The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

Food Network Got it Right. Cam’s Ham is Da’Bomb!

The latest issue of Food Network Magazine names the Sugar-Flaked Ham Sandwich at Huntington’s Cam’s Ham the single must-try sandwich in West Virginia.

There are probably a handful of state sammiches I’d put on said list, but Cam’s is SO one of them.

Growing up in Huntington I often indulged in this piled-high plate of perfection, and still manage to sneak one in from time to time when I go back for a visit.

Cam’s has always been an institution in the Tri-State Area, but it would be hard for most to understand why. The restaurant itself is in an out-of-the-way location (between downtown and the west end) and the building itself is pretty non-descript, borderline past its prime.

But inside, regulars gather for filling sandwiches, plate lunches, ice cream treats … and a mighty fine sandwich.

Regarding the Sugar-Flaked Ham Sandwich, editors wrote: “Ninety percent of orders here are for this sandwich, piled with shaved sweet ham and a tangy sauce.” And at just $2.75-$3.50, it’s a steal.

It joins 49 other notables in the feature “50 Sandwiches, 50 States,” available on newsstands now and at

For the magazine’s annual survey of the best dishes across the country, editors spent six months scouring the country for the most delicious sandwich in every state. They learned two things along the way:

“One, you can put pretty much anything between bread; and two, almost everything tastes better that way. We considered sandwiches of all kinds — hot, cold, round, square, tall, pressed, wrapped, meaty, cheesy — and narrowed down our list of favorites to a single must-try sandwich in each state.”

Cam’s Ham is located at 809 First St. in Huntington. Call 304-522-7012 for more information.

Here’s a shout-out to one of my favorite couples – not to mention one of the finest restaurants/B&Bs in the state!

Café Cimino Country Inn has been chosen to receive a 2011 Achievement of Excellence Award at the American Culinary Federation National Convention in Dallas next weekend. It’s one of only 23 establishments nationwide to receive the award, which recognizes foodservice establishments that exemplify a commitment to excellence.

Criteria for the award include being in operation for at least five consecutive years; nomination by an ACF chapter, member or individual in the foodservice profession; and being a recognized industry leader.

“We couldn’t be more proud of this award,” said chef/owner Tim Urbanic. “To be nominated by the great chefs in the ACF West Virginia Chapter is the best honor I can think of. We respect them so much and enjoy working with them on projects throughout the year. This recognition is humbling and gratifying, and makes all of our efforts to be West Virginia’s best chef/family-owned inn worth every minute.”

Tim and Melody Urbanic opened Café Cimino in 1999. The property offers guests 500 feet of access to the Elk River and a turn-of-the-century mansion with 10 guest rooms and dining for up to 50 in the Main House, 24 in the casual-dining venue, Little Dishes, and 75 in three outdoor venues.

Tim specializes in Southern Italian cuisine and Euro/Mediterranean dishes. Whenever possible, he uses organically grown herbs and vegetables from the family farm – and that commitment to freshness shines in his dishes!

A visit to Café Cimino is always a treat, and I can’t think of a more deserving place (or people) to represent West Virginia on the national stage.

I’ve got to give a big shout-out to Charleston’s April Hamilton, who has been named a “hero” in celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution to establish healthier eating habits in schools and communities across America.

In addition to pitching in when Oliver filmed the inaugural season of his new show in Huntington last year, Hamilton also introduced the “Launch a Lunch” campaign to improve the food served in school cafeterias here in Charleston. According to, she also organized a fund-raising campaign that generated enough money to hire a consultant to conduct a countywide assessment of changes needed to improve school menues.

Outside of this cause, Hamilton is known for the cooking classes and deomonstrations she conducts around town, often for children. My own boys have attended one at the downtown library and can’t wait for their next lesson from “Chef April.”

They’ll get their chance with a variety of programs coming up this summer. Stay tuned here and in the Charleston Daily Mail for more details!