with hot salsa from La Michoacana. “It’s so good and it’s hot enough to make me hiccup. I eat 4 of these on the ride back to the farm. See, there’s a theme.”

3) Bloody Mary at Hamiltons’. “This is my wife, Kelly’s, favorite Charlottesville restaurant. A Bloody Mary is like a whole farm season crammed into a glass with vodka and anyone who’s been through a farm season knows that a little vodka never hurt. It’s got the right amount of grit and pep without being over the top.”

4) Bellissima Pizza at Dr. Ho’s. “This is a farm crew favorite and on special occasions we’ll make the trek over there together, us and about ten pounds of Bellair dirt. We’re a motley crew but the folks at Dr.Ho’s have always treated us right.”

5) Creamed Spinach at Downtown Grille. “I’m a sucker for creamed spinach and I love the big booths at the bar here. My three girls and I like to sit in the booths and watch people walk on the mall. They love the Shirley Temples.”

dr hos

Five Finds on Friday: Brooke Ray

Brooke Ray Photo_coffee addict

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Brooke Ray, manager of the New Roots program for the International Rescue Committee. Working with sixty refugee families, New Roots establishes urban farming locations which aid in refugees’ community transition through gardening, education, local food access initiatives, and small business farming. On May 30, one of its farms – New Roots Farm – suffered extensive damage from a severe flash flood, and the twenty families that grow food there were devastated by the loss of most of their crops.

“Our hearts are hurting for all the work and money the families have put into their gardens,” says Ray, “as well as the fact that such a special place that was brimming with life and beauty and joy was so damaged.” The families now hope to reclaim what they can of the season and they need your help. Funds are needed to repair the farm, replant and rebuild beds, and relocate market crops to a safer location for the season. To help the families’ recovery, you can donate here

As usual, the Charlottesville food community has rallied in a time of need. On July 30, the event company Hill & Holler is organizing a Donor Appreciation Party for anyone who donates $100 or more to the cause. There will be food from Ivy Inn, Orzo, and A Pimento Catering, a wine bar from Blenheim Vineyards, beer from Reason Beer, live music, and more. Details on how you can donate and attend this special event.

Ray’s picks:

1) Som Tum at Pad Thai. “I love Santi’s version of papaya salad. It’s fresh and bright and spicy. The papaya, peppers and peanuts pack so many textures and flavors into one refreshing little salad. I like it with a cold beer and a Tom Yum Noodle Bowl. Pad Thai is so under-rated and I kind of hate to blow it up, but it’s my secret go-to for a good selection of well-priced draughts and take-away beer. And Jay, Santi’s son, has great taste in music to boot.”

2) Super-Style Tacos at La Michoacana. “I usually order the vegetarian tacos super-style from Edgar, but if you are so inclined the meat tacos are all also stupid good. The super style come topped with chopped onions, cilantro, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. They are bursting with flavor without being soggy or overly-loaded. I always order the spicy pickled onions and carrots to load on top and add a splash of their avocado salsa.”

3) Tomato Bisque at Orzo. “I have to say, I have loved every meal I have ever eaten at Orzo and really appreciate that the team puts as much care into their salads as they do into their main dishes. If I had to mention one thing though, it would be the tomato bisque made with lamb broth. Eating it was a revelatory food experience for me. Tomato bisque is something we’ve all had and we expect it to taste a certain way. But this one (which I think is a seasonal offering) is so comforting and rich and unexpected. It’s an adult version of one of my favorite, childhood, rainy day meals.”

4) Mango Chili Popsicle at La Flor Michoacana. “Can you tell I like spicy food? Our farm crew often makes a detour for this spot on the hottest days. The popsicle selection is extensive- I recommend making your way through all of them. The Mango chili is sweet and fresh in the right way with a pleasant heat.”

5) The Bellissima at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “My favorite Sunday ritual is to go biking at Walnut Creek and then head over to Dr. Ho’s for their Bellissima pizza. The crust is flavorful and perfectly crunchy-chewy and it’s topped with so much good stuff- roasted tomatoes, shaved ham, aged parmesan. But most importantly they pile and entire arugula salad on top of it.  And it is REAL arugula – spicy and bold and often local – not the California clamshell stuff that has no flavor. I don’t know what they add to that vinaigrette in the salad but I can’t get enough of this pizza. It’s a good thing it’s 40 minutes from my house.”

Five Finds on Friday: Kerrie Pierce

KerrieatVitae

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Kerrie Pierce of Vitae Spirits, which has just released this year’s batch of Poptails — five different Pierce cocktails served frozen as popsicles in a tube. Collab & Cream, for example, is an astonishingly delicious blend of Collab #1 beer spirit, Orange liqueur, coffee vanilla syrup, milk, and malted milk ball pieces. Meanwhile, on June 21, Vitae is throwing a party to celebrate release of their Distiller’s Reserve Barrel-Aged Rum Batch #1, a blend of rums aged for over two years in Keswick Vineyard’s 2014 Cabernet Franc barrels and Smooth Ambler Old Scout bourbon barrels. Pierce’s picks:

1) Apricot Danish at Albemarle Baking Company.  “I enjoy devouring many things at Albemarle Baking Company, but this pastry is my top favorite and I will snag one every time I walk through the door. It was my favorite pastry when I was in France, and I love that I can get one whenever I want right here in town. Crispy, flaky pastry dough, creamy custard and a little poached apricot without being overwhelmingly sweet. What’s not to love?”

2) Moules Frites at Public Fish & Oyster. “You can’t beat perfectly cooked mussels in a delicious broth with frites and a glass of wine. A friend and I are making our way through all the broth options. It is a delightful quest, and a lovely way to spend an evening with a friend.”

3) Papas Bravas at MAS Tapas. “I order this every visit as long as they aren’t out! Pure comfort food. Sizzling hot yukon gold potato with aioli and grey sea salt? They disappear  too quickly, and then a little bread is needed to mop up whatever is left in the skillet.

4) Branzino alla Griglia at Tavola.  “I find it difficult to explore the rest of the menu because I want this every time. Tender and flaky sea bass with a parsley root puree, baby arugula and fennel with preserved lemon. The flavors all work so perfectly together and I could eat a giant bowl of the parsley root puree with a spoon it is so good.”

5) Tamales Oaxaquenos at La Michoacana. “One of my favorite dishes at Michoanaca, which again is difficult to pick because everything they make is so tasty! The masa is cooked perfectly and the mole sauce is one of the best I’ve ever had. I’ll always order a side of fried yucca if they have it on special too.”