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Saying goodbye to a local favorite

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I made my way down to the mall late last week to mark the last day of Best of Crete, which closed Thursday after 30 years in business.

It opened with Town Center back in 1983, delighting countless fans with its Greek cuisine ever since. Social media mourning was swift and strong once word of the restaurant's closing got out. (You may have heard the collective, "WHAT??!!")

"Best of Crete introduced so many people to delicious Greek cuisine!" reader Terry O'Fiesh wrote in lamenting the restaurant's closing. Several others tossed around words like "tragedy" and "bummer."

Agreed.

One Twitter follower asked if I could snag the hummus recipe they used. "It was the BEST!"

Hello, Best of Crete?

I loved the restaurant's hummus, grape leaf rolls, moussaka, pastitiso, souvlaki. And it had the best gyros ever.

But for my Last Supper that day, I chose the classic Taste of Crete sampler featuring grilled gyro meat and chicken on a bed of rice pilaf, served with stewed green beans, Greek salad, toasted pita bread and your choice of pastry.

Feeling nostalgic, I had traditional baklava.

That sweet ending — along with everything else that day — was so good and, I swear, tasted even better than I remember. It made me regret not stopping by more frequently when I could.

Don't know what you got til it's gone, they say.

But hopefully Best of Crete won't be gone too long. The sign announcing the closing hinted at a "new location" in the future.

Fingers tightly crossed.

***

Last week's confession about my horrific bread pudding fiasco — in which I mistakenly used garlic bread paired with butterscotch — prompted South Charleston reader Betsy Keene to share one of her own.

"Many years ago, as a young poor wife, I was splurging and making my husband a huge meat loaf, which he loves! Got the big bowl out and dumped several pounds of ground chuck in it along with chopped onions, bread crumbs soaked in milk, tomato soup.

"I was cracking the eggs over top of it all and the LAST egg I cracked was extremely ROTTEN!! Had to throw everything out, and then I sat down and boo-hooed.

"Lesson learned — always crack eggs in a separate bowl before adding to any recipe."

Eggscellent advice.

***

After reading about my failed bread pudding, Candace Nelson tweeted that she had just enjoyed a tasty one from Bluegrass Kitchen.

With that East End restaurant's desserts scratch-made from its awesome sister bakery Frutcake just down the street, I have no doubt it was world's better than my botched effort.

Coincidentally, I found myself at Bluegrass the next night where I enjoyed the signature Blueberry Buttermilk Pie, one of the finest desserts ever to grace a plate. It reminded me of a friend who moved away from Charleston a few years ago and still says that pie is one of the things she misses most about our fair city.

"If you could ever get the recipe, I'd be forever grateful," she recently told me.

Hello, Bluegrass?

Contact writer Steven Keith at dailymailfoodguy@aol.com or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at http://blogs.dailymail.

com/foodguy..


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