Saturday, February 26, 2011

La Cocina del Sol - Crozet

I've been to this restaurant twice now and both have been good, so I figured I needed to blog it to everyone. It's not your standard Mexican joint with 20 different combo plates. There are tacos, burritos, and chimichangas. But there are also burgers, salads, sandwiches and soup with southwestern flavors. While I realize this may mean it's not true Mexican, it's the flavors and spices of a country's culture I love not necessarily the actual dishes, so I guess that's why this is a great take to me.

The ambiance isn't anything special, but I love the open kitchen feel. It's located just off Three Notched and there is plenty of parking behind which is nice.

Like I said I've been to La Cocina twice now. The first time I decided to go with the vegetarian tacos because they sounded good, and I remember it being delicious. Today I was there for lunch and decided to go for the veggie chimichanga. The chimichanga was huge (enough I brought home half!) and full of great vegetables and rice with fresh guacamole on the side.

In all if you're out towards Crozet, this is a great place to grab a quick bite. It's reasonable and you're sure to find something on the menu.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brookville - Charlottesville

I don't know why I neglected to blog about Brookville last time we went, because it was great then and great again this past weekend. Brookville's mantra is about serving locally sourced food. In fact 90% of the menu comes from within 100 miles, which is pretty awesome. The chef tends to prefer anything pig related, so be ready to choose from bacon, pork belly, pork tenderloin or maybe even pig ears, all of which will be delicious. Of course they offer a great wine and beer selection from Virginia as well.

So, last time we went to Brookville they had only been open a few weeks and it was pretty quiet in there. We were a bit worried since it was Friday night, but luckily Cville has pulled through and shown more support for Brookville over the last few months. Commensurately, they've expanded the choices on the menu, though it does remain small. (If you're a picky eater, I would definitely recommend looking at the menu before you go because you only get about 4 entree choices.)  Anyways, on to the food...

For starters we decided to go with some Virginia ham fritters and french fries. The fritters were balls of dough filled with ham and apple, served with dijonaisse dipping sauce and fried. As expected these elements all work great together. Conversely the french fries are nothing you would expect to put together...topped with sausage gravy, foie gras and shaved Parmesan cheese. We decided that there was pretty much no way we could avoid this one. It just sounded too ridiculous a combo, so we decided to jump in. Well we were not disappointed. It was rich (and I'm very glad we shared it 4 ways) but it was delicious. Definitely an omen of the entrees to come.

My husband loves pork belly, so of course he went right for that. It's served with roasted potatoes and apple puree, which was a wonderful balance to the rich pork. For myself, I was intrigued by the burger: 1/2 pound of meat (a blend of hangar, sirloin and bacon - yes, bacon) on a house-made bun with carmelized onions and the option of a fried egg and/or bacon on top (which, of course, I had to do). Here is where I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture...this burger was huge and awesome. Of course I only ate about half of it (my husband was more than happy to finish the other half) but it was the best burger I've ever had, no question. If you're willing to spend the money (this is not a Five Guys burger) it's everything you could ever hope a burger would be.

My one complaint with Brookville remains the lack of vegetables served with the meals. I am a huge vegetable lover and they are so easy to source locally, so it saddens me that they aren't used more prevalently in the dishes. I also hate that they don't have a vegetarian option. I enjoy meat but have plenty of friends who are vegetarians, and I was one myself for nearly a decade, so I always feel it important to have at least one option on the menu and widen your base of customers. Again, just me, your local food-a-holic, putting in her two cents.

Otherwise, go check out Brookville. You'll love the food and you'll truly be supporting the local economy. PS, the album I linked to below is my other love in life in right now (beyond my husband and puppy of course), so check out the Avett Brothers if you haven't before. They are amazing!

Brookville on Urbanspoon