Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Morgantown Edition: Starport Arcade and Pub at Bent Willey's

Starport ArcadeMorgantown is now home to a real, bonafide arcade.

Starport ArcadeLocated beneath Bent Willey's on Chestnut Street, Starport Arcade and Pub is giving life to all those classics you miss from childhood: Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Centipede and more. There's also pinball, Skee-Ball, air hockey and racing games (I'm sure there's a more accurate name for these - anyone?).

Starport ArcadeThe space is deceptively large and was previously used as an additional bar - and at one point a restaurant. It's right at the corner of Chestnut & Reid streets and beside the West Virginia Junior College. Since Bent Willey's is located on the upper level of the building, the arcade is ground level.

Starport ArcadeWalking in, you instantly see those old-school classics, then you turn the corner and see the driving games and a whole wall of pinball. The bar is open in the front and back, and if you move around toward the back, you see the Skee-Ball and air hockey. It's really pretty cool.

Starport ArcadeI'm always a huge advocate for local business and adding to the business scene in a new and different way. I think it complements the other offerings in town, and I love that there's something else to do in town.

Starport ArcadeI've never been a gamer, but I always love learning new things. So, I grabbed a few friends and went to check it out. On Fridays, they have "free play" from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., so all the games were free (and no cover!). Pizzas are $5, and there are drink specials, too.

Starport ArcadeUnless there's food somewhere, I don't really go. So, of course they also had a cool game-themed menu with "The Luigi" (pepperoni rolls), "Burgertime," "Dig Dug's Deep Frygar Pickles," "Sonicboom Wings," and more.

Starport ArcadeSo, I ordered "The Luigi," - because A) It's a pepperoni roll and B) My love for Super Mario World is strong. Like, I'm not just one of those people that only casually knows about Mario and calls that their favorite game. I quite literally love Super Mario World and nearly bought a Super Nintendo solely for that game before realizing I couldn't get it on my Wii. So, yes, that's the only reason I have a Wii, as well. I LOVE Super Mario World.

Starport ArcadeThe Luigi wasn't my absolute favorite rendition of the pepperoni roll - a bit too greasy, and the dough wasn't my favorite consistency. It wasn't soft like bakery fresh, but it wasn't crisp on the outside either. Somewhere in the middle. However, Lisa ordered the jalapeno poppers, and I thought those were pretty solid. They were filled with yellow cheese - not sour cream - and served with ranch. I definitely want to try the pizza, though, because Bent Willey's has a pretty good pizza. So, I'm guessing they should be pretty similar.

Starport ArcadeThe food is a nice complement to the games - I don't think it's intended to be the star. But, it's great to have food - and drinks - while being able to play games. The drinks also have some cute names. The drink special this evening was $2.50 "rail drinks."

Starport ArcadeThe management seems to be part Bent Willey's + part guy who's super into the arcade games. So, there's a real find attention to actual games and things they're bringing in and keeping them maintained, etc. So, I think for true, hardcore gamers, this is a goldmine, AND, I think for casual folks who want something fun to do - it's also a great option.

Starport ArcadePersonally, I fell in love with the Aerosmith pinball machine because I felt like it was smooth, and it wasn't scary (ha!), and it was just absolutely gorgeous. I spent a lot of time on it. Next time, I wanna try the Ghostbusters pinball machine. Someone was on it the whole time.

Starport ArcadeThis was also the first time I ever played Centipede or Dig Dug or Donkey Kong on arcade machines. I spent some time playing Ms. Pac-Man, too.

Starport ArcadeAnother cool thing to note is their involvement with the community. It seems as though they're dedicated to giving back, which is a great thing.

Starport ArcadeAnd, if you want to be even more involved, they do host events and have a league. So, have you been? What's your favorite game -- or which do I need to make sure I try next time?

Starport ArcadeGrade: B
 Star Port Arcade & Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 24, 2017

Keyser Edition: Castiglia's Italian Eatery

CastigliaKeyser isn't on my radar as much as it should be, so when I get the chance to pass through the area I try to make the most of it. It's a cute college town - and has a few good food options, too.

CastigliaI've heard good things about Castiglia's (g is silent, apparently) Italian Eatery, so I was excited to get my grub on. Lots and lots of other folks were ready to get their grub on, too, So, I instead opted for to-go. However, if you were to eat in, there's an interesting process where you order at the counter and when your food is ready, you're seated.

Rose and Jerry will welcome you home to Castiglia’s for high-quality Italian food. Their large portions will keep you fed for a week. When you travel around the state and mention “Keyser,” more times than not people will ask about Castiglia’s and will rave about the food, especially the salads, lasagna and pizza. As Rose will tell you, Jerry cooks in the authentic, old-fashioned Italian way; he doesn’t even have a microwave in the restaurant because he values quality. Rose and Jerry recently renovated the premises to accommodate more customers and invested in custom stonework. Much like the food, the stonework is a work of art in this restaurant (WV Living). 
CastigliaOnce I placed my order, I had a seat and took in the scenery. Stonework, greenery and archways lined my view. Freshly baked bread wafted through the air, and giant portions were served from the kitchen - most topped with cheese and others leaving a trail of steam as they are whisked away.

