Thursday, May 31, 2012

How to Eat With Chopsticks



Just as an FYI for those who love Asian food as much as I do. For more information, click here or here or here. The above is a more authentic, traditional way, while the bottom figures are a little easier for beginners. (Thanks for point it out, folks!)



Hold one chopstick between your thumb and middle finger. Position the chopstick so that it lies at the base of your thumb (on the joint) and at the lower joint of the middle finger. This chopstick shouldn't touch the forefinger.

 
Place the other chopstick between your thumb and forefinger. The side of the chopstick should rest against the tip of your thumb; the top of the chopstick should rest against the pad of your forefinger. Be sure the tips of the chopsticks are parallel.

 
Keep the first chopstick stationary as you practice moving the second chopstick toward the stationary one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WV food festivals

When I was younger, I thought Wellsburg's "Applefest" was the center of the universe. Everyone in the area did. You could get foods you've never tried before, trinkets of all sorts, and face paintings. I loved it. But as I've grown older, I realized these are all around the site. Here are a few upcoming ones. Any more to add? List them below!

Greek Food Festival
City: Clarksburg Date: Jun 8, 2012 - Jun 9, 2012

Greek food, music, dancing, cultural items, books and souvenirs. Time: 11:00am - 9:00pm Learn More

Glen Elk Wine, Music and Arts Festival
City: Clarksburg Date: Jun 15, 2012 - Jun 16, 2012

Two-day street festival with local wineries, free live entertainment, covered wagon rides and crafters. Learn More

Annual West Virginia Hot Dog Festival
City: Huntington Date: Jul 28, 2012 10:00AM

A day full of fun, weiner dog races, pet parade, live entertainment. Sample a variety of hot dogs from Tri-State vendors....Learn More

Annual West Virginia Blackberry Festival
City: Nutter Fort Date: Aug 2 -4, 2012

This great 3-day food festival has lots of wonderful blackberry dishes and other foods, arts and crafts, pro-wrestling, 5K...Learn More

Huntington Rib & Music Fest
City: Huntington Date: Aug 9, 2012 - Aug 12, 2012

Four Day festival features national recording artists, local and regional entertainment, carnival games and rib competition....Learn More

South Bluefield Lemonade Days
City: Bluefield Date: Aug 10, 2012 - Aug 11, 2012

SBMPA host's Lemonade Days on Friday evening with local entertainment and food, Saturday all day entertainment.Learn More

Annual National Pasta Cookoff
City: Clarksburg Date: Aug 25, 2012 7:00AM - 4:00PM

Professionals & amateurs compete with homemade pasta & sauce recipes. There is also a homemade wine contest and a ...Learn More

West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival
City: Clarksburg Date: Aug 31, 2012 - Sep 2, 2012

Fantastic foods, special children’s area, grand parade, cultural events and queen’s pageant. Three stages of ongoing...Learn More

Ribfest - South Charleston
City: South Charleston Date: Sep 6, 2012

Annual BBQ Festival. Great food, entertainment, and fun for the whole family!!! World Class BBQ Rib vendors, live music...Learn More

Pickin In The Panhandle: WV BBQ and Bluegrass Festival
City: Hedgesville Date: Sep 7, 2012 - Sep 9, 2012

The WV State BBQ & Bluegrass Festival features over two dozen bluegrass and roots music bands on three stages, the...Learn More

Nicholas County Potato Festival
City: Summersville Date: Sep 7, 2012 - Sep 8, 2012

Annual festival held in Summersville to celebrate argriculture, especially the potato growers. Potato Auction, Amusement...Learn More

Grape Stomping Wine Festival - Kirkwood Winery
City: Summersville Date: Sep 15, 2012 - Sep 16, 2012

We will continue a tradition of family fun while showcasing local mountain crafts, mountain culture and Kirkwood products. A...Learn More

Clay County Golden Delicious Festival
City: Clay Date: Sep 20, 2012 - Sep 23, 2012

The annual Golden Delicious Festival is the place to be the third full weekend of September. This four-day celebration speaks...Learn More

