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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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November 13, 2011

Downtown Keeps Getting Better!

And I've been remiss in not keeping up with all of it.  So without further ado, here's what's been happening.

I think way back in the summer I took a picture of the "coming soon" signs for a new place called "Tropical Moon".  Since then, they've opened and have self-serve frozen yogurt (although I'm not sure if that's what I'm supposed to call it).  When you go in, there's a bank of yogurt dispensers - I'm thinking probably 8 , maybe 10 - all different flavors and you grab a big cup, and take as much and as many flavors as you want.  Then you can check out the toppings bar and put on as much and as many as you want of those too.  Then you get it weighed and they tell you how much it costs.  The flavors I've had are really delicious and the last couple of times I've added crumbled Oreos to mine.  And...4 ounces only has 100 calories and is ridiculously cheap.  So that's pretty exciting.

And then one of Huntington's favorite restaurants, Huntington Prime, is getting ready to open an addition of sorts.  Their restaurant is located on the ground floor of the West Virginia building and a number of years ago there was a restaurant on top of that building.  That's where Huntington Prime is opening their new area.  I never ate at the old restaurant but from what I hear the views were spectacular so I'm really looking forward to their opening.  I can't quite figure out if they'll have the exact same menu at both or if the rooftop will be maybe a somewhat lighter menu but the food I've had there has been very good so I bet the new place will be pretty good too. 


And, then (yes, there's more), I just found out that apparently this coming week one of the empty storefronts on Fourth Avenue is going to be opening and will be one of those "malls" where various vendors rent space to sell various bits and pieces.  NOTE:  It's now a week later and they have opened so I have some pictures. These first two are of one of two antique dealers who have rented space there.  I'm sure they have a business name, but if I was told what it was, I can't remember it.  The second antique dealer had his shop at Heritage Station and is moving it here.  I didn't take a picture of his area because he was still unpacking.

 I always thought his shop had really nice pieces, but mostly stuff one could actually afford and this second dealer also has a wonderful collection of items.  When they're finally all settled in, I'm going to have to take a really good look.  I'm sure my sister and I will be wandering there when she gets here (two more days!)









Also, in this same "mall" will be the Crumpets and Tea Cafe that has been such a hit since it opened in Heritage Station along with their partner, Jenks Frame Shop.  Losing these business will be a blow to Heritage Station, but hopefully, they will be finding new vendors also.  I took some pictures of the tea room where they have hundreds of teacups and teapots and other delightful things to buy in addition to delicious lunches.













It's really great how much more room the tea room has now.  And in that little nook in the back left corner they've set up a pint-sized table and chairs so a child can enjoy tea also.  Guess where my granddaughter and I will be headed when she comes on a visit!? 

And last but not least, is Jenk's Frame Shop.  He's done a lot of framing for me over the years and it's nice to see him in such a great location.




Because my apartment is such a mess from the workers finally getting started on it this past Monday, I decided to treat myself to lunch at Hillbilly Hotdogs.  On the way back I stopped at the River and Rail Bakery to stock up on my demi-baguettes (I've finally started freezing them and it works fine).  I noticed that they were having some kind of Halloween/Autumn/whatever stuff going on outside and decided I'd better take a look around.  I'm so glad I did because there are several more shops there that were new to me although they've been there for some months, I guess.

First off is Esscentials Gift, www.esscentialgifts.com, located in one of the two boxcars at Heritage Station (there's also an old steam locomotive and a passenger car that the kids love to climb on).  The owner of this shop makes bead jewelry which covers one side of the center wall of the shop. On the opposite wall is some really beautiful costume jewelry.  I just took a friend in there yesterday and I was still really impressed with the quality.  And for how lovely it is, it's quite reasonably priced, I think.  I tried pictures of each wall but they were fairly uninspired looking, so I just will post this one of three of the costume jewelry necklaces.

Aren't they fantastic?  Of course, a lot of the pieces aren't quite this exotic, and the owner's own jewelry designs are quite simple, yet lovely, so there's something for every taste.

On the other side of the little jewelry area, is a collection of very nice primitive pieces, along with scented candles made from soy, and nifty decorated wax "tubes" that you sit down on a base that has a short electric candle attached to it with those silicone coated bulbs that are so pretty.  As the "tube" heats up, it begins to very gently emit its aroma.  Very nice.  She also has numerous primitive framed prints, little bits and pieces to sit here and there looking cute, and so on.  Her type of shop always makes me wish I had a room that I could do in primitive.  As far as I know now, she is staying in Heritage Station.


The next new-to-me shop was Commonground Shoppes which is just a delightful gift shop.  Everything pretty much handmade and a lot of that locally.  In fact I bought a Christmas gift there for ... not telling.  When I was there it was mostly Halloween-related although she had jewelry and other items that were not seasonal.  Her card doesn't list a website.  She will be staying at her Heritage Station location and her shop connects to three other storefronts which are occupied by MIAPPA (made in Appalachia).  My understanding is that they are going to keep space at Heritage Station but also have space in the "mall" on Fourth Avenue.  They have all kinds of wonderful, hand-made, items, some of which I'd like for myself and some which would make wonderful gifts.  Beautiful knitted scarves, very unique carved wooden Santa tree ornaments, and beautiful leaf pendants carved from bone by the same artist.  I spoke with the woman working there that day, Kari Newman, who handcrafts lampwork glass beads and they are fantastic!  She has an etsy shop at www.BeadUniquebyKari.etsy.com which I haven't visited yet but I was really intrigued by these beads.  I told her I've heard of lampwork glass for years and never did know for sure what it meant.  I didn't know why lamps made from glass would be considered so special - I mean, there are thousands of those lamp oil lamps and who knows what else.  But the "lamp" part comes from the fact that originally, the glass for the beads (or whatever) was heated by a very hot burning "lamp" and then shaped and formed into the artist's creation.  My very favorite of her work was a toadstool that had so many colors in it.  I might have to treat myself to that and put it on a cord as a pendant.  Some more pictures:

First, Common Ground...



















And, now MIAPPA:











Also, I finally got around to eating at one of Huntington's newer restaurants, the Tahona Grille.  It's been open for several months and I don't know why but I had just never been inspired to try it.  But one night this past week (with my apartment in shambles and me wanting OUT!) I called one of my neighbors whose husband was out of town to see if she wanted to have dinner with me there cause she had told me how much she and her husband like it.  And I was very happy with what I ordered.  Just a simple cheese quesadilla with chicken, but very nicely toasted and presented, and I'm certain that the guacamole and pico de gallo was all house-made.  And people at a table nearby had what looked and smelled like really delicious choices so I'll probably be going back there again.  I think one reason I was kind of hesitant was because their menu has Mexican, Italian and I guess you'd say American food and that made me think maybe none of it would be too great, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

 And, finally!, it's good I didn't get this finished when I first started it because this past Sunday there was a write-up in the paper about another place to eat(!) called La Famiglia - Italian, obviously, and serving pasta, paninis and subs, and pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.  So, of course, I had to go try that out.  It's in one of the big old houses that Huntington has so many of within walking distance of me.  I ordered a pulled pork panini cause it intrigued me to see pulled pork on a menu and not have it be bar-b-q.  It was absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious.  I shouldn't have eaten the whole thing but I did and began to think I'd never be hungry again.  I was so delighted with it, that when Jamie and I had lunch on Friday, we went back and this time I had a prosciutto and provolone panini and she had...hmmm...it was a panini that I know had their marinara sauce on it, but I can't remember what else.  Again, mine was very good.  Their things like the prosciutto and other meats and their parmesan reggiano cheese, etc., are all from Italy.  I'm anxious to try one of the pizzas cause I have always liked them baked in a wood-fired oven.  And I'd like to try one of their pastas because in addition to the marinara sauce, they have a "La Famiglia" sauce that is made with the same shredded pork as was in my sandwich.

It's family run and everything, as far as I know, is homemade.  However it's made, so far, it's delicious!

And, that's all for now folks.  I've got a pot roast just about ready to eat, the Occupy Huntington folks who apparently will never leave their new home, have quit beating on their bongo drum, and it's been a pleasant Sunday.

I am so glad to finally get this post done.  I've had it going for about two weeks, I think. :)

2 comments:

Christopher said...

Good grief, but that's a lot to digest! (hehehe) All the shops and restaurants look and sound fantastic... How nice to read too, that you've tried some and enjoyed it... Wonder what the view will be like from that new place...
Looking forward to hearing which of them you and Chinchy visit next week.

Chinch said...

Maybe I should stay an extra week?!? Except I'd get too fat. I wonder how much of all that we can manage to see, do, eat and still see, do, eat some of what we previously planned. We'll just have to go from dawn to dusk! I'm excited to hurry up and get there!! xoxo

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