WV Culinary Team: Try some of most inventive dishes Charleston has ever seen

My favorite week of the whole year is practically here: Charleston Restaurant Week.

It’s the one week of the year where you can enjoy specialty menus, eat a three-course meal and try a local restaurant outside your normal rotation, all for one price.

Except, this year, as you may already know, it’s two prices: $25 and $35.

That’s in an effort to allow some more flexibility for diners, as well as include some new restaurants that align better with a lower price point. That means more restaurants, more meals and much more fun.

Hosted by Buzz Food Service, the sixth-annual event all happens next week: Jan. 28 through Feb. 2. If you haven’t already carefully planned where you’re eating each night of the week, a) you have far more restraint than I do, and b) you can do so at cwvrestaurantweek.com.

This one week in January is an exciting opportunity for folks in Charleston to support local restaurants during a time of year when business tends to be slow. After a busy holiday season, it’s often tough to find the extra money in the budget to accommodate dining out. But armed with options of delicious specials at a reasonable price point, you have the ability to support your fellow community members — all while eating delicious food.

According to Buzz Food Service, restaurants throughout the years have reported serving more than 10,000 meals during the course of the six-day event. The total economic impact, which includes revenue from meals, bar sales, gratuity, taxes and incidentals, is estimated to exceed $500,000 each year.

There are a number of participating restaurants: ones that are reserved for special occasions and ones that are perfect for Saturday evening drinks. Ones that will satisfy your sweet tooth craving and ones that are perfect for the whole family. Ones that will serve old favorites and ones that will deliver you dishes crafted with ingredients you’ve never seen before.

Maybe you can switch up your typical order of spaghetti for a rich, indulgent dish of rigatoni, sausage and peas in a Parmesan cream sauce. Instead of your standard salmon, try a jerk mahi mahi special. Skip the typical burger and opt for crispy pork belly topped with a sweet-and-spicy glaze. Or, try them all. I’m not here to judge.

Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is.

I’ll never pass up the opportunity to try something new, and I’m looking forward to seeing some new faces and new dishes this year. So, check out the website, make your reservations and join me for one of this year’s best local events.

Don’t forget to tag your photos with #cwvrestweek and share that food porn with the rest of us. It’s time to eat!

In full disclosure, I volunteer for the committee that organizes this event. I’ve loved this event ever since it started six years ago, and I am honored to help promote it with my fellow food-loving friends.

Candace Nelson is a marketing professional living in Charleston, W.Va. She is the author of the book “The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll” from WVU Press. In her free time, Nelson blogs about Appalachian food culture at CandaceLately.com. Find her on Twitter at @Candace07 or email CandaceRNelson@gmail.com.

Funerals for Friday, December 6, 2019

Allen, Robert - 1 p.m., Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Boggess Jr., Emory - Noon, Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Buckalew, Paul - 11 a.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Coleman, Elaine - 2 p.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Gibson, Teressa - 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.

Harless, Bonnie - 1 p.m., Blue Ridge Funeral Home, Beckley.

Hill, Grace - 1 p.m., Pineview Cemetery, Orgas.

Jackson, Glen - 6 p.m., Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.

Justice, Roger - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Morrison, William - 2 p.m., Simons-Coleman Funeral Home, Richwood.

Neal Judy - 1 p.m., Morris Memorial United Methodist Church, Kanawha City.

Ross, Joann - 10 a.m., Tomblyn Funeral Home, Elkins.

Sigman, John - 1 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home, Poca.

Webb, James - 11 a.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.