Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Local WV finds

I was shopping recentlt at the Capitol Market and spotted some local foods that I hadn't seen before so I thought I'd share some with you.

Cap marketElmcrest Farm - this artisanal salt from the mountains of Appalachia has a few unique flavors. The one I picked up was mushroom. They also specialize in fresh poultry, eggs, and beef as well as value added products from the farm kitchen; hand blended Herb Salts, Bone Broth, and more! Loving the branding and packaging.

Cap market

Cap market

These two jams are from Smoke Camp Crafts. It was hard for me to pass up something called Ramp Jam and "Road Kill" Jam - which is just apples, raspberries and black walnuts. "Smoke Camp Crafts was founded by Dot Montgillion in 1978 shortly after she and her husband Bob Montgillion moved to Smoke Camp Road in Weston, WV. She had a lifelong interest in botany, gardening and herbal medicine . Her signature “Road Kill Jam,” featuring apples, raspberries and black walnuts, reflects her sense of humor and deep sense of place."

Cap market

Finally, another salt: WV Ramp Salt. "wvrampsalt formally known as rampsalt has spent over twenty years developing and ensuring that our product is the best in the country. We never dehydrate, we create. Our process is one of a kind and can only be said to taste to much like Ramps. "

Cincinnati, OH Edition: Skyline Chili

Skyline Chili

I think that it's a rite of passage to try Skyline Chili when you're in the Cincinnati area.

Skyline ChiliThis regional delicacy is known across the country but it started right here in the city: Skyline Chili is unique is not the kind of chili you eat from a bowl. Instead, it's a sauce usually used over spaghetti - which you can get with cheese and onions, too.

Skyline ChiliI ordered a three-way, which is the spaghetti, chili, and cheese. You can add beans or onions to this.

Skyline ChiliIt's served with oyster crackers.

Skyline ChiliAnd, it was just OK for me.

Skyline ChiliLike, yes, I'm happy I got to try it. But the sauce is kind of bland to me, and I don't get it over pasta. I prefer a red sauce with my pasta - not chili. But you top anything with cheese, and it can't be too bad.

Skyline Chili

Skyline Chili Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, January 21, 2019

Johnnie's Fresh Meat Market burgers

Johnnys meat market burgers

Johnnie's Fresh Meat Market is a local butcher shop in the Capitol Market that features a variety of fresh, local meats.

Johnnys meat market burgersThey also have a small lunch menu where you can get sandwiches with meats and cheeses and salads (10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.).

Johnnys meat market burgersAnd, recently, they've add a burger menu.

Johnnys meat market burgersOptions include a breakfast burger, a philly burger, a buffalo chicken burger, a Mexican burger and a Hawaiian burger. I went for the Hawaiian - Aloha - with Johnnies famous bacon burger (rather than chicken). It had sliced tavern ham, aloha sauce, grilled pineapple, teriyaki, and melted baby swiss. Have you tried one yet?

Cincinnati, OH Edition: Macaron Bar

Macaron Bar

While walking around Cincinnati looking for murals, we saw the Macaron Bar.

Macaron BarThe brightly colored sign and hint of delicious French treats teased us so we ventured in.

Macaron BarMacarons are a simple concept, but they're so quaint and require technical skill. The shop had a dozen or so flavors, and I picked a pretty one to try: Birthday Cake.

Macaron BarMmm you can never go wrong with macarons.

Macaron BarWhich is your favorite flavor?

Macaron Bar

Macaron Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Try some of most inventive dishes Charleston has ever seen

CWV Restaurant Week

Here's my latest column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

My favorite week of the whole year is practically here: Charleston Restaurant Week.

It’s the one week of the year where you can enjoy specialty menus, eat a three-course meal and try a local restaurant outside your normal rotation, all for one price.

Except, this year, as you may already know, it’s two prices: $25 and $35.

That’s in an effort to allow some more flexibility for diners, as well as include some new restaurants that align better with a lower price point. That means more restaurants, more meals and much more fun.

Hosted by Buzz Food Service, the sixth-annual event all happens next week: Jan. 28 through Feb. 2. If you haven’t already carefully planned where you’re eating each night of the week, a) you have far more restraint than I do, and b) you can do so at cwvrestaurantweek.com.

This one week in January is an exciting opportunity for folks in Charleston to support local restaurants during a time of year when business tends to be slow. After a busy holiday season, it’s often tough to find the extra money in the budget to accommodate dining out. But armed with options of delicious specials at a reasonable price point, you have the ability to support your fellow community members — all while eating delicious food.

According to Buzz Food Service, restaurants throughout the years have reported serving more than 10,000 meals during the course of the six-day event. The total economic impact, which includes revenue from meals, bar sales, gratuity, taxes and incidentals, is estimated to exceed $500,000 each year.

There are a number of participating restaurants: ones that are reserved for special occasions and ones that are perfect for Saturday evening drinks. Ones that will satisfy your sweet tooth craving and ones that are perfect for the whole family. Ones that will serve old favorites and ones that will deliver you dishes crafted with ingredients you’ve never seen before.

