We all know that right now, I am focused on quality over quantity, but I had to stop and write up a post about our dinner and drinks from Monday night. Alex and I did date night UP for real on Monday (and Tuesday… but that will get its own post, because we went to a place VERY special to me), returning to 2 of our favorite Charlottesville restaurants: Skybar and Bang.
We were going to go to a brewery but we were still so full from lunch that we decided to do our regular date night thing instead and headed to the hotel, for a walk, and then happy hour and dinner early. To start off, we headed down the Downtown Mall, checking out what had changed and what hadn’t, before ending up at Skybar, the bar and happy hour spot atop the fabulous Commonwealth restaurant.
Gotta love the ambiance! And it was a nice night but a bit chilly, so sitting outside under the heat lamps was perfect.
Red Riding Hood Absolut Orient Apple, Domaine De Canton, Cranberry, Orange Twist
Even minus the simple syrup, this was a bit sweet for me. That said, I thought it had fabulous flavor! A fantastic holiday drink–like a more flavorful cosmo.
Ginger Buck Jim Beam, Ginger Beer, Bitters and Shrub, Lime
We both LOVED this. Perfectly balanced, nicely gingered, but still layered. Not sweet, just right!
Alex also got a Three Notched Brewery No Veto Brown, which tasted just like coffee (seriously, if you mixed this with iced coffee, you would never know!), and we demolished some tortilla chips and fresh pico de gallo.
Then it was off to Bang for dinner!
Bang is Asian Fusion tapas, and one of our absolute favorite Cville spots–incredible for both its expansive artisan crafted cocktails as well as its fabulous dishes. We went with some old favorites as well as new successes! Seriously, everything we ordered was delicious, and we ended up staying there 2-3 hours!
Edamame with ginger-soy sauce
Another must order–you get so much, it is the perfect start to the meal, and this is the best edamame starter I’ve yet found at any restaurant. The sauce poured over them is so good that I would drink it if it wasn’t rude!
Pulled Pork Tacos with Wasabi Cabbage Slaw
So delicious, and perfectly done–salty sweet, rich pulled pork, the crispy wonton taco shell, wasabi slaw…. just delicious.
Chickpea spring rolls with AMAZEBALLS dipping sauce
This is a go-to of ours. Not only are the chickpea egg rolls incredible (and I love the carrot slaw), but the dipping sauce is unimaginably good. It is like a curry mustard sauce, and with something else that I have never been able to put my finger on to identify. Believe me, I have tried! A MUST order!
Sweet Potato and soy bean samosas with yogurt sauce (apparently I didn’t save the picture, though I know I took it!)
Really tasty, but at that point I was a bit soy bean-ed out! A cucumbery-cilantro-wasabi sauce brought everything together, and the samosa dough was fab (nice and flaky, just the right density and amount. Great flavors inside too!
Beef and Shrimp Pho with Rice Noodles
I loved this. The broth was perfection from flavor standpoint–not to salty, or too spicy–I might have even liked it a bit more so!–and the beef and shrimp cooked perfectly in it. This was probably by favorite!
Warm Beet Salad with Ginger dressing (on side)
Surprisingly, this came last, but it was so amazing! Loved the crunchy wontons–a great touch, but I didn’t get much ginger at all from the dressing–it pretty much just tasted of sesame oil to me. But Alex really liked it. I just used the edamame dressing dregs instead!
Esquire Makers Mark + Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
Delicious!!! A bit sweet, thanks to the Firefly, but perfectly made and oh, so good!
Afterglow Knob Creek with Sweetened Lemongrass (Again, what happened to my picture???? Picture the one before this, with a lime)
Described as “Simple and strong,” this was the favorite for me of the 3 cocktails that we got at Bang. Strong, but right on–you could taste what you were drinking, but everything blended so well. Perfectly balanced flavors, and the lemongrass only gave it a lift and citrus note.
Boutineer A Jack Daniels Old Fashioned + St. Germaine
Our least favorite. I’m not really one for Old Fashioned’s in general, so it didn’t really surprise me that I wasn’t so into it. It was a great drink, just not for me.
Pot of Decaf + Baileys (x2!)
We were having such a good time just talking that ever after we paid the bill, we decided to go for more! AND THEN MORE!!! You can imagine how good French Press + Baileys is. I don’t need to tell you NUTHIN.
In all, it was just an incredible night, and I felt like we were making up so much ground that we had “lost” over the past few weeks of hardly seeing each other. We talked about the present and the future, where we might be, and the shape of our lives to come. I wouldn’t trade this night for anything.
In case you were wondering: Ginger Buck and Afterglow won out in my opinion on the drinks, and the Beef Pho was probably my favorite entire dish of the night, though closely followed by the beets and the chickpea rolls (with what is one of the best sauces I’ve ever had!).
What looks good to you? Spanish or Asian tapas?
When was the last time that you went to a very nostalgic place and what did you do?