Friday, November 28, 2014

Friendsville, MD edition: Working H Farms

Working H & High Country CreameryMorgantown is void of butchers. I hope one is opening up shop in the near future, but for now, the best bet is to make friends with a local farmer who can hook you up.

Working H & High Country CreameryWorking H Farms is a group of four farms in Cranesville, where they provide naturally raised grass-fed beef, pork and free range poultry and eggs. They frequent the Morgantown Farmers Market and have just recently opened up their processing plant and storefront across the border in Friendsville, Maryland. We went for the grand opening. They had a few different vendors there - cheese, jams/jellies and soap.

Working H & High Country CreameryThe folks at Working H are pretty awesome. Super welcoming and accommodating. I ended up buying some of their mild BBQ sauce (which has just a slight tang but all good) and two of their NY strip steaks.

These are very tasty. Plus I like being able to talk to someone really knowledgeable about their product and how it was raised. Since they raise it, they know it didn't have antibiotics or hormones or other drugs. They can tell you the best way to cook it. They know this meat, and they're happy to help you learn about it.

I do wish they were right in town, but it's not a far drive. Anyone know of other local butchers? We recently went to Harry's Custom Meats, which is selective about what it puts out and when. But I did try deer jerky from there that was good. I've also heard of Young and Stout, Maple Valley Meat Market and Hydes Meat Packing. But not sure of reviews. It seems other places around the state have a bit more luck. Thoughts on butchers? Any local?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Best of Morgantown 2015

Morgantown Magazine is doing its annual "Best Of Morgantown" awards where it ranks local businesses. They're currently in Round 2 of the competition. The first round allowed voters to write in nominees, and now, the top three in each category are listed and up for voting.

I've listed the food related ones I'm throwing my endorsement behind (plus a few bonus ones). Tell me, what did I get right? What did I miss? Let me know what you think. And be sure to vote - you have until Dec. 12

Best Pizza
Mountain State Brewing Company
Pies & Pints
Pizza Al's

Best BBQ
Atomic Grill
Martin's BBQ Joint
Woodburn Shanks

Best Sweet Indulgence
Sweet Frog
The Cupcakerie
Tutto Gelato

Best Ethnic Food
Chaang Thai
Kenyan Cafe
Mother India

Best Burger
Atomic Grill
Five Guys
Tailpipes

Best Breakfast
IHOP
Terra Cafe
Tudor's Biscuit World

Best Outdoor Dining
Morgantown Brewing Company
Mountain State Brewing Company
Oliverio's

Best Vegetarian-Friendly
Black Bear
Terra Cafe
Real Juice Bar

Best Power Lunch
Black Bear
Sargasso
Terra Cafe

Best Fine Dining
Cafe Bacchus
Sargasso
Stefano's 

Best Place to Caffeinate
Blue Moose
Starbucks
The Grind

Best Romantic Restaurant
Cafe Bacchus
Stefano's
Oliverio's

Best Brewery
Chestnut Brew Works
Morgantown Brewing Company
Mountain State Brewing Company

Best Beer Selection
Apothecary Ale House & Cafe
Black Bear
Pies & Pints

Best Neighborhood Bar
Apothecary Ale House & Cafe
Gene's Beer Garden
Mario's Fishbowl

Best Sports Bar
Kegler's
Sports Page
Varsity Club

Best Winery
Forks of Cheat
Heston Farm

Best Chef
Heath Finnell, Cafe Bacchus
Marion Ohlinger, Richwood Grill (formerly)
Simon Poulin, Sargasso

Best Bartender
Brooke Verbosky, Mario's Fishbowl
Grace Hutchens, Apothecary Ale House & Cafe
Lucy Morrison, Gene's Beer Garden

Best Place to Buy Health Food
Kroger
Morgantown Farmers' Market
Mountain People's Co-Op

Best Grocery Store
ALDI
Kroger
Giant Eagle

BONUS:

Best Workout Spot
CrossFit Morgantown
Pro Performance
Viking Performance Training 

Best Festival
West Virginia Wine and Jazz Festival
MountainFest
ArtsWalk

Best Personal Trainer
Jeff Giosi, CrossFit Morgantown
Jesse Haldin, Rob's Fitness Factory
John Mouser, Strength Dynamics 

Best Yoga Studio
BlissBlissBliss
Power Yoga Morgantown
Inner Life

Grantsville, MD Edition: High Country Creamery & Market

Working H & High Country Creamery
A new cow cheese creamery has opened just over the border in Maryland. High Country Creamery & Market purchased Green Glades Creamery's equipment after they went out of business. The cheesemaker also worked under Firefly Farms (another Maryland creamery I will write about soon).

