Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fairmont Edition: Copper House Grill

Copper House Collage

As I run out of new places to try in Morgantown, I have begun to explore Fairmont. Fairmont is rarely a destination for me, and I'm often driving through the area - rather than stopping in - but that's changing as I find more and more places I've never been.

Copper House Grill is one. It's located not far off the highway and is easily recognizable for its - surprise - copper roof.

In a refreshing change from Morgantown, parking isn't an issue as there is a large lot with ample space.

When Afton and I walked in, it was a little awkward. The first thing you see is a dimly lit bar. Had I taken a wrong turn and ended up in a bar? Thankfully not. After looking awkward for a second, we were waved to a table past the bar area next to a window. Outside, there is a nice deck area for dining. It was a little too warm for us on that day.

Entrees, seafood, pasta, sandwiches and hoagies made for a kind of eclectic menu varying in price, but a few dishes were especially unique - like the Caribbean lettuce wraps. Most, however, centered around seafood.

To start our meal, we ordered their "legendary" crab dip. With or without a bread bowl. We went without. It was out within a minute or two. So quick I worried how it was prepared. Did they make this and it's been sitting all day? I mean, it was crazy fast. We decided it was probably cooked in like a crockpot and just scooped as folks order. It came with black and red tortilla chips. And, it was OK. I wish it had tasted more fresh? Maybe actual chunks of crab? Tasted more like a cheese dip with crab flavoring. But, it was still tasty. I think I was just looking for more with "legendary" labeled on this dish.

Copper House GrillFor my entree, I went with the scallops - sautéed. For my sides, I ordered garlic mashed potatoes and veggies. $20 for that didn't sound bad. Until I received my 7.5 extra small scallops. The entree portion was smaller than my potatoes or veggies. Either they need be larger or you have to give a little more. They looked pathetic next to my sides. However, everything tasted great. The scallops were seasoned and prepared well. My garlic potatoes were tasty and full of flavor. Veggies weren't bad either.

Copper House GrillAnd I know scallops aren't cheap. Especially if they're fresh. But when they're small and not even whole ones -- they need to not be as pricey.

Check out their Yelp and TripAdvisor for more info.

Grade: B
Copper House Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Morgantown Edition: Chico Bakery

Chico's Collage

Have you passed that white brick building that sits just off of Beechurst Avenue? It has just a small sign in blue that says Chico Bakery. But no real storefront from the outside - mostly looks like production.

Inside this building is where Julia’s Pepperoni Rolls are made. That ubiquitous gas station food found all over North Central West Virginia. I have wondered - for years - if you’re able to walk in this building or if it’s just a factory.

While driving past this place one day, I said to Tony something along the lines of ‘I wonder if you can go in and buy pepperoni rolls right there.’ I’ve probably said this to a dozen of my friends. But his response was something along the lines of ‘go find out.’ Why not, right? We were passing it, and I was hurting for blog material anyway, so why not.

I parked along the road to the left of the building with my flashers on while I walked up to the side door. I figured they would shoo me away, so I was prepared to go home empty-handed. But as I went to open the door, I saw a sign that read “As of August 1, 2013 there will be a price increase on our pepperoni rolls. 6 oz. $31.75 per case. 4 oz. $32.35 per case. Bulk rolls for $20 per case. Fundraiser $28 per case. Single 6 oz. $1.50 Single 4 oz. $1. MB $15.50 per case. Dough balls per case $14.50.”

Chicos BakeryI was relieved. This told me two things: That they DO in fact allow purchases right at the bakery. And they will allow me to have an individual pepperoni roll.

As soon as I walked in, I stopped. I literally walked right into the factory. There were sacks on the ground to my right and a conveyor belt right in front of me. There was a small chain between two posts that said to not go beyond that point. There’s really no waiting area or reception area - it’s just the two feet area in front of the door where you stand.

Until someone awkwardly comes over and asks if they can help you. The front isn’t manned by anyone. This man was working on the line and walked over to help me out. I asked for a pepperoni roll. They have three kinds: provolone, double-stuffed, and hot pepper cheese. I got a regular and a hot pepper cheese one. They were still warm. I handed him $2. The man slipped them into a plastic bag and sent me on my way.

When I got back to work, they were still warm. And much fluffier than what you get from the prepackaged ones in the store. Light, fluffy and full of spicy slices of pepperoni. And the hot pepper cheese packed just a little bit more heat.

There aren’t many places in town you get can a hot pepperoni roll. And a pretty good one at that.

Grade: A
Chico Bakery on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 15, 2014

Morgantown Edition: Tee to Green

Tee to Green collage

I often wish Morgantown had some activities for the twentysomethings in town. Miniature golf? Free live music on Friday nights? More festivals or events? I digress.

We do have something unique - a virtual golf bar. Tee to Green is sort of like guy heaven. Huge projection screens where you can play golf, no matter what the weather is like outside. A sports bar focusing on golf. Plus beer and wings.

OK, the last part appeals to me, too.

Tee to greenWhile we didn't play golf, my friend Kayla and I did get some wings. The golf looked cool, though. The wings, though, were actually pretty good. I got boneless with bbq. Plus some ranch. Crisp on the outside and tender inside. Good BBQ - nothing mindblowing. But overall tasty.

Tee to greenWe also saw the table over had nachos - though they weren't on the menu. Kayla asked to order those, too. And they're basic, but tasty.

Overall - welcome addition to town for something fun to do. A very small menu - just snacks, really - but good. If you have some free time, check it out.

Grade: B
Tee To Green on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 12, 2014

36th Annual West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival

Clarksburg Italian Festival CollageThe 36th Annual West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg was a pretty cool time. In addition to some music, I got to try lots of wines - and mostly from wineries I haven't heard of.

WV Italian Heritage FestivalStone Road Vineyard
Wine Tree Vineyards
Batton Hollow Winery
West Whitehill
Cascarelli's Old Country Wine
and Kirkwood I have heard of.

WV Italian Heritage FestivalThe wine garden was great to explore some of those wineries. Remind me to do a blog post later listing all the wineries so I can start checking them off as I go to them.

WV Italian Heritage FestivalAlso - I was able to try a D'annunzio's pepperoni roll! So good. Also had fritti from The Blue Bird, which is just like a donut - but thinner and more wobbly. Technical terms, people.

Pretty fun, and fairly cheap. The wine garden was $10 for samples and the cup. My pepperoni roll was $3, and fritti - just $1.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Huntington Edition: Backyard Pizza

Backyard PizzaThe other place in Huntington that I was really excited to visit was Backyard Pizza. Unfortunately, their building caught fire and caused some damage to the restaurant, as well as another burger restaurant I was hoping to visit.

Backyard PizzaLuckily, Backyard was actually operating out of their food truck at the beer festival, so I got to try it.

They were offering three pies: the Woo-Tang, Memphis Olde, Chophouse, and Truffle Shuffle.

After consulting with my friend and others in line around me, I went for the Woo-Tang: hickory grilled chicken, bleu cheese crumbles, fresh shredded mozzarella, roasted red peppers, diced jalapeno and red onion. Finished with cilantro, drizzled with honey, Sriracha and lime schwing sauce.

Backyard PizzaOhhh my god. This was SO good. Salty, Smokey and sweet. And amazing. Everything was fresh, delicious and the flavors were perfectly complementary.

Backyard PizzaI especially loved the cilantro, lime and honey flavors. Just awesome. As soon as they reopen, I'll have to plan a trip back to Huntington.

Grade: A
Backyard Pizza & Raw Bar on Urbanspoon