Preston County Buckwheat Festival
City: Kingwood Date: Sep 27, 2012 - Sep 30, 2012

The 71st annual Preston County Buckwheat Festival will begin Thursday, September 27 and run through Sunday, September 30...Learn More

West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off
City: Marlinton Date: Sep 29, 2012

Andrew Zimmerman from Bizarre Foods was a judge here last fall so who knows who we'll have this year! This outstanding event...Learn More

Annual Salem Apple Butter Festival
City: Salem Date: Oct 4 -7, 2012

The Salem Apple Butter Festival provides live demonstrations of old fashion apple butter making. Apple butter is made ...Learn More

Southern WV Italian American Festival
City: Bluefield Date: Oct 5, 2012 - Oct 6, 2012

The Italian Festival is held at the Bluefield Auditorium on stadium Dr. with a dinner/dance on Friday and an all day buffet ...Learn More

39th Annual Burlington Old - Fashioned Apple Harvest Festival
City: Burlington Date: Oct 6 -7, 2012

Burlington’s 39th Annual Old-Fashioned Apple Harvest Festival is coming soon – October 6-7, 2012 on the Burlington Campus...Learn More

Annual West Virginia Chestnut Festival
City: Rowlesburg Date: Oct 7 -12, 2012

This is the only Chestnut Festival in the Appalachian Chain States. It is always held on the Sunday of the Columbus Day...Learn More

Taste of Our Towns - Lewisburg
City: Lewisburg Date: Oct 13, 2012 11:00AM - 3:00PM

The Taste of Our Towns festival will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 11am-3pm. For more information, call...Learn More

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fairmont Edition: The Poky Dot

Quirky. Whimsical. Unique. Those are just three words that help set the tone for The Poky Dot. It has a local reputation for being fun, tasty, and serving up larger-than-life portions. It's on WV's list of 101 most unique places to dine. Located in Fairmont, it's a little commute from Morgantown. But once we arrived, seeing spots (literally), I knew this would be a fun experience.

There's a good bit of parking, as they have a few different areas. Many spots were taken up. I saw their iconic, red telephone booth next to the large sign. The building has bright turquoise, red and yellow polka dots scattered around. This diner has been around since the '50s, and that theme carries into the interior of the building.


Bright turquoise blue booths with yellow piping line the dining room. Those colors continue to the the tables, as well as the counter seating. If you're lucky, maybe you can snag a seat by Marvin and Martha. The whimsy takes form in their heavy-handed decorating, with items you'd imagine being in your grandma's home decor. Random pink and yellow fabric butterflies, dolls, etc. dotted the walls. It was their spring embellishments, and apparently the restaurant's decorations change constantly. A jukebox sits in the corner. Oh, and the bathroom wallpaper was lined with paintings of women's undergarments and "girly" things. The ceiling was made of fabric.

They do, however, have another room toward the back that caters to a more sophisticated, private party. I didn't see it, but the "Laurel Room" could not be as fun as the main dining area.

The atmosphere and ambiance, I think, is what initially draws people here. It's eclectic, cluttered, tacky, bright, and different. We made our way to a booth and opened up the menus. I ordered a water, and when our server brought out the cups, I was pleased. Even the cups are huge!

They do have a "He-Man Breakfast," which was featured in Food Network Magazine as the best breakfast in the state. The dish, served up on a fresh garbage can lid, includes four eggs, four pancakes, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, ham, fried potatoes, and toast. If you can eat it all in under 60 minutes, you get a free shirt.

Their "Original Poky Burger" seemed to be their specialty: "A yummy jaw-stretching feast, Fairmont's first choice! We're serious about serving the best burger in town ... We start with a full half pound of fresh ground sirloin, grilled just right and served on a fresh roll trimmed with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles. Go for bacon or cheese or both!" I got the regular, and substituted fries for onion rings.

