Monday, October 31, 2011


Tailpipes is fairly new to the downtown dining scene, well, at least within the past couple of years. I love the concept of this restaurant: glamming up something ordinary. Tailpipes' main draw is that it's a cool, modern, gourmet take on burgers and shakes. Yep, burgers. Well, technically, you can get a few different things - like ground turkey, buffalo, chicken breast or a grilled marinated portabello cap.

It's located right on High Street, so park at your own risk. The restaurant has a classic car theme, with their specialty burgers named things like "Camaro," "Barracuda," and "Gran Torino" and, of course, the name of the actual restaurant: Tailpipes. The interior is like a classic diner, complete with old-school photos, a black and white checkered floor and diner lighting. They do have delivery, which is fantastic, too. They even deliver shakes!

You walk up to the front of the restaurant to order. There is a large blackboard behind the counter, but there are also some takeout menus, too. We grabbed a couple takeout menus, sat in a booth (they also have bar dining near the windows) and looked over our options.

This classic '50s diner feel, with its cool car-named sandwiches, is not antiquated with its food selections. The feature their specialty sandwiches, with awesome combinations of ingredients, as well as "classics," which are the typical burgers you can get anywhere. And they also have typical sandwich fare - like chicken sandwiches, appetizers, fries, etc. You can also "build a burger" with the exact ingredients you want. But if you want the true feel of this restaurant, you must try their "specialty sandwiches" and their shakes.

Some of their speciality sandwiches include the "GTO," which is spinach, roasted red peppers, feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce on a whole wheat bun. The "Mustang" includes slice roma tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil with balsamic vinaigrette on ciabatta. Their "57 Chevy" consists of sliced ham, fried egg, grilled red onions, chipotle ketchup and cheddar cheese on a brioche bun. See how fun these are?

I opted for the "Charger," which has peanut butter, fried bananas, smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese and grilled red onions. I got all this on a ciabatta bun. Like I said, you can choose your actual meat. I really like their buffalo and ground turkey, but they were out, so I went for a regular burger. All the burgers come with fries, but there's nothing like their sweet potato fries, which are sweet and slightly salty.

I also ordered a "s'mores shake," which is exactly like what you'd think. They have all kinds beyond chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Things like maple bacon shake, peanut butter cup, Mexican chocolate chipotle, fruit pebbles, fluffer nutter - the list goes on. These creative dishes are super fun, and the flavors are mind-blowing.

After we ordered, we took our number to our table and awaited our meal. The inside is really like you're traveling back in time. The decor isn't modern and flashy, but it really tries to encapsulate the old-school feel. Our meals came out in small baskets. A heaping portion of sweet potato fries, with a small cup of sauce, and my burger was situated inside. I first took a bite of my sweet potato fry - still the salty/sweet and crispy fry I was expecting. The sauce that comes with it is their special fry sauce, which is a tangy, delicious spectacle.

I even grabbed my burger and dipped it in the sauce before taking my first bite. I was excited about the combination of all these flavors - banana and peanut butter? On a burger? Delicious. The salty burger, creamy peanut butter, sweet and crispy bananas made for a surprisingly delicious treat. The flavors balanced well between the salty and sweet, but wasn't overwhelming. The bacon and pepperjack cheese were sidetones, and of course the peanut butter is the main selling point here. Maybe it sounds crazy, but you'll never know until you try it. Don't play it safe and stick to a regular burger, try one of their gourmet ones. There is definitely some pre-meditation that goes into planning out these ingredients, and thank goodness, because they work well together.

My shake was an excellent addition. It was creamy and sweet, with a hint of that marshmallow flavor. Where else can you get a s'mores milkshake? Probably nowhere, so get it here. These flavors sound wonky, but they're fantastic together. Just try it. And if you don't want to deal with the parking, get it delivered - it's just as good.

For around $15, for a creative and fun meal with interesting flavors, you can't go wrong.

Grade: A
Tailpipes on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blog in the news

Remember my post about Nonna's Italian Kitchen? Well, last month, the student newspaper at Concord decided to do their own review of it. Then, that same student submitted it to the Princeton Times. Oh, and they used my iPhone photo of the place. I'm happy The Concordian credited me - thanks!

I'm surprised they didn't get their staff to get their own photo for two reasons. One, this is an iPhone photo. Its quality is sub-par, especially for publication. If I had to use a phone photo at The Daily Athenaeum, I'd run it very small. The second thing is this place is, literally, about a mile from the Princeton Times. A few more miles for Concord. So I'm surprised they didn't get a qualified photographer to photograph the restaurant.

