Monday, October 24, 2016

Morgantown Edition: Roosters Wings

RoostersSo, a new restaurant has opened at Suncrest Towne Centre. Roosters Wings, a primarily Ohio-based chain, has opened in the former Tilted Kilt/Damon's location to make it the second location in West Virginia -- the other being in Huntington.

RoostersAnd, I would think this would be a prime location, considering its proximity to shopping and my favorite Kroger, but I've seen two restaurants flounder here. I think only time will tell if Roosters stands a chance. 

RoostersThe first thing I noticed is that it is very branded. They really push the "fun, casual" phrase, and cups, to-go boxes and more are all emblazoned with their logo. The interior is open with lots and lots of light wood - for the floors, the tables, the walls, the chairs - everything is wooden. Little risque catchphrases are written on signs throughout.

RoostersTheir specialty is, of course, wings - so I ordered 10 boneless honey bbq, and we also go an appetizer: Dumpster Wedges - wedges topped with melted cheese, bacon bits, tomatoes, green onions, jalapenos and dumpster dressing.

RoostersThe appetizer came out first, and I though it was decent. The wedges were crispy - I wasn't a big fan of the dressing so I just went with ketchup. But otherwise, cheese + bacon + potato is a winning combo. I think it could've used a touch more salt.

The wings were giant, and I only had a few. These large, white-meat tenders seemed of good quality, but I was less than enthused about the bbq flavor. It was so mild. It was just not super flavorful. I even dipped them in ranch (an additional charge), but it wasn't doing it for me. I think they need some more flavor to that BBQ sauce, and when I took the leftovers home and used some Sweet Baby Ray's, it was all good.

RoostersService was a little wonky, but that' likely because we visited right after they opened. Servers were confused about who had which table, and we ended up being served by three separate servers, I believe.

Overall thoughts: Decent. Quality of wings was good, sauce was less than stellar. Does it fulfill a wing deficit in Morgantown? Not so sure. I think for my money, I might head to Bdubs.

Grade: B
Roosters Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cranberry Township, PA Edition: Jimmy Wan's Restaurant & Lounge

Jimmy Wan'sI was in the Cranberry Township area for work, and I decided to grab a quick lunch. A quick Google search turned up high ratings for Jimmy Wan's, a pan-Asian restaurant with a sort of loungey feel.

Jimmy Wan'sI arrived as soon as they opened, and the front desk was already swamped. They were on the phone fielding take-out orders while I kinda stood around awkwardly. Finally, though, they were able to tend to me, and I was led nice seat right in the center of the dining room.

Jimmy Wan'sI had read that they were known for their Iron Chef roll, which has shrimp tempura and spicy tuna, topped with seared salmon, avocado, scallion, teriyaki, and tobiko ($19). I ordered one of those, as well as the crab meat rangoons ($6).

Jimmy Wan'sShortly thereafter, my two dishes came out. The rangoons came out first. The crispy wontons were filled with a bit of cream cheese and lots of crab meat. These were not bad, but not the most flavorful I've ever had. The two dipping sauces were a sweet & sour, while the other was a hot mustard. These were quite a bit greasy, but they certainly had more crab filling than I'm used to.

Jimmy Wan'sThe main sushi roll was fine, too. I think it was fairly mild tasting, but the flavor itself was good. It was not something I'd want to pay $19 for again, I don't think. But it was good enough and no major complaints.

I think service is a bit off; I think it's rude to make customers who are in front of you wait while you take phone calls. I also had servers come through at random times to take the second plate from my table. I could understand at the beginning of the meal - but 3/4 of the way through - why bother? And, the food was good - not great. Not a bad lunch.

Grade: B
Jimmy Wan's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Morgantown Edition: Back Door Bar & Tavern

The Back DoorYes, I went to The Back Door. Because I had a duty to do so. You see, Back Door has a happy hour buffet on Friday nights. And, I have it on good authority that the items are homemade (pizza and wings are from Casa D'Amici).

The Back DoorSo, what the hell? I went on Friday after work. Back Door is in a funny location, because it doesn't have much curb appeal. You can walk through the back of Casa to get to it, or you can enter through the back side, which faces the parking lot. There's a sign over top, but not much else beyond that.

The Back DoorIt's $5 to get in, and that gives you access to the buffet. They also had $2 Rolling Rock and $3 Corona. Meh, fine.