Situated at the busy intersection of Mineral and Chestnut Streets, Castiglia’s (pronounced “Cas - tee - yas”) offers an impressive variety of choices, all made from scratch with fresh ingredients. Specialty items like high-quality cheeses and meats arrive weekly by the truckload from a supplier in New Jersey. Portions are generous, so come hungry. Hand-tossed pizzas, Italian rolls and baked specialties like stromboli and calzone feature freshly made dough. Chef Gerardo Castiglia’s homemade tomato sauce appears in a bevy of pasta dishes, including five varieties of spaghetti. Subs range from hot to cold, and hamburgers are made with Angus beef. Popular appetizers and side orders, several salad selections and a zuppa del giorno (soup of the day) round out the menu. For those with a sweet tooth, Castiglia’s offers Italian favorites — tiramisu, cannoli and amaretto cheesecake. This is not low-cal eating, but who cares, with food this tasty? (Mountain Discoveries)
CastigliaOnce my order was ready, I received my giant bag full of goodies and headed out the door. I only made it to the car before I snuck a few bites. The salad was basic, the bread was good and much needed to sop up all the delicious tomato sauce, but the ravioli parmigiana was calling my name. Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and parmigiano cheese, topped with tomato sauce. I mean, yes please.

CastigliaI think it was tasty! It's a huge portion and more ravioli than you should probably eat in one setting for dinner, but I'm not complaining.

Huge pockets of mozzarella melded with a sweet tomato sauce that just blanketed a pile of pasta that screams "comfort." Really, a solid dish. It's tough to compare to some of the really great Italian restaurants in North Central West Virginia, but I enjoyed my meal.

For Gerardo and his wife Rosaria, owning and operating a restaurant seems pre-ordained, given their family histories. Both were born into “restaurant families” with roots in Naples, Italy. At age 17, Gerardo moved to the United States from Naples where he and four brothers soon established restaurants in Front Royal, Culpepper and Winchester, Va. Rosaria was raised in Brooklyn, NY, by Neopolitan parents she calls “restaurant gypsies,” who left the city to set up pizzerias in places like Bedford, Pa., Berryville, Va., and Lebanon, Pa. After Gerardo and Rosaria met and married, they settled in Winchester, worked in the Castiglia family restaurant and began a family. Their son Onofrio is named after Gerardo’s father, and their daughter Giovanna, born a year later, bears the name of Gerardo’s mother. One day, Gerardo drove through Keyser and thought it looked like a nice, safe place to raise his children. The family moved there in January, 1997, and by the following September, Keyser’s Castiglia’s Italian Eatery was open for business (Mountain Discoveries).
Have you been? What's your favorite dish?

Grade: B
Castiglia Italian Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fairmont Edition: The Rambling Root

Rambling RootThe hippest new spot in Fairmont just opened: The Rambling Root is a restaurant (and soon-to-be brewery!) with unique dishes, an incredible craft beer list and a really cool vibe.
We believe that “The Rambling Root” will be so much more than just a restaurant or a brewery. It’s a place you can bring your family, where you can meet with friends, and where memories are made. We believe we can help strengthen the steadily growing camaraderie of our community and local pride. We want to showcase the beauty of what Fairmont has to offer- from its agricultural resources to its local art, and native musical talent. We love our state and want to show what it really means to be a West Virginian. We believe that this venue will be able to grow and serve our needs to expand and reach the community even further in the coming years. (Vision)
Rambling RootLocated along Fairmont Avenue, The Rambling Root provides plenty of parking, a cool outdoor dining space and an even cooler indoor space complete with two levels with bars.

Rambling RootThere are a lot of live plants around - which I totally love. It's a little hipster chic with rocks as placeholders, mason jar decor and mismatched chairs. It's fun and comfy and even has live music in the evenings.

Rambling Root
So here's what you do: Walk in, go take a look at the food and beer menu, order at the counter, pay, take your number, find a seat and wait for your food to be delivered.

Rambling RootThe menu has some cool options: catfish po'boy, pulled pork sandwich, German dishes like dumplings noodles and kielbasa, and a BLT that was hard for me to pass up. Instead, I went with the classic "Ramble On Burger," which is a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and gouda pimento cheese. I got an order of the dumplings on the side -- because how many places can you get dumplings on the side?!

Rambling RootSo, I found a seat at the upstairs dining area and peeked around at the place. The downstairs area seems just as cool. And, after a short wait, I had a huge burger and side helping of dumplings right in front of me.

Rambling RootAnd, even though I am a big fan of the folks running this place and have a good friend working there (hi, Heather!), I can say that regardless of all of that - this place is really good. Like, really good. That is one massive burger on a delicious ciabatta bun and some of the tastiest pimento cheese (man, I just love pimento cheese). I love that this has some southern roots and is just an all-around solid burger. I did add some ketchup because I don't know how to have a burger without ketchup -- which is located just around the corner with the soda fountain.

