The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Zocalo

Five Finds on Friday: Courtney Hildebrand

Courtney

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Courtney Hildebrand of The Catering Outfit, the full service caterer that recently launched pop-up lunches and dinners at its Carlton Road kitchen. Lunches are every Thursday, and the first dinner installment will be Saturday, August 18: Basque Seaside Dinner, with chef Tomas Rahal of Quality Pie. Details and reservations here. Meanwhile, The Catering Outfit’s sister restaurant, The Shebeen Pub and Braai, serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday, with house made Bloody Marys, acoustic music, and even outdoor patio seating on swings (yes swings). Hildebrand’s picks:

1) Mexican Street Corn at Junction. “In a town with lots of new street corn options, Melissa still has my favorite! It’s one of their shared plates so you can enjoy a small order by yourself or get a large to share with your friends. The chili-lime dressing is amazing.  Junction also has my favorite cocktails in town. I love to try anything Alec creates. My current favorite is Rum Communion with brown butter rum and notes of pineapple & lime. It’s hard to have just one of these yummy cocktails!”

2) Spicy Shrimp Dishes at The Local, Bang!, and The Shebeen Pub and Brai. “I am a sucker for a great shrimp dish. I have a three way tie for the best shrimp dish in town, as I will always order these if I am at one of these establishments. My picks are the Crispy Shrimp at The Local, the Firecracker Shrimp at Bang!, and the False Bay Crispies at The Shebeen Pub and Braai. They are all so tasty and it is just too hard to narrow it down to just one pick!”

3) Green Giant Roll at Now & Zen. “Now and Zen is one of my favorite spots to go to dinner with a small group of friends. Everything on the menu is mouthwatering, but the Green Giant Roll is always a pleasant surprise for friends who shy away from vegetarian dishes. This giant roll with sweet potato tempura, avocado & cream cheese stands up to any of their other signature big rolls.”

4) Vella Jack Cheese Fritters at Zocalo. “My sister and I love to go Zocalo for dinner when we can make time to have a night out together. We always start with the cheese fritters & raspberry-chili glaze, and then split the salmon dish for our entrée. The entire menu always sounds amazing, but we rarely stray from these picks on our sister dinner date. Zocalo also offers margarita flights which is always a good start to a night out!”

5) Big Baby Sake from North American Sake Brewery. “They have not quite opened their doors yet, but I have had a chance to try the new Big Baby Sake from the soon-to-be-open North American Sake Brewery. Andrew Centofante’s creation is one of the best sakes I have ever tried. I am excited for what he & Jeremy have in store once they open their doors next week.”

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Braised short rib sandwich, a recent pop-up lunch at The Catering Outfit

 

Five Finds on Friday: Lindsay Dorrier

LD Head Shot

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Bold Rock Hard Cider’s Lindsay Dorrier, who will compete next week in the 2017 Shop to Stop Hunger, benefiting the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. At 10 am on December 7 at the Barracks Road Kroger, Dorrier and four other beverage insiders will each have one minute to fill their shopping carts with as much food as they can, all for the food bank. Visit the event page to survey the competitors and donate in the name of your pick to win. As cold weather approaches, your donations are more important than ever. So, go! Dorrier’s picks:

1) Dealer’s Choice at Cicchetti Bar at Tavola. “It’s been mentioned before but worth mentioning again: the Cicchetti Bar at Tavola features the best cocktails in town. I mostly drink hard cider followed by wine and some beer but Tavola’s Maiale Milanese wouldn’t be a complete meal without a Dealer’s Choice cocktail from the Cicchetti Bar to start. The talented bartenders are always able to take my vague suggestions on taste (something fresh, vodka, maybe a touch of sweetness) and turn it into an amazing cocktail. Fellow Scottsville Elementary School alum and longtime friend Christian Johnston did an awesome job building the Cicchetti Bar from the ground up, and Steve Yang has ably grabbed the torch and continued to push it forward. Kudos to both for running an operation that is distinctively next level in terms of quality and even showmanship with their approach to crafting the cocktails.”

