Thursday, March 31, 2011

Princeton Edition: Berkshire's & Twistee Treat

Princeton has two ice cream places I've been wanting to try since winter. Now that I'm here for Spring Break, Chris finally took me.

Berkshire's Old Fashioned Frozen Custard
I first saw a Berkshire's in Beckley, but didn't have the chance to go. It seems it's a West Virginia special restaurant, but the web seems to be lacking that info. Anyway, we walked inside, and I was already excited. I didn't know what to expect of "frozen custard," but essentially, it's ice cream. It's a bit less creamy, and the coldness doesn't seem as harsh. I opted for a vanilla/chocolate twist in a waffle cone, and I wasn't disappointed. After trying the frozen custard, I found I prefer it to ice cream. It is a bit thicker, so there's a little bite to it. The taste was also fantastic - perfect blend of chocolate and vanilla that could please most. I could describe what chocolate and vanilla taste like, but it's pretty basic. The cone was so huge, I couldn't even finish the last bit. I'm excited to try more of their flavors of the week (which change every Tuesday).
Grade: A

Berkshire's Old Fashioned Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon

Twistee Treat
Located a little further out of the way, Twistee Treat is a little ice cream cone-shaped building, complete with a drive-thru and a half-dozen tables and chairs, that serves ice cream cones, sundaes and hotdogs. I decided on a turtle sundae (I'm a fan of caramel, in case you haven't noticed), and Chris decided to get the grossest named one: the dirt cup. His consisted of vanilla ice cream with Oreo cookie crumbles and sour gummy worms. I'm not a big fan of sour gummy worms, especially with that mixture, but he seemed pleased. I enjoyed my sundae - ice cream wasn't bad for what it was, but the nuts on top were overbearing, and at the bottom of the sundae cup, there was about an inch and a half of just nut/chocolate mixture. I couldn't eat that - I tried to mix the ice cream with the nuts, but the ratio just wasn't cutting. However, you can't go wrong with a vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and caramel. Just hopefully the nuts are lighter next time.

Grade: B
Twistee Treat on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Princeton Edition: Sister's Coffee House & Burger Boy

Instead of trying the chain restaurants in Princeton, we opted for two native to the town: Sister's Coffee House and Burger Boy.

Sister's Coffee House
This gem of a restaurant is hidden off the main stretch of town in a large purple and brick house. Once you step foot inside, it is completely eclectic and unique, with local art adorning the walls, mismatched chairs, different colored placements and knick-knacks at every corner. When we went to the front, there was a counter with freshly baked goodies and a menu written in chalk on the wall. I ordered a philly cheesesteak sandwich with a salad. I also ordered a coke, but they don't serve pop. Instead, Chris and I both got lemonades - a fantastic decision.

I'd be confident saying this is the best meal I've received in Princeton. My sandwich had tender meat, grilled onions and green peppers all on a buttery warm croissant role. The sandwich wasn't huge, so I wasn't weighed down. I was very pleasantly full. The side salad was fantastic, with crisp greens and juicy tomatoes. Our lemonade had the best blend of sweet and tart, but refreshing, satisfying and thirst-quenching. We also received a small pitcher to pour our own refills. Because our meal was amazing, we ordered dessert here, too. We got a coconut bon-bon, which was coconut dipped in chocolate. Pretty good if coconut is your thing. We also had a brownie sundae. With fresh-baked chocolate brownies, a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream drizzled in chocolate syrup and caramel, this meal was to die for.

Grade: A
Sisters Coffee House on Urbanspoon

Burger Boy
I should have listened to Chris when he said not to try Burger Boy. Before even ordering, we were approached by an elderly woman who complimented my hair for a solid minute, then began saying Chris and I were a very good-looking couple. Then, she asked for $10. That was our sign. When we got to the counter, I ordered what I thought may be their special "big boy burger," along with a side of cheese and potato bites. Chris got a 20-piece chicken nugget meal with a side of french fries. The atmosphere left much to be desired, and the food was mediocre. I think my time was spoiled after the initial incident, but excellent food could have made a comeback. I only had a couple cheese and potato bites, and though they were OK, there simply weren't enough for the money. The burger was slightly dry, and bland. I found out halfway through there was ketchup on it, but you could've fooled me. Chris' nuggets weren't bad - especially if you don't mind Kroger ones that have been deep-fried.

