Monday, November 30, 2015

Morgantown Eats Restaurant Week & Culinary Crawl

The Morgantown Eats Culinary Crawl will kick off the town's first-ever restaurant week. The culinary crawl, organized by a class in WVU's Reed College of Media, will feature samples from downtown Morgantown restaurants on Saturday, Dec. 5. The following restaurant week will feature specials, discounts and other featured items each day at select restaurants.

Geah Pressgrove's class first hosted the culinary crawl last year, which was a ton of fun and raised around $10,000 for the Monongalia Arts Center. The class teamed up with the Greater Morgantown CVB, Main Street Morgantown and the Monongalia Arts Center to bring young professionals downtown to showcase local offerings, while also making note of available parking.

This year's format has changed a bit; there are two separate tracks from which to choose. The early tour check-in starts at 2-2:30 p.m., and the late tour check-in starts at 4-4:30 p.m. Tickets for each tour are $35, and are likely to sell out. Both tours will feature samples at the MAC during check-in, which include J.W. Thirsty's, Morgantown Brewing Company, Sargasso and Table 9. Then, each tour has different restaurants.

Early tour:

  • Apothecary Ale House & Cafe – Sip various samples of Winter Seasonals from the U.S. and Belgium. Apothecary will also provide participants with multiple examples of what winter tastes like for different breweries
  • Chico’s Fat – Warm up with a spicy chicken enchilada tasting, paired with queso and chips.
  • Garcia’s Latin Market – Sample Puerto Rican coffee with a warm churro.
  • High St. Pasta – Enjoy a meatball with sauce and warm garlic bread with alfredo.
  • T.K’s Juice – Try something new with bubble tea, and savor green and black tea.
  • Tin 202 – Savor almogrote with farmhouse cheese made from scratch, accompanied with a baguette. A specialty cocktail sample will also be available for those guests over 21.
Late tour:
  • Black Bear Burritos – A pollo pibil cup and refried garbanzo beans: House fried tortilla cup filled with a Yucatán shredded achiote chicken garnished with pickled onion and served with a side of refried garbanzo beans. Chestnut Brew Works will also provide a craft beer tasting that pairs with dish.
  • The Cupcakerie – Select a seasonal flavored mouthwatering mini cupcake.
  • Iron Horse Tavern – Sip on any two West Virginia craft beers on tap
  • Vintage Room – Chef Thomas will be presenting a variety of wood-fired pizzas and featuring a sample of coconut shrimp. Exclusive wine tasting will also be available for guests over 21.
  • Sugar Bears Wall St. Grill – Sample small bites of diner favorites, comfort food and a homemade brownie.
  • Zaytun – Nosh on a variety of pizza, gyros, pasta and rice dish samples.

Each tour will have approximately six groups with no more than 25 participants per group. Guided tours will leave from the MAC and progress through each of the six restaurants on the tour. Tours are expected to last approximately three hours. Tours end at Arts Mon, located at 201 High Street.

