Review: Olde Salem Brewing Company

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We recently checked out one of the newest breweries to join the beer scene here in Virginia’s Blue Ridge region: Olde Salem Brewing Company. The brewery opened up at the end of November in downtown Salem. The brewery renovated an old building that according to the brewery’s website was an appliance store for a very long time. The feel of the renovated space is historic and the chandeliers remind me of medieval times. I loved all of the exposed brick. There is something just fun about being in a renovated historic building, especially a brewery. I think it adds a ton to the already cute downtown Salem and I think they chose an excellent location.

IMG_8731The day we went, the place was PACKED. There was a good mix of people of all ages, everyone eager to check out the new brewery. We didn’t have to wait very long for a beer and the person behind the counter was very helpful and helped us choose what we wanted.

The beers were great and although the place was pretty full, the vibe was chill. The only thing I didn’t like was when we were there they weren’t offering flights just yet. But in their defense, we went only a few days after they first opened their doors.

Check them out:

Olde Salem Brewing Company

21 E Main Street

Salem, VA, 24153

Email: maggie@oldesalembrewing.com

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Brunch review: Famous Toastery in Roanoke

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We recently checked out one of the newest breakfast spots in the Roanoke area called Famous Toastery. It’s a franchise restaurant located in the Keagy Village shopping center on 5010 Keagy Road in Roanoke. It opened in early December.

We went on a Sunday morning looking for some brunch. It was pretty packed but we were able to be seated right away. The first thing we were told was “every server is your server”. We weren’t entirely sure what that meant, but the concept ended up working in our favor because we had a lot of people checking in on us and made sure we had everything we needed.

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Complimentary cornbread and apple butter.

The menu is expansive and the prices are reasonable with each meal costing on average around $10 each. One side of the menu features breakfast items and the other offers lunch options. The breakfast choices include your typical items like eggs, potatoes, omelets, pancakes, and bacon. The lunch side offers salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers. I was pleased with the variety of vegetarian options.

While we were deciding on what to eat, a server brought us a plate of complimentary cornbread and apple butter. It was absolutely delicious! We gobbled it up and a server brought us more.

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Burrito with homemade salsa

I ordered the burrito with homemade salsa: eggs tomatoes, onions, peppers, cheddar all wrapped in a tortilla and salsa. Potatoes did not come with the meal so I ordered a side of potatoes. The burrito was very tasty and the little bowl of salsa was perfect to dip it in. The breakfast potatoes were fine, they reminded me of the potatoes my mom makes at home. I just prefer my potatoes to be a little crispier.

My dining partner ordered two fried eggs, bacon, white toast, grits, and pancake on the side. He loved it! It hit the right spot for him. We shared the pancake. It was fluffy, covered in powdered sugar, and I would definitely recommend it.

IMG_5056The service was awesome. We were impressed that as we were ordering the food our server was inputting our order onto a tablet that was sent to the kitchen in real-time. I’ve been at restaurants before where the server forgets to put the order into the computer, this would be impossible here! It probably cuts down on mistakes on the orders because the order is going straight from the customer’s mouth to the server’s ear and straight to the tablet.

The decor was bright and airy with large windows on one side. The vibes and energy were great.

I highly recommend the Famous Toastery in Roanoke.

Want to go?

The Famous Toastery: 540-595-7027

5010 Keagy Road, Suite E200 Roanoke, Virginia, VA 24018

Check out their menu here.

Humm Kombucha coming to Roanoke!

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There are a few things in life (besides working out) that make me feel like I have my life together and am living a healthy lifestyle. One is drinking fresh squeezed green juice and the other is drinking kombucha.

In case you are wondering what kombucha is if you haven’t jumped on the kombucha wagon yet, kombucha is a non-alcoholic fermented green or black tea that has several health benefits like aiding digestion and immune boosting, etc.

So I am a big fan of kombucha done right. So this afternoon, I was excited when I heard that a pretty big kombucha company “Humm Kombucha” based out of Bend, Oregon has chosen Roanoke to build their East Coast manufacturing facility. They will build their $10 million facility in the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology, according to a press release.

My hope is they also build a kombucha tap room, how cool would that be? I’m super excited that something as trendy as a kombucha brewer would choose Roanoke to locate here. I also love what the owners Michelle Mitchell and Jamie Danek said in a press release about why they chose Roanoke:

“Roanoke is filled with genuinely good people. They love Roanoke, have so much pride in where they live and many simply wouldn’t live anywhere else. Their outdoor amenities and culture are a huge part of their day to day. This environment and vibe is very similar to Bend. Aligning with a similar culture is a must to the ethos of our company. Combine that with Roanoke’s central location and the low cost of doing business there, and we’ve found the perfect second home for Humm.”

