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State College, PA


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My friend who teaches up there:

Zola has the best bar and relatively creative menu that works sometimes and not others is on College Ave near Atherton (on border of campus, near southwest corner). Kelly's in Boalsburg very informal, former chef from Elliot's in Seattle who kept his contacts for fresh fish. Ignore historic cow on roof. Has tuna flown in from Hawaii, etc. Both have nice winelists. Spat's is fun for lunch (but less so if you know New Orleans) - nice wines with almost zero markup.

And apparently you just missed some guy who specialized in game, who got hired away to a billionaire's yacht. Heh...

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Ignore historic cow on roof

Eez deeficult.

Has tuna flown in from Hawaii, etc.

This is a pretty good piece of bait.

And Jane Black would have a field day with this typo on their menu:

"Hawaiian Yellowfin "Ahi" Tuna

Flown in directly from the Hoholulu fish auction block."

NB Hawaiian state fish is the humuhumunukunukuapua'a (Google it if you don't believe me, and yes, I've eaten one).

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College town = (obviously) mostly college-type restaurants. That being said, some decent options include Zola's (mentioned above), Herwig's Austrian Bistro (lots of brown food) and, of course, The Diner for grilled stickies. For ice cream, I highly recommend Meyer Dairy. Despite the name, I always liked Hi-Way Pizza, but I don't know if they're still around.


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The food excitement now for me when I return to Happy Valley is the Wegman's. Even back in the day, the food highlights were on campus: the Creamery and late-night cheesesteak runs to Louie's at Redifer Commons. Largely b/c both took your dining points. Whenever my parents came to town, I always struggled to find a "nice" place to go eat. We too often ended up at the Deli and the Allen Street Grill (where I talked with Jack Ham after one Homecoming parade). But neither is anything that anyone would want to seek out. Most people said that the restaurant at the Toftrees Country Club was the best restaurant, but I never went. Clem's Barbecue, a roadside stand/shack in Port Matilda, is a favorite spot (I met someone in DC who had them cater their rehearsal dinner) but I've always been in too big of a hurry to start drinking so I've never stopped there either.



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beer/bar: zeno's (college and allen streets)

korean food: seoul garden (locust lane)

indian food: india pavillion (calder way)

pizza: faccia luna (same chain as the one in alexandria, i believe; atherton street)

breakfast / brunch: the waffle shop (three locations: college ave; atherton street; Rt 26 ? i think..it's been a while...)

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Kelly's in Boalsburg very informal, former chef from Elliot's in Seattle who kept his contacts for fresh fish. Ignore historic cow on roof. Has tuna flown in from Hawaii, etc.
I'm curious where Don ate...



I had dinner at Kelly's, and I'm glad I did. We sat on the patio, and I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from their tragic wine list. Our server, who was very difficult to flag down (since he was working mostly inside), brought me a glass of disgusting, oak-chip-smelling false-butter Chardonnay instead. When he finally brought the right glass, he waited to see if it was okay - one sniff was all it took: This was Sauvignon Blanc (I think when you're dealing with a wine list studded with plonk, Sauvignon Blancs tend to be the least offensive glasses to order). We split an ordinary, underdressed Caesar Salad, and then went with two fish courses. The much-vaunted Ahi Tuna might have been purchased at the Honolulu auction, and may have been maguro of decent quality, but the four medallions were so crusted and sauced that I'll never know. It was not a good preparation to highlight quality fish, the beurre blanc sauce clashing with the ginger and thick coating of sesame seeds. While this course wasn't bad, it didn't reach the heights I was hoping for - it was a heavier presentation than it should have been.

However! One of the two best pieces of fish I've had in the past month was the extraordinary cut of King Salmon they were featuring as a daily special - they had about five presentations of it, so they had clearly just gotten it in. Simply grilled, it was a large piece, and while expensive at around $29, it was fantastic, and worth every penny. (Incidentally, the "other" great fish I had recently was a simply grilled Bay Rockfish at Black's Bar and Kitchen - the most perfect piece of Rockfish I've had in recent memory.)

Dessert was a nice surprise too: fresh, local strawberries and blueberries in a not-too-sweet drizzled-caramel cup. Despite only two standout courses, it was a good meal, and I would absolutely go back to Kelly's and order their fresh-fish specials.

Thanks for the responses!



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