Restaurant Week kicks off Dec. 5 and will run through Dec. 12. It will feature 20 participating businesses with menus starting under $10.
  • Black Bear Burritos – Burritos and Brews: Any house specialty and two pints of WV Craft Beer for $15
  • Cafe Bacchus – Celebrate the Many Varieties of Winter Squash. Enjoy a delicious three-course dinner for only $25 (does not include tax or tip). *Reservations : (304) 296-9234 
      • First course: Guest’s choice of either a soup (butternut squash) or salad
      • Entree: Pork dish complimented with a winter squash OR Ravioli stuffed with winter squash topped with a hazelnut cream sauce
      • Dessert: Pumpkin Bread Pudding OR guests can substitute dessert for a featured specialty cocktail such as the Pumpkin Pie Saketini
  • Chico’s Fat – TBA
  • The Cupcakerie – $25 for a dozen regular size cupcakes, a savings of $4; or $12.50 for a dozen mini-size cupcakes, a savings of $3.50
  • Garcia’s Latin Market – Buy 2 delicious tacos and get fresh-made chips and salsa for free.
  • High St. Pasta Co. – TBA
  • Iron Horse Tavern – Iron Horse will be doing a West Virginia Craft Beer Takeover. A brewer will be on hand to meet and greet with guests and also to answer questions. 
  • Morgantown Brewing Co. – TBA
  • The Montmartre – Enjoy a three-course meal for a discounted price. *Reservations : (304) 291-4222
      • Appetizer : choice of bruchetta or cup of soup 
      • Main Entree : Chicken Francaise, Shrimp Montmarte or Steak Diane. 
      • Dessert : Choice of our homemade cakes/pies.
  • Mountain State Brewing Co. – 20% off entire menu, excluding alcohol. 
  • Sargasso – 20% discount off full menu. *Reservations : (304) 554-0100
  • Soul Brothers – Free deep fried strawberry shortcake with any full price dinner meal
  • Table 9 – A tasting menu with an optional wine pairing. *Reservations : (304) 554-2050
  • T.K.’s Fruit, Produce & Bubble Tea – Buy any bubble tea at a 30% discounted price
  • Tin 202 – A 3-course dining experience for 2 for $50.00 per couple. *Reservations : (304) 212-5863. There will be a wine tasting with each course. Gratuity not included.
      • First course: Cold beet soup, corn and crab chowder or side salad.
      • Second course: (Each guest chooses two small plates ) Stuffed and toasted brie, chicken confit, pork belly, and petite dessert.
      • Third course: Seasonal dessert
  • The Vintage Room – Chef Thomas is preparing a special 3-course dining experience:
      • First Course: Arugula & Spinach Salad or Vintage Bleu Cheese Bacon Wedge.
      • Second Course: 6oz Stockyard Sirloin with Cognac crème, Apple Cider Glazed Salmon or Chicken Saltimbocca
      • Third Course: Three layer Chocolate Mousse Cake, Bananas Foster or Oliver Oil Torte.
  • Sugar Bear’s Wall St. Grill – 20% off entire menu, $0.50 brownies and cookies. 
  • Zaytun – Gyro Special: $8 for two people AND/OR Family Size Pizza any topping for $10. *Reservation : (304) 292-5550
  • Yama – Buy one regular Teriyaki Chicken Bowl, get one regular Yama Tuna Bowl free, eat-in only
*Reservations required at some establishments.
*Participants must mention Restaurant Week to secure the special discount

Milwaukee, WI Edition: Purple Door Ice Cream

Purple Door Ice CreamIt was like we couldn't have dinner without getting frozen custard afterward. We didn't KNOW we needed frozen custard after dinner until ... well, it was after dinner, and we were craving something sweet.

Purple Door Ice Cream

A quick google search pulled up Purple Door Ice Cream, which wasn't too far away. With flavors like "balsamic strawberry" and "chocolate whiskey," it sounded too fun to pass up. I ordered a cone with two scoops - maple nut and a caramel. These were both amazing - but holy cow, overwhelming. I got a cup where I could topple the cone upside down and use a spoon. You definitely get your money's worth here.
Purple Door Ice Cream
These flavors are really fun - and well-executed, at that. Try something weird here and enjoy every second of it.

Grade: A 
Purple Door Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Milwaukee, WI Edition: PBR

PBR

I couldn't go to Milwaukee and NOT try some of the beer. Pabst Blue Ribbon is one of a few beer giants that calls Milwaukee home.

PBR

We took a historic tour of the buildings (and got some beer in the process!). It was interesting to hear how, really, the "hipsters" brought PBR back. They also serve some of these older brands at the bar. Very cool.

PBRLess of a brewery tour and more of a just learning about the history of the company and seeing some of the older buildings where this history took place. But still, very cool to learn a little more.


PBR

PBR

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Milwaukee, WI Edition: Pizza Man

Pizza ManSince my previous pizza experience was less than stellar, that pizza void was still not filled. I still had a pizza-shaped hole in my heart. Pizza Man filled it.

Pizza ManPizza Man is located in a fairly new space, despite being a Milwaukee landmark. In 2010, the restaurant burned to the ground. Three years later, a new building was found, and they're still building up the same sense of atmosphere they once had. I, personally, think they have it.

Pizza ManWe ordered the "Zak's Antipasto Salad," which had salami, aged cheese, fresh and pickled vegetables, greens, house vinaigrette and garlic bread. I apparently ignored the actually title of the dish and just read the description, thinking it was a platter - not a salad. So, when it arrived as a salad, I was surprised. Stupid.

First off, this garlic bread is heavenly. I love garlic bread, and this was so buttery, it was heaven. The salad was very good, too. Lots of huge chunks of salami and cheese, plus the house vinaigrette had the perfect amount of tang.

Pizza ManWe also ordered the Pizza Man Classic pizza - Artichoke A La Mode. It has a classic base, artichokes, tomato, basil, cream cheese, and we added garlic. Seems pretty standard, except ... that cream cheese. It's like a typical margherita pizza, add a little artichoke for some bitter briney flavor, and then the cream cheese just turns it into this creamy, even more delicious pizza. Seriously, why don't we also put cream cheese on pizza? Because it takes a good pizza to this amazing pizza. Seriously good.