Grade: D
Burger Boy on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 25, 2011

Charleston Edition: Inta Juice & Bluegrass Kitchen

Chris Slater and I decided to make a day trip to Charleston, WV, to see good friend Brittany Erskine's workplace (The Associated Press) and catch up with Steven Adams.

Inta Juice
We all met up at Inta Juice, a franchise created by Randy Moss, that features yummy smoothies. The smoothie bar has various categories, including citrus and berry. The variety is a bit overwhelming, as I took a few minutes to decide how to decipher the menu. Once I figured out where the less healthy (more yummy) smoothies are, I opted for the Fruit Flirtation, a customer favorite. It included a mixture of berries and banana. It was quite tasty, refreshing, but definitely sweet. I could have chosen a less sweet one, but I was very happy with the texture and taste. I had a regular size cup, and it was more than enough. It was a very warm day in Charleston, and the smoothie provided perfect company for the rest of our activities. Chris had a less sugary lemonade-type smoothie; Brittany opted for a healthy one, as well as a shot of wheat grass.

Grade: B 
INTA Juice on Urbanspoon

Bluegrass Kitchen
For dinner, Brittany suggested Charleston favorite Bluegrass Kitchen. This restaurant boasts "eclectic comfort food" with natural ingredients grown and raised in West Virginia. Local artwork is featured on the walls, and the modern comfort food brings about a very hipster scene. The menu wasn't expansive by any means, but the options were quite interesting.

While waiting for Brittany to arrive, we ordered a beer cheese and bread appetizer. The focaccia bread was moist, and the beer cheese robust and flavorful. The blend of cheeses made a oozey, melty mouthful of heaven. For my main meal, I ordered "the perfect chicken" sandwich, which included a roasted chicken breast with bacon, sun-dried tomato mayo, and Swiss cheese grilled inside out on ciabatta bread with greens and a tomato. Fries on the side. When our main entrees came out, I was slightly confused, as the top part of my sandwich was upside down. I guess that was the "inside out" part. Anyway, the sandwich was tasty, as one would expect, but I was slightly disappointed that it was a little dry. With that much chicken, it's necessary to have a substantial amount of dressing/mayo/etc. so it doesn't feel like you're chewing on a piece of rawhide. Regardless, you can't go wrong with a chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato. I just wish the mayo was more prominent because what I did have of the mayo/pesto combo was delicious. However, all the ingredients that were in the sandwich were crisp and fresh. No soggy tomatoes or wilted lettuce here.

Finally, for dessert, I had a blueberry cheesecake. In a very cream-cheesy, New York-style, it was tasty, but the presentation was seriously lacking. It was crumbling apart, but the waitress said the reason was because it was the best looking piece. I was put off a little bit because of the sloppy appearance, but the flavor was still good - about average for cheesecake.

Grade: B
Bluegrass Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brick Yard Pub

For lunch today, Brittany and I grabbed some bar food at the Brick Yard Pub. This smoke-free pub features specials, a full menu and is home of the "yard glasses." Their full story can be found here. Located right in downtown Morgantown on Spruce Street, there isn't free parking, but there is a parking garage less than a block away.

Considering it is more of a pub, and we went in at about noon, it was pretty bare. We were the only ones inside until around 1 p.m., when two other parties showed up. This may be why we had excellent service, but I'll give Brick Yard the benefit of the doubt. The man working immediately tended to us, and had our drinks out to us in less than a minute or so.

The menu features typical pub fare, but it's all named after Morgantown areas. For example, there are: Spruce salsa and chips,  The Stewartstown, The Waterfront Wedge, The Cheat Lake, Sunnyside Salad, The Wharf, The Westover, The South Park, The I-79, The Pleasant Street Pulled Pork, The Suncrest, The Lair, The Star City, The Sabraton, The PRT, The Coliseum, Greenbag Bleu Burger, Willowdale Western Burger, and The Deckers Creek. Very cool!

