Mexican Al Fresco
Terrace dining brings a new dimension to Maya Mexican Grill and Tequila Lounge in Short Pump, a popular spot to sample chef Maria Oseguera's creative cuisine and house-made salsas. 4348 Pouncey Tract Road. 360-0942. mayarva.com.
Collaborative brews: Cask Café & Market celebrates American craft beer week with an event May 13. "We've got our hands on some of the most exciting brewery collaborations," co-owner David Garrett says, "like Legend and Williamsburg Alewerks, to Greg Self's beer brewed with Champion in Charlottesville, plus some gems that partner some of the most creative movers and shakers in the biz." Pizza Tonight will be cooking pies on-site. 206 S. Robinson St. 355-2402. thecaskrva.com.
Seasonal updates: C Street Café in Carytown rolls out new menus for brunch and dinner, with spring pea, potato and leek soup, baked rainbow trout, stuffed pancakes, and more in this quietly elegant, service-minded spot with porch and patio dining. New manager Lili Michie brings an extra dose of hospitality to the business. 3325 W. Cary St. 355-2200. cstreetrva.com.
Reader mail: "Hey just thought I'd give you two more suggestions you ought to try if you really love tacos. Habanero off Quioccasin, same shopping strip as Trax, has the best carnitas. Hands down. And in the same shopping strip as La Cabana, on the other end of the strip, there is another taco joint attached to a little bodega. Forget the name of it, but great, great tacos. No English. Cash only. And the bodega has fresh chicharonnes and fried pork belly. The taco places you listed are good, but can't touch these two." — Steven Chung
Long in the tooth: Bacchus celebrates its 15th anniversary this month. Owner Chris DiLauro recalls its origins as Cabo's, Fat Daddy's, Mudbones and others at the once-sketchy corner of Meadow and West Main streets. "I never imagined we'd get to this point — you never know what you're up against" in the business, he says. DiLauro was 29 when he bought the business by mortgaging his house. The culinary grad remains hands-on in the kitchen a few nights a week, and pasta, fried goat cheese salad, squid and chicken piccata are among his top-selling dishes. His second project, Galley, with Manny Mendez of Kuba Kuba, continues to flourish in Stratford Hills.