Friday, July 3, 2015

Wheeling Edition: Ye Olde Alpha

Ye Olde AlphaYe Olde Alpha is an landmark bar and restaurant in Wheeling that dons deer, moose and other wildlife on the walls and has done so for more than 80 years. The tradition apparently dates back to 1932 when the owner and his hunting friends wanted to adorn the walls with their prized trophies.

"We pride ourselves on our dead animals, cold beer, and classic American food served in a casual family setting." (via Ye Olde Alpha website)

Ye Olde Alpha

The building is half bar, half dining room and was filled with a regular crowd - noticeable by the fact that few needed to look at the menu. Meanwhile, I pored over the menu, eliminating options I could get elsewhere. They dish out fried appetizers like cheese sticks and zucchini planks. Sandwiches, steaks, burgers, pasta, fajitas, wings - there's a little bit of everything here. But one thing folks kept commenting on was the greek wings.

Ye Olde Alpha

I ordered one pound of greek wings - wings that they claim are the best in the Ohio Valley. But before our entrees, we were presented with a basket of tortilla chips and homemade salsa. Odd. BUT, I surprisingly liked the salsa. Not loved, but I liked it.

Ye Olde Alpha

The wings were not bad. They were friend with hunks of feta cheese on top. I think maybe if there was a buffalo sauce or something a bit more cohesive, the flavor profile would've been better for me. But, ya know, can't really go wrong with fried chicken wings topped with cheese. Just a sauce of some sort would've worked, too.

Ye Olde AlphaTony had a side of fries, which were OK. They could've been cooked a bit longer to get crispier. I think the food was good, but I think some small things could've made it even better. I do appreciate the local culture of the place.

Ye Olde Alpha
Ye Olde Alpha is open Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and on Sunday at 10 a.m. Ye Olde Alpha 50 Carmel Road, Wheeling, WV 26003; 304-242-1090;

Grade: B
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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Smooth Ambler Spirits

Smooth AmblerPatiently crafted Appalachian spirits in Greenbrier County. Smooth Ambler Spirits, founded in 2009, set out to produce just that. The craft distillery says it uses a combination of high-valley mountain air, natural waters, ideal temperature variations and friendly folks to produce their truly remarkable drink.

Smooth AmblerI had heard about this place because I picked up a bottle of their gin - and love it. We arrive too early in the day for a tasting, but I did still want to check out the retail area. T-shirts, bar accessories and some chocolates were all for sale. I ended up with a coffee mug, simply because I didn't feel like lugging a bottle of liquor around with me. Plus I know it's available here locally in Morgantown.

I love that Smooth Ambler Spirits set out to be a point of pride for West Virginia. I think they've succeeded with a delicious product, beautiful branding and local pride. Get yourself some of this liquor!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Weirton Edition: DiCarlo's Pizza

DicarlosI was so excited to try DiCarlo's Pizza from the Weirton location that I didn't actually get a photo of the pizza. Blogger fail. But I guess that's a good thing, right? I was so excited to eat it, I didn't get a photo? In case you forget, you can see what DiCarlo's pizza looks like in general here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

DicarlosA few things: This DiCarlo's has a pick-up drive-thru. You have to call in, they'll tell you how long, and you can pick it up at the window. With cash. That's convenient for when I don't feel like walking inside and potentially running into people I may know.

DicarlosWhen I got home, the cheese had fully melted, but it's clear they use a nice mix of shredded mozzarella provolone. The crust was nice and crisp, the sauce had a great flavor and I only wish there had been a bit more cheese on it. Still, it's DiCarlo's, and therefore, delicious. And don't worry, there's only one more DiCarlo's in West Virginia I haven't been to yet: Parkersburg.

Grade: A
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Deskins Candies

Deskins Candies

I stumbled across Deskins Candies quite a long time ago, actually, but I hadn't had a chance to write about it until now. I saw this variety candy tray in Kroger and noticed it is from Bluefield. How cool is that? And the candies are delicious. I love the peanut butter fudge!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Morgantown Edition: The Greene Turtle

The Greene TurtleThe Greene Turtle is a sports bar chain with an East Coast seafood vibe. Most of their locations are in Maryland, with a few in Delaware, Virginia, Washington DC, and New York. Morgantown's recently opened The Green Turtle is the first location in West Virginia.

The Greene TurtleThe menu features crab dip, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, crab cakes, tacos, seafood mac & cheese, ribs, fish and chips, steak, salads, soups and more. I'm thinking Applebees sports bar with a seafood slant. Lots of menu items so there's something to please everyone in your family, plus TVs at every table to make dad happy. Seriously, TVs everywhere. They also have a "mug club" where you can get a discount on draft beer and some other stuff that I don't know.

The Greene TurtleI ordered a pick two ($7.99) with a soup and half pizza: crab flatbread and Maryland crab soup. My dear friend Maggie loves this crab flatbread, so I wanted to try it. It's essentially a very thin crust with their crab dip on top, with a layer of cheese over top. It's very rich and creamy, but the crust provides a nice crisp. Not bad. The soup was decent. There were a few nice chunks of crab, and I liked the broth, too. The combo was good.

The Greene TurtleOverall, it was pretty average, I think. Plus a ton of loud TVs. Service could've used some work. And the cups, which have a green tint, were weird housing my water. I felt like there was algae. Small complaints, but whatever. This place is fine. If you're going to watch a game, yes, do it. If you want to actually hear the person on the other end of the table, maybe not so much. Anyway, times and places for all things.

The Green Turtle is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. It is located at 7100 Willie G. Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26501.

Grade: C
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