A road trip wouldn’t be complete without a few yummy pit stops along the way. We just spent some time in Outer Banks with our family, which is about a 10-11 hour drive from Columbus. Since it was our first long trip with the peanut, we decided to stay overnight on the way down. Charlottesville, Virginia is about halfway, so we booked a hotel on University of Virginia’s campus and had dinner right down the road at Al Carbon Chicken.
They are known for their namesake and it didn’t disappoint. They marinate the chicken for 24 hours in a combination of secret spices, then slow cook it in an imported charcoal oven from Peru. It was amazing. The only part I didn’t like is knowing that we can’t make this at home unless we wise up and buy a charcoal oven from Peru. Is there a blogger registry I don’t know about? You can get this deliciously juicy chicken with perfectly crispy skin as a whole chicken, half size or quarter size. We only got a half chicken because you know, we had to order the rest of the menu.
Speaking of the rest of the menu, they feature traditional street tacos like our friends at Los Guachos. Obviously, we had to get a few of those, specifically the carne asada and al pastor. They come wrapped in lovely homemade corn tortillas topped with cilantro, onions, sliced radishes, and a lime wedge. You can also pick from their six homemade sauces and add one for just $0.60. We got the chipotle crema, jalapeno and cilantro, and aji sauce. None of them were too spicy, just really amazing and yummy.
If South American cuisine is always this good, I’d like to move there, please. We got the Chiles Toreados and Cebollitas, aka grilled jalapenos and spring onions. The onions were a bit hard to slice with an 11-month-old trying to eat all the tacos next to me. But, they were so good and we are definitely going to recreate them soon at home. The jalapenos were fantastic but so spicy! I’ve never had grilled jalapenos before which is crazy because they were the perfect addition to our dinner. Oh, look, more tacos! They were just $2.75 each or 4 for $10.99, so not bad prices at all. You could get two tacos, a side dish and a drink for right around $10. Ugh, come to Columbus! This green poblano and cilantro rice was fluffy and flavorful. I’m actually not even sure how they make it so flavorful with the peppers without having huge chunks in it. Tell me your ways Al Carbon Chicken!
Okay, so the rice was great but this sweet potato was unreal. I don’t know what compelled me to get a sweet potato, but I’ve been craving them lately and it seemed healthier than something fried. It is baked over charcoal (again with that oven) and then covered in sweet cream. It was soft, creamy, and something I’ll definitely try to recreate at home. If you happen to be in Charlottesville, you definitely need to make a pit stop at Al Carbon Chicken.