I love their description of the people of Roanoke having pride in where they live, because I know I have a ton of pride in living in this amazing city.

To celebrate the announcement today, I stopped by Target where Humm Kombucha is sold, so I could try it out. There were at least five flavors to choose from and I picked blueberry mint. It was a good choice because it was so good! Now I can’t wait to try more knowing I will be supporting a future Roanoke company.

With both Deschutes and Humm Kombucha coming here from Oregon because they love the vibe, it makes me think I would love the vibe in Bend, Oregon. Maybe I should visit soon!

Star City Trucks Stop review by a vegetarian

IMG_5890I decided to check out the Star City Trucks Stop to see what Roanoke’s food truck scene is all about. As a vegetarian, I usually don’t have much luck with food trucks as they don’t usually provide vegetarian options, so I didn’t know what to expect.

The Star City Trucks Stop was held in the parking lot of Village Grill in Grandin Village right next to Scratch Biscuit on Sunday, October 22 from noon to 5 p.m.

We had no trouble finding parking nearby and walked right on over. The first thing we noticed was a lot of people walking away from the food trucks with food in their hands, that made me think maybe there weren’t enough options for people to eat at the food truck event.

The event was free and as we walked in we had someone check our id’s and give us wristbands that indicated we were over 21.

IMG_5887My first impression as we walked in was there were so many choices! I liked the variety of trucks. There were a few burger trucks, a few barbecue trucks, a gourmet grilled cheese truck, a Mexican food truck, a cupcake food truck, a Korean food truck, and Tai food truck. I looked at each of the menus and was pleasantly surprised to find that several of the food trucks offered vegetarian and vegan options.

I was torn between a gourmet grilled cheese at the Dojo Grill food truck or a vegan mushroom wrap from Rick’s Wrap it UP food truck. Ultimately, I went with the Mushroom South of the Border wrap from Rick’s Wrap it UP. I paid for it and went to buy a drink,  by the time I came back, less than 5 minutes later – my wrap was ready. I was surprised I didn’t have to wait around very long. There was a stand-up table near me that two people invited us to because they were leaving. They commented that there weren’t many places to set down food in the food truck area so they wanted us to have their spots. I was incredibly grateful at how kind they were to make sure we had a place to eat. We paid forward the favor when we were done eating.

My wrap was good and the person I was with enjoyed their barbecue.

Overall it was a good experience and I’m glad to know the food trucks in the area are aware that vegetarians exist 🙂

Check out our slide show of the event here:

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Champloo Desserts offers rolled ice cream in Salem, Va

IMG_8060I have been hearing about the craze of rolled ice cream for a while now. I thought, what’s the big deal? Does it taste any different rolled? I didn’t get it. But when I heard that a spot in Salem’s downtown area specialized in it, I figured, don’t knock it ’till you try it.

I went on a chilly afternoon and thought, do I really want ice cream on such a cold day? I figured if anything I’ll get hot chocolate and call it a day. Champloo Desserts is tucked on one of the side streets of downtown Salem. You can’t miss it because their logo is a really cute panda.

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I loved the ghosts hanging on the cafe lights.

As soon as I walked in I noticed how cute it was decorated, very trendy. Also, their Halloween decorations are on point. Cafe lights are strung across the room and in between each light are little homemade ghost decorations. I was greeted with a smile by the employee behind the counter and he offered me a menu to look at. I was impressed by all of the choices of ice cream flavors. Instantly, I forgot how cold it felt outside and wanted to try some rolled ice cream! I chose the mint ice cream and was excited to watch the process.

The person making our ice cream poured some liquid into a metal cup, then placed a single peppermint patty on what looked like a super cold pizza pan, then poured the liquid on top of it. The peppermint patty was then chopped up into a million tiny pieces, while the liquid was pushed around and finely chopped. The liquid with the smashed peppermint patty pieces was then smoothed into a thin layer across the surface. The employee smoothed that thin layer over several times then looked like he was pressing a pedal with his foot and then started rolling the ice cream with a metal utensil. Once it was all rolled up, he put it in a cup and added whipped cream, hot fudge, and pecans. The process was really fascinating to watch.

IMG_8058The taste of the ice cream was pretty good too. I liked that the ice cream tasted minty without me having to chew and crunch on toppings within the ice cream. So if you are a consistency person, this may be your ideal ice cream. It was not as gooey as normal ice cream but still tasted like what ice cream should taste like, even though it was rolled up.

