Friday, July 31, 2015

Wait, What???

August tomorrow!! WTF happened to the summer? In the blink of an eye, woosh, it's over. While I admit to Fall being my favorite time of year, it seems like summer is just getting going for me. We FINALLY have temperatures in the 90's and prime beach weather. Hard to believe, back to school shopping has already started. I swear the older I get the faster the time goes. It's kind of scary. So, one of the reasons this month went by so fast had to do with 1 week vacation followed by 1 week of field work in eastern Kentucky. I have to admit I was dreading that trip to Kentucky but, as it turns out, if was actually pretty nice. Beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife and friendly people. Our hotel was in Wise, VA (birthplace of George C Scott). I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meals we ate in this small town. The first of which was actually in the neighboring town of Norton, VA. The place was Magnolia Kitchen. The cuisine was cajun/creole influenced but also featured some standard American fare. We actually ate here twice and I had some of the BEST fried green tomatoes I have ever experienced. I also tried the beef tips and the jambalaya. All were good. I have to admit I thought the mashed potatoes tasted funny. I can't put my finger on what exactly it was. I seemed like there wasn't any added cream so maybe that threw me off. I ate them all anyway so it's not like they totally sucked, lol. The Jambalaya was great. Only complaint is that the tails were left on the shrimp so I have to fish them out of a pool of hot rice to clean them up before eating. Regardless, all of the food was tasty and the price couldn't be beat.

Magnolia Kitchen Restaurant

Next on our dinner list was a new Mexican place called El Castillo. now, anybody who knows me knows I Love, Love, Love Mexican food and have pretty high standards. Bad Mexican food is SO awful. The place advertized that they made all their salsas and sauces in house so I figured we should give it a try. Right off the bat I was optimistic as the customary chips and salsa were fantastic. The salsa tasted  fresh and homemade. For research purposes (yeah right, lol) I ordered the "Taste of Everything". It came on 2 plates and made me look like a glutton but once I dug in I regretted nothing. It was super! I had a taco, enchilada, chalupa, tamale, a chile relleno, refried beans and rice. It took me 2 days to eat it all but eat it all I did! So good!

 El Castillo Restaurant

Next on out list was Moondog Pizza.  We were there on a Wednesday and I had the $6.50 Spaghetti and Meatball Dinner special. I loved that they offered that on what, to me, is "Prince Spaghetti Day" (ANTHONYYYYY!). The pasta was actually vermicelli and was a tad mushy but the meatballs were definitely homemade as was the sauce. Both were tasty. Not the best plate of spaghetti I have ever had but I have definitely paid more for worse. The place a a very good selection of beers and the service was good. I enjoyed my meal and would visit again if I were in the area again. My coworker ordered pizza and seemed to enjoy it. I didn't try any so I can't comment on it but it looked really good.

Moon Dog Brick Oven

Finally, in what had to be the BEST meal I had in western Virginia came from a roadside shack called "Piggy Went a' Smokin'" operated by Ronnie and Tammy Mullins. We had been driving past it every day on our way to our field sites in Kentucky (HWY 23 or Otby Cantrell Hwy) and made a vow to stop at some point and try it. Turns out we wished we had stopped before out last day because we would have eaten there every night if we had. This is what we saw when we drove by:

When You See this on the Side of the Road, you STOP!

I had the best pulled pork sandwich of my life and a bargain at $6. Smokey, juicey chunks of succulent pork served with a side of what tasted like homemade BBQ sauce. HEAVEN! They had smoked turkey and chicken as well as fried catfish and other things. Seriously, I wanted to order more as soon as I finished my sandwich. I wanted to order 2 pounds of pork and sauce to take home but without a cooloer I didn't want to risk it spoiling and poisoning myself. If I ever go back I WILL be eating here daily and i WILL be bringing stuff home with me it was THAT good.

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