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 #2: Family-Owned Dive Bar

I needed a place to watch the NCAA Championship this week, so I decided to get a little wild and try a new bar that just opened in the neighborhood. I threw on my “BALL IS LIFE” jersey and walked over. I am really excited to share this local eat with you, since I know all of our loyal LocalNOMZ readers come from different financial situations. Some of you might not have been able to afford the trip to Italy last month, but I think this will be a PERFECT place to try for all the penny-pinchers out there.

The bar is called “Bar Louie.” I’m pretty sure it’s family owned. There is a man named Louis who I see sometimes volunteering at church, and I think it’s named after him. Maybe a brother or something owns it. It’s a small mom and pop joint that just opened up and I’m so glad I had the chance to try it out for myself.

I know what you’re thinking…well, come on…what is this place like? Imagine a bar that is clean that almost has a feel as if it were an actual restaurant. Then, go next door and you might be at Bar Louie. We sat at a hightop table at the bar about an hour before the game began. The place was filling up. They must do some local advertising in the church bulletin, because people seemed to have quickly discovered this new spot. (After this post goes out, you might need to make reservations with all the traffic going into that place from this site!!)

One of my favorite parts of the entire restaurant was the view. It was sometimes hard to watch the game, because I loved peaking out the window. So beautiful. Here is a photo of what you could see:

Looks like they are planting a garden or something out there. I LOVE the local urban planning commission. Cant wait to see what they have in the works! Maybe a mural? Write your congressman today. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

So we were ready to roll. I opened up the menu and started my ~taste bud treasure hunt.~ There were many options – mostly American food, but that isn’t a problem in Trump’s America, eh?

I always say, “A menu is a story that should only be narrated by the chef.” ©LocalNOMZ, 2017

We started with some appetizers as the game began. Gonzaga scored first, but that wouldn’t be the only score of the night (I saw how the hostess Jessica was looking at Tommy, the busboy).

The artichoke dip arrived and we smashed. The waiter warned us, however, that they didn’t have any tortilla chips though (odd item to be out of, but we didn’t get salty if you know what I’m sayin’). He said they would have to substitute pita bread for it. I shouted, “That’s PITAful…that you don’t always serve it with pitas.” Who would want tortilla chips over pitas? Probably a bus driver or something.

No this isn’t my puke. It’s artichoke dip. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

I ordered the Mac + Cheese (big surprise, I know), and if I had to rate it on a 1-John Stamos’ cooking, I’d probably guess that John Stamos was the celebrity chef that day in the bar’s kitchen; it was that good. The bread served with it was just like a sponge to soak up all the cheesy goodness. I liked to move it around the dish as if it were a boat, setting sail on choppy waters. (The noodles are the sea monsters).

I put the knife in there for dramatic effect. I didn’t need it for the dish LOL. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

My friend got a salad, which isn’t as interesting to write about, so I will just include the picture below. She said there wasn’t a lot of dressing on it, but thankfully I still had the Ziploc baggie of dressing from our first Local Eat (See previous post), so I gladly shared it with her.

This is a salad. © LocalNOMZ, 2017

What’s interesting at this place, though, is the incredible happy hour deals. Thank God I left my ski mask in my car or else I would have thought I was ROBBING this place when I got my check. Everything was so cheap!

Beer night? You mean “Every Night?” © LocalNOMZ, 2017

All in all, Bar Louie is a great spot and I’m so excited that it opened in my neighborhood. Hopefully they will expand soon! My only request is for them to add Louie, Louie to their playlist so I can jam out while waiting for entrée.

Next up on LocalNOMZ, we’ll taste an authentic breakfast from deep within the West Virginian woods.

Until then, I’ll see you in the kitchen.

-Chef M