But their menu is incredible, and they definitely put some love into it. They serve breakfast, appetizers, burgers, croissants, wraps, sides, big bites (homestyle - like pork barbecue, meatball hoagie, reuben), soup, salad, supper suppers (meatloaf, country fried steak, chicken parmesan), kids meals, and their famous desserts.

Every item on their menu has some sort of description. For example, under the kid's breakfast - french toast, it says "Kid's French toast lightly dusted with powdered sugar. No crust. Kids hate crust. Served with a slice of bacon." They get creative with the descriptions, and I can imagine they've taken a lot of time to expand, refine, and edit this menu over time. Every item has something special.

My food came out, and it was like everything was blow up to double the size - like giant portions. I took a huge bite of my burger. All the flavors were so distinct and clean. Hearty burger with a slice of cheese and fresh lettuce, tomato and onion. I put some ketchup to top off this little beefy slice of heaven. The onion rings were fried to perfection and added the perfect complement to my burger.

That was a huge burger, but it was so good, I polished it off. And then we couldn't skip dessert. See, the thing about this place, is that they go big or go home. So, they have desserts like cheesecakes, s'mores you can make right at your table, and a "humongous" banana split that contains so much ice cream, you need more than three people to eat it. I'ts been featured on WBOY's TV's Restaurant Road Show and showcased in the Dominion Post. They have old-fashioned milkshake machines and a cabinet bursting with delectable sweets. They have more than 80 kinds of cheesecake, but only a dozen or so are available at a time. But they include things like M&M cheesecake, Butterfinger, and Cosmic Browner. The last two I tried, as my friends ordered them, and they were delicious.

I, however, opted for their peanut butter pie: Walnut crust smothered with a layer of chocolate gouache, mounds of creamy peanut filling topped with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Boy was it rich and decadent and indulgent ... it was very similar to a Reese's pie, if you've ever made one of those.

We ended up spending around $20 for our meals, which by the way came out on one old-school ticket. The food was excellent, the atmosphere was fun, the service was excellent. I recommend this for a fun experience.

The diner is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on the weekends from 7 a.m. to midnight. The Poky Dot, 1111 Fairmont Avenue, Fairmont, WV 26554; 304.366.3271

Grade: A
Poky Dot Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fat Daddy's Bar & Grill

Boasting the largest wings known to modern science isn’t the most comforting thought. Does Fat Daddy’s sell genetically modified animal products? “Our wings come from the biggest chickens in the world, fed entirely on bacon & beer” is cute. "These huge chickens produce the largest wings known to modern science" is worrisome. “Modern science” and “wings” in the same sentence concerns me. Especially when the wings aren’t even that big, anyway.

If you’ve been around here as long as I have, you know the location. It was Envy before the drug bust. Then it was Tabu. Now, that sketchy location, with the awkward cement incline to reach the door is Fat Daddy’s. Walking in, memories of my freshman year rushed forth. As I walked the awkward ramp, a miniature light show was going on. I was hoping it was more of a restaurant, with a bar side. But no, it’s more of a bar with a restaurant side. I never realized how huge this location was – there were slushie machines, arcade games, air hockey, skee-ball, basketball games, TVs everywhere, etc.


There is a ton of seating, so we found a table that a group of six of us could fit at most easily. As we were sitting down, we were carded. And not even in the nicest way. Yep, definitely more of a bar. Since I was carded, I might as well order a drink. As the waitress handed us our menus, she quickly ran down a list of things they were out of so that we “didn’t try to order something” they didn’t have. But since the waitress ran over a list of a dozen things before we even opened our menu, it was pointless. We had forgotten what she said, and it’s not as though there were a ton of options to begin with. So, the service could use a little work. And it could stand to be scrubbed down a little if it’s wanting to sell food.

But since their claim to fame is wings, that’s what I did. I got an order of boneless honey bbq wings. When they came out, some were missing sauce. It was almost like the sauce was just poured overtop without actually tossing the wings in it. But with that said, the sauce wasn’t bad. It was quite tasty, and even if some wings were more chicken tender than wing-tasting – even though all boneless wings are essentially chicken tenders – it wasn’t bad overall. The food isn’t necessarily what’s lacking here. The service, being treated like I’m a hooligan before I even sit down, and calling their wings biggest known to “modern science” isn’t the best. But it is still fairly new. I’m willing to check it out again.