2) Made To Order Mozzarella at Fry’s Spring Station. “I live a stone’s throw away from Fry’s Spring Station and am grateful to have such awesome food and ambiance in my backyard. One of my new favorite appetizer’s is the Made To Order Mozzarella. If the mozzarella is Batman then the flatbread is Robin. They go perfectly together and I’m confident I have not had better flatbread. Top with roasted tomatoes and you are cooking with gas.”

3) Shaved Salad at Oakhart Social. “The perfect start to any culinary adventure at Oakhart where you literally can’t go wrong with the menu selections. The shaved salad has varied textures, tastes and colors that combine together to create a beautifully simple yet complex dish. Arugula, watermelon radish, medjool date and a few other interesting veggies tossed in a creamy garlic dressing will keep you going back for a second or third scoop. Make sure you order more than one for larger groups!”

4) Sweet Heat Wings at Fardowners. “Just a touch outside of Charlottesville but worth the drive, Fardowners in Crozet dishes out an amazing house made wing sauce in the Sweet Heat which has a perfect dose of habanero spice blended with a delicious honey and raspberry sweetness. The wings are never scrawny or dried out and always thoroughly coated with this sweet and fiery deliciousness. I don’t dream about wings too often but my mouth has definitively started to water just thinking about this dish.”

5) Chili Dusted Sea Scallops at Zocalo. “I’ve had a longstanding aversion towards seafood, which is why extra weight should be given to the Chili Dusted Sea Scallops at Zocalo making this list. These scallops are flat out amazing, perfectly seared and served on a bed of sautéed spinach and fried plantains. I’ve tried to replicate them at home but have come to realize that there is just no matching this excellence at Zocalo.”

 

 

 

Five Finds on Friday: The Dennisons

Dennisons

Five Finds on Friday is a weekly feature where area chefs and personalities name five favorite food/drink items in the area. In appreciation of readers of The Charlottesville 29 over the years, last week’s Five Finds on Friday came from the winner of a reader random drawing, Jason Boorman of Kardinal Hall. But, non-industry readers deserve appreciation, too, and so this week’s random drawing winner is Rebekah Dennison, of PRW Laboratories. Rebekah was entered by her husband Mark, of Musictoday, and she returned the favor by sharing her picks with him. Five Finds on Friday from Charlottesville natives Rebekah and Mark Dennison:

1) Smorgasbord of Slices To-Go from Downtown Christians Pizza. “After a long week this is our ultimate Friday night treat, the key is to have someone to share a few slices with so you get to taste as many of their incredible combinations as possible. Our current favorites to share are Chicken & Black Bean, Fresh mozz/tomato/basil, buffalo chicken & blue cheese, and spinach/artichoke/pesto.”

2) Hummus on an Everything bagel with Sprouts, Cucumber, Onion, Feta spread, and Kalamata Olive Spread, Cut from Bodo’s Bagels. “There are so many sandwiches that we could have picked from Bodo’s, but this Mediterranean spin, a mouthful to order and to eat, always seems to make it on our tray.” 

3) Quiche from MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. “The perfect breakfast is only a three minute walk from our house. Each variety is amazing but when the mushroom quiche is available we can’t resist getting a slice every time we swing by for our favorite morning coffee, a large iced red-eye.”

4) Grilled Salmon at Zocalo. “We had our wedding reception here 8 years ago, so Zocalo has a special place in our hearts.  We still go back to get this piping hot dish which the kitchen will split perfectly for two, served with green chili and goat cheese couscous.”

5) Spam Musubi and Pork Lau Lau from Mochiko. “Riki Tanabe is always cooking up amazing Hawaiian street food that is the perfect City Market treat. Mark always goes for the Spam Musubi while Rebekah gets the Pork Lau Lau  platter accompanied by the best mac salad ever.”