Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Continental Divide - Charlottesville

Too crowded, too noisy, too small, too bad. That's the tag line at Continental Divide, though I think they should add "too tasty" to the end personally. This small restaurant is Charlottesville's version of big Mexican flavors in a small space.

First, when you go to Continental Divide, expect a wait. Luckily this isn't necessarily a bad thing as they make delicious and reasonable (read dangerous) margaritas. So, go early or go patient and thirsty.

The menu at Continental Divide is not your standard Mexican restaurant menu. You see nachos, but complete with goat cheese or bison chili. There is fresh (and perfectly medium-rare) tuna over crispy fresh tortilla chips. And there tacos filled with slow cooked pork. This is pretty much what we had when we went to Continental Divide last weekend, and all of it was excellent.

Perhaps the best thing about all this delicious food I'm making myself hungry for again right now is that it is easy on the wallet. A lot of places I review are a little pricier because I like to treat myself when we do go out to eat. You don't have to worry about that here. Two drinks, an appetizer and two entrees all for about $40 (including tip). You can't beat these prices, especially not with this quality of food.

Lastly, in case you need some awesome new tunes, check out the link above for Rodrigo y Gabriela, a great acoustic duo from Mexico!

Continental Divide on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shebeen - Charlottesville

With the holidays and threat of snow, I have to say we haven't been out to eat much recently. Luckily January is forcing us back out into the world of wonderful Charlottesville dining, first with just a random Friday night dinner and soon with Restaurant Week! So, here we are with my first restaurant review of 2011, and it's a great one!

Shebeen is your standard pub, except that it's not Irish or English, it's South African. You'll find fish and chips and sandwiches on the menu, but you'll also find things from the braai (grill) and wonderfully seasoned and delicious dishes unique to Africa. The location is nothing special (a strip mall on the backside of Staples, facing MacDonald's near the downtown mall) but they did a lot with the decor inside.

The menu should keep most people happy with the variety on it. For starters we decided to go with the brinjal fries, also known as fried eggplant wedges and a banana "ketchup." The "ketchup" was amazing...a nice cooling effect on a piping hot fry.

For entrees, I opted for something from the braai while my husband went for a slow cooked dish in a
small iron pot. I had the peri-peri shrimp (pepper basted shrimp on skewers...9 of them!) with sides of mealie pap and mixed vegetables. I was a bit worried by the description of the peri-peri sauce, so I asked for the kitchen to go light on it. It was perfect. The mealie pap is described as South African cheese grits. Let's just say that this Southern girl loved the stuff. I would eat it everyday if I could! The vegetabeles were pretty standard but very good. My husband had the lamb curry potjie which was full of spices and flavors. It had a corn muffin with it that seemed to have a creamed-corn effect going on in the middle. Yum!

Overall I would definitely recommend Shebeen if you're looking for something different. Expect it to be crowded, so be open to getting a pint of one of their delicious pints before hand. But mostly, go to try some new flavors and relax!

Shebeen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Charlottesville Restaurant Week!

It's that season again...Restaurant Week! This is a great way to get out and try a new place or 7 at a great price! Here's the deal, 3 courses, $26. There are some really great restaurants ... it continues to grow each iteration (January and July). For a full list of restaurants and a few with their menus up, check out cvilleyum. 

If you're looking for recommendations, I would say Fossett's but they are all booked! What about Ten for some great seafood with a Japanese twist or Brookville, the newest locavore place in town! I've been to both (but not blogged, eek!) and they are awesome! If you can't seem to find the time for this round, check back in the next 2 weeks for my reviews!