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: Mark Benusa

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Mark Benusa, co-founder of Fine Creek Brewing Company, which is joining an elite group of artisans next month for Field Day at Blenheim Vineyards. April 8 from 12 – 5pm, there will be tacos by Tyler’s Meats N’ Such, wine by Blenheim, beer by Fine Creek and music by Erik “Red” Knierim. Advance tickets are just $15 and get you two tacos and a glass of wine or beer. Get yours here. Or, if you can’t make that, check out Fine Creek’s Wild + Weird Festival April 22. Benusa’s picks:

1) 80 Shilling Scottish Ale at Decipher Brewing. “The last couple of times I’ve gotten together for beers with my ‘dad’ friends, we’ve met at Decipher Brewing. The guys at Decipher are hands down brewing some of the best beers in town. The 80 Shilling Scottish Ale is incredible. The perfect combination of malty and drinkable. Decipher has plenty of great options on tap, so it’s saying something that I went back for pint #2 of this delicious brew. Especially for someone who is constantly trying new beers.”

2) Cinnamon Roll from T’s Sweetz at IX Art Park. “With such a mild winter, my family and I have been lucky to make it out to the IX Market on several Saturday mornings this season. A few weeks ago, we bought our 5-year-old twin boys a cinnamon roll from T’s Sweetz. This thing was not only colossal but delicious. The kids loved it. The best part was, it was so large, their scavenger dad got to polish off the bit they couldn’t finish.”

3) Chiles Toreados y Cebollitas at Al Carbón. “Al Carbón is one of our go-to family take out spots. It’s one of those rare finds that easily pleases the whole family. One of our favorite sides they have are the Chiles Toreados y Cebollitas. The dish consists of whole chiles and green onions grilled to be crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Salty and sweet, this dish is a palate-pleasing addition to what is always a tasty meal. Now that we’ve found out they deliver, we plan on ordering a lot more often.”

4) Burger and Beer at Mount Ida Reserve. “With a new baby at home, date nights with my wife are unfortunately few and far between. However, we’ve discovered the next best thing which has proven to be easier to achieve: the lunch date! On Valentine’s Day last month, we wanted to do something different and get out of town. We decided to head south down to Mount Ida Reserve Tasting Room & Taphouse. We each got a different burger and beer to try: classic smash for my wife and feisty bull for me, paired with a Festbier and Marzen. Both burgers and beers were phenomenal. And the views were just as good. Taking in the long view of the mountains with a satisfying burger and beer, we felt like we really got to escape, even though we still had a two-month old on our laps.”

5) Crispy Fish with Green Onion at Taste of China. “Chinese, and Szechuan specifically, is one of our favorite take out options on those occasions when we’re looking for some heat. While we do frequent Peter Chang’s, we were turned on to another great option farther north: Taste of China. Don’t let the basic name fool you, these folks have some complex and unique dishes. One we love is their Crispy Fish with Green Onion. Salty filets of crispy fried fish are tossed with chili powder and cumin and topped with cilantro.  Once you’ve tasted these perfectly fried bites, I guarantee you’ll crave them like we do.”

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.”

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