Looking at my photos, I can already see that the title of the post is a misnomer. I apologize for that, but the fact remains that I still think of the food at the Minnesota State Fair as being a case of everything-served-on-a-stick-even-if-it-usually-isn’t. Corn dogs are of course served on sticks. Fried alligator on sticks. Ice cream on sticks. Deep fried twinkies on sticks. Even the fairground maps are on (popsicle) sticks.
But they also have cheese curds!
and giant deep fried onions!
and my personal favorite stickless-food: mini donuts! Here seen in production. (Not shown: next picture in series, me watching with mouth agape)
So much food imagery at the state fair– sister L even got herself wedged into a kiddie ride shaped like an apple. (not shown).
Last week I spent a number of days in Portland, Oregon for a day-job-related conference. What a nice city! And what a nice dining scene there!
The first meal I had in town (and, admittedly, no fewer than 4 subsequent meals) was eaten at Burgerville, the Portland area’s fast-food-with-local-ingredients-and-amazing-milkshakes-restaurant-chain. Luckily for all there was a branch no less than one block from the convention center. I had a fried fish (halibut, I think) basket with fries and a fresh (Oregon-grown) strawberry smoothie to wash it down. I would drink many more of these strawberry drinks in the coming days: another smoothie, a lemonade, and at least two milkshakes. I learned it is not always wise to drink two of these milkshakes in one 24-hour period. But, live and learn, right? Anyway, my dining companion, J, had a bacon cheeseburger with a slice of Tilamook and some pieces of local pepper bacon. Not to mention locally raised beef in the burger. Very nice all around. Even the spicy black bean veggie cheeseburger I had the next day was just the thing.
The next morning I woke up all refreshed (thanks to the three-hour-jet-lag) and headed off to Chinatown to see the Chinese gardens. It was just one city block stuffed with ponds and koi and gazebos and shaded walkways like the ones we saw last time we were in Beijing at the Summer Palace. Anyway, there was a tea house there so I sat for a black tea “flight,” supervised by a very zen fellow who showed me how to work the funky tools involved in brewing three mini cups of tea without a (western-style) strainer.
The next morning I headed over to Voodoo Doughnut because no self-respecting donut lover can go to Portland without trying their very weird flavors. And to be fair, the donuts themselves are very good too, but it’s the strange flavors that I suspect keep the crowds coming. Suffice to say I couldn’t decide on any one of their options so I asked for the random dozen, pictured above. There were donuts in their coated in orange tang, one in grapeade dust, and a couple sprinkled with colorful cereal pieces. Wow! You really can’t eat more than one of any of those at a time. So I shared with my co-workers that day– hope you all enjoyed them (I know you did especially, J!).
Sometimes all you need for a pick-me-up is lunch with an old friend, with a bunch of doughnuts on the side… J (who writes about food for The Boston Globe and The New York Times) and I met up at The Doughnut Plant near Chinatown. The yeasty rounds here are unusual flavors like fresh strawberry and coconut, the two I picked up on Saturday. They also have the elusive rose petal doughnut which is rumored to be on the menu on Mothers’ Day. If I keep going back every time I’m in the city, one day I’ll get my hands on those. Since little sister L just decided to go to NYU next year, this may be more often!
Note to L: this is all you have to do to get there from your new neighborhood… now go ahead and buy a box for yourself and send one back to Boston for me. I’ll be checking my mailbox. (thanks)
A doughnut that only happens in the wintertime! A natural phenomenon!