Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New Buffalo Wild Wings is open at University Town Center

Buffalo Wild Wings
There are a lot of new developments in the works, and lots of construction happening near University Town Center.

Buffalo Wild WingsAnd, I recently stopped at the new Buffalo Wild Wings to meet up with a friend passing through the area -- and so I could snoop on the hibachi restaurant that's supposed to be opening up there.

Buffalo Wild WingsBuffalo Wild Wings is pretty common in town, and there's nothing especially exciting about this one, other than it's opening the path for hopefully more local restaurants to open in the area.

Parkersburg Brewing Company

Parkersburg Brewing CoOne of my absolute favorite new breweries in West Virginia is Parkersburg Brewing Company. This brewery is churning out some of the tastiest brews in the Mountain State.

Parkersburg Brewing CoI've had the pleasure of trying them at a few different festivals and recently stopped in at their location along Market Street.

Parkersburg Brewing Co
Born in true West Virginia tradition with the highest dedication to quality and craftsmanship, Parkersburg Brewing Co. develops, promotes, and delivers full flavored and unique specialty beers to suit every occasion. We are committed to promoting small business and giving back to our communities. By providing the best taproom experience in the tri-state region, we aim to bring business minded people and decision makers alike together to make a positive impact within this great states borders and beyond. Cheers to all of our loyal friends and customers! Enjoy Parkersburg handcrafted beer brewed in the mountains of West Virginia (MISSION).
Parkersburg Brewing Co

While I've yet to try their grub, I've had quite a few of their beers - including From Ash & Ember, Citrus Tsunami, Palooka Pale Ale Cell Block 304 - and my favorite - Hip Hef Hefeweizen. I loved each one of these, but the last one could possibly be my new favorite beer in West Virginia. It's a close call.
Parkersburg Brewing Company started out as the Hebrank & Rapp Brewery in 1864, which was opened by German immigrants John Hebrank and Marcus Rapp. Hebrank and Rapp incorporated as Parkersburg Brewing Company 1889 when they outgrew their original facility on Marrtown Road. The initial beer offering consisted of Genuine Pilsner, Extra Old Lager and Club Export. At its peak, Parkersburg Brewing Company produced 60,000 barrels per year and employed 30 men year round. The beer was brewed, bottled and stored on-site. The barrels in which the beer was distributed were also manufactured on-site. 
The brewery officially closed in 1912 due to the growing temperance movement and state side prohibition. Over the years the brewery building was re-purposed by a variety of businesses, such as a car dealership, cola bottling plant and a candy wholesaler just to name a few. Eventually the building was purchased by a real estate developer and subsequently demolished in June of 2004. The original site of the brewery is located next to Lou Thomas Subaru on 7th street (HISTORY).
This is a really, really cool spot to grab a beer, some food and hang out. The interior is lovely, with art on the walls and cool exposed brick. Dim lighting provides an intimate atmosphere, and everyone was super friendly when I got my growler to go. I could definitely see myself spending an evening here.

What's your favorite beer? And what should I get to eat next time?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rivesville Edition: Cafe Diem

Cafe DiemRivesville is a small town that is making a name for itself. For one, it has the nearest record store to me. Also, a brewery is in the works here. So, pretty happenin' stuff happenin'.

Cafe DiemCafe Diem appeared on my radar due to this listicle circulating about unsuspecting restaurants with good food.

Cafe DiemLocated at 2408 Paw Paw Creek Road, the restaurant was close to my GPS. It was a touch off, and when I went to turn around, it just happened to be in Cafe Diem's parking lot. So, that worked perfectly.

Cafe DiemWe walked in and took a seat before looking over the menu. The inside is simple, but bright, and there are candles and some other knick-knacks for sale. Otherwise, fairly simple with a little country twist.

Cafe DiemThe restaurant's coal miner burger - which features muenster cheese, buttery cabbage and garlic mayo on an everything bun - is well-known. But there are a number of interesting items on the menu.

Cafe DiemBeyond burgers, there is mac & cheese, sandwiches, pasta and the thing that stood out to me was the pulled pork loaded potato bowl. They are baked potatoes with the center hollowed out, topped with cheese, pulled pork, sour cream and chives.

Cafe DiemFor sides, I got potato salad and onion rings.

Cafe DiemThe potato bowls were really good! It felt filling - without actually being too awful bad for you - and the bbq sauce was delicious. All of it together was great, and I don't know that I've really seen this on a menu before. I ate every last bit.

Cafe DiemThe potato salad and onion rings were both fine. The real star was by far the potato bowl.

Cafe DiemBut, dessert was also great. Fun fact: Dessert is free on your first visit! I didn't know that, but I had my heart set on the salted caramel brownie with ice cream since we walked inside.

Cafe DiemThe brownie was good - a bit mooshy and had some cinnamon flavor - but hell, put ice cream on anything and I'll be happy.

Cafe DiemAnd, our service was fantastic. I was incredibly indecisive this day, and our waitress was very kind. Such a nice little experience with some good food!

Grade: A
Cafe Diem Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Morgantown Edition: Heavenly Hoagies

Heavenly HoagiesHeavenly Hoagies has a kinda funny story for me. A friend (shoutout Kelen) told me about them - seriously - years ago, and through a series of failed attempts to go, I gave up.

Heavenly HoagiesAnd, then recently, a friend happened to see their food truck up at University Town Center, where apparently food trucks are taking turns setting up. So, it's fate that I'm finally able to try them.

Heavenly HoagiesThis food truck is based out of Mannington, but has been making it up to Morgantown on Thursdays to serve to the University Town Center crowd.
Heavenly Hoagies is a locally-owned business located in Enterprise, West Virginia. As of mid October 2016 we no longer have a sit down seating and take-out restaurant. We have switched our focus to building our mobile food truck offerings that we take out 5 days a week to different locations (look for an additional mobile truck with expanded locations – coming soon). Heavenly Hoagies is also a catering business. Open since 2011,  Heavenly Hoagies serves the needs of anyone who is interested in our services. We love the Lord and we try to let that be known in everything that we do, from the crosses on our trailer to the crosses on our shirts to the Holy spirit in our hearts, to the ministry that I have with everyone I encounter.
Heavenly HoagiesTheir specialty is hoagies - from steak and buffalo chicken to meatball and Italian.  Plus - tons of tasty sides like pasta and macaroni salad, mac & cheese bites, fried pickle chips and corn dogs! Folks at the truck were super friendly and guided me in the right direction when I didn't know what I wanted for a side.

Heavenly HoagiesThe meatball sub was hard for me to pass up - and I got it with mozzarella and mushrooms. I also got a side of the pepperjack mac bites. The meatball sub was tasty - I just wish it was bit more saucy. I suppose I prefer the meatballs a bit more moist, but the flavor was still good. The pepperjack mac bites were tasty, too! Fried and cheesy and just a touch of heat.

Overall, a pretty good meal. Great service. I hear the steak hoagie is even better, so I'll definitely have to give that a go next time!

Grade: B

Monday, May 29, 2017

Fairmont Edition: Noteworthy Sweets

Noteworthy SweetsNoteworthy Sweets, a bakery and sweets shop in Fairmont, has been on my to-try list for a long time. The only problem is they are only open on weekdays during lunch. So, when I had a weekday off and no plans, I headed to Fairmont to get some goodies.

Noteworthy SweetsLocated along Fairmont Avenue, Noteworthy Sweets has specials for lunch, in addition to tons of pastries and cakes and more. So, you can see what they have for lunch that day right outside the restaurant.

Noteworthy SweetsSo, I walked in and toward the back bakery case to see what they had left toward the end of the day. Off to the right, there is a large dining space that is basic, but nice.

Noteworthy Sweets
Noteworthy Sweets is located in the Historic Crawford Building on the corner of Fairmont Ave. and 1st Street. Parking is available on the side of the building in addition to street parking.

We are a limited service restaurant in that we focus on one daily special each day. By doing so we have the flexibility to change our menu every week to keep up with what's fresh and in season.

If for some reason the daily special doesn't interest you we also offer our "Noteworthy Salad" with Sauteed Chicken, Quiche, and Chicken Salad Sandwich. When the weather turns cool we also offer fresh Homemade Soups. 
In July 2014 we had the opportunity to expand so we can now offer in house catering for up to 60-70 people. If you're not familiar with our facilities be sure to check out our pictures. 
Noteworthy Sweets
There was one giant slice of cake that I took home with me, and I all but begged for a pepperoni roll. Initially, they said they were out, but I told them how I included them in my pepperoni roll book and I've been wanting to try one forever and they had just a few left over!

Noteworthy Sweets

Let's start with the cake. It was an almond flavor with some very delicious, sugary icing. Pretty tasty! I imagine if I got there a bit earlier in the day, it may have been a bit more moist, too. Alas, that's what I get for being late.

Noteworthy SweetsBut, let's talk about this pepperoni roll! This is a good pepperoni roll! It is moist, and there is pepperoni in absolutely every bite. It's light and fluffy while still having a good bit of chew. Very good.

