Sunday, February 7, 2016

Wheeling Edition: Generations Restaurant & Pub

GenerationsGenerations Restaurant & Pub, located in Wheeling, is your typical all-American casual bar & grill food. It made its way onto the WV's 101 Most Unique Places to Dine list. 

GenerationsDon't try going around to the front of the building that faces the road - nope, those are the banquet halls. Instead, go around the side and there you'll find the entrance. On this day, I was early so there weren't many people having lunch yet. The interior is pretty spacious with bar seating, high-tops and tables all around the space.

GenerationsThey have a few decent beers on draft, and I went with a Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale. The menu gas wings, pizzas, salads and a bevy of fried appetizers, as well as sandwiches, wraps, burgers and plated entrees on the other side. I knew I had a day of munching ahead of me, so I opted for just a bite.

GenerationsI ordered the buffalo pierogies, which are pierogies tossed in any of their wing sauces. Sounds a bit odd, right? Well, not if it's parmesan garlic, right? Mmm.

GenerationsI asked for a side of marinara because I just felt like they needed something. Overall, these were just OK. The fried, greasy taste just kind of took over. I've had some pierogies that have had a super flavorful filling, while these just kinda fell flat. Bad? No. Great? Nah.

Grade: C
Generations Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Wheeling Edition: Mmm Popcorn

Mmm...popcornMmm Popcorn is a new-ish gourmet popcorn shop in downtown Wheeling. Gourmet popcorn, you ask? Yes, and I'm a big fan.

Mmm...popcornWhen I first walked in, I guess I was a bit underwhelmed. I was thinking Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, and you kinda get the tamed down version of that. But, that's OK. There are a few plastic bins full of a few kinds of popcorn to the right, and a mirrored wall to the left has the handwritten variations available.

Mmm...popcornOn this day, the "buckeye" is what sounded most exciting. Chocolate, caramel. Because yes.

Mmm...popcornOverall, it's pretty good. I was hoping for drizzled caramel on top of the popcorn instead of the all-over kind, but that's neither here nor there. I love the idea of fancy popcorn in Wheeling because I love fancy popcorn (salty + sweet is my jam).

Mmm...popcornA little bit more refinement and general ambiance inside the shop would do wonders. Until then, the popcorn will keep me coming back.

Grade: A
Mmm Popcorn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wheeling Edition: Ihlenfeld Dining Room at Oglebay Resort

Ihlenfeld Dining Room at OglebayI've spent very little time at Oglebay, despite it being right in my backyard growing up. But the Ihlenfeld Dining Room wound up on the 101 Unique Places to Dine in WV list, and you know what that means.

Ihlenfeld Dining Room at OglebayIt ended up on mine, too. I decided to head up "home" (aka Wellsburg) for the day. On the way up, I thought I could stop at Oglebay for a quick breakfast because 1 - it should be quick since it's buffet style and 2 - it's probably relatively inexpensive.

Ihlenfeld Dining Room at OglebaySigh. There was a lengthy wait for breakfast. Maybe because it was near the holidays. I don't know. All I remember were lots of screaming children in Christmas colors and me wearing all black just trying to get my waffle on. It's a buffet, so I really didn't understand how it was taking so long.

Ihlenfeld Dining Room at OglebayI finally was seated and waited for a while before I realized that I wasn't going to receive a waiter ... I just wanted a water. But there was a carafe orange juice on the table that seemed to be my only option. K.

Ihlenfeld Dining Room at OglebayI got up from where I was seated (off in a room at the front) and went out to the front to peruse my options. There is an omelet station and a waffle station. I got a waffle made and picked up a few pieces of bacon. I wasn't overly impressed with the options. There were some plain grits, some picked over pieces of ham and other stuff I was mostly unenthused by.

Ihlenfeld Dining Room at OglebayMy waffle was fine. My problem was that they had mostly run out of syrup, so I had only a tiny bit for my waffle. But, it's fine. It's decent.

Ihlenfeld Dining Room at OglebayAfter I flagged someone down and was able to pay - about $14 - I headed out. Quickly.