Overall it was a pretty cool experience. The price of the ice cream wasn’t bad either, I was able to buy the ice cream plus a hot chocolate for $8.85. The hot chocolate was delicious and came with a toasted marshmallow on a stick in it.

Overall it was such a fun experience and  I will add it to the list of where I bring out of town friends and family.

Also, whoever is running their social media is doing a fantastic job. Their Facebook page is fun, lively, and colorful. The marketing of the dessert shop is great because how they portray themselves on social media is exactly how the shop translates in IRL (in real life).

If you want to check it out, here are the deets:

Champloo Desserts

Where: 9 S College Ave Salem, Virginia 24153

When: 7 days a week, 12:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Business Description: Champloo Desserts specializes in handcrafted rolled ice cream, boba (bubble teas), fusion teas, coffee and other desserts.  We have Sugar Free, Lactose free and Vegan options.  We’re located in the heart of downtown Salem, VA – right behind Roanoke County DSS.  Come and Just Desserts!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChamplooDesserts/

Review: BOBBY’S Hot and Cheesy hits the spot

IMG_5280 If you’ve been to the Towers Shopping Center in Roanoke lately, you may have noticed a new addition: BOBBY’S Hot & Cheesy. At first glance, I thought it was a macaroni and cheese restaurant, but quickly realized the “hot” and “cheesy” is referring to pizza! That’s okay, pizza is just as good as mac and cheese.

According to BOBBY’S Hot & Cheesy’s Facebook page, the restaurant is owned by the same people who own the cupcake shop Bubblecake next door.  Though there are a few walls decorated, my first impression walking in was that the decor may not be completely finished. But I could be wrong, maybe they could be going for a very minimalist look.

The menu has several options, but not too many to be overwhelming. They serve several different pizzas, pizza salad, kid options, and beer/wine on tap and frozen sangrias.

We ended up choosing the “hot fun guy” which is a flatbread pizza with garlic mushrooms, fresh thyme, jalapenos & cheese. We also went with a simple pepperoni pizza, a coke, and a water. The total for everything was $24.  Not bad.

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Hot fun guy pizza and pepperoni pizza.

After we ordered, we sat and waited for maybe 10 minutes. They brought our pizzas out to us and I immediately commented that we could probably have shared one of the pizzas, but my dining partner (MDP) laughed and said he wanted a whole pizza to himself. But really, the pizzas are pretty big (12 inches). Unless you are really hungry, you probably can split the pizza with a friend.

IMG_5296.JPGMDP likes really simple and classic flatbread pizzas and this one was right up his alley. He ate the entire thing. When I asked him about how it tasted he said the pizza definitely lived up to its name, it came out hot and cheesy. The sauce is not very acidic like other sauces can be. The pepperonis were delish with crispy edges. The crust had a nice crunch but a very fluffy soft interior.

I like my pizza to have more variety and be spicy. I felt I made the right choice by going with the hot fun guy pizza. The only thing I thought was missing was hot sauce, but BOBBY’s had the next best thing, a giant jar of red pepper flakes that you could scoop out yourself and put into a plastic container. Once I dumped that on my pizza, I thought it was almost perfect. But then I felt like I was missing a dipping sauce. I asked one of the employees about dipping sauce and he offered me ranch, marina, or white sauce. I chose ranch and I was satisfied. The pizza was excellent and I even saved some for lunch tomorrow.

IMG_5317I can’t say enough about the employees at BOBBY’s. They are top notch. They consistently checked on us and made sure we had everything we needed and refilled our drinks for us. Their amazing attitudes and helpfulness really matched the overall vibe of BOBBY’s.

Speaking of vibes, what does the pizza shop think of themselves?

The following is how the pizza shop describes themselves on their website:

“BOBBY’S is a SOLID salad, pizza and wine eatery. Fresh, real, approachable, often healthy, and at the same time insanely gluttonous food. The stuff you truly want to eat, because you happen to be hungry.”

We totally felt the vibe of BOBBY’s was approachable, simple, but fun.

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Bubblecakes

They also knew what they were doing when they opened up the wall between BOBBY’S and Bubblecakes. It made the temptation to end our meal with something sweet hard to resist.

The presentation of the desserts at Bubblecakes is so beautiful, it’s almost impossible not to pick something out. I chose the lavender blackberry lemon cupcake and my dining partner chose a baby size chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake.