Grade: A
Pizza Man Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, November 27, 2015

Milwaukee, WI Edition: Wolf Peach

Wolf Peach

Wolf Peach was next on the culinary tour of Milwaukee. The name "Wolf Peach" stems from European folklore:
"When the tomato was first introduced, it was widely considered poisonous. Aristocrats dined on pewter; the acid in tomatoes reacted with the metal, causing lead poisoning. Peasants ate from plates made of wood and were unaffected, so tomatoes became the poor man’s food. The legend grew, as legends do, to include stories of witches using tomatoes, a member of the deadly nightshade family, to conjure werewolves. The wild tomato’s Latin genus name, Lycopersicon, translates to “Wolf Peach.” Wolf Peach pays homage to rustic European cuisine that draws inspiration regional ingredients - including the illustrious tomato."
Wolf Peach

I had actually made reservations for this restaurant, but, because I'm stupid, I got the reservation time mixed up with the time change to Central from Eastern. This led to us walking around the entire area for about an hour until it was actually time for our reservation.

Wolf Peach

Wolf Peach does things a little differently. For one, they have communal dining in one part of the restaurant so that folks who don't know each other can eat together. Also, they bring dishes out as they are ready, as opposed to coursing the dishes to "ensuring that they are fresh, bright and ready to enjoy."
"Fueled by passion and a 6,000-pound wood-fired oven, we pair beautiful ingredients from local farms, purveyors and artisans to create food to feed the soul. Our style of service is casual and communal ... We believe dining should be as much about enjoying the company as it is about savoring the fare ... Our menu is an eclectic mix of large and small plates designed to encourage sharing, cultivate interaction and foster a sense of dining at a family table."
Wolf Peach

We started off our dinner with an appetizer of the smoked bone marrow. Yes, bone marrow - which has become trendy in recent years. It has this odd, carnal appeal - scraping animal bones free of the rich, gelatinous marrow. But, it has become this sort of delicacy - as raw or grisly as it may seem.

It was served with sea salt, parsley, red onion jam and fresh bread. It has this buttery but almost sweet flavor. The red onion jam gave it more of a sweetness, and the bread gave it some much-needed texture. This was good, but mostly it was interesting.

We ordered a pizza with whipped ricotta, baby summer squash, garden tomato, and fresh oregano. When I read this on their menu online, it included a honey Sriracha sauce and something else. I had my heart set on that already, and when we got to the restaurant, the pizza was slightly different. I still wanted to go with it.

Wolf PeachI wish I had taken a closer look at some of the other options, because this definitely did not wow me. It was actually pretty bland. It needed a heavy-handed dash of salt and other spices. The vegetables were not particularly flavorful, either. I wanted something light, but not flavorless. That honey Sriracha drizzle could've done wonders. I ended up taking the leftover sweet onion jam and putting it on the slices of pizza. If you visit, opt for a different one. Many others sound tasty.

Grade: B
Wolf Peach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Milwaukee, WI Edition: Leon's Frozen Custard

Leon's Frozen CustardFrozen custard is a thing in the midwest. Frozen custard is ice cream, but made with the addition of eggs, which makes it have a smoother texture and stay colder longer. It's specifically popular in Milwaukee, which is the "unofficial frozen custard capital of the world." Apparently, the city had the highest concentration of frozen yogurt shops in the world.

Leon's Frozen CustardLeon's Frozen Custard is one of the giants in the area. They have malts, shakes, sundaes, cones, sodas, floats and burgers and hotdogs. You order at the window and grab your frozen custard to go. There wasn't any seating around that I saw.

Leon's Frozen CustardI went for a caramel sundae, which came topped with nuts and a cherry. It was freezing out this day, but we sat outside at the neighboring business, scarfing down this frozen custard. It's creamier than typical ice cream, and it was covered in caramel, which makes every dish better. So good.

Grade: A
Leon's Frozen Custard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Milwaukee, WI Edition: Wisconsin Cheese Mart

Cheese MartWisconsin is known for its cheese, so there was no way I was going home without trying some. A quick search turned up the Wisconsin Cheese Mart as being known for its selection.

Cheese Mart

Cheese Mart

Cheese Mart

And they do have a ton - everything from curds and sharp cheddar to cranberry and beer cheese.

Cheese Mart

Cheese Mart

Cheese Mart

Cheese MartWe ended up buying a tiny Wisconsin-shaped cheddar cheese in red wax. That I actually unwrapped as we were walking into a Brewers game. Doesn't get much more Wisconsin than that, does it?

