I had dinner with an old friend Friday night and was reminded how wonderful it is to catch up on old times.
In this case the friend was Lola's, though, so I did most of the talking. She was pretty busy serving dozens of satisfied guests. She's still packing 'em in after all these years.
Despite its awesomeness and proximity to home, I hadn't visited in quite some time. Shame on me. But on the bright side, it did make this weekend's homecoming that much sweeter.
After a long wait sipping wine under the lights outside the restaurant's cool digs on Bridge Road, the family and I enjoyed a plate of awesome lettuce wraps stuffed with Asian-inspired slaw topped with slivered almonds and a creamy Thai dressing.
Then we devoured four different pizzas (OK, actually two large pies with split toppings) and we were hard-pressed to pick a favorite.
We enjoyed a classic pepperoni and cheese, plus one featuring spicy shrimp, local Sandy Creek sausage, roasted tomatoes and goat cheese. We dug into one topped with fresh spinach, roasted red pepper, red onion and feta drizzled with a balsamic reduction, then a newer addition to the menu with fresh rosemary, fig jam, red onion and gorgonzola cheese.
That last one sounded a little like Pies & Pints' addictive grape pie (with red grapes, fresh rosemary and gorgonzola) so I jokingly told the wife I was doing a winner-takes-all taste test between the two.
Couldn't do it, though. Both are fantastic in their own way.
Packed with bold flavors, the Pies & Pints grape and rosemary pizza is like the girl who immediately marches up and demands you dance with her. More subtly delicious, Lola's fig and rosemary pie is like the quiet girl over in the corner shooting you quick glances all night long.
Different personalities, but both appealing.
Kinda like Pies & Pints and Lola's themselves, both so good there's no need to choose one over the other.
After last week's ode to popcorn, Facebook fan Fyrn Frame wrote in to share her praise for "the best popcorn in West Virginia."
"That would be Skeeber Flob at Foodland in Kanawha City."
I thought surely that was a joke until I found out this is the guy who sells massive amounts of kettle corn from a tent in the parking lot there.
I've passed that smell a dozen times and never stopped. Next time, I will!