Friday, June 3, 2011

Random Bites: Hometown Eats

The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer....the eats I refer to are not specifically in my hometown but instead located in the general region. Some new, some tried and true, all tasty....

-Los Agaves is the newish Mexican joint in Parkersburg in the old Stoney Creek location. Kristy and I had lunch there on Memorial Day. I totally dug the decor with its bejeweled walls and counter-tops. Our good friend Carl speaks highly of their Margaritas but we weren't having a liquid lunch that day. I enjoyed my vegetarian fajita and we both gave thumbs up to the salsa...always critical in any South of the Border style meal.

-I met my buddy Joe at the Marietta Brewing Company in Marietta, Ohio for lunch on Tuesday. It was gratifying to see the MBC rockin' again. This is definitely Joe's hangout as he introduced me to the new owners, one of the brewers and our server who knew what he wanted to order without having to ask. I trusted Joe to steer me toward the highlights and indeed he did.... a frosty glass of MBC's IPA and a delicious Cuban sandwich featuring a most excellent citrus mojo sauce. Not least about this lunch was catching up with Joe, who's always a fine conversationalist. He's also a fine writer with opinions I greatly respect: check out his blog and his own unique view of our Alumni Weekend at Faith Rants.

-One definite highlight of the week was our Wednesday lunch at Chams, a Lebanese restaurant on Market Street in Parkersburg. Its a smallish, tasteful place that offers some seriously scrumptious Lebanese fare. Kristy and I agreed that we could've moved into the Baba Ghanouj because it was that good. She and I split their featured platter; as it offered a taste of several of the house specialties. Creamy hummus, baked kibbe made of lamb and wheat, finely chopped tabbouleh salad, savory stuffed grape leaves and a filling spinach pie. Thumbs up also for the incredibly charming owner who was kind enough to tell us more about the dishes we were dining on. We were joined for lunch by my sister Shirley and her longtime friend Jane. Shirley enjoyed a lamb wrap. As fine as Cham's food was, the conversation was key in this get-together. There are three graduates of SMHS with frankly astounding government-related careers and Jane is married to one of them. I've driven my sister fairly mad over the years; bugging her to tell me about some of their exploits. One of the three is our cousin Jerry and he's thrilled me with the tales of some of his exploits in the DEA. Jane was kind enough to indulge us with a bit of what she was allowed to share about her husband Tom's adventures in military intelligence. Tom is most assuredly a hometown hero at the very least and Jane's tales of their years in Bosnia and a few other tidbits had Kristy and I utterly enthralled. Two hours had quickly passed by and I could have listened to Jane's stories all day long.

-Finally, I couldn't let the week pass without a visit to the Jug in Newport, Ohio. It ain't fine dining...its a little dairy bar with a big following. Located right on the mighty Ohio river; you can grab a hot dog(with sauce, mustard and onions, natch) and sit at a picnic table under the mighty oak tree that seems to bend toward the Ohio itself. This spot by the tree was a place of great comfort to my parents....they loved to that exact spot, eat a hot dog and watch the barges glide by. The tree (pictured at the top left; somewhat cut back recently) was also one of my sister Mona's favorite spots and when she died, she had left a request to be cremated and asked that part of her ashes be spread at the tree. Accomplishing this is a bit dicey at a place where folks come to eat but spread them I did. Our friend Connie took a stunning photo of the tree and gifted Mom with it when Mona died. Mom treasures that photo to this day.

Many folks bemoan the lack of dining options in my hometown region, but this was only a sample of some of the fine food I've been exposed to this week. Nice going, Mid-Ohio Valley.


Anonymous said...

There's a burger joint in Republic that's been there since my parents were in high school. It was called Snow White, but its been E's Inn as long as I can remember. Best burgers ever. ...and those crinkle-cut fries that are perfectly crispy on the outside and just right on the inside...home-town food gets in your DNA. :)

Kristy said...

A yummy time was shared by all!

Anonymous said...

Your picture of the big old tree at the Jug is just glorious!! One of my most favorite spots in all of the world. (-:

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