Grade: C
Fat Daddy's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Morgantown Bars

Drinks are a part of food culture, especially in Morgantown. Some of these serve food, but I wanted to have a general list for reference. These are all from MountainLair.com, which provides specials, hours, directions, and other information.

123 Pleasant St.
123 Pleasant St. Morgantown WV (304) 292-0800

19 South Bar & Grille
1387 Fairmont Road Morgantown WV (304) 983-2700

Archie's  
1632 Deckers Creek Rd. Sabraton WV (304) 292-3991

Back Door
485 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 292-5936

Bent Willey's
471 Chestnut Street Morgantown WV (304) 292-9590

Big Times 
327 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 296-2666

Black Bear
132 Pleasant Street Morgantown WV (304) 29M-Town

Boston Beanery 
321 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 292-0165

Buck's Corner Pub 
100 East Brockway Ave Morgantown WV (304) 292-9172

Buffalo Wild Wings 
268 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 292-2999

Cellar
376 1/2 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 284-9969

Chic-N-Bones Rhythm Cafe
444 Chestnut St. Morgantown WV (304) 291-5060

CLASSICS 3 
1384 Greenbag Road Morgantown WV (304) 292-8368

Club 228
228 Walnut Street Morgantown WV

Coach's Bar & Grill 
Collins Ferry Road Morgantown WV (304) 599-4545

Crockett's Lodge 
3395 University Ave. Morgantown WV (304) 598-2337

Dragonfly
341 Chestnut Street Morgantown WV (304) 241-4305

Fourth and Goal 
234 Walnut Street Morgantown WV (304) 225-2663

Gibbies Pub & Eatery 
368 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 296-4427

Joe Mama's
345 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 296-0004

Karma
335 High Street Morgantown WV (304) 292-9593

Kegler's Sports Bar 
735 Chestnut Ridge Rd. Morgantown WV (304) 598-9698

Ky's Lounge 
491 High Street Morgantown WV (304) 413-0214

Legends at Lakeview 
One Lakeview Drive Morgantown WV (304) 594-1111

Little Village 
3437 University Ave. Star City WV (304) 599-1803

Marios Fishbowl 
704 Richwood Ave. Morgantown WV (304) 292-9109

McClafferty's Irish Pub 
1301 University Ave. Morgantown WV (304) 292-1110

Metropolitan Billard Parlor 
371 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 292-9267

MiHaley's Bar & Grill 
1428 Van Voorhis Road Morgantown WV (304) 598-0005

Morgantown Brewing Company 
1291 Universty Avenue Morgantown WV (304) 292-6965

Mutt's Sunnyside Pub 
2129 University Avenue Morgantown WV (304) 292-3579

Ohana - Beach Bar 
491 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 413-0214

Rhythm and Brews 
245 Cheat Road Morgantown WV (304) 284-9988

Shooters 
233 Walnut St. Morgantown WV (304) 292-9052

The LongHorn 
183 Holland Ave Westover WV

The Rat Pack 
Two Waterfront Place Morgantown WV (304) 284-9850

The SportsPage 
325 High Street Morgantown WV (304) 284-0996

The Triangle 
201 Holland Ave Westover WV

The Wit's END 
20 Scott Ave. Morgantown WV (304) 296-3431

Top Doggs Hot Spot
2772 Earl Core Road Morgantown WV (304) 292-8777

Town Hill Tavern 
998 Willey St. Morgantown WV (304) 291-6733

Vice Versa 
335 High St. Morgantown WV (304) 292-2010

Weezies Pub and Club
3438 University Ave. Morgantown WV (304) 598-0088

Friday, May 25, 2012

Brew Pub's Summer Kick Off cookout

From Brew Pub's Facebook:

Morgantown Brewing Company will be hosting a Summer Kick Off cookout on the deck this coming June 2nd!
The festivities will begin at 4 p.m.with a Steel Drum Ensemble featuring members of the Tom Bachelor Band. And an all you can eat buffet starting at 5 p.m. including Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs, Beef Brisket Sandwiches, Grilled Chicken Quarters, Grilled Sweet Corn, Vegetable Kabobs, Pasta Salad, Baked Beans and Fresh Watermelon. $13 for adults and $9 for children
The feature drink for an evening on our deck will be a West Virginia Blackberry Lemonade, with or without spirits, as well as our 11 amazing handcrafted brews on tap!
We hope to see you June 2nd to kick off a great Morgantown summer on the Best Deck In Town!

Sounds like a good time to me!

Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

A friend's mother made this buffalo chicken dip recipe for us about a year ago. I got the recipe off of her not too long ago and added my own tweaks. This recipe is perfect for a game, a party or any snack. Everybody seems to enjoy this tangy snack. If you like buffalo chicken wings, this is very similar.

Prep Time:
 5 Min
Cook Time: 
40 Min
Yields: About 2 lbs.

Ingredients:
3 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup pepper sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot®)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) box chicken-flavored crackers

Directions:
  1. Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. 
  2. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. 
  3. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. 
  4. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. 
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low setting until hot and bubbly. 
  6. Serve with tortilla chips, celery sticks or crackers.

This is a butter bowl filled with the dip after it has been refrigerated.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sushi Basics

TEMAKI
NIGIRI
MAKI
I didn't try sushi until I was in college. I didn't even really know about it until then. I thought - raw fish, ew. And I feel like that's what most of my sushi-virgin friends think. But not all sushi is raw! In fact, "sushi" refers to the vinegared, short-grain rice that accompanies the fish. And I would never give a beginner raw slabs. There are easier, beginner rolls - with cooked fish, or vegetables. But I wanted to get some sushi basics down so in case you're not familiar, you can give it a go.

SASHIMI

Sushi can be traced back to 4th century BC in Southeast Asia. As a preserved food, the salted fish, fermented with rice, was an important source of protein. It spread throughout China, and in the 8th century, it came to Japan. Sushi became more of a cuisine rather than a way to preserve food. Now sushi can be found all around the world. In America, we tend to have more westernized versions.


Types
  • Sashimi - slices of fish without rice (usually two pieces per order)
  • Nigiri - slices of fish on top of a small pad of rice, may have a piece of seaweed holding the fish to the rice (usually two pieces per order)
  • Maki - rolled sushi, made with dried seaweed (usually six pieces per order). This is what I always thought of when I thought of sushi. A bamboo mat is used to roll the seaweed and rice, making the sushi uniform. They can be hosomaki (thin rolled) or futomaki (fat rolled)
  • Temaki - single, large shaped like an ice cream cone. It is like a Japanese taco, with the cylindrical seaweed filled with rice and fillings.
Places in Morgantown for sushi
  1. Volcano
  2. Yama
  3. Ogawa
  4. Dragonfly
  5. Hibachi
  6. Fujiyama
  7. Chinese buffets
  8. Kroger
      
    Terms

    akagai, pepitona clam
    ama ebi,
    raw shrimp
    anago, 
    sea eel
    aoyagi, 
    red clam
    awabi, abalone
    ebi, 
    cooked shrimp
    hamachi, yellowtail
    hirame, halibut
    ika, 
    squid
    ikura, salmon roe
    inari,
    tofu pockets
    kaibashira, 
    large scallops
    kani, 
    crab
    katsuo, bonito
    kobashira, small scallops
    kohada, Japanese shad
    maguro, 
    tuna
    masago, capelin roe
    mirugai, geoduck clam
    saba, mackerel
    shake, salmon
    shiro maguro,
    albacore
    suzuki, 
    sea bass
    tai, red snapper
    tako, 
    octopus
    tamago, 
    egg omelette
    tobiko, flying-fish roe
    torigai, Japanese cockle
    toro, 
    fatty tuna belly
    unagi, freshwater eel
    uni, 
    sea urchin roe