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Lavender blackberry lemon cupcake

I’m a sucker for anything lavender scented, so the lavender blackberry lemon cupcake smelled so heavenly to me. I offered it to MDP and he jokingly said, “lavender is a scent, not a flavor”, but I think the cupcake was scented beautifully and flavored really well. The lemon cake of the cupcake was just the right amount of fluffy and moist.

IMG_5307We overall really enjoyed our experience at BOBBY’s and Bubblecakes. But I will warn you, we had to walk it off for an hour afterward because we may have indulged too much.

So my advice when visiting BOBBY’s is to go there hungry and expect a relaxed fun atmosphere with excellent service.

If you are interested in going, here are the deets:

Location: 2071 Colonial Ave SW (Towers Shopping Center)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone: 540.795.4217
Email: info@bubblecake.com
Website: http://www.bobbyshotandcheesy.com

We will be back to try the other menu items! Check out our slideshow of our experience below!

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Roanoke joins the mead movement

The Hive Tasting Room

Blacksnake Mead owners and husband-wife team: Steve and Joann Villers.

It’s hard to not notice the bright yellow painted building on Main Street in the Wasena neighborhood in Roanoke. I’ve driven past it several times and always wondered what was there. The only thing I could make out while driving by was a beehive on the door, I assumed it was some kind of local honey shop. Alas, today I got the answer I was looking for at Blacksnake Meadery’s grand opening of their tasting room they are calling “The Hive Tasting Room.”

IMG_5211Do you know what mead is? To be honest, I didn’t until I attended the grand opening. I knew it was something people drank at medieval festivals, but that’s about it. Turns out it’s made from fermented honey and is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. The husband-wife team, Steve and Joann Villers, who own the place have been making mead for more than a decade in Caroll County. But they live in Roanoke and wanted to bring their mead a little bit closer to home.

We are excited they did!

IMG_5191Everything about the tasting room is really cute. We are loving the beehive theme throughout the shop, the decor definitely makes sense since mead is made from honey. Get this, the Villers are also beekeepers. So all of their mead is made from their own honey or Virginia honey.

They offer flights of honey and mead. But if you aren’t very adventurous, they also have wine on hand.

IMG_5216At their grand opening, they were offering samples of their mead. It was my first time trying it and didn’t have any expectations about what it might taste like. The first tasting was of their Hoppy Bee Brew. It is described by the meadery as the following:

“A lower-alcohol, dry mead carbonated by bottle-conditioning. Cascade hops give it grapefruit aromas and flavors. Gluten-free, no sulfites added.”

I thought it tasted familiar and it was lightly carbonated. The hops were light in taste but came through just enough to give you the sense that you had a sweet beer in your hand. At the same time, it reminded me a lot of a Moscato wine. So it tasted like wine, with a slight hint of hops. I liked it and would drink it again. It would probably go great with a burger and pizza.

IMG_5194The next sample was their Lime Bee Brew, described by the meadery as:

“Another lower alcohol, bottle-conditioned, carbonated mead. We dilute our own wildflower honey and add fresh lime puree to produce a unique, tart, thirst-quenching brew. Complements spicy foods such as Mexican or Thai. Gluten-free.”

This one was fun to drink. Up front, you definitely catch the lime, but on the back end, you are hit with the unmistakable sweetness of honey. It was sweet, but not too sweet. I could also see myself drinking this again. Hook me up with some tacos and a glass of this and you’ve got it made.

IMG_5214The last sample I tried was the Sweet Virginia with coffee. I couldn’t find the coffee version listed on their website, but this is what the Sweet Virginia is described by the meadery as:

“Semi-sweet traditional mead made from honey from our hives diluted with mountain well water.  Unboiled and sulfite/sorbate added.”

This one literally tasted like coffee and honey. It was darker than the other two, it wasn’t carbonated, and it seemed to pack a little bit more of a punch. If you are a coffee lover, you would definitely love this. I could easily see myself eating a piece of chocolate cake and taking sips of this mead. Don’t judge me,  but I bet I could drink it in the morning too.

IMG_5221Overall, I’m excited they opened their tasting room in Roanoke and I can’t wait to go back and hang out there.

If you want to check it out, here are the details:

The Hive Tasting Room

  • Located at 1116 Main Street in the Wasena neighborhood
  • Open Thursday through Sunday, weekdays 4:30 to 8 PM and weekends 1-8 PM.
  • Check out their website and Facebook page.

Also if you are interested in a road trip, you can always check out their meadery in Caroll County and try their mead on their “Sippin Porch”

Sippin’ Porch (605 Buffalo Road, Dugspur, VA) – SEASONAL April- Nov
(540) 834-6172
Saturday & Sunday 11:00-5:00