10 Creative Tips to Spice up Your Summer Grilling

Tired of the same old chipotle steak spice slathered on your favorite cut or the endlessly overdone herb chicken? Try one of these savory seasonings to spice up your summer.

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Yogurt and Herbs — Instead of marinating your meat in oil and vinegar, try yogurt combined with fresh herbs. The acid in the yogurt tenderizes while the herbs add flavor.

Coconut Curry — Infuse chicken with flavor by marinating in coconut, curry and fresh lime. Best served with coconut rice, this recipe can be as hot or as mild as you like!

Jerk Seasoning — Give your meat a serious kick with Scotch bonnet peppers and other jerk spices including allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Blackened Cajun — Use high heat and short cooking time whengrilling blackened chicken to avoid dry, overdone chicken.

Chili Lime — Combine the classic flavors of chili and lime for an easy, make-ahead marinade for chicken or beef kabobs.

Balsamic Vinegar — Try this simple recipe for grilling vegetables that combines balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and salt.

Coffee Dry Rub — Give your barbecue a little pick-me-up with finely ground espresso and other seasonings, like this version by Bobby Flay.

Lemon Pesto Marinade — Shortcut prep time by using a ready-made pesto sauce added to olive oil, lemon, garlic and pepper, or make your own.

Beer and Brown Sugar — Take your favorite brew and add a little brown sugar and seasonings for a new twist on a classic combination.

Kansas City-Style BBQ — Try your hand at authentic Kansas City-style barbecue (known for their spicy and sweet sauces) with this recipe for ribs.

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Harpers Ferry’s Best: Canal House Cafe

Hey everyone! Hope your week’s going good so far! I’m back with my Best Restaurants series, and today I’m featuring Canal House Cafe in Harpers Ferry, WV–one of the most popular restaurants in town! If you’re from or live near Harpers Ferry, you may have heard of this place before, otherwise you should definitely check it out!

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Canal House Cafe is a historic home-turned-restaurant, and it goes way back to the 1820s! The cafe prides itself in serving fresh, delicious comfort food in a friendly, casual atmosphere. If you are a vegetarian or allergic to gluten, they also have a flexible menu to cater to every customer’s needs. You can also bring your own drinks for a corkage fee of $5.

“Ate here two nights in a row while visiting and bicycling the area. Yes the menu is short but everything is fresh and well prepared. Enjoyed the homemade bread too. The food is reasonably priced. The menu is different every night because they use fresh and seasonal items. Your stomach is full when you leave, but it feels good!”

“We were delighted! The food was mouth watering, the hostess/waitress delightful, the setting charming and the chef talented. The chef, by the way, was wearing a Wegmans hat that he acquired while working at the flagship Wegmans 3 miles from our home in Rochester, NY. Wegmans is good, but your chef brought a huge amount of talent of his own to your cafe.”

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If you’re curious, they have a copy of their menu on their website.

Canal House Cafe is located at 1226 W. Washington St. in Harpers Ferry, WV. For reservations, call 304-535-2880.

Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone!

Charles Town’s Best: The Mediterranean Cafe

Hey guys! How are you all doing? Excited for the long weekend? Now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, are you ready with your recipes and decorations yet? And while we’re on the topic of food, this week I’m featuring one of the best restaurants in Charles Town, WV!

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The Mediterranean Cafe is a family-owned business that serves a variety of cuisines: Greek, French, Spanish, Middle Eastern–you name it! If you’re looking for something refined but different, then this is a must-recommend if you’re in town!

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Official website

The owner, Alfredo, is warm and accommodating and will even serve you himself! Here’s what some satisfied customers had to say:

“We live in Charles Town and this is our favorite place to eat. The hummus is excellent and everything we have tried has been delicious. The chicken piccata is so good that for months I refused to try anything else, although my husband tries something different each time. The ingredients are fresh, the food is great and the service is phenomenal. Alfredo is truly a nice guy and makes sure each person who walks in has an exceptional experience. The decor is comfortable and eclectic. You pretty much have to ignore the outside of almost everything in Charles Town in order to receive a pleasant surprise contained within the old historical buildings, and this is no exception.”

