Shelem here! I hope you all took care of your mental health this past week and are continuing to do so.
I am ashamed to say I have not done so. I had a fairly stressful week at work, and I find myself writing this newsletter late at night on the due date because I, in true Shelem fashion, was probably a bit overzealous. I decided to do this in May because I thought my “break” would give me ample time to write some words once a week, but I underestimated my schedule.
Either way, I’m having fun, and that makes it worth it. I’ll do better next week, I promise.
Today, though, I want to talk about food. I can talk about food for a long time with ease, which is good because, as I just established, I need to get to bed soon. So, let’s get right into it. Here are some of my favorite places to eat:
- Dem 2 Brothers and a Grill (Charleston, West Virginia)
I’m going to start this list off with a hot take and say that a good barbecue meal is probably one of the best meals out there. By that logic, Dem 2 Brothers has to be one of the best restaurants out there because there is NO slack on their menu. The barbecue sauce is solid and somewhat unique, the meat is always perfectly cooked and tastes great and the sides are all the highest versions of themselves. (I can’t really say all because there are a couple items I don’t typically eat, but you get my point.)
I hate to give an “it’s all good” type of recommendation, but it really is all good. Everything on the menu is done well. That said, I have to give a special shout out to the Mac & Cheese and Sweet Potato Casserole. Phew.
- Padrino’s (Beckley, West Virginia)
Though I spent most of my childhood in Beckley, I didn’t have the pleasure of eating at Padrino’s until after I graduated from university. My best friend from middle school was about to move overseas and invited me to his final night out with his parents. As I glanced through the menu, I already knew what I was going to order. It’s always the chicken parmigiana. I was extremely satisfied with my entrée and seeing a longtime friend I hadn’t seen in years before his departure was awesome, but what stole the show was the calamari that his dad ordered for the table. I had to dedicate half of my attention to not eating all of it. 10/10.
- Elephant Thai (South Charleston, West Virginia)
I’m going to admit that Thai food isn’t necessarily one of my go-tos. My lady loves it, though, so we go fairly often. They do a real good job with the sushi and the “Pad See Ew” is more like a “Pad See YUM!” *slaps knee* (Pun stolen from the aforementioned lady. Don’t tell her I said that.) I’m also a fan of their crab Rangoon.
- Grand China Buffet (Clarksburg, West Virginia)
Speaking of crab Rangoon, you can’t talk about food without talking about the holy grail of eating experiences: the Chinese buffet. We all know what’s up. Chinese buffets are one of life’s great pleasures. Grand China Buffet in Clarksburg is, by far, my favorite Chinese buffet.
- Cold Spot (Charleston, West Virginia)
Pretty much every “American food” restaurant sells chicken wings. If you’re ever at a restaurant and start to feel that crippling pressure of not knowing what to order, wings are always a safe choice. Most places’ wings are pretty good; I imagine it’s easy to fry some chicken and drown it in sauce.
The true test of a good chicken wing, however, is when you specifically leave the house looking for some wings. There are only a few places you can go to satisfy that craving. When it comes to sauces, Cold Spot has some of the best. I think I’ve tried every sauce they offer over the years, and I don’t know that I have a favorite. Agent Orange was one of the ones I would normally choose if I were doing multiple flavors in an order, but I think the last time I was there they said they don’t have that one anymore. If I’m remembering wrong, I apologize for the misinformation. If I’m right, RIP the homie A.O.
- Oscar’s Breakfast, Burgers & Brews (Huntington, West Virginia)
Order the Clutch burger.
- DP Dough (various locations)
Now this right here? This right here!? If you went to Marshall University, I need not say any more than “DP Dough.” DP Dough is a restaurant chain that primarily makes calzones and seems to be located in mostly college towns. For the sake of the wider audience who has not shared this experience, allow me to paint a picture:
It’s been a long day. It’s been an even longer week. It’s not even the end of the week. And worst still, you missed dinner and all they have at ‘Late Night’ in the cafeteria is leftover scraps from a meal you wouldn’t have enjoyed in the first place. You turn around to start heading back to your dorm and receive a text message that changes the night for the better. It reads:
See? Magic words.
- El Gran Sabor (Elkins, West Virginia)
I recently went to Elkins for the first time and played a show at Davis & Elkins College. Before showtime, my crew & I ate at El Gran Sabor. I’d never had Venezuelan food prior to this experience and to be honest, I’m not quite sure I know how to characterize it even after the fact. I am quite sure, however, that it’s really good. I had the Cachapa, which is an interesting dish made of a sweet corn pancake (don’t overthink it like I did, it’s exactly what those words imply) with cheese, meat and veggies in it. It was incredible. I also had a side of fried plantains, which were very good, although they slightly differed from the way they’re made in my native Ivorian culture.
Sidenote: Fried plantains are my single favorite food on the planet. I can eat them multiple meals every single day for weeks. As a matter of fact, I have before. But that’s a story for another time.
Well, hungry people, that’s all I’ve got for you this week. As always, stay up and stay happy. If you’d like to continue this food conversation, give me any recommendations on places to try, or suggest a topic you’d like me to touch on in the remaining two weeks, holla at me on social media @Shelem304.
Until next week, peace out.