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Where is chef Peter Chang now?

Some things always survive his menu updates, like the dried eggplant. There would be riots if that ever left. If it's like the last update, you'll still see a lot of your favorites, plus some new things to try. Sure, some things will leave, but they'll likely come back around eventually. Plus, at least Short Pump isn't too far away. Could be that your favorites are available only an hour or so east of C-ville. It's always worth checking!

Apr 24, 2012
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where is chef Peter Chang now?

Round-up of all things Chang. New menu coming for the Charlottesville location. Possible additional Richmond area location in Tobacco Row District. Stanley Tucci-backed bio-film on Chang still a go. Chang settling into what would appear to be a more permanent situation than ever before, learning English and purchasing a car. http://www.readthehook.com/103237/hea...

Apr 24, 2012
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

Latest update on Chang: http://www.readthehook.com/102813/cha...

Cooked at the James Beard House, recently. A Fox Searchlight movie to be made based on Calvin Trillin's "Where's Peter Chang?" article (or I can only presume it's based upon the article, given its title). New restaurant recently opened in Short Pump, VA (the west edges of Richmond, VA).

Feb 14, 2012
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

I had the dry-fried eggplant as takeout a couple of weeks ago. Definitely as spicy as ever! I'm not shy about spice, either. Particularly with szechuan pepper. It might have been a simple error in the kitchen. They happen. I probably would have asked about it at the time. Restaurants are pretty open to polite, nicely-stated inquiries about the food. Maybe next time let them know that they don't have to skimp on the spice. I realize that you shouldn't have to do that, but if you explain what happened before, I'm sure they'll take good care of you. I'll have to watch for that shredded chicken dish! Sounds really good.

Nov 08, 2011
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

It was really good! Lots of dumplings. One of my faves, the spicy cold noodles, made an appearance. But it was the first time I'd ever had a soup bun. They were really fun! When you bite or cut into them, there is a broth which comes out. These were pork soup buns with a meatball of spicy pork inside the soup and wrapped in handmade pasta wrapper. There were also veggie dumplings and lots of other dumplings. There were a few stand-out items for me. The fried lotus root was a huge hit at my table. According to the server, they take 3 days to make (so don't look for them on the menu; they won't be there). I have a feeling there must be a marinade of some sort involved, but the sliced lotus root is stuffed with sticky rice. The root naturally has holes in it when sliced, so the holes are stuffed. The little stuffed discs are then lightly battered, fried and served with a spicy sauce. The whole table basically asked, if we all ordered a batch 3 days ahead of time, could we come in and have them? They were that good. The server just laughed, but we were semi-serious. Another interesting item was the mixed vegetable pot. It had your standard carrot, celery, mushroom and other veggies, but it was served in a a really good, somewhat thickened broth. It was ladeled into bowls to retain the broth. It was quite good. Plus, there were stuffed cornish hens. One per table. They were larger than my memory of cornish hens. By that time, we were all stuffed. Each bird was sliced table-side. Much fanfare. The meat was incredibly tender. The date stuffing with mushrooms was very good. The meal ended with moon cakes. Imagine a really fancy fig newton. The outer cake tasted very similar, while the inner red bean paste seemed similar to a fig paste. It was a really fun meal! But I want to know how to get to eat the stuffed lotus root again.

BTW, for everyone who loves the dan dan noodles Chang makes, pick up a copy of the October Bon Appetite and flip to the portion in the front where people ask for recipes from their favorite restaurants. Or just click here: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201... A customer from the Marietta, GA location asked for the dan dan noodle recipe; Chang provided it. Home project!

Sep 28, 2011
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

The movie is "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman." I've seen it too, but I'm at least doing the dim sum lunch (even if I don't make it to the movie). Should be a great time! As for the wine tasting, I imagine they'll set up at The Paramount the same way they did for the most recent food/movie event, their showing of "Food, Inc." with a locally-sourced dinner at Brookville following. In the main lobby of the theater, local vineyards set up tables with teeny plastic cups of their wines to taste. There were at least half a dozen of them serving up tastings of 2 or 3 of their wines each. So there was plenty to taste!

Jul 25, 2011
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

I, for one, hope it is a rousing success! There is always room for another truly good restaurant. I look forward to eating there, once the crowds die down. Love Chang's food.

Mar 02, 2011
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

Right now, he's in Charlottesville. The "invitation only" opening of the restaurant is tonight. Tomorrow, it opens to the great, unwashed public. After that, he will be a part-time overseer. That was always the plan, from what I've heard. He'll spend enough time here to make sure that the day-to-day staff is properly trained, dropping by often enough to keep them on their toes. So he won't be jetting back and forth on a daily basis, but he won't be in either place all the time.

