Monday, December 31, 2018

Wardensville Edition: Wardensville Garden Market + Bakery

Wardensville Garden Market

I headed over to the Lost River area to check off the last state park on my list.

Wardensville Garden MarketAnd while in the area, of course I wanted to check out some local fare.

Wardensville Garden MarketOne place that I recently heard of was the Wardensville Garden Market + Bakery.

Wardensville Garden Market
The Wardensville Garden Market + Bakery is a nonprofit farm that employs local youth, encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit through small-scale sustainable farming in an education-rich environment. Our goal is to enhance the knowledge of local youth by teaching them how to run and sustain a successful small business, and by offering opportunities to pursue new career paths, through classes and scholarships.  We reinvest 100% of every purchase and donation made back into the program to hire and inspire even more young people (ABOUT).

Wardensville Garden MarketHow cool is that? The bakery is really cute and known for these gigantic cinnamon rolls. They even had free samples of cookies!

Wardensville Garden MarketAs I was getting ready to leave, I saw the entire other half of the place - the market!

Wardensville Garden MarketIt's such a cute space with some great local products.

Wardensville Garden MarketHave you been here yet? What's your favorite item?

Wardensville Garden Market

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Drennen Edition: Drennen Dairy Bar

Drennen Dairy Bar

Driving toward Summersville, I passed Drennen Dairy Bar, and it's exactly the kind of place I love to find: cute, small, & local.

Drennen Dairy Bar

On this hot day, I was ready for ice cream. They call their blizzards "storms," and the cookie dough was speaking to me.

Drennen Dairy Bar

Here, they don't do the small little balls of cookie dough. No, they scoops giant hunks from a tub and mix it in. The result being a half cookie dough-half ice cream concoction that is all delicious.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Charleston Edition: Donut Connection

Donut Connection

Donut Connection is a chain, but it's not widespread through West Virginia and there are just a few locations in the southern part of the state: two in Huntington, two in Charleston and two in Beckley.

Donut ConnectionThis is the second Charleston location I've visited, and I do like that they have a drive-thru and a nice assortment of donuts.

Donut ConnectionI got a dozen to take back to the office, which included: caramel apple, pumpkin, iced pumpkin, glazed, german chocolate, samoa, chocolate chip, jelly filled, strawberries & cream, sprinkle and cream-filled.

Donut ConnectionThis was in the fall, so the specialty donuts were my favorites.

Donut Connection

Friday, December 28, 2018

Charleston Edition: Taste of India grocery store

Taste of India

Taste of India is a grocery store in downtown Charleston.

Taste of India

I love local groceries, especially ones that cater to delicious cuisines.

Taste of India

The shelves had an assortment of different goods.

Taste of India

And there were some foods I recognized, though not sure I'd be able to pull off cooking them on my own!

Taste of India

Have you been?

Taste of India

Let me know in the comments below!

Taste of India

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Dunbar Edition: China Star

China Star

On a day off from work, I wanted to treat myself to Chinese but wanted to try a new location.

China StarChina Star is located just a few minutes away in Dunbar, and they offer a buffet as well as take-out orders.

China StarI went for the "crispy chicken" combination dish, as well as an order of cheese wontons.

China StarIt also came with an eggroll!

China StarNot too shabby. What's your favorite dish here?

China Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Saucy Jo Hillbilly Hot Sauce

Wild wonderful box

Saucy Jo Hillbilly Hot Sauce is a local hot sauce that has "layers of flavor" with a unique twist.
James Kozak was culinary trained at the Culinary Institute of America, the World’s premier culinary college located in Hyde Park, NY. Jim has over 25 years of cooking experience including positions of head chef and sous chef at exquisite establishments such as Retro Bistro and Le Chantecler in Boulder, Colarado. Jim has done it all from baking, to sushi, to throwing pies at his own pizza shop.

Now Jim is the founder of SaucyJoLLC. A dedicated strongman and crossfit enthusisast, Jim plans to take his sauces and prepared foods to a new level to help everyone lead a healthy lifestyle (SOURCE).
Have you tried it?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

West Virginia Beef Jerky

Wild wonderful box

I recently was able to get some "West Virginia Beef Jerky" in a gift box I ordered. I had never had this beef jerky before, so I was excited to look into this product made in West Virginia.
Wayne and Patti Burdette from Alderson, WV first launched WV Beef Jerky in the fall of 1996. After a year of juggling spices and utilizing friends and the Greenbrier Hotel Chefs as “taste testers”, the verdict was in… PERFECTION!! Chefs convinced Wayne that the taste was irresistible and that West Virginia Beef Jerky should go commercial.