Working H & High Country CreameryHigh Country Creamery is now appearing at Morgantown's winter farmers market.

The next markets will be Dec. 6 & 22, Jan. 3 & 17, Feb. 7 & 21, March 7 & 21 and April 4 & 18. These winter markets are located in the Wesley United Methodist Church gymnasium at 503 N. High St.

I got a sneak peek at this creamery when I went to a butcher shop's opening (in Maryland) recently - I'll write about that later. But I had a chance to try their feta - amazing, and the cheese curds, also amazing. I ended up buying some of the cheese curds. Look at the ingredients - milk, culture, salt, enzyme. Fresh, delicious.

If you see them local at the markets, give them a try. Delicious cow cheese.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Reedsville Edition: Tathams | Trellis Cafe

TathamsTathams, a family-owned garden center and nursery in Reedsville (Preston County), is home to a guesthouseworkshops, a shop and Trellis Cafe.

Tathams15Though they've been around for 30 years and take up about an acre full of annuals, ornamental shrubs and perennials, I hadn't heard of them until recently.

Tathams3Tathams is located about 12 miles from Interstate 68 and features a weekend brunch at Trellis Cafe every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's pretty small, so reservations are encouraged.

Tathams11When we arrived to the property, we saw the large home and greenhouse. It was decorated with lots of little shrubs and decorations. We walked inside to find the hallway decked out in lots of little trinkets and gifts to purchase.

Tathams6Lots of local and unique gifts - jams, local art, soaps, bags, dish towels. Just a lot of really cool, artsy gifts.

Tathams7The dining space is quite small and surrounded with all these lovely things to buy. We had made a reservation, so we were guaranteed a table. The table was covered in a brown paper, with some more gifts at the very end.

Tathams2The menu is small with just three starts and five options for entrees. Trellis Cafe serves contemporary American and Fresh dishes "made with the freshest ingredients sourced locally at our quaint shop in Reedsville," according to their website.

Tathams9The menu boasted a soft boiled egg, mixed field greens and a fruit salad for starters. For its entrees, it had options for a country breakfast, sour cream pancakes, omelet, breakfast sandwich and a BLT.

Tathams13You can get a prix fixe brunch, which includes a starter, an entree, a pastry and a drink. I didn't, simply because I wanted water and forwent the pasty, even though they were delicious looking. They have freshly brewed coffee, artisan tea, and an awesome handcrafted selection of pastries and fine specialty foods.

Tathams4I ordered a soft boiled egg and the sour cream pancakes. The soft boiled egg was served so delicately with a golden spoon and some rectangles of toast. It was so lovely. I scooped some onto each piece of toast and dipped it in the soft yolk. So simple, but done well and super fresh.

Tathams10The sour cream pancakes were so light and were served with a side of bacon and maple syrup. Perfect - a little salty to go with the sweet. The banana pancakes were not topped with bananas - instead, they were actually cooked into the pancakes. Really neat and just delicious. The maple syrup was very thin and a little odd to me ... it was almost like a reduction. But, honestly, the pancakes were pretty sweet in and of themselves, so I ate them mostly plain with just a bit of syrup.

Tathams5







On the way out, I shopped around a little and purchased a dish towel and a bottle of Elderflower, because I had never had it before. I know they arrange gift baskets and have some local products you can't find many places - like the J.Q. Dickinson Salt.

Tathams12Tathams and Trellis Cafe is a super cool little place. The owners even told us a little about it and showed us their guest house - super reasonable and cute.