    Sides
    Sushi rolls are almost always served with these two small sides, as well as soy sauce:
    • Wasabi - Wasabi found in most stores or restaurants contains little or no real wasabi. It's usually horseradish and powdered mustard with green food coloring added. It is very strong.
      • Ginger - Pickled ginger, it's used to clean the palate between bites of sushi. It is pink, also called "gari."
        Beginners

        You probably don't want to jump in with raw fish, so try something cooked, like ebi (cooked shrimp), kani (imitation crab stick) or unagi (broiled freshwater eel brushed with teriyaki). Even better are crunchy shrimp tempura (deep-fried shrimp) or maybe a vegetarian roll (with cucumber, avocado, carrot, etc.)

        The most popular roll is the California roll (cucumber, crab stick and avocado). It's sometimes served "inside out," with the rice on the outside, instead of the seaweed. Sometimes they're coated in sesame seeds, tobiko (flying fish row) or masago (smelt roe). Other popular standards include the rainbow maki (California roll draped with tuna, salmon and yellowtail) and the caterpillar maki (avocado, crab stick, unagi and cucumber).

        Moderates

        "A nice piece of sake is a beautiful orange with streaks of white and will have a luxurious, buttery texture to go along with the unmistakable flavor of salmon. Hamachi is a rich tasting variety that will almost melt in your mouth, while toro is proof that the best flavor comes from the fat." - Mark Lo

        Etiquette
        Eat your sushi in one bite if the size permits. Larger pieces may be taken in multiple bites, but finish a piece without putting it back down on your plate. It is not considered good form to place the wasabi or ginger into your dish of soy sauce. Your sauce should remain pure of bits of food or other contaminants. When you dip your nigiri sushi, turn it upside down so that only the fish touches the soy sauce. Dipping the rice side will absorb too much sauce or cause it to fall apart and make a mess, thereby violating the previous rule. - Mark Lo


        Common Rolls

        Food Definition
        Alaska roll a variant of the California roll with raw salmon on the inside, or layered on the outside.
        B.C. roll contains grilled or barbecued salmon skin, cucumber, sweet sauce, sometimes with roe. Also sometimes referred to as salmon skin rolls outside of British Columbia, Canada.
        California roll consists of avocado, kani kama (imitation crab/crab stick) (also can contain real crab in 'premium' varieties), cucumber and tobiko, often made uramaki (with rice on the outside, nori on the inside)
        Dynamite roll includes yellowtail (hamachi) and/or prawn tempura, and fillings such as bean sprouts, carrots, avocado, cucumber, chili and spicy mayonnaise
        Hawaiian roll contains shoyu tuna (canned), tamago, kanpyō, kamaboko, and the distinctive red and green hana ebi (shrimp powder).
        Philadelphia roll consists of raw or smoked salmon, cream cheese (often Philadelphia cream cheese brand), cucumber or avocado, and/or onion.
        Rainbow roll a rainbow roll is a California roll with typically 6-7 types of sashimi (yellowtail, tuna, salmon, snapper, white fish, eel, etc.) and avocado wrapped around it.
        Seattle roll consists of cucumber, avocado, and raw or smoked salmon.
        Spider roll includes fried soft shell crab and other fillings such as cucumber, avocado, daikon sprouts or lettuce, roe, and sometimes spicy mayonnaise.




        I'm not an expert, so what do you have to share? Any added tips or your favorite sushi rolls would be awesome! Let me know in the comments below

        Wednesday, May 23, 2012

        Cadiz, Ohio Edition: Ice Cream Island

        Because of some unfortunate circumstances, I had to make an unexpected trip home to Wellsburg. That trip turned into another unexpected trip to Cadiz, Ohio, to a cemetery. After burying a loved one, my family headed to leave Cadiz and return to some semblance of normality. We were trying to unwind, and get out of there when we saw Ice Cream Island.

