Sunday, September 30, 2012

“Art is Food”

This looks like a really cool event; just bought my ticket! Hope to see some of you there!

October 5th, 2012
Purchase Tickets

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m

“Art is Food” is a new event for Arts Walk, which is held every year during WVU Fall Family Weekend. WVU Mountaineer Parents Club and Main Street Morgantown will “kick-off” (5:00 – 7:00 p.m.) this new event “Art is Food” in the Morgantown Market Place located at the corner of Fayette and Spruce Streets. Food will be provided through the partnership of the newly formed “Downtown Morgantown Restaurant Association” cost is $15 per person and will include samplings of food from downtown/Wharf District restaurants. Downtown Dollars will be provided to the first 300 people to register for this event ($10 each) that can be utilized until October 20, 2012.

Plan the perfect Friday night. Enjoy the “Art is Food” from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. then stroll through over forty downtown businesses and see artwork from local artists’ from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Enjoy music at numerous locations and a variety of unique dining choices. Also, don’t forget downtown Morgantown’s entertainment venues for your continued enjoyment after 9:00 p.m.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Kingwood Edition: Monroe's Deli-Style Eatery

A friend saw Monroe's Deli-Style Eatery while driving through Preston County and was determined to check it out. We ventured out that way until we reached the large, red barn-like building reading "Monroe's steaks, pasta, seafood." I'm not sure exactly what they mean by deli-style eatery, because we just came in, chose a seat, and soon enough, a server handed us a couple menus.

It looked as though it was set up to be a house at one point, but our server assured us it wasn't. There were a ton of dining-room, country-style tables all across the open dining area. They were mismatched, but it was nice in a way. Homey. Lots of little crafty decorations.

They have specials on the wall when you walk in. The menu had sandwiches, pastas and dinners. They had an option to split two dinner meals, so I went with that: the fried fish and crabcake. It came with THREE sides, of which there are a ton of options. But I ultimately went with mashed potatoes and gravy, soup, and broccoli. There are a good bit of options here, but they're all fairly similar. But everything seems homemade, for the most part.

When my dish came out, it was actually kind of smaller than I expected. I paid more to split the two dinners, but I guess I was just paying for the variety. It was more like two half sizes of each dinner. But that was okay. Both things that I had were pretty tasty. The fish was good - fried and greasy. The crabcake wasn't bad either. Though I wish I would have been served with some remoulade. Both were pretty good, homestyle meals. My mashed potatoes were totally killer. Definitely homemade. So tasty. And the soup was homemade chicken noodle - also fantastic. Broccoli was okay - not seasoned much.

But my favorite part was when they brought a dessert tray out. So many cheesecakes, cakes, pies. Gah. There wasn't even another option for me after she said turtle Cheesecake. And I'm not even sure I remember eating it because it was pure euphoria. Caramel, chocolately crust, creamy cheesecake. Heaven. This would have earned them an A, for sure.

... Then I went to Jersey's a day or two later (which I'll be blogging about) and saw they had the exact. same. cheesecake. for sale. My heart broke a little. Not homemade? Total bummer. But, it does taste entirely amazing, regardless.

Grade: B
Monroe's Deli Style Eatery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jay's Daily Grind

Jay's Daily Grind is a local favorite amongst my crowd. It has an interesting personality, as it's located right outside of campus, on Willey Street, but it doesn't have that student-drenched feel like some shops near campus. That would be the one downfall for me - no easy parking, save for the metered lot behind the building. That, and they only take cash (but if you forget, they will let you pay them back).

Many (all?) argue that Jay's has the best coffee in Morgantown. While that may be true, I'm not a coffee connoisseur, so I'll take their word for it. But if you want a killer hot chocolate, Jay's is my choice. It's very convenient if you're on campus, so it's a go-to lunch spot.

They have: coffees, espressos, drinks, breakfast sandwiches and lunch sandwiches. I am always hesitant about getting a deli sandwich. Because why would I pay someone to make something I can make just as easily? Well, these are a little different.

Walk up to the counter, browse over the menu briefly and make some quick decisions. They even had small samples on the counter this day. I ordered their "Dagwood" sandwich: turkey, ham, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayonnaise and yellow mustard. I also got a hot chocolate and a water. They give your drinks right to you at the counter, then go find a seat on either side of the ordering area (there are breezeways into the Book Exchange on the side), and someone will bring you your food.

A few things I love about this little lunch place: The service is stellar. They are always super friendly, super helpful, and totally knowledgable. And if you order coffee, they swirl a pretty little drawing in your cup. They do a few things, and they do them well. AND, the view here is kinda cool. They have a barstool area where you can chow down on your sandwich while watching passers-by. I'm a total people-watcher, so I like that, especially if having lunch alone.

The food is good. The ingredients are fresh, simple, but combine for a delicious flavor. It's straight to the point, but also super tasty. And they give you a pickle and side of chips. Check them out next time you want to get a quick lunch downtown. Just make sure you have cash! Here's their Facebook.

Grade: A
Jay's Daily Grind on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 21, 2012

Festival of Colors

For those of you who know me, you know that I'm very interested in theology. I love learning about other cultures. My friend, Kaitlynn, got word that the Hindu temple in New Moundsville (New Vrindaban - Palace of Gold) was going to celebrate Holi, which is an ancient Indian traditional festival - a celebration of life.

This was their first Festival of Colors, and they got more than 1,080 people. There were bands, food, tons of color throwing and some merch. We bought our tickets online, which gave us five bags of powder, a T-shirt, and a vegetarian meal.

The vegetarian meal was like chicken tikka masala (but with potatoes instead of chicken), rice and a berry dessert. Yum!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Honeybaked Ham and Cafe

I'm not sure I ever would have known about Honeybaked Ham and Cafe had it not been for the neighboring Michael's store that I like to frequent. And it wasn't until further inspection that I realized this wasn't just a place to get a ham for Easter/Christmas. It is also a cafe.

In fact, they have a decent selection of deli sandwiches. They're various assortments of ham, turkey, bacon, cheese, tomato and lettuce, as well as a sauce: mayo, mustard, BBQ on bread. Nothing too fancy, but some are still intriguing.

The ham and turkey bella: ham, turkey, provolone and parmesan cheese, lettuce, tomato, banana pepper rings, red onions, balsamic vinaigrette, tangy mayo on a fresh Ciabatta roll. I was expecting a basic sandwich - something I could make at home, but I was surprised.

They make the sandwiches right in front of you. I'm assuming they also give samples, because there was a lipstick-ed plastic spoon laying on the counter. Beyond that, it seemed quite clean. They have a few sides, but were out of the one we really wanted (broccoli bacon bliss), so I got a side of pasta salad and drink. My total was around $9.

When I went to get my drink, they hadn't put the tops on the fountain machine, so I sat back down and waited. Once I got all my stuff together, I tried the sandwich - pretty good. Not sure I would've thought to put the balsamic with that mayo and banana peppers and onions, so it was different for me. And it paid off. It was quite tasty. Ingredients tasted well, and they've crafted the sandwiches - perfect amounts of each ingredient in each bite. Mine was tangy, but creamy with the mayo and a pretty good all-around sandwich.

Forget the sides. 99 cents for a spoonful of not-great pasta salad isn't worth it. But they did have some cookies that smelled delish. If you're in the area and want a simple sandwich for lunch, check it out. But I'm not sure I'd go out of my way for it. They have frozen sides, too, in case you were just looking to pick up one of those hams.

Grade: B
Heavenly Ham on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 10, 2012

Follansbee Edition: Howdy's Dari-Owl

When those boards come down from the front of Howdy's Dari-Owl, you know summer has officially begun. That's the local sign of summer, at least. (They close right before Labor Day for the summer)

It's located along the main drag in Follansbee, so it was usually a little too far for my family to travel, but once in a blue moon, I'd get a sweet treat from here. Each summer, a bunch of young girls work here for some pocket money, and it has become a staple in town.

Across the road is a mill, which always smells terrible. That's part of the charm of Follansbee, But if you can handle that, there are some picnic tables near the gambling area (fairly new). If not, you can simply eat in your car or head out.

It only has two windows, and you can look over all the options: ice cream cones, hand-dipped cones, flurries, sundaes, and apparently they even have some food like hoagies, hotdogs and burgers. I've never had the latter, though.

I went for a caramel sundae, large. They only take cash here, so be sure you have some on hand. After a minute or so, my sundae was delivered to me in all its enormous glory. This was indeed a tower, a TOWER, of ice cream. So much so that it was kind of difficult to eat.

That's a good problem to have.

Soft-serve vanilla, topped with whipped cream, some nuts and caramel made up a good sundae. I only wish the caramel was more decadent, thick and rich. It was more like the Smuckers kind you can get at Kroger - but that's splitting hairs. Caramel is delicious in all its forms. I'm always a fan of supporting local businesses, and this is the only one of its kind in the area. If you're looking for a cool treat during a blistering summer day, stop by.

Grade: B
DARI Owl Howdy's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Weirton Edition: DeeJay's BBQ Ribs & Grille

DeeJay's BBQ Ribs and Grille is a local favorite. It's known across the region for having the best ribs in the area. I decided a long time ago that I wasn't a big ribs person (or much red meat, for that matter). I felt like every time I got them, they were stringy, chewy, messy and just not worth the hassle.

DeeJay's changed all that.

It's located in Weirton on Three Springs Drive, but it's definitely famous throughout the Ohio Valley. The safari-themed restaurant boasts large, plastic palm trees out front, so it's hard to miss.

When I walked in, I was seated near the waitress' station. Odd, but it was still a nice atmosphere. It doesn't seem like you're in a typical restaurant for the area. It's kind of tacky with plastic plants, fake animals and jungle-themed fabrics, but pleasantly so.

Their famous BBQ ribs are what everybody gets - tender pork baby back ribs, hickory smoked, charbroiled and covered with their famous BBQ sauce and served with two sides, or the traditional plain potato skins, fresh tossed salad or cole slaw. Expect to spend around $20. You can upgrade the potato skins with cheese, bacon and sour cream for only 60 cents more.

I got a half rack (you can also get a rack or super rack), with the upgraded potato skins and mushroom caps. There are other options on their menu besides ribs here, but don't waste your time.

We got some bread and butter for the table. Take it or leave it.

When my platter came out, I was kind of shocked. Did they mistake my "half" ribs for a "super rack"? No. Huge portions - totally justifies the price. It was that whole slab, plus another four or so stacked on top. I began poking at it with my fork to see if I could do with those wipes that were sat at our table.

So. Tender.

I could pluck the meat off the bones effortlessly with my fork, deliver it to my mouth to receive a sweet, tangy BBQ'ed heaven, then toss the bone in the bowl. They were falling off the bone tender, tangy, spiced and seasoned to perfection. The sauce is sweet, with a kick, but the flavor of the meat also is prominent.

The potatoes are awesome, too. Like, of course I want four miniature baked potatoes with cheese, bacon and sour cream on top. The cheese is like a nacho cheese, and the sour cream is kind of ranch-y. All in all, a perfect complement to the ribs. My mushroom caps were okay - just cooked mushrooms. Nothing too special there. But go for their main meal, and you won't be disappointed.

Grade: A
Dee Jay's on Urbanspoon