The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Taste of China

Five Finds on Friday: Lindsey Nielsen

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Lindsey Nielsen, GM of Oakhart Social, which has just launched a charity cocktail series, where each month a staff member creates a special cocktail and chooses a charity to benefit from its sales. First up is Nielsen, with her Pretty in Pink, which combines Boodles Gin, elderflower, creme de cassis, lemon, and sparkling rosé. All profits go to SARA, the Sexual Assault Resource Agency. Nielsen’s picks:

1) Mushroom Toast at Common House. “As a pescatarian, this smoked mushroom toast totally hits the spot. There’s a depth of flavor that’s often missing in vegetable dishes.”

2) Pretzel Croissant (Everything) at MarieBette. “Oh, how I love these. I often plan on saving half for my husband, but end up eating the whole thing in my car. Also, my favorite espresso in town.”

3) Cabbage with Black Vinegar at Taste of China. “It was hard to pick one dish from Taste of China. You’ll often find me and a bunch of industry friends here on a Sunday night. I think this one is off-menu, but the tofu in hot oil and the green beans with garlic are also awesome.”

4) Cozze ai Ferri e Pane at Tavola. “The whole dining experience at Tavola is so enjoyable. It feels like Cheers every time I go, and I know I’m going to get excellent service. Few things make my night like Collin bringing over a plate of steaming garlicky muscles. Extra bread please.”

5) Whole Flounder at Oakhart Social. “As a friend recently said, this fish is ‘stupid good.'” 

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Five Finds on Friday: Julie Vu Whitaker

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Julie Vu Whitaker of Vu Noodles, which has just added a stellar Papaya Salad to an already stellar menu. Vu Noodles is open M-F from 11 am – 2 pm at both The Jefferson School and The Spot. Whitaker’s picks:

1) Fish Tacos at The Bebedero. “While there are lots of fish tacos out in the world of Latin cuisines, I like The Bebedero’s. I just love the taste of corn tortilla and the simple balance of savory, sweet/tangy salsa and a zing of jalapeno tartar sauce. A plate of the fish tacos and a margarita is perfection!”

2) Creole Beans and Rice at Pearl Island Foods. “You may be surprised that being Asian growing up, I mostly skipped the rice. The best days were noodle days. However after having Chef Javier’s Creole Beans and Rice, oh my gosh! I can’t have enough! And, the tangy kale salad (with mushrooms and watermelon radish) brings excitement to the meal.”

3) Seared Scallops at Hamiltons’. “I can eat my weight on this starter. Simple quality ingredients and colors, this dish has it all for me. Perfectly seared caramelized sweet scallops, and geez, the divine combo of Greek yogurt and jalapeno oil! Not to mention the texture of nuts and seeds. It’s gone way too fast!”

4) Roasted Veggie Bowl at Grit Coffee. “You can find me at Grit almost daily. I get my dark roast there when I’m working at The Spot. When I have time, my favorite breakfast and lunch is the Roasted Veggie Bowl. Oh my! Sweetness you get from roasted vegetables and then my all time favorite protein, hands down the incredible edible egg! The egg here is fried, crispy white and soft yellow. It is exactly how I love my fried egg.”

5) Cumin Tofu at Taste of China. “The menu is pretty extensive, with hot pots and hardy soups. Most times when I have been there, it looked like a lot of Asian people eat here so I’m thinking that this might be the real deal. Outside from my own tofu that I make for Vu Noodles, this place has my favorite tofu. It is the Cumin tofu. Quite simple, but oh so so good! The tofu is deep fried with a layer of a cumin seasoning. Served with plain white rice. That’s it! Not much to it! Doesn’t require much to please me though.”

Five Finds on Friday: Daniel Kaufman

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Daniel Kaufman of Public Fish & Oyster, now home to one of the best happy hours in town, 4-6 pm every day. Besides special food items like lobster rolls, there are great deals on wine, beer, and classic cocktails like negronis. “Lots of people know about our lobster rolls being offered during happy hour,” says Kaufman, “but the clam strip roll our chef Gregg has worked into the menu is probably the best sandwich I have ever had (bias aside).” Kaufman’s picks:

1) Boquerones at MAS Tapas and Parallel 38. “Perhaps it is cheating a bit to mention two places here, but I love what both restaurants do with these perfect little fishes. Mas takes a traditional approach serving these vinegar-and-olive-oil marinated white anchovies with lemon and garlic. P38 takes them in a different direction adding a touch of Maras red pepper which adds a welcome hint of spice. Either way, they are probably my favorite snack food.”

2) Xiao Long Bao (Steamed Pork Soup Dumplings) at Taste of China. “I am a dumpling junkie, and was so happy to see someone local doing real Soup Dumplings. Taste of China serves them perfectly steamed and filled with the most delicious molten-lava-hot broth just waiting to scald the hell out of your mouth. Every bit worth the pain involved.”

3) Scallion Bubble Pancakes at Peter Chang’s China Grill. “The first time I saw these delivered to a table, I thought it was the most ridiculous looking dish I had ever seen. Two basketball-sized balls of fried dough served alongside some brownish-yellowish sauce. I was in love the first time I had them. You have to eat them before they get cold and when you do, they have the most amazing chewy texture that comes to life when dipped in the sweet curry sauce served along side.”

4) Mexican Street Corn at Al Carbon. “Street corn has shown up on countless menus in the last year, but I haven’t tasted one that tops these guys. They make theirs with fresh cotija cheese and a spicy/sweet mayonnaise concoction and finish it with a hint of lime juice which adds the perfect hint of acidity to the creamy sauce. The perfect accompaniment to their amazing chicken.”

5) Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “This is the best salad I have ever had, and I know I’m not alone on this one. Dates, apple, arugula, watermelon radish, fennel, toasted breadcrumbs. Sweet, bitter, crunchy, tart, creamy all works together harmoniously. I’d happily go vegetarian if I got to eat this every day of my life.”