Maybe you can switch up your typical order of spaghetti for a rich, indulgent dish of rigatoni, sausage and peas in a Parmesan cream sauce. Instead of your standard salmon, try a jerk mahi mahi special. Skip the typical burger and opt for crispy pork belly topped with a sweet-and-spicy glaze. Or, try them all. I’m not here to judge.

Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is.

I’ll never pass up the opportunity to try something new, and I’m looking forward to seeing some new faces and new dishes this year. So, check out the website, make your reservations and join me for one of this year’s best local events.

Don’t forget to tag your photos with #cwvrestweek and share that food porn with the rest of us. It’s time to eat!

In full disclosure, I volunteer for the committee that organizes this event. I’ve loved this event ever since it started six years ago, and I am honored to help promote it with my fellow food-loving friends.

Braised Short Ribs

Chef Paul Smith, Charleston's star celebrity chef, created this recipe. It's warm, comforting and exactly what I need on a chilly winter day. Smith is not only a super talented chef, he's involved with the planning of Charleston Restaurant Week. So it only makes sense to share one of his signature recipes.

3 pounds boneless or bone-in beef short ribs

1 cup flour

2 ribs of celery

2 quarts beef broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves

1 yellow onion

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1 large carrot

1/2 cup red wine of your choosing

salt and pepper

Season the beef with salt and pepper before dredging in flour.

Sear olive oil until brown and remove from pan.

Add vegetables and cook until caramelized. Add tomato paste and cook for two minutes.

Deglaze with the red wine of your choosing.

Return the beef to the pot and add the beef broth to cover, then bring to simmer and cover with foil or lid.

Cook on 325 degrees for three hours or until beef is tender. You can also use a slow cooker.

Cincinnati, OH Edition: Taste of Belgium

A taste of Belgium

Cincinnati is a major city that's just a few hours outside of Charleston.

A taste of Belgium

So, I recently took a weekend trip there with my friend, Dawn.

A taste of BelgiumAnd, of course, restaurants were the top thing on my mind!

A taste of BelgiumOne of the first place that came up as a "must-try" each time I searched was "Taste of Belgium."

A taste of BelgiumThis waffle restaurant was known for their authentic Belgian waffles:

A taste of Belgium
Each waffle is baked individually in a specialized cast iron press, just like they were centuries ago by master cooks in the city of Li├Ęge, Belgium. We have perfected an old family recipe, passed down for generations, to bring you the taste and authenticity of a true Belgian favorite. Unlike other waffles, they are made from thick dough and a coarse Belgian beet sugar that caramelizes inside the waffle iron. The secret to a good waffle is a good waffle iron. We do not make a good waffle, we make the best waffle and our waffle deserved the best waffle iron.

A taste of BelgiumEven Guy Fieri has made his way to Taste of Belgium.

A taste of BelgiumThe interior is bright, modern and cozy.

A taste of BelgiumThe menu is varied and every bit of it looked delicious. Under the classics, though, was "waffle and chicken" and it was calling my name.

A taste of BelgiumFirst off, I had no idea what a Belgian waffle was supposed to taste like until now - they're small, dense, sweet and crisp on the edges. Absolutely phenomenal. I never was a big fan of waffles because those massive, mushy things just don't do it for me. This, however, as phenomenal. The spicy chicken on the side was the perfect combo of spicy and sweet.

A taste of BelgiumI also got a side of goetta, which is a meat and grain sausage with German inspiration that's popular in the Cincinnati area. I thought it was tasty - not too dense or greasy.

A taste of BelgiumDawn went a more traditionally sweet route, which I snuck a bite of. All of it was delish.

Taste of Belgium - Findlay Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, January 19, 2019

New Vandalia Donut Co. Specialty Flavors

Vandalia new donuts

I love Vandalia Donut Co., and I always try to check out their new specialty flavors. I think we have a new winner, folks!

Vandalia new donuts

{Lemonberry Poppyseed} - A cake donut covered in a tart lemon poppyseed glaze and topped with whipped blueberry cream. Something bright and zesty for these gray winter days! 


Vandalia new donuts

{Nutella Crunch} - A Number 42 topped with whipped Nutella cream , drizzled with Nutella ganache, and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts. (Just in case you didn’t get enough chocolate over the holidays.)

Have you tried either yet?

Bridgeport Edition: Miskycha


Did you know there's a Peruvian restaurant in a mall food court in West Virginia?

MiskychaMiskycha, in Bridgeport's Meadowbrook Mall, is a juice bar with a variety of traditional dishes.


I ordered the Lomo Saltado, which is stir-fried steak or chicken with onions tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. It's served with white rice and french fries. Delish.


And this purple corn drink! It's made with cinnamon, cloves, lemon, pineapple and apples. And it sounds different, but I loved it!

Have you been?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Clarksburg Edition: Ritzy Lunch

Ritzy Lunch

Ritzy Lunch is a small lunch spot known for its hot dogs in Clarksburg.

Ritzy LunchThe menu features pepperoni rolls, sandwiches and breakfast items, too.

Ritzy LunchI wanted to try their hot dogs, so I got one with chili, slaw, mustard and onions.

Ritzy LunchI gotta say, that's a pretty decent hot dog.

Ritzy Lunch

The slaw had bits of carrot so it gave a pop of color, and it was flavorful. Definitely solid.

Ritzy Lunch Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato