Sakura-no-Shiozuke / 桜の塩漬け
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Sakura-no-Shiozuke / 桜の塩漬け
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
For those times when you need a caffiene hit but a to-go mug is just too much bother, consider investing in Pocket Coffee. Made by European confectioner Ferrero (see also Mon Cheri, Kinder chocolates, Rocher, Nutella, Tic Tac), Pocket Coffee is a hollow dark chocolate cube lined with a crisp sugar coating and filled with a concentrated shot of liquid espresso. Pocket Coffee is too fragile to be produced or sold during summer months, but at colder times it's generally available at convenience stores in Italy and can be ordered by the case in the US.
Want more to chew on? Check out other food/travel posts at WanderFood Wednesday...
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Crazy Dave's Organic Sodaworks, $3
What is it about the water in Bend that makes people want to ferment it? In addition to Bend Brewing and the Deschutes Brewery, Bend is also home to the non-alcoholic delights of Crazy Dave's Organic Sodaworks: "We make the best Ginger Brew on Planet Earth (which is the only known planet in our solar system to grow ginger)". Unlike most sodas, Crazy Dave's deliciously sweet-spicy Ginger Brew has an abbreviated list of ingredients: ginger, evaporated cane juice, and lemon juice. It's available in cafes and shops in Redmond, Eugene, and Bend ("Be sure to pound your fist on the counter as you demand a taste of the "World's Finest Ginger Brew!"), as well as at selected markets and tasting events in Portland and Sisters (at least according to the 2009 market schedule posted on Crazy Dave's website).
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Bend's historic ironworks district now houses an eclectic assortment of post-industrial businesses, including an experimental theater, a pottery center, and one of the best bakeries I've ever come across. The Sparrow Bakery nestles inside an appealingly weathered brick cube; there's a small area given over to indoor seating but most of the space is devoted to producing and displaying magnificent baked goods.
The Sparrow Bakery
50 SE Scott Street
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Camp Fire Candy
At the Bend (Oregon) Historical Society there is currently a temporary display commemorating the 100th anniversary of the youth organization now known as Camp Fire USA. Among the artifacts are boxes (presumably empty) of fundraising sweets including Camp Fire Mints and confections by Almond Roca and Russell Stover.
As a survivor of numerous Girl Scout cookie campaigns, I was interested to learn that Camp Fire kids went through much the same rite of passage:
"Almost everyone involved with Camp Fire as a child can remember standing on a front porch with the weight of a cardboard case full of Camp Fire Mints digging into their fingers as they reached to ring the doorbell.
"Youth members have been selling candy since the organization's early days. The unrestricted revenue is used to fund outstanding Camp Fire programs, and clubs and individuals earn incentives including free camp.
"Today, sales are to friends, relatives, and to retail sites."
Monday, June 7, 2010
Powell's Sweet Shoppe
Stepping from the bright, tidy streets of downtown Bend into Powell's Sweet Shoppe is like entering a murky Jungian cave of repressed desires. As your eyes adjust, memories begin to materialize from the gloom--Zots and Skittles and Pop Rocks and Lik-m-Stix and gummies in a dozen revolting shapes. Powell's is both archive and warehouse, stuffed to the rafters with half-remembered names and half-forgotten flavors.
The original Powell's opened in 2003 in Windsor, CA, in the town's faux Victorian downtown. Powell's is modeled on what the company describes as "an old-time, old-fashioned, old-world candy store taken from America's imagination." It proved to be a compelling form of treat-based time travel; the first franchise opened in 2006, and there are currently 17 branches in California and Oregon. The Bend store opened in 2008.
One of the things that I find endlessly fascinating about candy and other sweets is their disarming ability to connect certified grown-ups to a time when both treats and threats were more intense. Powell's seems to share this view, at least in part: "On the surface we sell ice cream and sweets, but you don't have to stand in the Shoppe too long before you realize that what we really offer are memories...And that is precisely our goal. We want to walk our customers down memory lane and remind them of good things and good times."
Of course, childhood memories are rarely as unambiguously sunny as marketers might like to believe. For me every step into Powell's triggered new and complicated memories: there were the mints my late grandfather favored, the drops I remember from a kind neighbor's candy dish, the novelty gum I saved my allowance to buy but always found disappointing, the candy the rich families used to give out on Halloween. As sweets-centric as I am, Powell's was more like a fever dream than a saunter down memory lane.
Powell's Sweet Shoppe
818 NW Wall Street
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Graham Cracker Sandwich
A Baker's Wife, $1.19
Owner Gary Tolle opened A Baker's Wife in 1987, when he returned home to Minneapolis after years as a professional baker in New York. I imagine the fruit tarts, tea cakes and palmiers were the kind of things Tolle perfected while a student at the CIA and a pastry chef at New York's Plaza Hotel. Perhaps he'd already had some experience with doughnuts, sheet cakes, danish, and cookies as a kid growing up in the unassuming neighborhood where he know works.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I moved to Minnesota for college largely ignorant of any Scandinavian traditions not lampooned by Garrison Kellior in his reports from Lake Wobegon. I must have missed the pannekoeken episode, because I was amazed by these huge, rich pancakes--and by the fact that in restaurants they are often served to an accompaniment of chanting and hand-clapping.
While attending my college reunion I stayed with my old friend Jenni Undis. Although Jenni's main job is as doyenne of the Twin Cities' coolest print shop (Lunalux), she can also whip up a mean pannekoeken. I still don't get the chanting thing, but I agree that applause is the only proper response to seeing one of these things come out of the oven.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Dulce de Leche Cupcake
Salty Tart, $2.50
For years the vacant Sears building loomed over a somewhat sketchy area of Minneapolis like an enormous Art Deco lego (below left). I am incredibly pleased to find that it has beeen rehabbed and now houses a group of shops and stalls known as the Midtown Global Market. The business were carefully chosen to reflect the diversity of the surrounding neighborhood, and to support local entrepreneurs. The Market's goals are explicitly stated and prominently posted--and so noble that they made me choke up a little. Hawking foods from regions such as Central American, Scandnavia, and the Carribean, the Market's vendors had my mouth watering at every turn.
"No one can live on bread alone. Pastries and bread? Now that's more like it."
"For everyone who believes that when life gives you lemons, you make a lemon-filled tart. Or better yet, you have a master pastry chef make it for you."
"Broken cookies have no calories. Call us to discuss."
920 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Khyber Pass Cafe
In my old age, I anticipate regaling any whippersnapper within earshot with embroidered tales of my sweet-toothed adventures. Top billing might go to the story of how I used to trek miles through knee-high snow, subzero temperatures, and artic winds...just to eat pudding.
Afghan firni is a light, silky pudding of milk and starch flavored with rosewater, cardamon, and pistachios (some Indian versions apply the same flavors to a rice pudding base). A lot of people say that it reminds them of hand lotion, which might be part of the appeal for me. When I stayed with an Afghan family in Australia, they'd make a huge vat of the stuff for parties, serve everyone their share, then give me the vat to polish off.
Khyber Pass Cafe
1571 Grand Avenue
St Paul, MN