Restaurant Week Rolls On in Downtown CWV
By Danny Forinash
If you’ve been following along ….
Post 1 … Post 2 … Post 3 … Post 4 …
… you probably get the gist. This morning was my fifth in Charleston, WV. But the date’s the same.
I don’t know how to turn the calendar, but you know what? That’s okay.
Because I’ve found myself in a hip city – one that’s progressing and developing, one that exudes culture and one that offers a continuous calendar of events and celebrations.
I found myself – Get Found – again in downtown. During my first day … er, today … er, tomorrow … I hung out on Capitol Street mostly.
And I was there again today.
That was after venturing a little east just past the Clay Center on Morris Street to experience Moxxee Coffee, which feels like a place you’d find in Seattle or New York City and still fits in CWV. It has an edgy, trendy atmosphere and the equipment to match. The Moxxee laboratory produced a rich, delicious chai latte.
Charleston is full of galleries – so many, they collaborate 10 times each year for Downtown ArtWalk, which has become a CWV favorite. I stopped in Art Emporium to check out its gallery then moved on to Stray Dog Antiques, which has a bounty odds and ends and its own upstairs gallery.
Just across Hale Street, I noticed a place called Celsius, which I remembered from cwvrestaurantweek.com. It’s one of the 3-course, $30 eateries. I’d be back for dinner.
In the meantime, I chose Swiftwater Café for lunch. Swiftwater has a nifty General Store on Capitol Street, but it also has a breakfast and lunch nook down the street. The grilled chicken sandwich and potato salad were served up fast and delicious. The staff there is super personable.
My snowy, downtown trek continued on to Ellen’s Ice Cream, where I enjoyed espresso flavor on waffle cone, and then Kin Ship Goods, which fills a rustic, retro space on Lee Street (Word is, they’re moving the aforementioned West Side soon.) Kin Ship has filled a niche really well. It offers a line of comfy shirts carrying local, unique designs. “West By God” atop a gritty representation of state pride, for example, is something you’ll see on a lot of Charlestonians. The shop itself has a “down-home” ambience with whimsical elements. You can find greeting cards, soaps and axes.
Back to the eating. After all, it’s Restaurant Week.
Celsius might sound like a swanky night club. Well, it’s certainly something of a lounge, and it carries a modern feel. It’s classy. But it’s casual, too. The layout is linear, allowing the bar to be its centerpiece. The menu is eclectic and features tapas. The high-end drink selection is eclectic and includes a family of ever-popular mules.
I picked the fried goat cheese over roasted red pepper puree as the appetizer. It’s delicious. The puree is actually kind of sweet and is a nice pairing for the goat cheese.
My entrée was scallops served with jalapeno and cheese grits. These were impeccably seasoned, and dobs of apple butter topped the scallops. The dish went well with the signature Celsius Mule.
The dessert was a nice take on an old standard – a strawberry shortcake sundae. The dish looks small, but it’s packed with a ton of flavor.
Celsius was another winner, and the Restaurant Week lineup was batting a thousand.
As I walked back to the hotel, though, I was faced with the same challenge. How do I escape this day?
Capitol Street and Kanawha Boulevard offer a string of variable bars and taverns. I stopped at one institution – Sam’s – for a beer and thought I’d try that at a few more. The Copper Pint, Boulevard Tavern (a beer pong tournament every Monday, by the way) and Vino’s.
I’d sleep well. When you wake to the same morning every day, is a hangover even possible?
The experiments were endless.