The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Pearl Island Catering and Cafe

Five Finds on Friday: Casandra Rodriguez

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Casandra Rodriguez of Vegan Comforts Soul Food, which opens this Sunday March 13, and will be open every Sunday and Monday to follow. Rodriguez has formerly served her vegan soul food at markets and pop-ups, and now has a temporary home at Royalty Coffee Sandwiches and Pastries on Cherry Avenue. A permanent venue is coming soon. Follow along for updates on Instagram. At Vegan Comforts, she’s particularly fond of the Vish Tacos, made from fried hearts of palm, as well as the “Slow Poke Rodriguez,” with Field Roast chorizo, simply egg scrambled in homemade salsa, topped with feta cheeze on a homemade buttermilk biscuit. Elsewhere in town, Rodriguez’s all-Vegan picks:

1) Pho and Crispy Rolls at Vu Noodles. “I get the crispy rolls just so I can dip them in the pho, and both together are so comforting, savory, and refreshingly delicious. I literally go here once or twice a week. Highly recommend.”

2) Portobello Philly at Firefly. “When I’m craving a Philly cheesesteak and don’t feel like cooking this is my go-to spot for it. It is so yummy.”

3) Creole Beans Platter at Pearl Island. “Wooo chile, this whole meal is the perfect combo. The creole beans are perfectly seasoned and the tostones with the sauce are to die for. Don’t get me started on the rice with the garlic kale. So so good.”

4) Won Ton Nachos at Botanical. “Ryan got me hooked on these nachos. They are so delicious. The cashew cheese sauce could pass for real cheese, first of all, and the toppings were so fresh and had the perfect crisp light touch. Def will be back for more.”

5) General Tso’s Cauliflower and Coconut Rice at Bang!. “Bring back the chickpea roll things, haha, no but seriously. My favorite dish from here right now is the General Tso’s cauliflower and the coconut rice. So comforting and filling.”

Five Finds on Friday: Liz Broyles

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Liz Broyles of Birdhouse, open now at 711 Henry Avenue, in the former home of Ace Biscuit & Barbecue and Dottie’s Cafe. While Broyles has spent much of her career in the front of the house, she is now in the kitchen with a new restaurant focusing on “supporting regional farmers and delivering quality food to our community.” Birdhouse serves rotisserie chickens from area farms, with a selection of locally sourced, vegetable-driven sides. “We are lucky to live in a place with so many folks committed to growing and producing quality food,” said Broyles. “We hope Birdhouse will grow into a place that connects farmers and producers with our community.” There are stellar wines, too, as Broyles previously worked for a wine distributor and oversaw wines at C&O. Broyles’ picks:

1) English Muffin from Cou Cou Rachou. “Best English muffin I’ve ever had. If you haven’t checked out Rachel De Jong’s baked goods yet, you gotta do it.”

2) Falafel Bowl from Otto. “This bowl is a treat. Falafel sits on top of roasted beets, white bean salad, red cabbage salad, sumac onions, Coban salad, fried eggplant and greens.

3) Bricolage from Patois Cider. “These amazing ciders made by Patrick Collins are really special, crafted with intention and care at each stage. Patrick scouts for apple trees in the mountains and harvests these ol’ timey varieties with the help of his partner Danielle LeCompte. Ciders are made without modification or added yeasts and are unrefined and unfiltered. Delicious.”

4) Marinara D.O.C. Pizza from Lampo. “San Marzano tomato, garlic, wild oregano, sea salt, olive oil. Nuff said.”

5) Cauliflower Sous Shu from Pearl Island. “The food at Pearl Island is full of flavor, healthy and fresh. Make sure you get an extra side of Pikliz.”

Five Finds on Friday: Tiffany Nguyen

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Tiffany Nguyen. A Charlottesville food lover since 2008 and mother of four, Nguyen is pictured here with her husband Luan, co-founder of the Charlottesville start-up Braid.

In celebration of the Culture of Takeout, all autumn long Five Finds on Friday features readers selected at random in a weekly drawing. Also part of the prize is a $100 restaurant gift certificate, like Nguyen’s to Lampo. Check back Monday to enter next week’s drawing, which includes a $100 gift certificate to Ivy Inn.

Nguyen’s favorites from the Culture of Takeout:

1) Porchetta from Lampo. “Really, we love almost everything on the Lampo menu – Olives! Negroni! Hellboy! Oh my! However, a consistent order for me is the meaty sandwich paired with greens. It offers a balance I find hard to resist.”

2) Oxtail (Friday) from Pearl Island Cafe. “If you haven’t tried this, it’s a must: the flavors, fall-off-the-bone saucy goodness with some delicious plantains. Again, another restaurant where you cannot go wrong with anything from their menu.”

3) Manti from Sultan Kebab. “We first learned of this then-off-menu item from friends a couple years ago, and now we are hooked. Perfectly sized dumplings in a tangy yogurt sauce with a hot oil that offers just a small kick is a taste that I cannot recreate at home, and therefore a perfect option for takeout.”

4) Mochiko Chicken Platter with Watercress and Poke from Mochiko. “It’s hard to beat a generous portion of freshly and perfectly fried small bites of chicken with well seasoned greens and rice for around $10. I love to splurge a little and add poke as a side, and I never regret it.”

5) Paella from MAS. “At home date night felt extra special with a tasty paella that has smoky flavors, myriad of seafood, and plenty to fill you up. Add the sangria, and you almost forget you’re not eating out. Almost.”

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