Mar 01, 2011
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

Chang's new place in C-ville still slated to open February 2011: http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=...

Feb 15, 2011
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

Well, the venue has changed, but Chang is still slated to open a new restaurant in Charlottesville, VA in time for Chinese New Year, Feb. 3. There appears to be a reasonable amount of confirmation included in this story, but with Chang you really don't know until the place actually opens. http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index...

Nov 19, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Moving to Charlottesville...Cheap Eats

It saddens me to say that I agree with CoconutMilk's assessment of the current situation at Taste of China. I had takeout there shortly after Chang left. It was wonderful! No discernible drop in quality at all. However, my takeout a week ago was...not good. The spicy beef rolls (which I used to love) were a major disappointment. They were made of beef that was so full of fat or sinew or whatever it was that you had to simply spit it out; there was no chewing it. The flavor was there, but who wants to bite, chew, spit? All the other items in my order were okay, but not approaching what I expected when Chang was there. At this point, I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there. Perhaps they'll get their act together by the time Chang (hopefully) opens his new restaurant I-29. The competition might raise their level of play.

Sep 25, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

And, it's possible he'll be back in Charlottesville, VA. I know those of us around here would love to see the building he's stalking occupied; it's been vacant for ages. But more to the point, we'd love to have Chef Chang back!
http://www.readthehook.com/blog/index...

Sep 14, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Brookville in Charlottesville, VA

Finally made it to the new restaurant on the downtown mall, above Escafe, across from the ice skating park. Brookville is located in what has become a rather cursed location, mainly due to the fact that it isn't located on the same level as the mall; a number of restaurants have come and gone in that location. You have to walk up a flight of stairs to get a look at the place. Luckily, they post a menu outside in a glass covered box out front. Since the menu changes frequently, do be sure to check it out. The interior is modern classic with comfy brown leather chairs and white table cloths. But it's not stuffy! Our server was dressed in shorts. We felt comfortable there in jeans. There is a beautiful u-shaped bar that the previous owner installed. It takes up a good portion of the front room. The back room is a little more quiet with a couple of window tables for two as well as many 4-top tables.

We went there for dinner on a Wednesday night. No problem at all walking in and getting a table. We started with the pork rillettes, served with cornichons, mustard and toasted French bread. Splendid! While we could have used more toast (since we were intent on eating every last bite), as bread was also brought to the table at the same time, we merely switched to that after the toast was gone. I have no doubt that the friendly, helpful and fun server would have gotten us more toast, had we asked, but we were fine finishing with fresh bread. For main courses, I had a perfectly cooked medium rare steak served with potato salad that my date could not stop stealing from me. It had a tiny bit of kick to it. Perhaps some cayenne? At any rate, it was excellent. My date had pork two ways. I only tried a bit of the meat myself (served with micro greens and an apple reduction of some sort), but it was amazingly moist. Astonishingly moist. Made me wonder if it wasn't cooked sous vide and finished on the grill. We both agreed that the best part of the meal was how simple it was. Simple food which doesn't rely on showy plating with unnecessary extras or heavy sauces is incredibly difficult to pull off. Any mistakes become glaringly obvious. Here, the food was allowed to speak for itself. Thank heavens. The meats were perfectly cooked. The sides supported them without overpowering, each a simple study in how to make something familiar just a little better than you've ever had it before. There is also a good beer list and plenty to choose from in affordable, drinkable wines by the glass (as well as by the bottle). The food, too, was very affordable. Main courses topped out at $15. Apps around $8 or so. Since they source locally, it's a limited menu that changes based upon availability. And the proof is on the plate that it makes a difference. One of the best dinners we have had in quite some time. We'll certainly be back!

http://brookvillerestaurant.blogspot....

Aug 26, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Zinc - Charlottesville, VA

Well, there are changes afoot. Zinc will be abandoning its small plate format. Heads up folks. Source: http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=...

