Monday, December 8, 2014

Morgantown Eats Culinary Crawl

The Morgantown Eats Culinary Crawl was this past weekend. The event was created by students in the WVU Reed College of Media, along with Main Street Morgantown, Morgantown Social Networx, Mon Arts Center and Greater Morgantown CVB. It was the first of its kind, and I'm hoping there are more in the future.

Tickets were $35 before the event and $40 the day of the event. The first 100 people the day of the event received wine glasses. All proceeds go to benefit the MAC.

The event started out at the MAC with registration, as well as four restaurants who are a little out of the way: Lebanese Bistro, Mountain State Brewing Company, Table 9 and Morgantown Brewing Company.

Then, we worked our way up and around in a circle. Every place was a little different, but there were students staffed in red shirts at each restaurant directing us where to go and what we would be having. Great idea.

MAC (for restaurants not right along High and Spruce streets, these restaurants sat up inside here)

Lebanese Bistro - Baklava. Baklava is pretty standard from the Lebanese Bistro. They often have this dessert, so nothing super new here. But their baklava is good. It's moist and buttery. All around, it's a nice little bite.

Culinary Crawl

Mountain State Brewing Company - Cole Trail Blone Ale, Seneca IPA and Miner's Daughter Oatmeal Stout. Mountain State did not bring their famous flatbreads, but they did have a choice of three brews. I went with the Cold Trail Ale, which is a lighter beer. I've had this before, and I'm a fan.

Culinary Crawl

Table 9 - Devil's on Horseback: bacon-wrapped dates filled with pear, goat cheese and walnuts with a pepper jam. Served with a bourbon pear cider. I've had the devil's on horseback at Table 9 before, but I don't remember them being this good. A little salty, crunchy with sweet and nutty made for a perfect little taste. Plus paired with the bourbon pear cider, which was hot, was so winter-y and delicious.

Culinary Crawl

Culinary Crawl

Morgantown Brewing Company - Beer. Morgantown Brewing Company brought two of their beers: Holiday Blonde Ale and another I can't remember. I got the holiday blonde, and it's good as always. They went all out and also had their restaurant open for the tastings. Here, you could get the beer.

Culinary Crawl

Then we left the MAC and headed out to the restaurant locations.

Iron Horse - Two West Virginia craft beers. Iron Horse Tavern was first on our list because it was nearby the MAC. We were able to sample any two West Virginia craft beers on tap. That's not too shabby, and they were decent sample sizes. I went with Lost River Common from Lost River Brewing and the Roedys Red from North End Tavern. Was a big fan of the Lost River, not so much the other. Plus they're craft beer, so not bad value there.

Culinary Crawl

Culinary Crawl

Tin 202 - Seasonal appetizer samplers: tzatziki and olive tapenade. Tin 202 had tzatziki and olive tapenade and pita. Not the most impressive spread, but the both the tapenade and dip were fine. Just wish there was a little more thought put in - this is a time to shine to a new audience!

Culinary Crawl

Culinary Crawl

The Bank at 344 - Pot roast pierogi with a sage sour cream sauce. The Bank definitely had a nice combination of flavors here. The problem was they kept running out, and it took some time for the next batch to arrive. They ran out twice while we were there.

Culinary Crawl

The Cupcakerie - Two mini cupcakes from either pina colada, margarita, chocolate merlot, pinot grigio or mudslide. I went with pina colada and margarita. While I didn't get the alcohol flavor necessarily, The Cupcakerie definitely dished out some tasty cupcakes.

Culinary Crawl

Vintage Room - Pizzas, bruschetta and chocolate dessert. This is when I thought I was getting my money worth. Until this point, my belly was full of a good bit of beer samples, one pierogi, one date, and a pita chip. I was hungry. Then Vintage Room shows up. They were popping out whole pizzas of all different kinds - I had the margherita. Plus they had bruschetta, which is delicious. And THEN they brought out these little brownie bites with whipped cream and a berry. Plus they set aside their entire private room for us. Now I was getting my fill, and it was all so good.

Culinary Crawl

Morgantown Brewing Company - Hand-rolled 80 Shilling Scotch Ale pretzel bites with Zack Morgan's IPA beer cheese dip; hickory-smoked pulled pork bbq with fresh fried corn tortilla chips. I was impressed the Brew Pub set up in the MAC and had food at their actual resetaurant. This delicious pretzel bite was even better with some of the beer cheese dip. Plus there was pulled pork for nachos, a stuffing quesadilla with sweet potato dip and a gravy dip. Creative and all around tasty.

Culinary Crawl


Real Juice Bar & Cafe - Raw beet and sweet potato noodle salad with cilantro lime dressing; fish tacos; raw desserts; smoothie. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Real Juice Bar, but man, homerun. It's typically not the kind of food I'd go after, but after the service that night, I think I'll be back. As soon as we walked in, they let us sit down anywhere we'd like. Different from the previous places that had just an area or two blocked off for us. They had us sit anywhere we'd like and actually served us a nice sampler of what they offer. She started us off with some of the juices and then brought each of us a plate. You got a good idea of what they serve. I was a big fan of the macaroon they had. Coconut and moist. Kudos to the Juice Bar - I'm hoping other restaurants take a note from your book on the service.

Culinary Crawl

Culinary Crawl


Black Bear Burritos - Spanish barbecue baked beans and brisket on a fried tortilla topper with an apple salsa puree. Best for last. This was our last meal meal (save for dessert), and it was just phenomenal. We actually got a sampling of Black Bear's special for the week, which was just awesome. I'm not even a fan of baked beans, but these were different. There's some kick plus the pork - just good. And the apple salsa puree was sweet and a perfect complement. AND Chestnut Brew Works was there alongside the owners doling out a brew. So awesome. As we sat, the owners talked to us about how they're branching out from just doing burritos. One owner mentioned how when he showed his father the building for the soon-to-be restaurant, his father noted they lived in the apartment upstairs before he was born. And could have very well been conceived there. It was a cute story, and it was awesome to see the owners really truly wanted to know what we thought of the food and wanted to make sure we loved it. Awesome all around.

Culinary Crawl

Cafe Bacchus - Award-winning applebutter ice cream with caramel sauce. Our final stop of the tour was Cafe Bacchus. It was nice to end on a sweet note with some homemade ice cream. Flavors were good - homey, wintery, Christmas-y. Overall, very nice.

Culinary Crawl

I'm super impressed with the event all around. I wish some more of the other restaurants would get involved - there are so many great ones! And a bottle of water would've been helpful with registration. I got a drink at the Real Juice Bar, which was definitely needed. Overall, though, a nice way to spend a Saturday, even if it was dreary.

Did anyone else go? If so, what were your thoughts?