inside job: mashita.

Copy of burgIMG_7938When Mikey Reisenberg opened his food truck, Mashita, in 2013, people went NUTS. I remember it well — seemingly everyone I knew was raving about this giant grey bus/truck thing slinging Korean food on East Market Street. And then it started showing up at breweries, and people flocked to it like children to an ice cream truck in the Mojave. In July. At noon. People lined up three deep, standing on their tiptoes, trying to catch a glimpse of the holy magic going on in  there. It wasn’t long before Mashita started catering and quite frankly, for a while there, if the event I was attending was not catered by Mashita, I was kinda like, “Pffffft. Meh.” No offense, everyone else.

It’s a new era of Korean-inspired joy, squealing, and jumping up and down: Mashita has graduated to a brick-and-mortar location. You can still get the steamed buns, lettuce wraps, bulgogi, and kimchi we’ve been gorging on for years, but there is so much to love about the new place. Instead of standing outside the truck in the rain/snow/sleet/wind (we’ve all done it) to place your order, and then either sitting in the filth of your disgusting car or in your uninspired work cubicle to eat it, you’ll love the warmth and comfort of the new space.

Copy of burgIMG_7957You’ll love the tables handcrafted by Mikey himself from Black Forest Sawmill wood. You’ve love the light that floods the space, nourishing the adorable succulents from Port Farm. You’ll love the local art hanging on the walls and the huge mural painted by Mike Arellano. You’ll love the low-waste initiatives, like real plates and glasses and stainless steel chopsticks. You’ll even love the bathroom, outfitted with lotion and other comforts. Lord, all this place needs is napping quarters.

Copy of burgIMG_8032Copy of burgIMG_7966Copy of burgIMG_7946Copy of burgIMG_7951But let’s get to why we all already love Mashita: the food. You know the expression, “Eat with your eyes” ? Mikey, sous chef Kevin, and kitchen manager Spencer will serve you art on a plate. Pictured below you’ll see gnocchi with a mushroom sauce, kimchi mac & cheese balls, and pork belly with grits — three specials from the day we visited.

Copy of burgIMG_7990Copy of burgIMG_7988Copy of burgIMG_7986Copy of burgIMG_7985Copy of burgIMG_7980On top of that, we ordered the steamed buns with braised pork, the Korean-style burrito with chicken bulgogi, and the Mashita Bibimbap with chicken, done up all pretty with a fried egg bow on top. For each of those dishes, you can choose from several protein options. And the menu has much, much more. I just need to pause here and recall how incredibly fresh our food was that day.

Copy of burgIMG_8034Copy of burgIMG_8013Copy of burgIMG_8010Copy of burgIMG_7974Top it off with several savory sauces, wash it down with local and regional beer or sake, and complete your meal with fried apple bao rounds or another fabulous, freshly made dessert.

Copy of burgIMG_8022Copy of burgIMG_7959But don’t worry — for all you sentimental types, the truck is alive and well! They still use it for catering, special events, and festivals. Visit Mashita at 105 North Liberty Street, Tuesday – Saturday, 11 – 9pm. And quick, make a reservation for a 5-course pairing dinner with 3 Notch’d Valley Collab House on Valentine’s Day!

Copyright © 2012-20 · All Rights Reserved · Words by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

all caked up: cupcake company.

It was the sweetest quickie ever.

I mean, we tore in there, ordered, scarfed it down, and satisfied our sugar craving in about four and a half minutes. By the time Brandy put down her camera to enjoy her cupcake, the rest of us were all done.

empty plates at bakeryI’m talking, of course, about the Cupcake Company, located on Rt 33 East in Penn Laird. If you’re headed east out of Harrisonburg, it’ll be on your left. I say that because in my half-blind, sugar craving stupor, I couldn’t see anything. Thankfully, Brandy waited for me in the median. Sheesh.

sign out front of bakeryBut don’t feel like you have to drive out there. They also have a Cupcake Truck (drool), which will be at Valley 4th on Court Square, AND they deliver. !!!

I first became aware of the Cupcake Company at work. A short email consisting of just one sentence came over the staff-wide system: “There are cupcakes in the teachers’ lounge.” Now, I was in the middle of class when this announcement arrived in my inbox, but I also kinda thought, “Meh. Probably those processed kind from [That Big Awful Store].” So I didn’t really hurry. Still, when I had a chance, I wandered down to the lounge, and what greeted me was the best cupcake I’ve ever consumed on public school property. The one I happened to get that day was the Raspberry Merlot Truffle, and after one bite, I seriously doubted my ability to navigate back down the hall to my room. I also toyed with the idea of not returning to my room at all… couldn’t I just sit down here for the rest of the day with my new cupcake friends? All the flavors, all living happily together in the pretty box! There was Grasshopper, Carrot, Chocolate Overload, Cherry Cheesecake, Wet Coconut… and Lord, have mercy, Pancake Maple Bacon! They have dozens of other flavors, too, for each day of the week!

assorted cupcakesAfter that day, I knew I had to get back there. So a week or so ago, on our way to take the kids swimming, Brandy and I stopped into their shop. The dining area is clean and quaint and holds several tables. The display case glistens to a polish and contains perfectly positioned, mouth-watering delicacies. The staff is super nice and patient. The ample kitchen bustles with activity. All four kids were entranced. We ordered a Peanut Butter Pie cupcake (Brandy), three Cookies and Cream cupcakes (Blake, Ella, and Bree), one Chocolate Ganache (Cal), which was so pretty it look upholstered, and a Chocolate Vanilla (moi).

employee at bakery counter four cupcakes on plates bakery kitchenFive seconds later, everyone had a messy face, and we were done. The kids wrote some thoughts on the wall-size chalkboard. In the car, the sadness set in. Couldn’t we have savored our cupcakes just a little longer?? Was it really over so soon?? What, are we animals??

girl with crumbsNo worries. We’ll be back in there soon, on another day of the week, when they have seven more flavors to choose from. And it’ll be just like the first time.

people eating cupcakesCopyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.