This place is really a hidden gem. Maybe it's not so hidden. For me, it was. But I'm so happy I've found it. I guess they do special dinners that you can RSVP for. I'll definitely be checking those out and hitting them up as soon as possible.

I think Trellis is the name of one of the owners -- what a cool name. It's fitting for such a cool place. I'm hoping to do a story on them in the future, so I'll hopefully find out more.

But if you want a nice little brunch - or special meal - check them out. OR if you're just trying to do some shopping for some cool unique or local goods, they're an awesome option.
Tathams8

Tathams14

Grade: A
Trellis Cafe at Tathams on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 24, 2014

Davis Edition: Sirianni's Pizza Cafe


Mtn State Brewing CollageThe final stop in the Davis/Thomas area (this time) was at Siriannis, the local pizza joint. Joint may not be the right word, though, as when I think of that, I think of a hole in the wall with great pizza. But like most small restaurants in this area, it's hip and has some character.

Plus maybe my favorite door ever.

Since we spent our entire time in the towns eating, we just ordered a small pizza and split it between the two of us. I got mushrooms on my side.

Sirianni's Cafe
A pretty good pizza overall. I was a fan of the sauce. Crust was a bit poofier - but that may because of the size we ordered. I'm used to more toward flat slices in Morgantown. Very tasty, though. A nice crisp on the bottom and tons of oozing cheese. Nice way to round out my short road trip and get a taste - literally - of the area.

Grade: A
Sirianni's Pizza Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thomas Edition: Mountain State Brewing Company

Mtn State Collage

The original Mountain State Brewing Company is located in Thomas. I've been to the one in Morgantown many, many times. So I wanted to see what the original looked like.

Mountain State Brewing CompanyFrom the outside, I was a little confused. I had to like drive around the back, and an entrance wasn't totally clear. When Brittany and I walked in, the one guy sitting at the bar and the other working were dead silent. The TV was on mute. There was no music. It was painfully silent. I awkwardly sat at the bar and asked if they're serving food, and I was told no. Just beer on Sunday. Oh, ok.

Well, we're already here. So, I ordered a pumpkin beer - as I've already had the others on tap - and this one was new. Still, no one is talking. We clearly broke up the boys' club, and it was painfully obvious. The pub part of Mountain State must be more like a man cave, and we were violating the code.

The man working was watching some weird gory cartoons on his laptop, and would occasionally laugh and point at it. OK, time to finish this beer - which was a little too heavy for my tastebuds - and get out. We took turns chugging this, paid quickly and left. I'm sure they felt as relieved as we did.

So, it may be different when they're serving food. I hope. And it is cool that they are brewing the beer there. Luckily, I'm a fan of most of their other beers. The seasonal didn't quite do it for me. So, if it's pub only, I'll pass.

Grade: C
Mountain State Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Morgantown Eats Culinary Crawl



        MEET
  SAMPLE
LEARN
                    Chefs & Owners
     Multiple Eateries
About Local Food & Wine



Date: 12.6.14
Time: 3-7 p.m.

Tickets:
$35 Advanced
$40 Day of

 Over 1,600 Parking Spaces



This delicious walking tour provides sumptuous sips and tantalizing tastes from a dozen downtown restaurants.
On the tour:
Apothecary

The Bank

Black Bear

Cafe Bacchus

Iron Horse
   
Montmarte

Real Juice Bar

Tin 202

Vintage Room 
Samplings at The MAC:
Lebanese Bistro

Morgantown Brewing Company

Mountain State Brewing Company

Table 9 

BUY TICKETS NOW



                 CULINARY CRAWL

Tease your taste buds with delicious treats from old and new Morgantown on this tasty tour of downtown.  Start your afternoon by enjoying food, beer and wine samplings at the Monongalia Arts Center (MAC). Then stroll through the district sampling an exclusive menu of treats offered by local businesses on the tour.

