Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Vienna Edition: Serenity Coffee House & Cafe

Serenity Coffee HouseVienna is home to one of my favorite concepts: a coffee shop by morning, wine bar by night. I was first introduced to this concept in Milwaukee and immediately fell in love. So, I'm super happy to see this come to West Virginia.

Serenity Coffee HouseSerenity Coffee House & Cafe, located along Central Avenue in a large building, has ample parking, a drive-thru and even outdoor seating where you can sip your coffee and watch cars pass.

Serenity Coffee HouseWalking inside, there is a large open space with angled archways leading to cozy spots - high tops, tables, plushy seats. Head to the left for coffee, head to the right for libations.

Serenity Coffee HouseSince it was still early, I headed to the left for a look at the coffee and lunch menu.

Serenity Coffee HouseThere are a few different menus and signs, so I took a minute to take it all in. There was a case directly in front of me that housed pepperoni rolls and a menu full of breakfast items, sandwiches and flatbreads.

Serenity Coffee HouseBehind the counter, there is a menu featuring coffee drinks, plus some additional goodies on the counter - snack cakes, desserts and more.

Serenity Coffee HouseSo, I wanted to try a little bit of everything. I ordered an Americano (water + espresso), with a shot of caramel syrup.

Serenity Coffee HouseAnd, I snagged a coffee cake from the display bin.

Serenity Coffee HouseAnd, I got a pepperoni roll - because why not have a little of everything?

Serenity Coffee HouseThe coffee was good - and there is a little station to add your own creamer, sugar and what have you. I added just a touch of sugar because apparently I needed it this day But, that made it perfect. The coffee cake was delish. I so rarely get coffee cake, so this was a unique treat. And, the pepperoni roll was a lighter dough that was a bit flakey - different, but good.

Serenity Coffee HouseThis place is really cool. I could see myself coming in and doing work with a coffee. Or, coming in on an evening and doing work with a glass of wine. All while having a tasty snack, of course.

Serenity Coffee HouseUpstairs, they have some shops, but it wasn't open while I was there, unfortunately. But, stop by, do some shopping, get a coffee (or wine, no judging), and have a tasty snack.

Grade: A
Serenity Coffee House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Huntington Edition: Paul Vega Cupcakes

Paul Vega CupcakesWhile killing some time in Huntington, I stumbled upon Paul Vega Cupcakes.

Paul Vega CupcakesThis shop is really cute - from the black and white awning and lights outside, to the softly lit, sweet interior.

Paul Vega CupcakesThe case is full of all sorts of tasty looking cupcakes. There are tons of different flavors, depending what day you're there.

Paul Vega Cupcakes
It all began baking as a child under the guidance of my wonderful mother. With four older brothers, I always had plenty of volunteers to test my creations. It was a great way of getting positive attention from them! 
As a registered nurse for 19 years, I finally traded in my syringe for a piping bag to fulfill my love and passion of putting smiles on peoples' faces! There is no other joy i like better than to see my customers approach the cupcake bakery case, and see their eyes light up with a smile on their face! Everyone loves cupcakes including me! 
At Paula Vega Cakes, we do not skimp on the ingredients such as creamy butter, rich chocolate, real vanilla beans, heavy whipping cream, pure cane sugar, whole eggs, fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and nuts. These are my staples! Everything is made by hand, by me and my trained bakers, using my recipes I have tested and tried to perfect over the years. Each of my cupcakes and cakes to order have their own special trademark of fruit, cream or fudge filling. My goal, at Paula Vega Cakes, is to provide you with luscious indulgences that lift your spirits and makes you smile! I invite you to come by and try one of our cupcakes (ABOUT).

Paul Vega Cupcakes

When I asked which flavors are most popular, I was told the Fresh Strawberry was the winner. I'll take one then!

Paul Vega CupcakesAnd, I also asked for a cappuccino with a shot of caramel.

Paul Vega CupcakesThere's just not a much better combination than a coffee and a pastry or sweet treat.

Paul Vega CupcakesThe strawberry cupcake has real strawberries in it, and the frosting was also strawberry flavored - strawberry on strawberry! It's a good cupcake.

Paul Vega CupcakesThat, paired with the coffee made for a perfect stop. What's your favorite cupcake to get here?

Paul Vega Cupcakes

Grade: A
Paul Vega Cupcakes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 26, 2017

Parkersburg Edition: Philippines Best Food Carry-Out

Best Filipino carry outWest Virginia has a pretty diverse display of culinary offerings. You can get Thai, Vietnamese, Kenyan, French, Mediterranean, Mexican, Italian, Venezuelan, Swiss, Indian, and Greek food - and more!

Best Filipino carry outAnd, most recently, I discovered Filipino food in Parkersburg. Philippines Best Food Carry-Out, located on 7th Street, is dishing up classic Filipino dishes for take-out, dine-in or even buffet.

Best Filipino carry outThey started out as a simply a food stand, then evolved into a fully functioning sit-down restaurant. And, they even have a buffet available on the weekends.
Where you can enjoy authentic Filipino cuisine made with only the freshest of ingredients and house made sauces. Daniel and Elenita Lubuguin began this business 5 years ago with a food truck on Saturdays, then moving to a make-shift storage building just large enough for a few customers to place their orders for carry-out only. As their popularity grew, they decided to build a restaurant with seating for 40 inside and 20 outside. Daniel learned to cook during his time as a cook for a military base in the Philippines, and the Lubuguins enjoy bringing the authentic taste of the Philippines to their customers. The restaurant started with just the happy couple and has now grown to more than 10 employees with hopes of even further expansion in the near future. Their food truck still attends local fairs all over the east coast and seems to be a fan favorite no matter their location (OUR VISION). 

