Sunday, May 28, 2017

An Unexpected Food Find

I ran a photo inspection yesterday in Hinton, West Virginia. This was a job I had to postpone a week ago due to heavy rain, and I had my fingers crossed yesterday since rain was supposed to arrive later in the afternoon.

Chestnut Revival, Hinton, West Virginia

Hinton is a small town located near the New River. It saw its glory days when railroad travel was king, from the 1890s through the 1920s. Those days are long gone, and its main claim to fame now is the fact it is home to the coolest Dairy Queen in existence.

However, due to my recent decision to steer clear of fast food, I had to avoid temptation when I drove past the place on my way to the inspection. I did notice it was packed with people -- this DQ is actually pretty famous, and people come from all around to sample its unique menu items and enjoy the view from the dining room that literally hangs over the New River.

My photo inspection took just a few minutes. It never did rain. The car in question was a 90s era Volvo wagon in nearly immaculate condition, owned by an older couple who had me laughing practically as soon as I set foot on the property. Thank you, Mr and Mrs. Clark, for making this particular job a pleasant experience.

After tossing my yardstick and tape measure back into the trunk, I realized that I was very hungry. The DQ on the river was sounding better and better, deep fried calories be damned. Then I remembered someone had told me about a newer place in Hinton named Chestnut Revival that offered sandwiches, soups and salads. A quick look at Google Maps guided me to the cafe, which was located a stone's throw from my inspection job.

What a cool little place it turned out to be! It's actually in an old house that has been converted, but much of the character and original woodwork is still there. The owner, Verona, made me feel right at home as she guided me to a seat and took my drink order.

After taking a look at the menu board, I chose the blackened shrimp panini and a cup of seafood bisque. My order arrived in just a few minutes. All I can say is that after one spoonful of the soup and one bite of the sandwich, I knew I would be a repeat customer -- even though Hinton is 34 miles from my home.

It was simply glorious food, and a total departure from what one usually finds in southern West Virginia. This was fare you'd be more likely to discover in a big city, where cool little places like this generally thrive. But in a tiny old railroad town in Summers County?

The shrimp were perfectly cooked; not overdone and rubbery. And the bisque! It was loaded down with crab meat and tender potatoes, in a rich, creamy broth. It was all I could do to not wolf everything down in 5 minutes.

I got back on the road with a full stomach and a huge freshly baked chocolate chip cookie for later. Even if I don't get any more inspection work in the Hinton area, I'll make the trip again just to eat at Chestnut Revival. If your'e ever in my neck of the woods, look them up.

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