Local Eat #3: A West Virginian Staple

I recently was traveling with friends to go camping in West Virginia (ha I know what you’re thinking…WHAT FRIENDS?!) when I thought, “Hmm…now would be a perfect time to sample some of the famous southern grits for breakfast,” because nothing spells out “T-H-E S-O-U-T-H” like West Virginia! I pulled out my phone and checked for the closest local establishment and found a destination that promised to treat me like a king. 

The place was nestled deep within the Appalachian Mountains. It was the kind of place you’d only read about in history books where settlers would stop to warm by the fire and grab some nourishment (maybe porridge or boiled pigeon?) before heading out West during the Gold Rush of 1849. I’m not sure if this building has been around since then, but I damn well hope the settlers grabbed some of THIS food before their journey began!

Now, before we get to the food, we have to talk about the environment. I snapped this pic outside my car window. Don’t worry – I wasn’t driving. I was still hot wiring the car at this point. (We had a flat, so we had to take someone else’s in order to get help.) Take a look at the ambiance of the mountains towering over the restaurant:

Scenic view of local West Virginian restaurant “Burger King” in Appalachian Mountains. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

The wood on the outside of the building was an industrial cedar which really contributed to the rustic feel of the restaurant. The low-lying fog set an eerie tone, eclipsing the peaks of the mountains above. The bushes aligning the resta— WAIT. Hold on. What is that? I think we captured something in one of our photos. Let’s shift the focus. I am just now seeing this for the first time.

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Now, I don’t know what to really say. Bigfoot has been rumored to be in these woods and with the smell of some West Viriginian cookin’, I don’t think he would even stay away. We don’t need conspiracy theories plaguing this site, so please contain yourself. I also don’t want this local eat to become a tourist attraction, simply for Bigfoot gawkers after the news crews get a hold of this. The food should be enough to draw you in. So let’s get on with it.

We were in a hurry since we had to peel out once the car started, so we got our breakfast to go. Here is a shot of the doggy bag we received. (Hopefully the food is better than what I put in my doggy bag after I take my lil’ Bruiser for a walk on Sunday mornings back home.) As you can see, not very eco friendly. One might wonder if there was a part-time employee out back who had the main responsibility of just chopping down the trees in the mountains, converting them to these paper bags. This is my first complaint with this establishment…we need to be more eco-friendly!

It might be surprising that they are saluting the Mexican flag with their design, but we are all for diversity! © LocalNOMZ, 2017

I’ll describe the food in one word that only mountain men and women might know: app(alachian)etizing. They said that they were out of biscuits for the breakfast sandwich (certainly a signature dish for them, so we gotta turn a blind eye on that.) Instead, they said they serve burgers for the lunch and dinner hour and would be happy to serve a breakfast sandwich on a hamburger bun. Service: A+. Inventory Management: D-.

“Hmm…that’s exotic.” I thought to myself. “I’ll take one,” I said to the only other woman in the place with me who happened to have direct access to the cash register. “Do you take Apple Pay?” I chuckled to myself as the lights flickered above me and the backup generator kicked in to power the ovens, while I lost service on my cell phone.

Won’t need a wet-wipe for this one. Just sand paper, I guess. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but perhaps I was hoping for a bun that was a bit drier. Maybe there was some condensation from the low-hanging fog, but this was just a little bizarre. The bun (again, we weren’t using biscuits) did not satisfy nor did it delight. I usually like to use the buns to seep up some of the sweat I have on my face (driving through the mountains makes me anxious), but I couldn’t even do that, since they felt like someone took them and ran them under warm water before throwing the egg on there.

Hand model currently unavailable for any other engagements. Sorry. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

However, the tots balanced out the meal though. What is interesting about these tots, I must say, is that fact that they were flatter and circular. They were almost like little frisbees, which made them fun to play a nice game of frisbee golf on the drive home (with the end goal of being my mouth). They were crispy. They were enjoyable. And that should mean a lot. I consider myself a tot expert – “the headmaster of tots” as I like to call myself (my interns call me THOT for short).

ULTIMATEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! © LocalNOMZ, 2017

And to wash everything down, I had some fresh squeezed orange juice. It tasted a little tangy…something that the locals must love here.

