The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Mochiko

Five Finds on Friday: Javier Figueroa-Ray

Javier

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Javier Figueroa-Ray of Pearl Island Catering and Cafe, where today and every Friday you can find Figueroa-Ray’s signature braised oxtails. Besides the cafe at Jefferson School City Center, Pearl Island’s soulful Caribbean cuisine is available at the Charlottesville City Market on Saturday mornings and the UTeam Farmers Market at UVA, Thursday’s 11-2. Figueroa-Ray’s picks:

1) Banh Mi at Vu Noodles.”Being in the kitchen for so many hours, appetite is hard to find. But whenever it comes, I really crave a banh mi from Vu Noodles. I love the crusty bread, 5 spice Tofu, the fresh cilantro and even the pickled daikon radish. Julie does a great job with this sandwich. I think it’s a must have for any foodie in town.”

2) Coming Home Tea by Wild One Herbs. “I’m a sucker for drinks. You could say I’m a “drinkaholic” (I walk around the kitchen with a gallon of water everyday). I love drinks. This particular tea blend by local tea maker/ herbalist Kayde Fen embodies the phrase ‘Coming Home.’ The balance among holy basil, nettle, spearmint, oatstraw licorice and lavender really agrees with my palate. Calming and sweet but not too sweet. Perfect tea for me hot or cold.”

3) Spam Musubi  from Mochiko.Growing up in Puerto Rico, spam was a family favorite. My mom would make it in every conceivable way. Then I found Mochiko in Charlottesville. Their Spam Musibi, or what I like to call Spam Sushi, with their spiced rice and marinated spam wrapped in seaweed, is the perfect bite after long hours of the city market or a late night of cooking with my favorite beer.”

4) Water Kefir Soda from Farmstead Ferments. “Like I mentioned before, I’m a drinkaholic. And every time that I can catch these guys at the Farmer’s Market, I can’t help but have two or three bottles of any flavor they have available that day. No matter how long the line is for Pearl Island, I have to get this magnificent elixir. The perfect drink to balance mind and spirit under the pressure of the hot sun of the market. Can’t have enough of it.”

5) Cold Hot Chocolate from Cocoa & Spice. “Jennifer’s delicious Iced Hot Chocolate is one of my favorite things to get at the Thursday market on Hospital Drive. Really nice balance of chocolate and sweetness makes this beverage for this particular drinkaholic a must have.”

oxtail

Oxtail Fridays

Five Finds on Friday: The Dennisons

Dennisons

Five Finds on Friday is a weekly feature where area chefs and personalities name five favorite food/drink items in the area. In appreciation of readers of The Charlottesville 29 over the years, last week’s Five Finds on Friday came from the winner of a reader random drawing, Jason Boorman of Kardinal Hall. But, non-industry readers deserve appreciation, too, and so this week’s random drawing winner is Rebekah Dennison, of PRW Laboratories. Rebekah was entered by her husband Mark, of Musictoday, and she returned the favor by sharing her picks with him. Five Finds on Friday from Charlottesville natives Rebekah and Mark Dennison:

1) Smorgasbord of Slices To-Go from Downtown Christians Pizza. “After a long week this is our ultimate Friday night treat, the key is to have someone to share a few slices with so you get to taste as many of their incredible combinations as possible. Our current favorites to share are Chicken & Black Bean, Fresh mozz/tomato/basil, buffalo chicken & blue cheese, and spinach/artichoke/pesto.”

2) Hummus on an Everything bagel with Sprouts, Cucumber, Onion, Feta spread, and Kalamata Olive Spread, Cut from Bodo’s Bagels. “There are so many sandwiches that we could have picked from Bodo’s, but this Mediterranean spin, a mouthful to order and to eat, always seems to make it on our tray.” 

3) Quiche from MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. “The perfect breakfast is only a three minute walk from our house. Each variety is amazing but when the mushroom quiche is available we can’t resist getting a slice every time we swing by for our favorite morning coffee, a large iced red-eye.”

4) Grilled Salmon at Zocalo. “We had our wedding reception here 8 years ago, so Zocalo has a special place in our hearts.  We still go back to get this piping hot dish which the kitchen will split perfectly for two, served with green chili and goat cheese couscous.”

5) Spam Musubi and Pork Lau Lau from Mochiko. “Riki Tanabe is always cooking up amazing Hawaiian street food that is the perfect City Market treat. Mark always goes for the Spam Musubi while Rebekah gets the Pork Lau Lau  platter accompanied by the best mac salad ever.”

Five Finds on Friday: Jin Bang

JinBang

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Jin Bang, Chief Aloha Officer of Mochiko, the new eatery from longtime Albemarle Baking Company pastry chef Riki Tanabe. Mochiko will open a brick-and-mortar location soon, but meanwhile you can book them for catering and enjoy their “Good Hawaiian Eats” Saturday mornings at City Market. Bang’s picks:

1) Vegan Chili at The Juice Laundry. “This is one hearty soup! Great for lunch or dinner. I’ve even warmed up leftovers from the night before as breakfast. I love that this chili has a balanced texture and mouth feel. It may be vegan, but it’s not lacking in flavor.  Vegan food still gets a bad rap, but when it’s done well like this chili, there isn’t a lot of room for criticism. It comes topped with your choice of plain or jalapeno-accented cashew sour cream. Simply delicious.”

2) Beet Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette and Chevre at Bang!. “If you like roasted beets, this dish is sure to delight.  It features beets of different varieties and the resulting colors are unexpected. The beets come in a lightly ginger flavored broth topped with a little bit of crunch and goat cheese. I admire the finesse of this dish. I love when chefs find ways to elevate and highlight the simple beauty of high quality ingredients. This may not be the dish that jumps out at you amidst all of the other edibles on the Bang! menu, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.”

3) Panna Cotta Gelato at Splendora’s.  “I don’t think this needs any explanation.  Splendora’s kills with this one! Not too sweet, not too mild, just right. For anyone who enjoys light, rich, and creamy, the panna cotta gelato satisfies cravings for all of the above.”

4) Tom Kha Soup at Pad Thai. “When I get soup at a Thai place, I usually opt for the spicy version with lemongrass- Tom Yum. Everything at Pad Thai tastes magically of home.  I’m not Thai, but the flavors of the broths here remind me of the soup dishes my grandmother used to make for us at home. You can taste all of the time, labor, and love that goes into the food here. What I dig about the Tom Kha is the surprising acidity that cuts through the rich sweetness of the coconut. I was skeptical the first time I ordered it, in part because I expected the coconut would be cloying. Much to my delight, this soup was something I’d never expected to taste in a soup. It’s the right amount of rich, sweet, salty, tangy – it pretty much hits all of the flavors you might want in a soup. It’s not spicy, but you can always add your own spice. To this day, it is comfort in a bowl on a rainy day or when I’m feeling under the weather- and who am I kidding. Sometimes I just crave it for no reason at all because it’s that kind of good.”

5) The Mayweather Salad at Roots Natural Kitchen. “This salad combines all of the things I like in a salad. Not only does it have roasted beets and goat cheese, it also comes with sweet potatoes. Honestly, I customize my bowls so I don’t usually get the onions or bulgar- but both of those things come with this filling bowl too. I think what I love is that I can add avocado, or swap out my proteins. Depending on my mood, I can ask for tomatoes or a different kind of dressing. Every time I order this bowl, it looks a little different, but that’s what I love about Roots. Salad becomes an expression of self in the moment.  Who would have guessed ordering salad could be such a mindful practice?”