Morgantown Eats is a project conceived by 20 students from the WVU Reed College of Media in partnership with Main Street MorgantownMorgantown Social NetworxMon Arts Center and Greater Morgantown CVB.
THERE'S PLENTY OF PARKING!
1,670 parking spots downtown. 
HAPPENING RAIN OR SHINE.
Wear comfortable shoes 
& bundle up!


 
All proceeds from the event will be donated directly to the Monongalia Arts Center.

Thomas Edition: The Purple Fiddle

Purple FiddleThe Purple Fiddle is one of those places that I would pay to have a location in Morgantown.

Purple FiddleIt's a cafe with great food, beer and music. It's comfortable, eclectic and full of character. There's a bar along the right side where they dish out ice cream, a main counter to the front where you can order and a stage off to the left.

Purple FiddleAlong the way, you can pick up bumper stickers, buttons or other momentos characteristic of West Virginia.

Purple FiddleOnce Brittany and I got to the front, we grabbed some menus and looked over our options. We ordered the Fiddle platter, which had hummus, feta, olive tapenade and pico de gallo with pita. Plus a slice of pumpkin cheesecake.

Purple FiddleThe platter was served in individual ramekins and was pretty good. I loved the feta and fresh pico. The hummus was tasty - though I tend to like mine a good bit more garlicky. And the tapenade was good, too. Most of my pita bites tended to have a thick slathering of each ingredient.

Purple FiddleThe cheesecake was super indulgent. Rich. Tasty.

Purple FiddleOh, and I also got a blueberry pop. I was going to get something different - something more local, maybe. But I had a hard time passing up this adorable little label.

It's Maine Root, and it's kind of a little bit of heaven.

First of all - have you ever had blueberry soda? If you have, you're already way ahead of the game - from me, at least.

I wish blueberry soda was a more common thing. Why isn't that a common flavor? It's delicious. Somebody, make this happen.

Or ship me some of these, that would work just fine too.

OK.

The Purple Fiddle is great, and I'm actually hoping to do a piece on them for Taste WV soon.  So, I will hopefully have more details about the history and background in the future. In the meantime, go go go if you haven't. Super cool vibe, good food and an awesome environment.

Purple Fiddle

Grade: A 
Purple Fiddle on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Davis Edition: Blackwater Brewing Company

Blackwater Brewing CompanyI'm doing a story on Blackwater Brewing Company for Taste WV Magazine, so I was lucky enough to try some of their beer and food while there. You'll have to check that out for their awesome story and plans for the future.

Blackwater Brewing CompanyThe restaurant features a handful of beers and a weekly rotating menu during the weekends.

Blackwater Brewing CompanyLet's start with the beer: They have some German-inspired beers due to the owner's brewing history. They have the Canaan Valley Kolsch, a 3200 Alt Bier, The Goldenrod Gold Ale, The Laurel Run EPA, and The Angus Macker Hardy County Sweet Oatmeal Stout. I had a taste of the Goldenrod Gold Ale and had to get a growlette of it to take back to Morgantown with me.

Blackwater Brewing CompanyIt's smooth and uses a local honey. How cool.

Blackwater Brewing CompanyOK - food. He literally serves food only Friday-Sunday and it changes weekly. As far as a theme, he tries to play on seasons, and there's usually a soup or stew. He had a beef carbonnade, which is a Belgian beef dish with cubes of beef in a rich broth incorporates the Belgian blonde ale as the base. Hot and flavorful. With a side of beer bread.

Blackwater Brewing CompanyThen there was a bratwurst that incorporated his Kolsch bier, served with homemade potato salad and sauerkraut. This potato salad was so delicious. It was warm and hearty. So loved it. The bratwurst was delicious and on a nice toasted bun.

Blackwater Brewing CompanyMy favorite, though, was this beautiful peperonata di patate soup, which had four types of peppers and potato. For one, it's beautiful. And two, it had this really deep, slightly spicy, slightly sweet soup with some potato for some substance. Just super good. Plus some nice buttered crostini.

Blackwater Brewing CompanySo, if you go during the week, get a really good beer. If you're there on a weekend, choose one of his meals (there are only a couple options), but I know it'll be worth it.

Grade: A
Blackwater Brewing Company on Urbanspoon