Unfortunately The Concordian's website is no longer updated, so I can't read the article associated with the photo. But I thought I'd at least document it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Charleston Edition: Charleston Bread

Being a journalist, I sometimes get the opportunity to experience certain things that aren't available to the everyday public. Such is the case when I got an inside look at Charleston Bread. For my WV Uncovered class, I did a multimedia piece on the owner of Charleston Bread, so I had the chance to walk all over this great bakery and see what goes on behind the counter.
After working all day at this bakery, smelling the amazing breads, I knew I had to take some home with me. Since it was a Friday, their special was an olive loaf, with kalmata olives baked in. They have specials every day, with a good bit of constants, like their sourdough. In addition to my olive loaf, I chose a cinnamon-raison loaf, as well as a chocolate croissant. Unfortunately, someone before got the last chocolate croissant, which I've heard great things about, so I took the only other option - a day-old chocolate croissant. Close enough! I spent around $10
I got home and couldn't wait to rip into these. I first took a bite of the chocolate croissant. I was surprised that the croissant itself tasted sweet, and the chocolate was more like a dark or semisweet chocolate. It's not so much a dessert as it is a lovely breakfast pastry - exactly what it should be. The croissant was flaky - even a day old - and will go perfectly with a cup of coffee in the morning.
The olive loaf was next. I had Charleston Bread slice it for me, so I had these slices I just had to eat. It just so happened that I had a large block of Jarlsberg and some Lil Smokies that made this bread sing. It was so moist. The olives were not dried at all. The bread was infused with a slight taste of the kalmata olives, and I've never had a bread quite like it. It's like the appetizer you get at fancy restaurants wrapped up in a loaf. Half of it is gone already.
Finally, I tried the cinnamon-raisin bread. I plucked a raisin to taste: slightly tart but speckled with sugar and cinnamon. I took a small bite of the bread because I was so stuffed from the olive loaf. It was very tasty. It was sweet, moist, with little surprise raisins. I think some honey butter would be perfect. I just wish this was closer, maybe I could get a real feel for delicious bread.

Grade: A
Charleston Bread on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 24, 2011

Madeleine's Restaurant

Madeleine's is one of those restaurants in Morgantown that you wouldn't expect to be here. Located at the end of High Street, Madeleine's is not the typical High Street dining. This restaurant tries to serve local food, as to contribute to the local economy. The chef experiments with flavors and textures to create exciting dishes. Parking is iffy, and you'll most likely have to find a meter and feed it for the duration of your meal, but it's probably not going to matter after you've had this dining experience.

When we walked in, the lights were dimmed, and the hostess asked if we'd like to be seated in the window. We said sure - so we had a nice view for our dinner. The hostess lit the candle that was on our table and handed us menus. Our waiter came over soon after and took our drink orders. The waiter was very personable and eager to help. He spouted off the specials then parted to give us time to decide. I looked over the menu, but I wasn't feeling a heavy dinner. There were a few meat dishes and a pasta dish. All of the appetizers looked amazing to me, and I saw the crabcake appetizer also comes as an entree.

I asked the waiter the difference between the crabcake appetizer and the crabcake entree. He said the potato salad it comes with is larger and there's an additional crabcake. I put my order in. My friend was set on a butternut squash appetizer, but when she ordered it, the waiter apologized that he hadn't mentioned they were out. He apologized profusely, so she took another quick glance and ordered the cheese plate, as well as a cup of their special soup - tomato bisque.

We were brought out a small basket of bread with some whipped butter. It seemed fresh, but my appetite wasn't strong, so I waited for my entree.

Her bisque came out first, and she said it was tasty. Next came her cheese plate, with a few types of cheeses, berries, apple slices and some melba toast. She doesn't like strawberries or raspberries, so those went to me. Ripe and sweet.

Finally, my entree came out. It was a little awkward because Kaitlynn's were out way before mine. Granted, they were under the "appetizers" section, but that was her main meal. My dish came out with three crabcakes on top of a warm fingerling potato salad with two asparagus spears. The potato salad was slices of warm potatoes with vinegar, some chunks of bacon, onion, parsley, chives, and some other spices and whatnot. I had never tasted potato salad before, so it was different. It was kind of refreshing and light, though. It wasn't a creamy potato salad - it was a tart, warm potato. But that balanced well with the crabcakes on top.

I only had one crabcake at the restaurant, but it was lovely. It was lump crabmeat, and the breading was slightly crispy. It was quality. But later on when I tried the second crabcake for dinner at home, I had three hard pieces, maybe shell, in the crabcake. That didn't deter me because they were scrumptious. It was very flavorful, the crab tasted fresh, and it was cooked to perfection.

For around $20, I had a pretty tasty dinner, and I know I'll go back. It's a great quality place with some fresh ingredients and creative dishes. It's one of the finer places in town, and it's a great local option.

Grade: A
Madeleine's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Follansbee Edition: Snooty Pig Cafe