The Back DoorSo, how was it? It was fine. They had a veggie platter, some pizza, burgers, wings, pasta, meatballs, and weenies & potatoes. I think it's a pretty decent deal for just $5, but 1) it's a buffet so the quality of food is mediocre and 2) I would not want to arrive at the buffet too late for fear of what it would look like after 100 hungry drunk patrons ran through it.

The Back DoorAnd as a fun aside: The Great 'A Taste of Memphis' Debate - Layne's friend decided this would be the perfect opportunity to question my grading of one of his favorite restaurants in Princeton. This is apparently six years of built up frustration that he was ready to unleash. This is nothing new to me, folks. Food gets people all riled up, and my silly thoughts on restaurants often make me a target. Anyway, I'm sure a few heads were turned, but it was all in good fun.

The Back DoorOverall - average. The food was pretty right down the middle. The pasta was fine, and the meatballs were tasty. Average for what it is, but a good deal for broke college kids.

The Back DoorGrade: C
Back Door Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Heston Farm Oktoberfest

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestTis the time of year when Oktoberfest is celebrated via elaborate gatherings full of beer, lederhosen and heavy food.

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestAnd, I was fortunate to receive an invitation to attend Heston Farm's Oktoberfest and judge its home brewing contest. The judging actually started at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and we went through and tasted a bunch of really cool, delicious craft beers.

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestThere are very strict guidelines for styles of beers, and I did my best to judge each beer by those. Josh, the head brewer at Heston, was patient and taught me lots about beer judging and the flavors I was tasting with each beer.

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestWe had a mushroom beer and a delicious IPA and even a mead. Very cool experience - which actually took us a few hours. Crazy.

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestAfter the beer judging, I hung out with my friend Heather for a bit and helped get the place set up for the event. And, as soon as 4 p.m. rolled around, it was on.

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestThere was a buffet full of sauerbraten (German style marinated beef), schnitzel (breaded chicken breast), bratwurst, spaetzel (german pasta), sauerkraut with kielbasa and apples, braised red cabbage, black forest cake and german chocolate cake.

Heston Farm Winery Oktoberfest
I got a plate full of, well, everything. My favorite was definitely the spaetzel, which is a kind of soft egg noodle found in the cuisines of southern Germany and Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Alsace, Moselle and South Tyrol. For the buffet, it was just $20.

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestAnd in addition to the fun home brew contest, the incredibly delicious buffet, there was also traditional music by Ron and Nancy Utt, and Soup Camel performed later in the evening.

Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestAnd, games! Keg rolling - which I tried and almost did mildly well before giving up, as well as sack races and other fun things.
Heston Farm Winery OktoberfestHeston Farm Winery Oktoberfest

Heston Farm Winery Oktoberfest

Heston Farm Winery Oktoberfest

This was actually my first time heading down to Heston Farm's pavilion. And, it's a super lovely space. The food was great, the games were fun, and the beer was amazing. It was such a fun time, and I can't wait until the next event they host!
  Heston Farm Winery Oktoberfest

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Morgantown chef heads to World Food Championships


I received an email from a Morgantown chef recently, telling me about her advancement to a food competition. She asked if I could in some way help spread the news, so I figured why not rally around our hometown chef and cheer her on to victory?

Sherry Kozlowsi is headed to the World Food Championships. She's working on a recipe that she hopes will win her $100,000.

The World Food Championships is the largest competition in food sport, where champions of previous events convene for a chance at winning the ultimate food crown and a share of $300,000. The World Food Championships platform ranges from live-event integration and activations to a robust multimedia platform that serves culinary stars, home cooks, brands and destinations. In four short years, WFC has awarded more than $1 million in prizes and money, spawned a TV series, garnered more than 5 billion media impressions and launched numerous professional careers for successful contestants.

Sherry KozlowskiKozlowski qualified for the event after winning The National Amateur Mushroom cook-off with her Sunnyside of ‘Shrooms in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. That granted her a chance to compete at the World Food Championship Nov. 9-15 and potentially win thousands in Orange Beach, Alabama. Kozlowski’s team is one of 430 from across the world who will be seeking the ultimatefood crown.

You can cheer on Kozlowski by following her on Facebook or following the results at There’s also a good chance that Kozlowski will be
seen on TV, as this event is filmed for national cable television each year. It has been
seen on the A&E Network as well as the Discovery Network.