Grade: C
Ihlenfeld Dining Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Morgantown Edition: South Perk Market

South Perk MarketA new coffee shop opened up in South Park called South Perk Market -- get it? Morgantown has room, I think, for a new coffee shop or two. I went recently (kinda recently; it's taken me a while to get to this blog post) for lunch.

South Perk MarketFirst things first, there is off-street parking! Major key. I'm guessing South Perk will find its niche as a local neighborhood coffee shop, so I'm not sure how many people will actually be driving here. BUT, it was super nice for us.

South Perk MarketInside, there are wares and goods from local artisans along the left teal wall with this super cute rolling ladder. Love that so much.

South Perk MarketThey have a few baked goods behind the counter - muffins, cookies, etc. from a local baker. Some of which are vegan or gluten-free. There was a blueberry muffin there that I just had to have.
South Perk Market

South Perk Market

There is bulk tea and bulk coffee available, as well as single-serve coffee, tea and espresso. I ordered a caramel creme french press. Because I had never had one before, so why not? I, admittedly, am not a huge coffee drinker. I used to need coffee, which is when I decided to step back. And only recently have I begun reintroducing it fairly regularly. All's good in moderation, right?

They also (typically) have some cold wrapped sandwiches and can serve up paninis. Ingredients they have include wraps (veggie or vegan or with deli meat), paninis, croissants or sandwiches with roast beef, turkey, ham, tuna salad or chicken salad. 

South Perk Market
Since there were none available that day, she custom made a sandwich for me. I went for a panini with turkey, provolone, red onion, cranberries and mayo.

So what's the verdict?

South Perk MarketI like it. The cozy atmosphere was perfect for a rainy day. Tony, Jake and I sat at a tall bar that overlooked town, worked away on our laptops and drank our coffee. I've learned french press is a bit stronger, a bit more robust. But quite flavorful. And the muffin was among some of the best I've had. Very moist and huge, sweet blueberries dotted the inside. And that sandwich was very tasty - so much so that I went home and recreated it. I think half of the creative genius is mine, I think. But I told them they should add it as a regular item on the menu.

South Perk MarketThe coffee shop vibe isn't quiteeee there yet. The ambiance was just a bit off with some random loud stragglers walking around and about and just general odds and ends. But I think it's a nice option either way for folks in South Park -- and even others who want a change of pace.

Grade: B

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Morgantown Edition: Atria's Restaurant

AtriasAtria's is a Pittsburgh-based Italian restaurant that has about nine locations now. I went back when it first opened to see what it's all about.

AtriasWhile the hotel (and parking lot) was still under major construction, the restaurant itself looked as though it was undergoing some minor construction still. We entered through a side door, and there were some pallets sitting outside. But, again, this was just after they opened. So, I'll overlook that.

AtriasWhen we walked in, there were about five people rapid-fire saying hi to us. It was actually a little disorienting. They were saying hi from different directions, so I was actually not sure where to look. That seems ridiculous, but it's true. Someone along the way told them to greet every customer, and they took it to heart.

AtriasWe sat down and had a few people welcome us - our waitress, a manager or two. OK, OK. I asked our waitress if the items in the brackets on the menu were their specialties. She initially said no with confidence, and then backtracked. I take it they are the specialties. I ordered the chicken parmesan - standard Italian-American restaurant fare that should be a good indicator.

AtriasLisa first ordered the pot roast nachos and was so kind as to share. These were very good. The pot roast was super flavorful and had more of a tangy flavor than a gravy flavor. They were very tasty.

AtriasMy main entree was also pretty good. I don't think the pasta is homemade, but I liked the red sauce, and the breaded chicken was good. The pasta could've been taken out just a second earlier, but that's small.

I don't know if they were bored, or just had no one to focus on, but there were no less than a dozen interruptions during our meal. There were the couple from our waitress - asking how things were, etc. But then literally anyone who passed by us would ask how things were. At least five separate people asked us. It was just too much. I had to keep stopping eating, covering my mouth and saying "fine" for the thousandth time. After maybe 7 times, you notice it. After 10, you're annoyed. More than that, I'm like - what the hell is going on?

I'm guessing once they get busier, this won't be a problem. Just keep in mind, I'm at lunch with a friend to be with my friend and have a conversation. A few interruptions are expected, but a ton ruin the experience.

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