Wait just a #minute, now. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

Well, that wraps up this Local Eat. We won’t be returning to West Virginia anytime soon, but next up, we’ll head on over to a local pizza place that promises some of the best pies east of the Mississippi (or maybe I just say that.)

Either way, stay tuned. You won’t want to miss this little pizza shop. Or should I say HUT! 🙂

Until next time! ABC*!

-Chef M

 

 

(*Always Be Cookin’)

Local Eats #1: Pasta-mazing Meals

Every once in a while, you wake up with a travel bug. No, not the bedbugs you can’t shake, but some other bug that’s just nagging at you to eat some damn good food tonight. I know you do. We all do. You look outside and see the snow coming down and wonder, “Hmmm…what would it be like to live in Italy?” For the past 9 mornings, I’ve awoken with that very thought. Last night, I decided to do something about it.

Like any great sleuth, I cracked open the Yellow Pages (this is some sort of phone book the cavemen used before the Google machine was invented). I ran my fingers down the page and looked for the closest Italian restaurant. No luck. Just a bunch of garbage. So I went online, sifted through reviews and found this little establishment at the end of my street that promised “great cuisine.” Intrigued, I decided to take a visit.

I grabbed my passport (because that is the ONLY item I show when I order drinks at these worldly places) and headed down to this niche Italian restaurant. And when I walked in, I was amazed.

I wrote on the palm of my hand “REMEMBER THE TELEPORTATION,” just in case some other weird things start happening, because I was instantly transported around the world. If I hadn’t talked to my Uber driver about something unnecessarily political on the way there, I would have thought I took a gondola ride into this magical place. It was like a scene out of Sicily – with olive branches and the finest wines aligning the walls.

We sat down and opened the menu. My first words to the waitress were, “How long did this chef study in Italy, because DAMN!” The menu was huge! How someone could be that skilled in so many authentic delicacies was something my mind couldn’t comprehend. I ordered “la macaroni y no pollo” which is the Italian way to say macaroni with no chicken.

Our wild ride to FLAVOR began when the waitress (Amber or Alexa or some shit like that) dropped off a salad at our table. The mix of the greens with the few olives speckled throughout was like a perfectly jumbled up jigsaw puzzle of the Italian flavor. There was enough dressing doused throughout the salad that you could put a little in a small ziplock baggie and take some home for later…when you’re alone.

Next stop: the main dish. Macaroni and cheese…a meal so few can prepare. I kept checking my watch to see if there was enough time for the chef to fly to Italy and get this sought-after dish. To my surprise, it came out steaming hot and right on time.

Soon, it was apparent that my gondola ride was coming to an end, and the check was delivered and this machine (pictured below) was dropped off. There is something magical about swiping your credit card into a 12 pound machine that is sitting right on the table, and I’m glad I got to experience it firsthand.

The mint served as my kiss goodnight, since my server Amber had been replaced and that void was still left open in my heart. I asked the hostess on the way out to stamp my passport, and she just looked at me. Must not have spoken English.

Well, that was stop one. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop at this quaint little restaurant called “Olive Garden” for some authentic Italian food.

Addio!

Chef M

We’ve Got Something Cookin’

2017 Resolution: Find the best local eats and hidden treats.

You’re in for a treat. A big treat. Maybe even more than one. So many that your mouth won’t stop waterin’ and you’ll soon be in your car driving to the local restaurants we’ve featured. They’re that good. We’re that good.

There's so much at steak when you start a blog, but Local Nomz sure has got it. We won't let you down, foodies!!!!
There’s so much at steak when you start a blog, but Local Nomz sure has got it. We won’t let you down, foodies!!!! (Not pictured: my date for that evening, since I’m single)

For the past few years, I’ve made it my mission to find some of world’s most quaint, local restaurants that everyone should try. These restaurants have more personality and flavor than your Great Aunt Sue, and hey…they probably taste better too.

I’m so excited to share this journey with you. Our commitment is simple – we’ll do the sleuthing so you can do the eating at some of the world’s best-kept secrets!

Bon appétit,

Chef M