Today, Wayne and Patti teamed up with Peerless Food Service to reintroduce this mouth-watering jerky. WV Beef Jerky has one goal, and that’s to make the best jerky on the market. Our beef is carefully selected from premium whole muscle meat, never chopped and formed. We produce small batches to guarantee freshness and quality, and our team carefully grades and hand packs each bag. Never made with nitrates, we feel it is important to provide a product with health in mind. So what are you waiting for? Come get some of West Virginia’s finest!

WV Beef Jerky can also be purchased from your Little General store, Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia in Beckley, WV, Kroger in Oak Hill, WV, Pasquales Restaurant in Beckley, WV, The Green Grocer in Alderson, WV, The Beef Jerky Outlet throughout WV and 2 locations in Myrtle Beach, SC, and at Glade Springs Resort in Daniels, WV.
Have you tried it?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Ordinary Evelyn's

Wild wonderful box

Ordinary Evelyn's is a product line based out of Clay County, which makes jams, pickled items, and dip and cheesball mixes

How does an ordinary woman from an ordinary community turn a family tradition into a successful business? Sheer hard work and a true love for what she is doing. The ordinary woman is Evelyn McGlothlin and her business is Ordinary Evelyn’s “not so ordinary” homemade goodness. Evelyn makes many of her products, one batch at a time, on an ordinary kitchen stove in her home based business located in rural Clay County, West Virginia (SOURCE).
Evelyn started her business in 1996 by selling her products at fairs and festivals. The idea to start a business had been tossed around for several years. Evelyn’s family had continually witnessed neighbors and friends asking for her Hot Pepper Butter. Evelyn’s daughter’s who both live out of state, had many times given her mother’s products as gifts to friends. The recipients were thrilled and wanted to know how they could get more. Evelyn’s daughter, Christina Boggs, told her mother “you have to start selling your products". In the summer of 1996, Christina called the WV department of agriculture to gather information about home based canning businesses. After several phone calls and lots of support from the Department of Agriculture’s staff member Teresa Halloran, Evelyn launched her first showcase at the Clay County Golden Delicious Apple Festival. Complete with homemade computer labels on the jars and a hand drawn sign bearing the business name, she sold her products to the festival goers.
I tried this cheeseball mix, which was so yummy I just had to share it! Which products are your favorites?

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sassy Gals Gourmet Treats


This Ravenswood-based company serves up all kind of mixes that are perfect for parties. Sassy Gals Gourmet Treats makes things like dips, spreads, cheeseball or seasoning mixes - like potato popper or bacon onion or Mexican fiesta. Yum.
Looking for a great Treat? You have found it! We have all our Moonshine roasted Pecans and Dips that will satisfy your every need. Also, getting ready to release the new Moonshine Roasted Pecan Brittle (Facebook).
Have you tried it? Which is your favorite?

Saturday, December 22, 2018

When West Virginia Hands You Lemons

Lemon Pie-6

My most recent column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

Anytime the Mountain State is recognized for its culinary creativity, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s due time that Appalachian cuisine gets the acknowledgment it deserves.

But imagine my surprise when the West Virginia recipe that recently made headlines was not sourced with heirloom tomatoes or pawpaws. Shucky beans or potatoes. Pepperoni rolls or apple butter.

No, it’s made with lemons.

Southern Living profiled a recipe for “Shaker Lemon Pie” from “Mountain Measures,” a 1974 cookbook produced by the Junior League of Charleston.

The recipe includes using whole lemons (rind and all!) to create an old-fashioned pie that makes use of every bit of the citrus fruit. The recipe has roots in the Shaker community in areas of the South, Midwest and New England. According to Southern Living, these folks believed lemons were necessary for a healthy diet, but they were difficult and expensive to come by. So when they had access to the fruit, they made the most of it.

The recipe calls for just four ingredients: lemons, sugar, eggs and a pie crust. And it only takes about 15 minutes of active time. Simply let the lemons soak overnight in sugar, add eggs to the lemon mixture and pour into the crust. Bake, and voila: a tangy sweet citrus dessert.

Citrus desserts are common in these types of cookbooks, which was one of the major fundraising endeavors for the southern social group. Junior Leagues across the area published cookbooks that documented the foods of the community at the time, and thus created a time capsule of place-based food for a community. And this year is the Junior League of Charleston’s 95th anniversary — that’s a significant amount of time capturing the area’s food culture.