“This little gem of a restaurant right in Charles Town was perfect in every sense of the word. We had a group of 9 of us and Alfredo could not have been more accommodating. The appetizer of pita bread, cheese and fresh chopped tomatoes and sauces that he gave us was super and the food was great! A nice little restaurant with lots of character and charm and ambience and a fantastic staff. Thanks Alfredo for making our day and taking the great picture of us!”

If that doesn’t convince you, then I don’t know what will! You can’t go wrong with the variety of samplers and all the fresh, healthy dishes that Mediterranean cuisine has to offer.

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The Mediterranean Cafe is located at 134 West Washington Street in Charles Town. For reservations, call 304-724-9992.

An advanced Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Berkeley Springs’ Best: Lot 12 Public House

So I thought I’d be back with my Insert-town-name-here Best series, and this week I’m featuring the most popular restaurant in Berkeley Springs, WV! (Well, according to Trip Advisor anyway). It’s the Lot 12 Public House!

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Now the name may not sound appetizing, but according to Trip Advisor, it’s ranked as the most popular restaurant among locals and visitors in Berkeley Springs. Awarded with a Certificate of Excellence for 2013, it is a great pick for tasting the local cuisine, having a romantic dinner, or sealing a client deal. It’s been featured in several magazines for its upscale but hearty dishes.

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Official website: http://www.lot12.com

 

“We’ve dined here several times over the last few years. It’s always one of our favorites while in Berkeley Springs. The wait staff is enthusiastic and friendly and the kitchen does a great job with most of the dishes we’ve tried. It’s clear they aim high.”

“Lot 12 is every bit worth the extra scratch. The experience of dining there rivals any top rated restaurant in DC (where I spend most of my time.) The food is heavenly to say the least. If you go, make sure to come early to have a drink in the bar with Sky. Berkeley Springs is lucky to have such an outstanding restaurant.”

Food critics define it as ‘comfort food with continental influences’, perhaps due to Chef Damian Heath’s Italian roots and international training. When you look at their dinner menu and see entrees such as coq au vin and duo of lamb, then you know you’re in for a proper dining experience.

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Lot 12 Public House is located at 117 Warren St., Berkeley Springs, WV. Call 304-258-6264 for inquiries and reservations.

Let’s all work hard this week, everyone!

Martinsburg’s Best: La Trattoria

Happy Tuesday, everyone! How’s your week going so far? I hope you were all able to relax and enjoy yourselves last weekend! Now it’s been a good while since I last posted about food, but today I thought, hmm… Why not feature one of the most popular restaurants here in my city of Martinsburg, West Virginia?

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Unsurprisingly, it’s an Italian restaurant called La Trattoria. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Italian cuisine, because how can you go wrong with good old hearty food? Pasta and pizza are comfort dishes that everyone can enjoy, and at La Trattoria, they sure do a pretty good job! The place is local and family-owned, but is voted as one of the best restaurants in the city even on Trip Advisor!

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Check out their website here!

Goodbye, Olive Garden! La Trattoria offers fresh, homemade dishes at affordable prices (you can check out their menu here). Other than their pasta specials, they also have paninis, steaks, and a little bit of Mediterranean cuisine influence. Talk about a bang for your buck!

Here are just some reviews from satisfied customers:

“Excellent homemade Italian food. Family owned and operated. The friendliest staff I have experienced in years. The Fettuccine Gypsy is to die for as well as the Calamari. Service is speedy, friendly, and attentive. We will definitely be back and we live 2 hours away!”‎

– Micky C.

What a find!! Fantastic Italian restaurant.. everything is home made. The rolls, sauce, cheese cake..You will not be disappointed. Who woulda thought you could find a high class Italian restaurant in West Virginia. Prices are more than resonable!

– Dave C.

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If that doesn’t entice you, then I don’t know what will! So next time you happen to drop by here in Martinsburg, check out La Trattoria! Maybe the food will be so good it will make you want to move into town, and then you can contact me so we can find you a house! Lol, just kidding.

Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone!