The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Pad Thai

Five Finds on Friday: Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Tavola Cicchetti Bar’s Rebecca Edwards, creator of one of the best cocktails of the year. With several great bartenders in town now, “Dealer’s Choice” reaped rewards all year long in 2018. Even among that elite group, though, Edwards’ Smoke & Ashes stood out. Edwards stirs together Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Meletti Amaro, Cocchi Dopo Teatro, and a pinch of salt, before placing the glass under a glass dome filled with applewood smoke. Edwards’ picks:

1) Wedge Salad at Oakhart Social. “I walk into Oakhart and I’m immediately in my happy place. Most of the time I’m there with my coworkers to get drinks after a Saturday night shift, but when I do get in there at normal people dinner hours, the wedge salad is an absolute must. The combination of the creamy poppy seed dressing with the everything bagel spice is heaven when paired with the pickled red onion and the crunch of baby gem lettuce. My fiancé, Steve, is essentially a carnivore and even he consistently craves this salad, so this dish is kind of a miracle.”

2) K.I.S.S. Caprese at Ivy Provisions. “As a vegetarian in a super meat-loving town, I eat A LOT of caprese sandwich variations. The K.I.S.S. Caprese is the one I consistently crave—even though I sometimes eat it multiple times in one week! Their fresh mozzarella is buttery and melts in your mouth, and it perfectly contrasts with the bitter kick of the arugula. I like to add avocado; it makes for a messy and delicious lunch feast.”

3) Vesper Martini at Lost Saint. “Colin and his team have a wonderful cocktail menu all around, but one of my favorite aspects of this place is their huge foundation of classic cocktails. Vespers have kind of fallen out of style in recent years (maybe because they’re shaken instead of stirred) but as far as martinis go they’re my absolute favorite. Boozy yet deceptively smooth, a Vesper is always a great end to a long bar shift. I usually leave the gin choice up to Colin—he almost always has a new product I’m excited to try.”

4) Burrata and Artichoke Ravioli at Tavola. “This one might be cheating because it’s a special and Chef Dylan only runs it once every few months, but I’m including it because this is truly one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. (I’m not the only one—my mom has me text her every time it’s on the specials board!) House-made ravioli stuffed with burrata cheese and artichokes, topped with truffle butter, roasted artichokes, grana padano and chives. It’s a dish that reads as incredibly rich, but it ends up being decadent yet light at the same time. Paired with a glass of Catarratto, every bite is an absolute dream.”

5) Tofu and Veggie Drunken Noodles at Pad Thai. “This is another one I’ll sometimes order multiple times a week. When I eat Thai food I usually prefer a sinus-clearing level of spice, and this dish definitely delivers. The noodles are cooked perfectly and there are a generous variety of veggies to add crunch. Definitely my favorite Thai food in town!”

Smoke & Ashes

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Five Finds on Friday: Brooke Ray

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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: Jin Bang

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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?”