Have you been? What's your favorite special?

Grade: A
Noteworthy Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Taste-of-ALL Charleston

Taste of AllOne of my absolute favorite events of the year in West Virginia is Taste-of-ALL Charleston.

Taste of AllThis event brings together restaurants from all over Charleston, serving up tasty bites for purchase all in one space. Want an ice cream cone from Ellen's and an empanada from Black Sheep? No problem. You can get them all here.

Charlestonians have enjoyed Taste-of-ALL Charleston for over 30 years! Diners are welcomed to taste the wild & wonderful culinary creations the area has to offer while enjoying live entertainment and acitivites for kids and adults. Enjoy tastes from over 20 local & regional restaurants, live music and more! Entry is FREE, but tasting tickets are $0.50 each. Tastes range from 1-6 tickets and are to be purchased at the gate.
Taste of AllTickets are .50 each, and tastings range from one to six tickets. So, I got $20 worth - 40 tickets! I tried to hit as many places as I could and ration out my tickets - but I just ended up very full (and happy!). 

Taste of AllFour Points by Sheraton - Lump crab po boy with Appalachian ramp slaw and remoulade

Taste of AllTaste of AllStarlings Coffee & Provisions - Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bites, Mini Organic Pepperoni Rolls

Taste of AllRecovery Sports Bar - Buffalo Chicken Wontons

Taste of AllEmbassy Suites Athletic Club - Southern Fried Chicken Slider

Taste of AllBlack Sheep Burrito & Brew - Korean Steak Empanada

[I ate this before I got a photo. Whoops.]

Ellen's Homemade Ice Cream - Chocolate sugar cone

Taste of AllIchiban Pan Asian Cuisine - Almost Heaven Maki

Taste of AllStuff It - Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Parm Meatball

Everything was really tasty, especially that po boy. Yum! And, I can never get enough of Ichiban. Which were your favorites?

Ravenswood Edition: Sweet Dreams Chocolate

Sweet Dreams Chocolate ShopThe more chocolate, the better. That's my philosophy, anyway.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate ShopSo, you tell me about a chocolate shop in West Virginia, and I'll show you my plans to make it there at the next available moment.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate ShopThat's kinda what happened with Sweet Dreams Chocolate in Ravenwsood.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Shop
After having read about this chocolatier in the newspaper, I made plans to stop here on my way to the Chocolate Festival in Ripley.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate ShopThis was my first time going through Ravenswood, I believe, but this small shop was easy to find and there was plenty of street parking on this day.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate ShopWalking in through the doors, I first noticed the chocolate melting paint on the walls, dotted by stuffed animals and tons of chocolate treats. The shelves feature creative concoctions like chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered s'mores, fresh chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate-covered potato chips, candy apples, and classic chocolate-covered eggs at Easter time.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Shop

Wendy Staats, the owner of Sweet Dreams Chocolate in Ravenswood, has been making chocolate for the annual festival in Ripley since it started 10 years ago... 
All of Staats’ chocolates are purchased from the Amish Country and poured into her individual molds. Items like her chocolate critters, emojis and LEGOs are all hand-painted. 
Staats, who works a day job from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., comes in each night to hand-paint the chocolates — some nights painting little, meticulous details like eyes for hours on end. 
“You get up on Easter morning and think about the kids and the impact you made on them,” she said. “It was my dream to own a chocolate shop. It was my goal to open one when I retired. It’s not every day you get to say you’re living your dreams.” 
Sweet Dreams Chocolate was born out of Staats’ love to bake and her young son’s request for her to make him a chocolate teddy bear sucker one day after daycare. From there, it just took off, she said. 
She started making treats for craft shows and other events, but she always had a dream of opening up her own shop. 
Then, more than six years ago, her time came, and the Sweet Dreams Chocolate store was born. 
Everything from finding the perfect building on Washington Street, to the supplies and decorations necessary just all came together — easily, she said. “God put me in here,” Staats said. “It’s truly a story of God putting me here.” (Charleston Gazzette-Mail)
Sweet Dreams Chocolate Shop

There were honestly so many amazing choices that I had trouble choosing. So much creativity abounds in this shop. But, ultimately, I settled on a Monster Mallo Cup because I don't think I've ever had a homemade one! 

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Shop

And, wow, was it good! It was giant and just like one you'd get in the store - but with creamier chocolate and even fresher flavors. My only regret? Not getting some more delicious chocolate bars to take home with me!