Cheese MartAlso, I got a couple of these L. Frances Caramels, which were so creamy and delicious. That's me holding one up in the back of an Uber.

Cheese MartCheese MartWisconsin Cheese Mart Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Milwaukee, WI Edition: Mader's Restaurant

Maders

Milwaukee has a significant German population, which explains the beer and German restaurants in the city. When scoping out new restaurants, there were a few German places that kept coming up, amongst them was Mader's Restaurant.

Maders

Unbeknownst to me, on Sunday it's a brunch buffet at Mader's. I don't even think there was an option to order from the menu, which made it awkward when after we were seated, we were waited for a waiter to come over. After just sitting for a while, we realized the buffet was the only option, so we made our way to the buffet area.

Maders

Maders

They have a ton of stuff, from breakfast: made-to-order omelets, french toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon.

Maders

Then, there were the brunch entree items like Bavarian Sauerbraten, Kassler Rippchen, Hungarian Beef Goulash, Bratwurst and Knackwurst and chef's carving station.

Maders

Maders

Also: pasta, soup, mashed potatoes, red cabbage, smoked salmon, shrimp, cheeses, fruit, vegetables, salad and desserts.

Maders

Maders

The only thing here I actually really liked was this cheesy mashed potato dish. Everything else was, well, buffet quality. For $24 for a lunch, it's steep, too. So, a decent variety, but nothing mind-blowing.

MadersGrade: C
Mader's German Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, November 23, 2015

West Virginia Drive-Ins

West Virginia is home to about a dozen drive-in restaurants that continue to thrive despite being about a half-century removed from their prime.
The first drive-in restaurant was Kirby's Pig Stand, which opened in Dallas, Texas, in 1921. In North America, drive-in facilities of all types have become less popular since their heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, with drive-throughs rising to prominence since the 1970s and 1980s.
The drive-in is reminiscent of a simpler time when eating out at restaurant wasn't the norm, and there's something fun about participating in this iconic Americana experience. Carhops skating around, jotting down orders on paper pads and racing them to the kitchen. They return with a tray full of (often) fried foods or juicy cheeseburgers that rest on the car window.

The 1950s drive-in is still alive in parts of West Virginia, with carhops slinging milkshakes and orders of french fries to lines of automobiles. And loyal customers return to their beloved drive-ins time and time again for the homemade recipes and to support a local business.

Get out your map. Pull into a drive-in restaurant on this list. Park near a menu. Wait for a carhop (hopefully on roller skates!). Order something delicious (can't go wrong with a West Virginia-style hotdog, cheeseburger or milkshake). Make sure to have your window rolled down so that just about 1/3 or 1/4 shows; the carhop will place the tray on your window. Chow down. Wait for them to pay (usually with cash). Sometimes they will leave the change on your tray. No worries, they will have bills handy. When you're finished, turn on your headlights (or honk in some places), so they take the tray and you can be on your merry way.

Hotdog Festival + Frostop

Frostop Drive-In (Huntington)
1449 Hal Greer Boulevard, Huntington, WV 25701, 304.523.6851
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Drive toward the giant, mesmerizing rotating root beer mug atop the Frostop Drive-In in Huntington to lead yourself to the best root beer float (in a frosted mug) you may ever experience. Frostop, once a well-known drive-in franchise, has just a few locations remaining in the country and is the only remaining location in West Virginia. The 1959 restaurant encourages customers to honk their horns for service so that a carhop, donning yellow or brown shirts with brown caps with 'Frostop' written in the cursive logo, will arrive. My trip to Frostop came on the heels of a daylong hotdog festival, but they also have a tasty hotdog. Get it the West Virginia way: with chili, slaw, mustard and onions. The hot dogs are boiled, and buns are steamed. The chili sauce is a family recipe that has been passed down through generations.

DSC_0399

301 North Eisenhower Drive, Beckley, WV 25801, 304.252.6353
Mon.-Tues. 10:30 a.m. -11 p.m.; Thurs.-Sun. 10:30 a.m. -11 p.m.; closed Wed.
Beckley's King Tut Drive-In has a huge menu, offering everything from sandwiches and burgers to plated dinners, like meatloaf, chicken strips and seafood. King Tut also takes credit for introducing pizza to the Beckley area. At first, the restaurant had trouble selling pizza before it caught on big time. Try one with pepperoni!

Pinnacle Drive Inn

Pinnacle Drive Inn (Pineville)
Pinnacle Avenue and Route 16, Pineville, WV 24874, 304.732.7785
Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed Sundays.
Wyoming County's drive-in restaurant has had a loyal following since it opened in November 1968. Check out their "sandwich specialties" that range from a "Big John" (ham, swiss, salami, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise) to a "Submarine" (turkey salad, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and cranberry sauce). Pinnacle Drive Inn's hot dogs are served with fresh chili and in a toasted English bun.

Sterling Drive In

788 Stewart Street, Welch, WV 24801, 304.436.3271
Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Sterling Drive In is known for their "Signature Sterling Sub." It has cranberry sauce, bacon, lettuce, tomato and their special "spread" on a deep-fried bun. Try the delicious specialty next to one of the many ATV riders who will likely be parked beside you!

Tunnel Drive In

1899 West 3rd Avenue, Williamson, WV 25661, 304.235.1787
Monday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Tunnel Drive-In is bright orange and will lie just beyond where your GPS tells you it's located. Once it says you're nearby, just look for the bright building! Hotdogs, hamburgers, milkshakes and lots of fried sides are the name of the game at the Williamson Drive-In. Check out the Tunnel burger - a 1 lb. burger with all the toppings!

Biggies Drive In

505 North Pike Street, Grafton, WV 26354, 304.265.2295
Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
You guessed it - hotdogs are another favorite at Biggie's in Grafton. There is a small dining area inside if prefer. Dig into a cheeseburger, a BBQ pork sandwich, or a fish sandwich. Don't forget a side of cheddar cheese balls and dessert!

Jims Drive In

Jim's Drive In (Lewisburg)
Route 60 West, just outside Lewisburg, WV 24901, 304.645.2590
Mon.-Tues. & Thurs.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wed. 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Closed Sun.
Jim's Drive In, which opened in the 1950s, is known for their "ranch burger," which is a cheeseburger with ham, purple onion and sweet pickles. Try it on for size, but definitely also get one of their dozen milkshakes like a blueberry milkshake or maybe my personal fav - a caramel one. The carhops still carry changers to make change, which is a little slice of nostalgia!

Morrisons drive in

126 Stollings Avenue, Logan, WV 25601, 304.752.9872
11 a.m to 9 p.m. Sunday through Saturday.
Morrison's is best known for its hotdogs, which come wrapped in cellophane. They were once voted as the best hotdog in West Virginia and are by far the most popular drive-in in Logan. Logan boasts three thriving drive-in restaurants from the same family, all of which have similar menus but individual recipes. Make sure to get their chili, which packs a little kick, and slaw for a delicious hotdog meal. And if you're not feeling like having dinner in your car, Morrison's also offers picnic tables to enjoy your meal outside.

Parkway Drive In

401 Justice Avenue, Logan, WV 25601, 304.752-7703
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sunday.
The second of three drive-ins located in Logan, Parkway has its own special appeal. If you haven't already, try a cheeseburger. The restaurant makes a grilled cheese and opens it up to place a hamburger patty amidst the melted cheese. Yes, it's as good as it sounds.

Janet's Park & Eat

Riverview Ave, Logan, WV 25601, 304.752.6996
7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday
Janet's, the last drive-in in Logan, also carries the tasty hotdogs and grilled cheese hamburgers. But, if you're looking for yet another menu item, try the fried chicken!

Midway Drive In

445 6th Avenue West, Huntington, WV 25701, 304.697.3644
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Midway Drive-In has a delicious smoked pork bbq sandwich, served up with slaw. But don't worry - they also boast hot dogs, burgers and other sandwiches for those with varied tastes!

Kenova Stewarts

Stewarts Original Hot Dogs (Kenova)
1025 Oak Street Kenova, WV 25530, 304.453.3647
Mon.-Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Stewarts Original Hot Dogs is known for their hot dogs, so be sure to try one, which comes rolled in a napkin and comes standard with chili, mustard and onions.

Stewart's Huntington

2445 Fifth Avenue, Huntington, WV 25703, 304.529.3647
Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun.11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Stewarts Original Hot Dogs has its original location here in Huntington, and the Kenova was an expanded location. Since I already had a hot dog in Kenova, I tried one of their root beer floats here, and it is incredible - scoops of vanilla ice cream drenched in root beer. Yum!

Lynn's Drive In

3705 Coal Heritage Road, Bluewell, WV 24701, 304.589.6279
Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Lynn's Drive Inn is located in Bluewell and serves up a mean hotdog, complete with chili and slaw. And, if you're looking for something sweet, the options for milkshake flavors are endless.

Davis Drive In

Davis Drive In (Parkersburg)
3308 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26104, 304.422.4530
Davis Drive In is the most northern drive-in in the state, and it may be the most simple. Hot dogs, burgers, bbq pork and fries are the mainstays on this menu. Oh, and don't forget a milkshake or float!