No Pan WV Road Trip: Coleman’s Fish Market

“I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, and a third time to make sure.” – Mae West

My only real request for this trip was to see the Palace of Gold. The rest was up to my folks. My mother thought we should check out TripAdvisor’s #1 restaurant in Wheeling, the world-famous Coleman’s Fish Market.

I  said ok, even though I really don’t like fish, and the thought of eating at a fish market conjured up a picture in our family vacation scrapbook of me as a kid in Ocean City, Maryland, sitting outside a fish restaurant, fishing nets as the backdrop, pinching my nose at the smell.

Thankfully, as we approached the fish market, I realized that my fears were unfounded. Coleman’s Fish Market is nestled between the first and second buildings of the historic Center Market in Wheeling, WV. You can walk around the outside of the building or go through the center to view all of the little artistry shops, bakeries, and restaurants. (I recommend this route!)

Realizing that I wasn’t a fish-eater, my mother worried that I wouldn’t find anything to eat. I figured that almost every place sells chicken, fish market or not, and if things got really dire, there’s always French fries.

Looking at the menu, I was amazed by all of their offerings from their specialty: a classic fish sandwich to more . . . exotic foods. They have the most extensive fish menu I’ve ever seen.

Once we figured out their regular menu vs. specialty menu line ordering system, we were good to go – with one small hitch. I’d decided that I wanted frog legs. (Hey, where else was I going to try them?) Unfortunately, frog legs need to be a call-ahead item, as they are frozen and take about 40 minutes to thaw and prepare. I guess they aren’t such a popular menu item.

So I settled on alligator soup. The soup was akin to a veggie beef stew with a Cajun seasoning. The alligator was a dark meat and kind of flaked apart in strips like beef. I couldn’t quite describe what the alligator itself tasted like. I’m going to go with a dark meat chicken taste.

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Now, the soup was good, but I was pretty bummed about not getting to eat frog legs. Since our hotel was near Wheeling, we went back the next day for a snack, and I called ahead to order my frog legs.

Oh. My. Goodness. They come in pairs. Joined at the hips – pairs.

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My father got a good chuckle at how excited I was about these. Country folk have “gigged” frogs forever, and he and his brothers ate them when they were kids. My grandmother told me that they “hop” when you fry them!!!

These came battered and deep-fried. They were still on the bone, so you pop them apart and pick them up with your fingers. It’s just like eating chicken wing dings. I actually even dipped them in ketchup. (I’m not a tartar sauce person.)

The experience was awesome, but I don’t think I’d order them again. They are the consistency of eating chicken wings, but with the taste of a Long John Silver’s fish fillet – faintly fishy, but just more beer batter, which is great if you like fish. Me? I think I’ll keep to my chicken.

NoPan WV Road Trip: Palace of Gold

For Christmas last year, my father gave my mother a homemade gift certificate to see the Christmas light display in Wheeling, West Virginia.

This past weekend, they decided to make the trek and invited me along. Since we would be in the area, we decided to check a few more counties off our “To Visit” list. After a delicious breakfast at Melanies, we were off – Northern Panhandle bound.

One of the things that I really  wanted to see on this trip was the Palace  of Gold in Moundsville. My parents agreed, and we headed there on the first day of our trip.

The Palace of Gold resembles an Indian palace tucked away in the rolling hills of West Virginia. It was intended as a home within the New Vrindaban Community for Srila Prabhuapada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and is listed as one of the eight religious wonders in the US by CNN.

As soon as I found out it existed, I wanted to go. My parents, having absolutely no clue what I was rambling about, said, “Sure!” The tourist season for America’s “Taj Mahal” is usually spring and summer. They have fantastic rose gardens and tours. Our trip in November meant that it was basically abandoned.

We wound up the side of the mountain for what felt like forever and finally drove into the community. Of course, as my luck would have it, it was partially under construction.

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After stopping at the welcome center (where the sweet Lela told me that I most likely had been reincarnated as a West Virginian for several lives, as I felt so strongly about the state), we went over into the actual temple.

Now if you know my mother, she can be a bit particular, and she was quite worried about having to take her shoes off, but she handled it ok. The temple was small, but beautiful. Being the off-time, there was only one person inside chanting.

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Before heading up to the palace, we stopped in the community’s restaurant for a cup of hot chai tea – the first for my folks! I also learned that they’ve never had Indian food, the next thing on our list of adventures.

The palace was amazing. It sits up at the peak of the mountain with a tremendous view. I can only imagine what it looks like with the gardens in full bloom.

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Have a wonderful day, and remember:

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Lions and Vampires, Oh My!

First of all, I am writing this from the one piece of furniture in my newly purchased house. I am SO excited. All kinds of DIY and updates will be coming soon, I’m sure!

But for now let’s focus on this past weekend. Have I mentioned that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays? I think I may have just barely mentioned it once or twice . . . I love, love, love it!

I love DIY costumes, especially ones that allow me to bust out my special effects makeup. I try not to duplicate costumes, but I do sometimes revisit ideas.

High School and College Vampire Costumes

One of the costumes that I’ve done at least two other times in different variations is a vampire. This year I went as a half-starved vampiress looking for her blood donor.

My plan was full-piled Victorian hair, ruffled shirt, and vintage shoes. However, there was a last-second scheduling shift, and I was called into work two hours early, and I couldn’t dig out all of my costumes pieces. I ended up with my full hair and a flowery high/low dress with ruffled sweater and black boots. My boss told me I looked like one of the Vampire Diaries vampires.

The secret to my vampire look is always my Scarecrow fangs. They really kick it up a notch and are inexpensive. My set was maybe $15.00 at the local Hot Topic.

For our couples costume, (Have I mentioned that my fellow really, really loves me?) I was dead set on being a lion tamer from the circus and having him be a strong man.

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I couldn’t find a red and white striped shirt in a store whatsoever. I was going to order one online, but they were at least $25.00, and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to make it to our party anyway, so I ended up grabbing a $7.00 lion accessory kit from Wal-mart just in case.

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Look. At. How. Cute. That. Tail. Is. Seriously, I could die from the cute. He actually kept it on for about an hour, which is much longer than I expected.

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We had delicious food, drank out of a giant pumpkin, carved jack-o-lanterns, went to a haunted house, and sang around a campfire. Absolutely everything I always want Halloween to be!

I can’t wait to hand out candy to the neighborhood kids next year!