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A Taste of Wheeling

October 7, 2008 - Phyllis Sigal
Friends of mine were in town this past weekend, and besides visiting with me and other old friends, one of their main goals was to "taste a trip down memory food lane."

First stop: We had to have Chinese from either Gold or Silver Chopsticks for our Friday night dinner. And always on the list of selections is the delicious Ginger Chicken. Both places — Gold and Silver — rank as "the best in neighborhood Chinese," according to Kathy & Stuart Baier. And Ginger Chicken has been my favorite ever since Kathy introduced it to me a few years ago.

Saturday's lunch: The Lebanon Bakery. Kathy's favorite favorite FAVORITE thing from there is their kibbeh sandwich. In fact I have transported a "deconstructed" kibbeh sandwich all the way to New Jersey in the past to satisfy Kathy's kibbeh tooth. "I crave the baked kibbeh sandwich from there, and from nowhere else," Kathy said.

Before dinner on Saturday: Kirk's Ice Cream. Kathy's favorite flavor — ever — is the Chocolate Butter Fudge. "I'm not a big ice cream person," said Stuart, "but this is the best ice cream I've ever had."

Kirk Porterfield even scooped a big serving of a new flavor into Kathy's bowl while Kathy, Stuart and their triplet boys were having their treats. They pointed out how he takes such pride in his products. They bought three half-gallons to take home with them, and Porterfield even gave them some Styrofoam coolers for the trip.

Then, AFTER dinner on Saturday, a trip to DiCarlo's was in order. Even though we just had Bruce's famous meat loaf, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans with grilled onions, and for dessert, Kirk's Chocolate Butter Fudge ice cream with angel food cake and strawberries .... Stuart got a few boxes of DiCarlo's for a late-night snack. And of course, most of us participated, if only by a nibble. The rest of the pizza got packed up and thrown into the cooler for the trip to New Jersey. (I gobbled up the extra cheese left in the boxes the next day!)

There's also TJ's and the Alpha, which they didn't get to. But, Ye Olde Alpha has some "serious nostalgia," they noted. The gravy fries, the Roquefort dressing and the Fat Boy ... you just can't find such things anywhere else!

And finally, Coleman's Fish Market — "pure nostalgia."

Unfortunately, they didn't have time for all of those Ohio Valley taste treats on this trip. Well, guys, I guess you'll just have to come back ... next time the cravings set in.

And of course, they are not the only ones with such refined tastebuds. My brother, who has been gone from the Ohio Valley for decades, still wants DiCarlo's pizza and Alpha fries when he comes home.

And my kids are always craving DiCarlo's.

Pittsburgh may have Primanti's sandwiches, New York its corned beef and Chicago its deep-dish pizza ... but the Ohio Valley certainly has a multitude of delicacies to call its own.

AND P.S. Are you a Grove or a Downtown DiCarlo's lover?


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