We decided on "The Stewar- tstown" for an appet- izer: a bacon and grilled chicken quesadilla with sour cream and salsa. I was surprised at how tasty this was. It wasn't a squashed-flat quesadilla; it was full of chicken, bacon and gooey cheese. The salsa was also very tasty - a little kick, but not overwhelming. This has probably been my favorite quesadilla in Morgantown to date.

I wish I could say the same for my entree, The Suncrest, a grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese and ranch dressing spinach wrap. This wrap just didn't do it for me. The flavors were bland, and the meal was slightly dry. Though it says there is ranch involved, I barely tasted it. If there was more cheese and more ranch, I think this dish could have been better. But with barely-there flavors, I wasn't impressed. I instead chose to snack on my side of chips instead.

For dessert, they had one option: fried oreos and ice cream. Intrigued, we immediately ordered them. Why these are not on the menu, I have no idea. As far as a deep-fried oreo goes, it's a chocolatey mess of deep-fried. But paired with a thick vanilla bean ice cream balanced out the hot, chocolate flavor with a cool, sweet one.

Grade: B
Brick Yard Pub on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Charlie's Grill

Jessica Hammond and I went to Charlie's Grill to devour some delicious grub and catch up. I've known Jessica since my freshman year; We both were junior staff writers at The Daily Athenaeum. She moved on to bigger and better things eventually, and I remained at The Daily Athenaeum. You decide whether or not that's a good thing.

Charlie's Grill is located right in Westover, just past the Dairy Queen. I know the sign has changed hands quite a few times - The Aquarium, and others. The outside looks typical, but once you walk inside, it's a whole different story. As soon as we opened the doors, we were in this small waiting area. There were menus and doors on either side of us. After looking puzzled for a minute or so, a waitress asked if we'd like smoking or non-smoking. They have a bar, with a small smoking section; a non-smoking section adjoined to the bar area; and a separate non-smoking section. We opted for the area where the most people were, which happened to be the non-smoking area near the bar.

Inside, the decorations are quite elegant looking - black with silver accents. The menus were thick with plenty of options, and they were very nice quality. After browsing for a minute or so, Jessica said she had tried the "Lobster Stuffed Chicken" when the restaurant was under a previous name, and it was fantastic. Immediately, I decided on that entree along with a sweet baked potato. Jessica opted for the special, a salmon caesar salad.

We were soon served a loaf of bread with our choice of butter - we chose sweet. The bread was homemade, and the butter we used made it taste like a cinnamon roll. You can't argue with that.

Then, I was served my salad, a spinach salad with egg, bacon, and sweet and sour dressing. Even though this was just a started salad, it was absolutely divine. I wouldn't have minded having that as my entree alone. Everything was fresh and crisp, and the sweet and sour dressing wasn't overpowering - just the perfect amount of accent to the dish.

Finally, the main entrees came out. For the quality of food Charlie's Grill has, I assumed the portions would reflect that. AKA, they'd be minuscule. However, my dish consisted of two large chicken breasts, battered, with a lobster cream cheese mixture inside.

The sweet baked potato was large, wrapped in foil, and accompanied with more sweet butter. The chicken was tender, and blended well with the lobster cream cheese. The batter was flaky, buttery, garlicy - everything that says yum in calorie form. The baked potato was also cooked perfectly, I was able to scoop the inside out and eat it like a sweet potato pie. The food was exquisite. It was really all the greats of fine dining - excellent food and atmosphere - paired with the greats of casual dining - large portions and not large prices.

Jessica was thrilled with hers, as well, as she stated quite a few times how good it was.

Besides tasting amazing, it was like comfort food only amped up. I felt full, satisfied and happy when I left Charlie's Grill. I can't wait to go back.

Grade: A
Charlie's Grill on Urbanspoon