        If I could give better directions to this place, I would. I just know we passed it on our way leaving. We were all down in the dumps, and hey, when is ice cream better? It was kind of warm out, and this small little stand seemed to be right up our alley. We stopped off into the gravel parking lot and walked up to the window.

        They had sundaes, cones and some fried food - like pickles! My parents both got chocolate shakes, and I opted for a Moosetracks cone. It did take a little while, but I think that's because people in front of us ordered food. I didn't notice them when I first came in, as they were sitting off to the side on some picnic tables.

        We didn't stick around for long and instead left for home. I focused on that cone instead of the day's events. It was sweet, the peanut butter cups were like little hidden treasures, and it was packed to the very bottom of the cone - a difficult feat for non soft-serve ice cream. I know they didn't make the Moosetracks, but they did pack that cone the best way possible. Plus it was overflowing from the top, too. For only $6, they not only gave me an excellent cone, but they helped bring a little cheer to my day.

        Grade: A
        Ice Cream Island on Urbanspoon

        Tuesday, May 22, 2012

        Charleston Edition: Moxxee Coffee

        I've heard of Moxxee. Apparently it's a hip little coffee place in Charleston that is fairly new (and highly anticipated up until that point). I'm nowhere near an expert on coffee. If you want that, you check out this blog. However, I follow a few Charleston friends on Twitter who seem to enjoy this place, so we decided to make a pitstop and get some mid-afternoon work done.

        The outside resembled a bar to me, with some shiny silver astrological-looking sign out front. It's actually two goats (I'm a Capricorn), and is supposed to represent the origin of coffee.

        "According to legend, coffee was discovered by a friar who was herding goats. Some of the goats that were grazing in the same area became rambunctious. They were eating coffee beans and getting a shot of caffeine. The friar harvested the beans and the practice of roasting them evolved." (Charleston Gazette)

        I couldn't find the name Moxxee anywhere on the building; I didn't even know that's where we were until my friend pointed it out. I guess Moxxee is Native American for "black water." There is some parking and some outside dining, which is cool. Apparently a few of the windows on the side open up to enhance that indoor/outdoor dining feeling. When we walked in, though, every table, except one, was taken up. And that one had just opened up as someone left. I noticed on the outside of the door that it said max 15 people inside.

        It's very small inside, with a few individual tables, some booth-like setup, some more comfy chairs over by the side, and a circular bar area in the center. It's a concrete floor, with metal chairs and gives off a minimalist feel. There was a cool TV screen hanging up where we were sitting that looked interactive. Apparently this little coffee shop is a third-wave coffee shop:

        "For the record, first wave coffee is something served at diners and restaurants that appeals to the masses. It's been around forever. Second wave is coffee served at places like Starbucks. Third wave is vaguely defined as coffee made from beans purchased in small batches from coffee farms and individually brewed for each customer." (Charleson Gazette)

        I do like its focus on the culture: they make individual espressos and cappuccinos from coffee beans from around the world. The countries are listed on the beans. The process takes longer, as each cup is individual, and the types of coffees are always changing.

        While some tasty-looking pastries dotted the counter, I only wanted something small. I didn't really need the extra caffeine boost, so I opted for their "100 calorie Milk & Honey Burst" under specialty and cold drinks. I made sure it said nothing about espresso or java or anything. I wanted something easy. $3 later, I tasted it, and it was strong as could be. I tasted the top foam and threw the rest away. Maybe that's a waste. But it wasn't what I was expecting, it was overpowering, and I felt an instant headache coming on after my first sip.

        Maybe it's my fault for not clarifying. Maybe it's their fault for not mentioning any trace of java under that description. Whatever the case may be, I'm not sure I want to spend that much for something I didn't entirely enjoy in a cramped area with lots of young kids sitting there, as some sort of status symbol. Or maybe I'm not the coffee culturist. Either way, if you're young, like the appearance, don't mind being a little squished, but could maybe get a great cup of joe, if that's what you're into, this is your place.

        Grade: C
        Moxxee Coffee on Urbanspoon