After the Southern Living piece came out, I purchased the cookbook — and its subsequent edition, “A Second Serving” — and flipped through family recipes that were homey, unfussy and, quite frankly, sounded delicious.

There’s something special about a recipe that has been handed down through generations and has been tweaked to accommodate modern ingredients or personal preference. There’s history there. There’s love there. And there’s authenticity.

And while at first I didn’t see how lemons had a place in Appalachian communities, it became clear that the same foundation on which recipes like “Shaker Lemon Pie” are built are similar to those of West Virginia.

The recipe reflects the resourcefulness of this group of people, just like West Virginians. Using every bit of available ingredients and making them work in new and inventive ways is integral to the Mountaineer spirit. That, too, is special.

So if you find life handing you lemons, make a pie — peel and all!

Shaker Lemon Pie

This recipe, reprinted with permission from The Junior League of Charleston, has been featured in so many publications and for good reason. But the contributor, Mrs. Ronald A. McKenney offers the following advice: “For true lemon lovers only – quite tart and lemony.”

2 lemons sliced paper thin – rind and all – omit only seeds and the very ends

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, beaten

pastry for 2 crust pie

Mix lemons and sugar. Let stand at least 2 hours until sugar and lemons become juicy.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Blend eggs and lemon mixture thoroughly. Line 9-inch plate with pastry.

Pour lemon mixture into the shell. Cover with top crust and crimp edges. Cut decorative steam vents (easier and more effective if done before placing on pie.)

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees for 30 minutes until knife comes out clean from the center.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Mountain Spun

Mountain SpunMountain Spun is an incredible new business that mades homemade, flavored cotton candy. I was fortunate to win an Instagram contest where I got a dozen tubs of cotton candy and a dozen cookies from Sugar Momma Sweets. With an event coming up for my book, I decided to go West Virginia Pepperoni Roll themed. No, they don't taste like pepperoni rolls - they were birthday cake flavored! But so good. Have you tried this local organic cotton candy yet?

Mountain Spun

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Morgantown Edition: Benny Velino's

Benny Velino

A new pizza restaurant in Morgantown is serving up some of the biggest slices in the area.

Benny Velino
Benny Velino's is a Virginia-based pizza joint that features a handful of pizza slice - pepperoni, cheese, spicy sausage, mushroom & garlic, etc. You know mushrooms caught my eye.

Benny VelinoI'm glad I ordered just one slice, because it's like the size of three regular slices. Gigantic. But, delicious.

Benny Velino

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Morgantown Edition: Wildflour


The Handcrafted Cooperative is an amazing event that brings together talented local makers to sell their wares all in one place.

Think of it as Etsy in real life.

WildflourKayla and I went to check it out, and we browed all the great local items. And, of course, we had lunch at the local food truck.

WildflourWildflour is primarily located in North Central West Virginia and serves up local food in fresh ways.


Before we had a name, we had a passion. That crazy habitat of hard work, days of planning, the copious lists written on every scrap of paper, and late night cram sessions are where we thrive. Turn up the heat in the kitchen & we kick into gear.

I have the rare opportunity to work in harmony with my mama and we get into our groove and can weather the crazy storm that is food service with little more than some grunts, nods, and our unspoken kitchen shorthand.

Our place of choice is behind the scenes, the cogs and spokes of the operation. We love to watch people enjoy the company of their family and friends when celebrating life's joys. Its an honor to be included in those priceless days and momentous occasions in a capacity we can turned furrowed brows into easy smiles.

Through the week, we love to be a part of your day, sharing love through what we enjoy the most- good food. We come from a family that has instilled the need to uphold high standards of cleanliness, service, and excellent hospitality.

Life is crazy and can be a little bit wild. But we always try to bloom where we're planted and thrive in any environment. We do what we do because we cannot imagine doing anything else. And nothing makes it better than when you can do what you love and share that along with a smile with everyone that crosses our path.
WildflourThe truck's name is Violet: "Violet is our beautiful behemoth of a street kitchen. At 25 feet long & 8 feet wide, she houses all the equipment and work space we need to make magic happen. She came to us in the Fall of 2017 as a Vegan-Latin American lunch truck. After a good wash and rebranding, we have converted her to our local lunch trailer, catering food studio, and traveling festival foodie."

WildflourI ordered a "Slammin' Salmon Sammie" with hand-pattied salmon cake, organic greens, tomato, dill mayo, grilled bun and served with chips.

WildflourAnd, also hushpuppies! Which is something they're known for.

WildflourHave you tried it yet?