Jun 23, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

BBQ recs on the way to Williamsburg, VA

Pierce's isn't my favorite BBQ place, but then I'm more of a fan of North Carolina-style BBQ, rather than the red sauce type. Pierce's is the red sauce BBQ-style. And for that, it's okay. Frankly, I wouldn't go out of my way for it. Especially given that the place is usually packed to the gills with tourists who heard it was a fantastic BBQ place. Especially for weekends, it can be super tough to find a table. Add on the time it takes to order and wait for them to call your number and eating there can be a lot more time-consuming than you'd think. During busy times, don't expect to cruise in, snag an immediate meal and easily score a table. I'll leave it to locals to say whether or not this place is really making its money off of tourists and families who saw the sign on I-64, but that's my guess. So far as red sauce-style goes, this is no different from any place you've been to with BBQ of that style. Unremarkable. Not bad, by any means. Just not above the rest. I will say that they offer more options than a lot of BBQ restaurants. Pork, beef and chicken. Plates with sides and sandwiches. But for that style of BBQ, the sauce really seems to be the deciding factor in what separates good from great. In my mind, it isn't great. It's good. I really do presume you can find better.

Wish I could give you an alternative, but I'm not local to the area (being in C-ville, VA). I'll leave that to others.

Mar 29, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Blue Light Grill & Raw Bar Charlottesville, VA

I definitely agree with you, mojoeater. Good steak and very old school. Although, I sort of avoid it for the "old school" aspects. The fact that the vegetables are extras that you have to order a la carte. The "wedge of iceberg lettuce salad" with dressing, too. For some reason, I just can't get behind those aspects, as authentically old school as I know they are. But the steaks are good. No argument.

Bizou is still good. I just don't go in very often. It's comfort food. Very good, reliable comfort food. And the warm banana bread with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce dessert may be one of my favorite desserts in town. But, even though I know they do have specials which are a bit more inventive, Bizou still means comfort food to me. Meat loaf. Chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. I have to be in the right mood for it. Not a slam at all on Bizou. They're very good at what they do. I just seem to want to seek out Zocalo or C&O more often. Lately, since I'm on a Malbec kick, Zocalo tends to win. They have a great wine list for South American wines. Plus, I'm addicted to their tuna tartare appetizer. Yum.

Mar 26, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

And it's back to Marietta, GA: http://www.atlantacuisine.com/2010/03... C-ville will miss you!

Mar 26, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Blue Light Grill & Raw Bar Charlottesville, VA

I live about a block from Blue Light. It's one of many restaurants in town owned by Coran Capshaw, manager of the Dave Matthews Band. It's been there for about a decade. I'm thinking it isn't doing terribly well, based on the odd, recent addition of the flat screen TV's above the bar. It's just a weird addition for a place that seemed to pride itself on "not going there" up until now. I believe that they make the majority of their cash on drink traffic Friday and Saturday nights. It's more of a weekend hipster, late-evening hangout than a restaurant, for most of us who are local.

The food is okay. Not great. Not terrible. Okay. You can check out the menu items here: http://www.bluelightgrill.com/ Frankly, we don't have a lot in the way of raw bar places in town. There's a place called Rhett's out 29N, but I've never been there. I don't recommend Blue Light when asked for recommendations on the downtown mall in Charlottesville. There are simply too many far better options. C&O, Zocalo and Petit Pois just to name a few.

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Petit Pois Restaurant
201 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Zocalo
201 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Mar 23, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

Yup. It's all over Twitter that he's gone. I may have gotten one of the last of the Chang cooked meals. Takeout last Friday. Allowed by one of the waiters, but I got the disapproving stare at the register, since they technically suspended takeout orders. Man am I going to miss that guy. Hope that, true to form, the touch of Chang will stay with Taste of China. His restaurants are always left much improved for his having been there.

Mar 23, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Dover, DE restaurants?

Thanks everyone! They all sound like great options. I'm not going for a little over a week, so I'm not sure what I'll be in the mood for. It's great to have a variety to choose from. If anyone else has additional suggestions, don't be shy. But I really appreciate what's been posted. Thanks!

Mar 11, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Dover, DE restaurants?

I'll be in Dover on business later this month. Hoping not to have to traipse outside of the city for dinner after a full day of driving. What's good in town? I'm game for just about any type of food out there. Thanks!

Mar 04, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

I'm looking at the take-out menu and am having trouble finding something that matches that description. Nothing has dried beef in it, per se. Nothing named Chen Cang. Is it an appetizer or main? Closest I've found would be the hot & spicy beef rolls (they were out of them last night; haven't had them and cannot attest to what is in them or how they are prepared). I really don't see any other beef items that involve bread or buns or anything similar. Basically, before I went out of my way for that particular dish, I'd call and ask if it's a remote possiblity that he could still make it.

Mar 04, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic

Where's Chang?

Still here as of last night. About a 45 minute wait, but worth every minute. YUM. I'll take it for however long it lasts!

Mar 04, 2010
CogitoErgoBibo in Mid-Atlantic