Posts Tagged ‘ belmont ’

Holiday Gifts @ The Bridge PAI

One downside to going to college in your hometown is that I can’t exactly surprise my relatives or my high school friends.  Charlottesville is a pretty small place, and anywhere I have been, they probably have been too.  This is particularly difficult for buying unique presents for the holidays, unless I resort to the Internet, which I often do, but no, I don’t feel good about it.

Anyway, The Bridge makes this a little easier by turning its gallery space into a holiday gift store every December.  Everything is made by local artisans (over 45 in total), so buying from the store supports them and automatically makes your presents more rad than your older sister’s.

The grand opening is tonight from 5-9pm, but I have already seen some of what they have.  Lots of handmade jewelry, screened t-shits, bags, hats, really beautiful (and useful) pottery, journals, photo albums, original art and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t even seen yet.  Most things are pretty reasonably priced, a lot lower than expected.  So you should probably check it out before the semester ends and you go back to your hometowns and have to buy presents for your family at the sames store where everyone shops.

The store is open from 11-9 every day up until Christmas Eve.

And again, the Bridge is located at 209 Monticello Road in Belmont, next to Spudnuts.

Tavola

What it is: Relatively new restaurant in Belmont specializing in rustic Italian food, open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, starting at 5pm.  Focuses on local and seasonal foods, so menu sometimes varies slightly.  They also have an extensive wine list.  See their website for a sample menu.

http://www.tavolavino.com/

Why it’s rad: Charlottesville has no other good Italian food.  In fact, I’m not even going to give Charlottesville that much credit.  We have terrible Italian food, unless you go to Tavola.  Delicious antipasti, especially the antipasti misti (meat and cheese plate), and consistantly well prepared pasta and entrees, such as the  hanger steak and fried veal chop.  The dining area is small and comfortable, and also includes an awesome bar if you just want to go for drinks.   The staff is also made up of extremely nice people who do nothing but be awesome.  Tavola is not exactly cheap, but you are paying for good Italian food made out of good and often ingredients, not a mess of cheese and red sauce.  Don’t eat Italian food out anywhere else in Charlottesville unless you want to make me and yourself sad.

Mas

What it is: A restaurant serving a varied menu of Spanish tapas (small plates), focusing on slow food, and organic and locally sourced food.  Located in Belmont at 501 Monticello Road.  Check out there menu here:

http://www.mastapas.com/tapas/

Why it’s rad: I have never felt sad when eating something at Mas.  From the start of the meal (always a plate of assorted olives), to whatever dishes I end up selecting, I never feel let down.  Their dishes are unique and good quality. I don’t want to eat food in a restaurant that tastes like I could have made it.  Anything beyond that, atmosphere, appearance, are all superfluous, really, but I must admit, I love the dining style at Mas.  You order as many small dishes as appeal to you, and they are put on the table and shared by everyone, which is arguably the best way to eat–it’s intimate, casual, and lets everyone enjoy whatever dishes they like most.

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The Bridge

 

What It Is: The Bridge PAI (Progressive Arts Initiative) is a nonprofit arts organization located in Belmont at 209 Monticello Rd (across from Spudnuts.  You know where that is, right?)  But you can and should read all that on their website:    http://www.thebridgepai.com/

Why It’s Rad: On a superficial level, this place is rad because it hosts movie screenings, poetry readings, rock shows, art gallery openings and dance parties, usually for either a small donation or nothing at all.  The people who volunteer and frequent The Bridge are some of the better people I have ever met in Charlottesville.  They are motivated, doing things, interesting things that will make you wonder why you’re wasting your time at school  It’s a completely honest and real place that cares about what it’s doing.

On a community-building-touchy-feely level (which is sort of what I’m all about, deep down, other than mocking things), this is one of my favorite places in Charlottesville because it focuses so much on diversity and community.  While there are some local organizations that present themselves as “community-oriented” and as “bringing people together,” I find that a lot of our arts organizations basically consist of fancy rich Charlottesville people donating a lot of money to an organization mainly consisting of those same people, who then put on plays for, yet again, the fancy rich people.   Not that these organizations are exclusionary, but they certainly work to get people involved the way The Bridge does.  And if nothing else, you get to support an awesome organization while watching a rock show and drinking booze.

The point is, I am pumped about The Bridge PAI.  You should come and hang out, or hey, get an internship or something productive for your college career.