I had to go to the northern panhandle for an unfortunate circumstance, but it gave me the chance to check out some new local businesses. One in particular sounded interesting. The Snooty Pig Cafe, located in downtown Follansbee, sounded too good to pass up. So, a friend and I ventured down.
When we walked inside the restaurant, I was shocked at how small it was. There were literally a handful of tables in one open room. Despite the bells shaking on the door, no one came to greet us, so we chose a table off to the side. The walls were painted a dark brown to look like the inside of a barn. There was a pig painted next to me, and a painted window on the opposite wall. The tablecloths are the cheap red-white checkered plastic deals, and there is a pile of napkins on each table. Another wall played host to a dozen stuffed animals - all pigs. It was very dark inside, and since it was very small, also, it wasn't the most comfortable dining experience.
We noticed a sign that said cash only, so I knew that once we were handed the menus, that I couldn't be choosing a very pricey dish. I was in luck, because the menu featured dirt-cheap items. Since we were going for breakfast, I was looking at the breakfast sandwiches, biscuits and gravy and egg options. One thing that looked different to me was the egg BLT. I had never had one, and I knew I liked a BLT, so I opted for that.
We waited only a few minutes before our sandwich, slice diagonally, came out. I checked it out - a nice omelet with bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo all stacked neatly in-between the grilled pieces of bread. I took a bite and was pleased. I had never tried this combination before, and now I'm not sure why not. It was tasty! The bacon was salty and crisp. The egg was not too overwhelming, but fluffy and thin. Mayo added a slight tanginess. Tomatoes were in the background - slightly soggy, but a good team player for the rest of the meal. Not a bad combo, and kind of creative.

With my water, the dish came to about $4. You really can't beat that. However, I hadn't been to Follansbee for a long time, and I forgot how terrible the water is. Don't drink it - opt for a pop or juice. I'd be interested to see their lunch menu. I wasn't a fan of the interior, but the sandwich surprised me. And, to top it off, they do a drawing for a free meal, so if you fill out your info on this stub, you're entered into the contest - just for dining in. It's a place to check out, and it's something new for little Follansbee, but it won't be running with the big dogs any time soon.
Grade: B
Snooty Pig Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Glasshouse Grille

The Glasshouse Grille, at one point, I considered one of my favorite restaurants in Morgantown. I had been here a handful of times, but it's just a tad on the pricier side, so it was usually reserved for nicer dinners. It's located in the Seneca Center, which is where I used to intern, so I shared many lunches here (also cheaper than dinner, of course). It was always classy and delicious. Then I had my most recent visit.

Located in the Seneca Center, there is a lot of parking, and it has that older factory feel, with a classic touch. It's actually located in the basement, but an awning covers stairs from the outside and leads you right down to the restaurant. A few tables are located outside, but we walked through the front doors. We waited at the front for what seemed like a while, as waiters passed us, before the host greeted us. Instead of saying welcome, she put up her index finger and said "hold on, I gotta check on something." I looked at my friend confused and continued to wait. I looked at my watch, 8:13 on a Saturday night. The host came back after a minute or so and said she had to check with the chef to see if they were still taking people. Embarrassed, I asked what time they closed. 9 p.m. 9 p.m. and you can't seat me at 8:13 p.m.? I thought they would stop seating at 9 p.m. She picked up some flimsy menus, and a few fell near me. I went to pick them up, and the host watched me, and it was awkward.

So she walked us to a table, and we sat there slightly dumbfounded. We obviously weren't welcome there, and we felt uncomfortable. But we decided to try to make the best of it. The host filled our water cups. Another waiter brought us a basket of bread and some butter. I know it was "late," but the bread was beyond stale and burnt on the bottom - to the point where we didn't even eat it. It didn't matter though, as the waiter came by and took it away anyway.

We were brought salads - I opted for the sundried basil dressing, but was less than impressed. It wasn't very flavorful, and I didn't even eat most of it. I don't really have much more to say about this. 

At this point, I wasn't sure what to think. The inside decor was still lovely, with white tableclothes and a feeling of elegance. But the service was subpar, and as I looked over the flimsy menu, I realized the top said "Penny's Glasshouse Grille." Well, that's new. This was certainly different. And the prices were still at the same level, despite the service and cheap menus. The prices started around $40, for a lobster dish and went down to a pasta primavera, which was about $20. One dish that caught my eye was the chicken athena, for $21. It was a chicken breast surrounded with spinach, onions, peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, kalmata olives, feta cheese, mushrooms, squash. I took a bite of the chicken, and it was very, very dry. I had a really hard time cutting it with my fork - I wasn't given a knife. It really wasn't exploding with flavor either. It was dry and bland. I took a bite of the mixture, and that was pleasant.

The carrots, tomatoes, and spinach were a good combination for the kalmata olives and feta cheese, which has a strong taste. It was balanced, with muted flavors and the strong ones. But it wasn't overly creative. We all know kalmata olives go well with feta cheese, and the veggies were tasty. But there really wasn't a sauce to bring it all together to make it one cohesive dish. It was an okay dish. Was it good enough for $20. No.

One last try - we ordered dessert. A waiter brought out a dessert tray, which I do love because it's so visual. One dessert looked interesting to me: the chocolate pate. Now that was one good decision. Our desserts came out, and I wasn't expecting much, but I took a bite and felt immediately relaxed. It was a creamy chocolate with a slight crunch. This is the only dish I finished. It was refreshing and airy, but decadent. It was simply delicious, but didn't leave me weighed down like many desserts. This is probably one of my favorite desserts I've ever ordered. My total bill came to about $30, but the dessert is the only thing I'd order again.

It seems this place has changed drastically - maybe due to new owners. The level of quality isn't the same, and they are cutting corners, and you can tell. The dessert is the only redeemable quality of this meal, so hopefully that doesn't go downhill any time soon.

Grade: C
Glasshouse Grille on Urbanspoon