Shenandoah Gemstones Part 1: Ruby’s, Tangi’s, and Cuban Chop Chop

Tangi Food Truck

“Del Fuego”… loaded with ghost peppers and jalapenos…

Chrizar and I arrived in the early evening and promptly made our way to Cuban Burger because “Cuban Food” plus “Burgers” will always equal “Perfection”. Cuban Burger is named for having “One of the Top 12 Burgers in Virginia”.

Admittedly, we were so hungry that we took zero photos here, but if you ever happen to go, just take our word that this place is fantastic! Chrizar had the “Del Fuego”, which was loaded with ghost peppers and jalapenos. The beef was succulent and juicy, but be warned that this is for spicy lovers only.

I went with the “Cuban Chop Chop”, a classic combination of rice, beans, cheese, and shrimp. What I loved most about my dish was that it was covered in fresh, shredded romaine lettuce, giving me full reassurance that what I was eating was “perfectly healthy”! But in all seriousness, it was very well seasoned. We ate the dishes with a side of maduros, sweet fried plantains with a dark, caramelized finished.

Since we’re both full time bakers living on the fringes of society with our psychotic 3:00 AM hours, we really needed naps by the end of dinner before heading into the nightlife scene.

Growing in in New York and then participating in the daily grind of “adulting” has made nightlife pretty obsolete for me personally. However, it’s definitely fun now and then!

I always think of clubs as places where people feed heartaches, get drunk, be someone else or be themselves for the evening. But, most importantly, it’s where people loosen up before the weekend, or where masochists hang out when they have work the next day.

…places where people feed heartaches, get drunk, be someone else, or be themselves for the evening…

Ruby’s Lady Luck Bar is the hub of nightlife, just below the ritzier and artsy Clementine Café. A red-headed lady with dice earrings is painted on the back door entrance, and we were greeted by smiling bouncers―Yes! “Smiling” and “Bouncer” can exist in the same sentence!

With an assortment of light beers, bold artwork, and grungy posters, and not-so-loud club music, it was a pleasant experience.

“This place is pretty tame,” I said to Chrizar.
“That’s because it’s for awkward people,” she said.
We look to our left; there’s a guy in a tucked in grey shirt and jeans dancing with his hands. We look to our right, and there are four girls in pencil skirts—also dancing with their hands. Enough said. That didn’t mean that the night didn’t get kinkier toward the end.

Before dragging ourselves back to the hotel, we stopped at a food truck in front of Ruby’s called Tangi Food Truck where two laid back cooks were selling yucca fries and dumplings $1.00 each along with a cup of organic green tea lightly sweetened with honey.

This place is a true gemstone, selling off of Ruby’s patio every Wednesday and Friday. The vehicle they served out of was an old school bus painted navy blue. The interior walls are all signed by customers in different colored Sharpies. My fiancé is vehemently opposed to what he calls “Street Meat”, but I think it’s the best food there is.

All of the Tangi Food Truck meat is locally sourced and changes by the season. I had the dumplings, which were perfectly crisp and deliciously savory on the inside and served over brown rice seasoned with vegan chicken stock. I was invited to add homemade ginger mayonnaise and sweet chili sauce to my dish which I advise is only for those who really like heat!

This experience delighted me the most that evening; there is something magical about enjoying mysterious street fare in a new town. This is real food filled with flavor, and not so filling that you’re ready to sleep.

These were among the best dumplings I’ve ever had, and I look forward to having them again in the future, even if it means a special trip.

This is what an eating experience should be like: sitting down with good company and enjoying the flavors as well as the conversation. As a fun ending to the night, Chrizar and I were invited on board the food truck to sign our names on the wall among all the other food truck fans and people who made it happen.

Chrizar’s signature on Tangi Food Truck’s Wall

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