Best Filipino carry outSo, I just happened to be in town on a weekend and stopped by to check this place out. I consulted with a friend, while looking over the menu, to see what would give me the best taste of this place. She suggested a few standards - siopa (a super soft bun with meat filling), lumpia (yummy egg rolls), longsilog (her favorite breakfast food), pansit (rice noodles), adobo (the national dish), sisig, bistek, maybe dinuguan for the adventurous (made with offal and blood) - but she said the menu looks good and just about anything sounded great!

Best Filipino carry outBut when I got there, I saw the buffet and figured that would be the easy way to go. Among the buffet were chicken afritada, pansit noodles, chicken stirfry, pork adobo, teriyaki chicken, sweet sour chicken, chicken curry, tilapia, sweet chili wings, and seafood paella.

Best Filipino carry outEvery single thing I had was delicious. The adobo was flavorful and warming.

Best Filipino carry outThe pansit noodles are thin and full of other yummy vegetables and onions.

Best Filipino carry outAnd this spicy seafood paella was SUPER good. I kept going back for more.

Best Filipino carry outLumpia is so great - like a lighter, fresher eggroll.

Best Filipino carry out
The leche flan is a traditional Filipino custard - very tasty.

Best Filipino carry outThere were a couple things I wasn't sure of - like this thing that seemed like it was full of plantain. It had a caramelized outer edge and soft, vaguely sweet interior.

Best Filipino carry outThere were so many other items that looked delicious, too. I skipped the things that I was already familiar with - wings or kebabs.

Best Filipino carry outIt's pretty cool we have a little taste of the Phillippines here in West Virginia.

Best Filipino carry outHave you been? What's your favorite dish?

Grade: A
Philippines Best Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Huntington Edition: Jolly Pirate Donuts

Jolly PirateI've said it before, and I'll say it again: Huntington may have some of the best food in the state.

Jolly PirateThat may be partially because I don't get there as much as I'd like, so every time I go, there's something new and delicious to try. Jolly Pirate Donuts serves up some of the area's best donuts - in addition to Greek gyro sandwiches.

Jolly Pirate
The new deli menu features an assortment of Greek gyro sandwiches, which sell for $4.99. Customers can choose from a traditional gyro (made with a blend of lamb and beef), a chicken gyro and a veggie gyro. Other new options include a Greek pita pizza served on flatbread ($4.89) and a salad ($4.59.) The deli also offers an assortment of sandwiches served on fresh made croissants including roast beef ($4.49), ham ($4.49), turkey ($4.49), chicken salad ($4.49), and tuna salad ($4.49) (HERALD DISPATCH).
Jolly Pirate
That's quite the combination, right? On this day, though, I was here for just the donuts, which there are plenty of.

Jolly PirateLet's start with a standard glazed donut, shall we? I think they're actually maybe a tiny bit smaller than others? And, this one was fine. There wasn't anything especially outstanding about it - I very well could've liked some more glaze, too.

Jolly PirateThe other donut I got was the strawberry & cream, which has both jelly & cream inside! I mean, yes. This one was pretty darn tasty.

Jolly PirateIt's pretty cool to get gyros and donuts in one place. And, next time I'll have to try both.

Jolly Pirate

Grade: A
Jolly Pirate Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Parkersburg Edition: Snow Biz

Snow Biz
What is better in summer time than a cool treat? That's right, nothing.

Snow BizSo, after snacking my way through Parkersburg, I made a stop at Snow Biz for dessert. There are a few locations for Snow Biz, but the one in this shopping center claims to be the original.

Snow Biz

"Snow Cone" is a dirty word around here, we don't sell them and never will. We only sell gourmet shave ice. We shave the ice in front of you, from fresh blocks of ice. This creates a smooth fluffy texture, like snow, and then we add our vividly delicious flavors and colors for a tropical taste sensation. The texture of the shave ice holds the flavor from the first delightful bite to the last. No sucking flavor from the bottom of a paper cone here. Our syrup is freshly made by us. We serve well over 100 natural, non fat, and dairy free flavors and combinations of flavors. We bring a taste of the tropics to you. Once you've tried shave ice a snow cone will be a dirty word to you too. Stop by our retail location or we'll come to you! It's the perfect way to celebrate a party, or event. We can even help you with fundraising for your school, team or charity, at no cost to you. We take care of it all. Contact us for pricing and availability.
Snow BizThis shop has shaved ice, iced coffee, smoothies, slushies, shakes, super sundaes and floats. There are SO many flavor combinations for shaved ice that it is literally overwhelming. So, I asked for their recommendation, and "rainbow" was a popular response. Sold.

Snow BizBut, I didn't just get shaved ice, because that would be boring. I got a "super sundae," which is shaved ice ON TOP OF ICE CREAM. I've never heard of this, so I needed it immediately.

Snow BizThe sizes here are gigantic; I got a small and it was still more than enough. The rainbow consisted of a strawberry, a lemon and a sour blue raspberry, I believe. It was on top of vanilla ice cream swirled with blue syrup.

Snow BizNot only is it beautiful, but it's actually really tasty. I quickly ate the shaved ice, which tasted like eating a rainbow. So, heaven. It was light and fruity. Then, the ice cream comes into play - creamy and rich. If you don't eat this quick enough, I could see it becoming a giant mess. But, very tasty and would definitely try again.

Snow Biz
Grade: A
Sno Biz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato