The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Monsoon Siam

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: Alicia Walsh-Noel

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Alicia Walsh-Noel, Manager of Brasserie Saison, which celebrates Sunday each week now with “Eggs Benefit,” brunch from 11 am to 3 pm with live jazz and specials from the bar. A portion of proceeds go to a different charity each month, and this month it is The Charlottesville Free Clinic. Walsh-Noel’s picks:

1) Kao Soi at Monsoon Siam. “This dish is an ultra comforting curry noodle soup. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of flavor and texture: the sweet curry to the funky pickled cabbage and onions and then the slurpy egg noodles to the crunchy noodle garnish. There’s a reason it’s not available from their to-go-go location – you have to eat it in the restaurant for the full experience. I crave this whenever it’s cold outside or I have a cold or when Antarctica is cold.”

2) Peanut Butter Pie at The Pie Chest and an Almond Latte from Lone Light Coffee. “If you didn’t already know about this place, when you’re walking up 4th St., the aromas will lure you into their door. When you enter, it’s as if you’ve been transported into a quaint New England town –there aren’t many places in Charlottesville that can do that. Tucked within The Pie Chest is Lone Light Coffee, which makes incredible coffee drinks and their own almond milk in-house. The stuff is delicious! I seriously have a hard time getting coffee anywhere else. Rachel Pennington, the owner/baker of The Pie Chest is incredibly talented. You can’t go wrong with any of her sweet or savory pies but I really dig the peanut butter because it’s a little of both. The real deal-sealer is that the crust is PERFECT every time.”

3) Commander Chicory Blue Cheese from Twenty Paces. “So apparently studies are saying that cheese addictions are a real thing? I always blamed it on my French heritage but now even my doctor is telling me to stop! Le sigh. I first had this cheese at Lampo. Then again at Lampo. Then again. And then…well, my husband runs the kitchen at Champion Taproom and he put it on…get this: CHICKEN WING TACOS. OMG. I die now. Anyway, it’s stinky and smoky and I would most likely have it as my last meal.”

4) Whatever Lumpia is on Special at Champion Tap Room. “Speaking of my husband, Jon Bray has this move where he puts things into Filipino egg roll wrappers and then fries them. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. His original has ground pork and dates that he serves with garlicky vinegar sauce. But lately he’s been getting a little wild, making Cheeseburger Lumpia for a kids event and a Buffalo Chicken version another time. This week, it sounds like he’s going with a more traditional pork and shrimp version that should be tasty. Maybe it’s cheating to put your own spouse on this list, but if this is about a memorable and emotional connection to food, Jon’s super-creative twists on Filipino classics are both seared into my memory and make me so happy!”

5) Oyster Mushrooms and Grits at Oakhart Social. “I couldn’t possibly write a Five Finds without mentioning Oakhart. This place is like home to me and I’m stoked at the love they have received so quickly from the Charlottesville community. It’s rare to find a chef that can execute vegetable dishes with the skill that Tristan does and these mushrooms are one of my faves! They make a delicious star of the show with pickles, buttery grits, and crispy, fried chickpeas. Follow that up with all the Fernets and hugs for a foolproof Oakhart evening.”

Five Finds on Friday: Yannick Fayolle

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Yannick Fayolle, the former Clifton Inn Executive Chef who now runs two food businesses: Blue Ridge Pizza Co., which he owns with his fiancée Nikki Benedikt, and also Fayolle’s Table, a catering service where Fayolle will bring a fine dining Chef’s Table experience to the comfort of your home. Fayolle’s picks:

1) Noodle Beef Soup at Monsoon Siam. “With the traditional Thai flavors, this has got to be one of my favorite soups. Light yet so flavorful. Top it with some of those amazing green chilis and this is one for the books.”

2) Pork from Mount Rouge Farm. “Can’t put into words how awesome this pork is! Josh Hatter feeds his animals with seasonal veggies, so tender and juicy. I love to smoke the butt roast in our wood fire oven to throw on top of some of our pizzas for Blue Ridge Pizza Co.”

3) Lamb Rogan Josh at Milan. “Only the best thing on the menu! The flavors bring me back to my island life in Mauritius. I really enjoy the blend of spices that complement the lamb . . . and the garlic naan. You can never go wrong with naan! Just an added bonus.”

4)  Prosciutto Pizza at Lampo. “Being in the pizza business myself, I love what these guys over at Lampo do! They have the science behind the dough and flavors down! This is a very classic Italian pizza whose flavors are very well balanced on a perfectly baked crust.”

5) Nitro Coffee at Shenandoah Joe. “Probably one of the greatest inventions of all time! The idea of coffee coming-out in the consistency as Guinness beer is probably the best thing every! I am one serious coffee fanatic. I must have my early morning fix of caffeine.”