This past weekend, I spent a day plus in West Virginia. My cousin Johnny from Baltimore, who loves Roadfood as much as I do, joined me. We met at our hotel in Fairmont, where we left his car.
Our first stop was Book & Bean in Fairmont. I had called the day before and they said they open at 9:00AM on Saturdays. We arrived about 9:05 and the front door was locked. We waited about five more minutes and there still didn't seem to be any stirring inside, so we left. Not exactly a great start.
Luckily, the Country Club Bakery was nearby and is famous for their Pepperoni Rolls. We bought a dozen in a bag to take home, but each got one to eat for the drive. I have had them from here before, so I knew what to expect, but Johnny made the comment that he thought they would be greasier. A nice snack to eat while driving down the road. They also had some fine looking cookies, which turned out be be delicious, especially the raspberry filled. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=529
From there, we made the short drive down I-79 to Clarksburg. Our first stop was Oliverio's Cash & Carry. Unfortunately, they don't make as many different types of peppers as they used to. Still, I bought several jars of their really good spaghetti sauce for me and a jar of the portabella mushrooms with sweet peppers to take back for my secretary. The ladies who run Oliverio's are incredibly nice and fun to chat with. And they recognized me from previous visits, which was nice. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=265
We then drove back across the bridge, made a right on Pike and stopped at Ritzy Lunch. I really like this place a lot. I have had their chili dogs, with slaw on it several times before, but I wanted to try their Giovanni burger. It was a burger with roasted peppers on garlic toast. The excellent bread really made this burger a winner. Johnny, a bigger eater than me, had two chili/slaw dogs and a Giovanni. Ritzy Lunch is a great Roadfood spot. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=49
Then we headed to Charleston. One of my little hobbies is taking tours of the different state capitol buildings. I have visited this state capitol building previously, but that was before they refurbished the dome itself. With the gold leaf, it really is a spectacular sight.
Next, we had a late lunch at Southern Kitchen. I had only been here one time before and that was to have breakfast in 2002. So, I have been quite anxious to get back. Johnny got the fried chicken, which he thought was good, but nothing special. I got the country ham with red eye gravy and really liked it. For sides, we both agreed that the mac & cheese was the best. Dessert wise, I had my mind made up ahead of time to get their legendary peanut butter pie, which was thick and creamy, but not overly rich. I love peanut butter pie and this was the best I have ever had. Johnny went for the bread pudding, since the waitress and the tour guide at the capitol recommended it. And he said it was among the best he has had. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=43
From there, we made the hour drive to Beckley, since I wanted to stop at Tamarack, a giant gift shop that bills itself as "The Best of West Virginia". With Valentine's Day coming up, I planned on buying my girlfriend a nice hard carved jewelry box. Some of them go for as much as $800.00, but it was hard to justify that. I did still get her a nice one I know she will be quite happy with. http://tamarack.terradon.com/default.aspx
We then started on the drive back north on Rte. 19 and crossed the incredible New River Gorge Bridge, which until recently was the longest single arch bridge in the world. At 876 feet, it is the second highest bridge in the US. They have an overlook on the north end and we stopped and took some photos.
For dinner, we planned on eating at Julio's in Clarksburg. Since we didn't have reservations, we got a bad table. But, I was just happy we didn't have a long wait. For dinner, there is no menu. They just read the specials to you. All dinners came with soup (Onion Fagioli) and a salad, both of which were excellent. They had many things I would have liked to try, but I settled for the Shrimp Mediterranean. It was four huge shrimp, with mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and roasted peppers. Johnny got the salmon stuffed with crabmeat. Both dinners came with potatoes and asparagus. For dessert, I had the banana creme cake and he had the Grand Marnier Creme Brulee. We both agreed, this was the best meal we have had in a while. Even though it was a bit pricey, we agreed it was a great value for the quality of the food. This was my first visit to Julio's, but I will be back many more times. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=4319
After spending the night at the nearby Comfort Inn, we headed back to Clarksburg to get more Pepperoni Rolls at Tomaro's Bakery. This place is a bit odd in that they are closed on Saturday, but open Sunday. The very nice lady behind the counter was patient with us asking a lot of questions and even gave us each a free hot Pepperoni Roll to eat on the road along with the dozen to go. And the Pepperoni Roll here is greasier and more flavorful than from the previous day. From now on, I am going to get all my Pepperoni Rolls from Tomaro's. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=466
Next was a full breakfast from Ruby & Ketchy's just east of Morgantown. The review from Jane & Michael didn't mention breakfast, but we didn't have time to wait for lunch. R & K's has a nice wood paneled family restaurant feel to it, but the breakfast menu was rather small. One thing I liked was that you can order a single slice of French toast, which enabled me to try other things. I also got a cinnamon roll and bacon, which was perfectly done. Johnny got the biscuits & gravy and thought it was just okay. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=4116
From there, we split up and I was home by noon on Sunday. All together, a really successful trip to The Mountain State.