Friday, July 29, 2011

Culinary Wasteland

I should have known better.

You see, Charleston is what you could call a culinary wasteland. By and large, the restaurants that have good food have terrible service, and the ones that have bad food have even worse service (the exceptions to this being every single Mexican restaurant in town, because the service is always awesome, and Frutcake, which has fine service and the best cucpakes I have ever had. Ever. Better than anyplace in Pittsburgh, better than NYC's famous Magnolia, better than Babycakes, better than my mom's. And I am somthing of an expert. But that is a story for another time).

Today, I was at a jobsite for several hours and I was starving on my drive home. Knowing that we have very little food in the house right now, I decided -- and this was where I went against my better judgement -- to stop at a fast food restaurant. Let's just say it rhymes with Blendy's.

So I went to the Blendy's drive-through and ordered a Caesar salad, small fries, and a Diet Coke. Off I drove, without looking in the bag, because really? How easy was that order.

When I got home and opened the bag, ready to eat my hand at this point, I remembered with sudden clarity why I don't go to fast food restaurants. Inside the large paper bag was a very very tiny side salad. I would say this contained about half a cup of slimy, brown lettuce, some "parmesan cheese," and one moldy grape tomato. Completely inedible side salad and no fries. And once I took a sip of my drink, I realized that this was regular Coke. I had to throw it all away and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I don't care if you do have high-budget commercials and delicous is-it-ice-cream-or-is-it-a-shake concoctions, Blendy's. I am never coming to your establishment again.

Aaaand end rant.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When in WV . . .

My in-laws came to visit West Virginia for the first time over the 4th of July weekend. They were probably expecting banjo-playing, toothless rednecks like most people do and, yes, we have our fair share of those. But so do Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Luckily they both enjoy the outdoors, so we were able to show them a lot of what WV has to offer.

The first night they came, we stayed at the Dian Lee House in Bluefield:

Brad and I stayed in the Abe Lincoln Room. It was awesome.

Over the course of the 5 days they were here, we did a lot of this:

And Brad and his dad even did some of this:

We spent some time in Fayetteville, ate at one of our favorite restaurants, Diogi's, and I purchased a pair of Merrell Pace Gloves (which I ran in for the first time today and LOVE). We hiked, drank, ate at a fancy restaurant, visited the Capitol Market, and hiked some more.

While we were showing them around our lovely new(ish) home state, I felt proud of WV. There are so many beautiful places to go and gorgeous natural things to see. So Charleston has very few good restaurants and there isn't a Whole Foods or a Lululemon in the whole state. So no good bands ever play here (outside of Mountain Stage, of course) and the theater is limited. So we're not a major city and we don't have a professional sports team. We have met wonderful people, are making great friendships, and we can get anywhere in the city in 10 minutes. There's never any traffic to speak of. You can hike up a mountain 5 minutes from your house. The air is clean (if you're not near a coalmine) and the trees are big. I've become a trail runner, and Brad a better cyclist. Mountains do that to you -- they make you strong.