Rambling RootThe dumplings were unreal. Like, where can you get unique food, damn good beer and DUMPLINGS. And, they were so good. I love the soft bite with that slight chew. Not too mooshy, not too stiff. Seriously good. Despite having the heaviest lunch, oh, ever... I ate every last bit of those noodles. I just had to.

Rambling Root
After I finished my meal, I went to the bar to try a few drinks. One thing I really love is that they do half pints. So, torn on what to order? No worries - just get two half pints, which is exactly what I did. I started out with the Tamarind Ale from Flying Dog Brewery. This was so solid - smooth, malty, with just a bit of the Tamarine flavor. I trust literally anything these folks put on tap, because they know beer.

Rambling RootThen, I went with the sour cherry gose from Southern Tier. Sour beers are my favorite, so I was super happy to see one on the menu. And, this definitely has the sour going for it. Big fan.

Rambling RootSo, should you go? Yes. Take a friend. Go fill your belly with delicious food and amazing beer.

Rambling RootAnd, keep an eye out for when they start brewing their own. Because I. Can't. Wait.

Rambling RootThe Rambling Root is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and they are closed Sunday and Monday.

Rambling RootGrade: A
The Rambling Root Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rambling Root

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Keyser Edition: Candlewyck Inn

Candlewyck InnThe Candlewyck Inn is a really cool restaurant located in Keyser that claims it was farm-to-table before farm-to-table was cool. Bold claim - but substantiated.
Another mainstay of Keyser is the Candlewyck Inn. Fred and Sharon Engle, along with their children, Cole and Anna, have made The Candlewyck a staple for 31 years with American fare and “Wyckedly” good cupcakes. Fred and Sharon know how to keep traditions going, but are always looking to innovate and bring new tastes and ideas to Keyser. They recently started “guest chef” evenings and host renowned chefs for fine dining on the weekends.The Engles are keeping the tradition of Warner’s Restaurant “Beesting” cake alive too. Warner’s Restaurant in nearby Cresaptown is long-closed, but at one time it was known for its Beesting Cake. President John F. Kennedy reportedly ordered dozens of the Beesting cakes from Warner’s to be served at the White House. Now Fred and Sharon serve Beesting cakes and cupcakes, which are just as good as the fabled Beestings of Warner’s (WV Living).
Candlewyck InnThis house has long dining space that is a bit fancy - white or red tablecloths, old-school wallpaper, and some nice fixtures. It's homey - yet modern. Really a cool vibe.
"The Candlewyck Inn opened November 6, 1984 in a c. 1902 Victorian Home. The home had first been a private home until the 1940's when it was converted to two apartments, one upstairs and one downstairs. The building was converted back to a private home in the 1960's and then once again, apartments when we purchased it. The original renovation took about six months and we opened to great fanfare with a opening reception of 150 invited guests. This is where I met my wife Sharon (Carr).

Since then much has happened in these hollowed halls, we've served all of the recent Governors as well as Senator Robert Byrd. We've also been pleased to be honored by Joe Manchin, The State of West Virginia, the Mineral County Chamber of Commerce and the Mineral County Development Authority as well as the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce. We have met so many wonderful friends in the last 30 years, our family has been very blessed being able to raise our children in an atmosphere of friends and family. 
The "Wyck" is a true family business and every one has input! Small family run businesses are truly a driving force in Americas economy today! We are so pleased to be able to continue to do what we do everyday. Thank you for joining us today for lunch or dinner and please let us know if we can do anything for you while you are here with us."
Candlewyck InnMmm! I ordered "Fred's Party Chicken," because how fun does that sound? It's a boneless chicken breast stuff with creamed cheese, chipped beef, and wrapped in bacon, grilled and baked, topped with a sour cream sauce. I learned this was the owner's favorite.

Candlewyck InnBut, first, let's start with the salad. This was a solid salad - fresh greens, a few nice toppings. The dressing with thick and sweet. I like my French a bit on the tangier side, but all in all tasty.

Candlewyck InnThe bread was tasty. I love a decent roll. I could go for a bite now.

Candlewyck InnAnd the main entree was different. It was a bit on the well-done side, but I appreciated how different it was. You won't see something like this on every menu. It's indulgent - with that creamy sauce and creamy filling. Tasty. I also loved the baked potato and veggie side - helped balance it all out.

Candlewyck InnAnd, I couldn't leave without one of their famous beesting cakes. I got this small one - Vanilla Beesting Cake: ​Two layers of vanilla rum cake with toasted caramel pecans and whipped cream filling and icing. These are super tasty! And, you can get them to go!

So, overall, definitely make a stop at this place if you find yourself in Keyser. It's a great little place for a bite to eat -- and a drink!

Have you been? What do you think?

Grade: A
Candlewyck Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato