Archive for the ‘Flavors’ Category

The Best of Twenty Ten

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

An editor by nature, and by trade, I’m a real sucker for any “Best Of” list since they efficiently illuminate what was or still is relevant and radiant, while whittling away the extraneous.

Unless we count my nearly two years of Treasuring as one giant list itself, I’ve never posted a proper list. I thought I’d look back through the digi-pics of 2010 to tally up the top 10 treasures I’d measure as “The Best of The Year”.

1. Favorite Accessory
My new, U.S. issued Aviator Kit Bag. After one machine wash, and one mini-trip to New Orleans, it’s proven itself to be the perfect carry-on suitcase in terms of size and studly style.

2. Favorite Flashback
A TV junkie, just about everything’s been re-runs since early December. But Universal’s HD cable channel, roster-ed with random re-runs of hits from all eras, has been providing me with a dozen Charlie’s Angels episodes a week. It was my first favorite show as child, and it’s finally aged enough now to no longer seem dated and dull (which it did to me a few years back). Now every single tunic, discotheque, and Tom Selleck cameo highlights how chic and swanky the late 70s and early 80s were.

3. Favorite Finger-Painting
The J. Crew shorts I cropped myself then coated in 5 different colors earned me internet high-fives as well as veiled death threats, but I wore them rogue-ly and regularly all summer, to that magic point on the far side of self-consciousness. These shorts and the sideways glances they brought on taught me that if I’m not making someone’s eyes roll over what I’m wearing, I’m just not doing my job.

4. Favorite Follow Up
After two whole albums and a boat-shoe-box’s worth of B-sides, I’ve never heard a Vampire Weekend song I didn’t like. The CONTRA album was more Californian and yet noticeably colder than the New York band’s debut disc, but the sound of shivers in the sunshine made me happy and happily sad, over and over and over this year.

5. Favorite Mistake
I’ve ordered a lot of treasures over the internet these past years, but these vintage black boots were the only package that never arrived. (NOOOO!) I’m still too torn up inside to tell why I loved them so much, or type up all the outfits I would’ve worked up around them. Rest in peace, black boots. I know, without you, that I won’t.

6. Favorite Flavor
The black licorice macaron I chewed in slow motion on the windy steps of a church somewhere in Paris.

7. Favorite Escape
No one saw this coming, not even me, but somehow I became a fan of prison break books. Papillon is the ultimate, the tall-tale-sized autobiography of a Parisian criminal’s repeated escapes from prisons in French Guiana, including the Devil’s Island colony. The protagonist’s will is so strong and sturdy that even when he must endure years/chapters trapped to sunless, solitary confinement, his tone remains brave and bright. The Steve McQueen movie version of the story isn’t criminal, but it lacks the disarming charm of Papillon and his incredible adventure.

8. Favorite Fad
Reddish-orange pants, or orangey-red jeans. But we all already knew that.

9. Favorite Forty-Four Minutes
The best “hour” of TV I saw all year was Mad Men’s season four episode “The Suitcase”. There’s always been a “Will they or won’t they?” tension to Draper and Peggy’s relationship. Not “Will they or won’t they?” fall into bed, but “Will they or won’t they?” fling aside the stressed charades of their 1960s social roles for forty five seconds, and just look at one another for who they actually are. In “The Suitcase”, they finally did just that, puked-on dress shirts and all. It was a long time coming, and it was a sweet and needed relief.

10. Favorite Fantasy
Lying on the beaches of Mexico on an extra large, linen deck-towel– shaped island. I got the towel in August, the plane ticket in November, and soon enough my fantasy will turn reality!

2011 has a lot to live up to.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Come December I like to read boyish old adventure stories. Two years ago it was Call of The Wild, and this year I decided to give the Hardy Boys a try for the first time ever since the back cover of Case #8: The Mystery of Cabin Island mentioned the action took place on a snow-covered island over Christmas vacation.

My sister and I used to have an un-secret stash of Nancy Drew books lying around as kids, and honestly, my favorite moments of any of these teen detective books is whenever it describes what the young sleuths are eating. It’s always cozy comfort food like chicken and biscuits, or flapjacks with syrup, or stews served alongside cold pitchers of milk. To me it’s essentially literary snacking, the plot-lines pretty much filler ’til the next mention of cobbler, or creamed corn, or fresh caught catfish.

In The Mystery of Cabin Island, Frank and Joe Hardy’s wealthy old client Elroy Jefferson receives a holiday gift he believes to be from his missing grandson. It’s a can of plum pudding adorned with fresh pinecones!

Upon reading that, before flipping another page, I searched online for canned plum pudding, hoping someone still sold a tin of the classic Christmas dessert in packaging appropriately retro.

The closet I came upon were various “Christmas Puddings” which definitely are old-century and cinematic enough for me. Since the cupcake and the French macaron have already enjoyed their return from nostalgic novelty to the sweet-tooth center stage, I’m thinking the proper pudding deserves a royal resurgence.

Served warm under brandy butter or custard, it’s a rich reflection of (seemingly) sweeter, simpler days.

Smack Attack

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Since Minneapolis is sorta sub-arctic for almost six months a year, it would seem unlikely that the revival of the old-fashioned food truck would wheel its way this far North.

But with foot traffic heavier than ever on the North edge of our city due to the opening of the new Minnesota Twins stadium earlier this year, the enterprising restauranteur behind one of Minneapolis’s most upscale eateries, La Belle Vie, figured it was worth a shot setting up an establishment on the opposite side of the elegance spectrum with The Smack Shack Lobster truck.

Business must be booming because the two Friday evenings at around six that I tried to try the truck, either everything or almost-everything was sold out, though Smack Shack’s not scheduled to close until midnight on weekends.

While you (hopefully) wait for dolled-up, dead lobster you can opt to whet your appetite with a live-feed of still living critters on the Shack’s 42-inch monitor.

Theirs was my first Lobster Roll ever – so admittedly I’m not sure how it ranks worldwide. But I can say after just a few bites I was immediately intent on ordering them everywhere else I’ll dine in the future so I can assess with true authority the Shack’s sweet Roll.

Roll With It

Friday, September 17th, 2010

At the risk of sounding great-grandfatherly, “I do remember a time…” when there were at least three flavors of LifeSavers stocked for sale next to half the cash registers around town.

I guess that was before we all felt the need to ultra-whiten our teeth while sucking anything sweet.

These days, an airport newsstand is about the only place I’d trust to offer a full roster of rolls, but the swankiest chain of Minnesotan food markets, Lunds/Byerly’s is now stocking period-packaged LifeSavers in Wint O Green and Fruity Five flavors.

I didn’t see Butter Rum ones anywhere though. That’s how I always rolled.

Fair Play pt. 1

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

The great, big, huge Minnesota State Fair rendered in Miniature Mode via the much-loved, in-camera effect found on my Canon SD1400.

The ceiling of the central dome inside the Agriculture Building. Someone should grab a baby blue bullhorn and put on a bow tie and make an upbeat speech about something in front of that sign. Do it for your country.

I’d gone to the honey exhibit specifically to pick up a jar of the gooey stuff I regretted not buying last year, but they didn’t have any this year. I only have my own dumb self to blame and don’t I know it!

My favorite food from the fair under the “New” category, Deep Fried Twinkies On A Stick.

Just the concept of them rolls up the overindulgent spirit of the fair perfectly, which is the main reason I tried them. Smothered in strawberry sludge, chocolate, and powdered sugar, they were actually awesome and enjoyable and now personally preferred over my former favorite, the Funnel Cake.

(Not everything deep fried or on a stick is scrumptious by default, I’ll add. The battered/fried/skewered Snickers Bar I had a few years back was flavorless and fearsome.)

Further exhibits/signage inside the Agriculture Building.

Light-blue ribbon-winning corn cobs.

A fabulously font-ed, old school, color-photo Photo Booth. I don’t even know the last time I saw one of those!

I spent twelve dollars inside and, honestly, it wasn’t enough.

And lastly, the booth for my favorite food under the “Old Standbys” category, the Battered Australian Potatoes.

A non-mini-mode close-up of those crispy critters will kick off pt 2. of my State Fair photo posts, so stay tuned.

Forum Restaurant & Bar

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Originally a movie theater, then a beloved cafeteria, The Forum in Minneapolis languished as a series of clubs and restaurants since the early 1970s before being restored to its pre-war wonder under its original name as a chophouse earlier this year. (Don’t you love the retro riche of the word “chophouse”? I always do.)

With its mirrored murals and towering tiles, local historians now cite the refurbished Forum Restaurant and Bar as the best example of art-deco design in the Twin Cities.

As well, it glistens like an Epcot-style tribute to everything über-Minnesotan, with Vikings and Indians and pinecones as the main themes of the glasswork, and sparkling cocktails splashed with rhubarb syrup.

Aside from the woodwork and upholstery everything appears to be perfectly period, right down to the diamond doodads laid into the jadeite walls.

I think I was maybe wearing shorts when I first went, but next time I best break out a fedora, or at least some flannel.

The entire establishment is so Northwoods natty, I wanna look like I belong.

Mad Men: The Morning After

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

For many, Sunday night will ooze with indulgence and idiotic indiscretions as slick-sters across America over-toast Draper’s return with three or four cocktails too many at parties both public and dangerously private.

Your doting Treasurer therefore recommends mending your Monday morning hangover with a stacked plate of dry, hard toast and a frosted, full glass of Coffee Time-laced milk. By the time you arrive at the office no one will be able to guess the shameful ways you celebrated Sunday night.

Really, if there’s anything Don’s taught us its the importance of concealing completely one’s unattractive truths.

Overnight your Coffee Time Syrup: Here or Here.

I Had To Chuckle

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Besides their gum droppy delicious-ness and their near-perfect packaging these are the two best things about Chuckles candies:

1. You don’t find them very often.
2. But you can always find them in little Mom ‘N Pop hardware stores, without fail.

I wonder why…

Paris Prizes pt. 2

Monday, May 10th, 2010

– A chunky clunk of metal from Porte de Vanves. An old dye embosser is our best guess.

– Happy cans of canned goods from a small sidestreet market.

– Fancy, Franc-ish coin dish from the Musee d’Orsay gift shop.

– Flea market, vintage beaded flowers for my sister.

–The gilded glam at Versailles inspired me to luxe it up more in my own life, so I picked up handfuls of golden flatware at Zara Home.

– Strawberry tinged tater chips we ate for lunch in our hotel room after we were stranded by the volcano. They were actually nice and quite light and unbelievably un-odd tasting.

– And lastly, an alien pod vase from my favorite of the big department stores, Printemps.

Another Batch of France

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Not red, not blue. I had to photograph the yellow.

Deadstock trinkets at the St. Ouen flea market.

Digging through dessert at the fanciest looking restaurant I’ve ever seen, Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon station. Named for the luxury locomotive that carried the fancypants of Paris down to the golden coast up until the 1930s. (Thank the fashion gods that at least one of my sleeves is rolled, this time.)

Dusk down in Nice, (almost) under the cherry moon.

My first of three personal boxes of macarons. The pitch black licorice was my favorite of all, and of all time. Just lightly licorice-d, minus the usual briney, bitter bite.

A stampede of skeletons at the natural history museum.

And lastly, a tiled threshold to somewhere I never even went.

Only In France…

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

After five hours of traveling we capped off our 95 minute sprint through Mt. St. Michel with a cone of crispy Chu-Chis, deep fried twigs of dough that are then doused in a dramatic downpour of sugar. Like a funnel cake, but tough and crunchier.

We were held up by Mean Mickey at the Porte de Vanves flea market. It’s a drastic makeover, but he wears armed & insane surprisingly well.

Flower-buddy spices at the Galleries Lafayette über-market.

I assumed the golden nose on this $1400 McClown lamp was its on switch, but, sadly, the joke was on me.

France is the land of 10,000 carousels. We saw many, rode one, and photographed most of them.

Down in Nice there was a strong Italian influence and so we strolled around the city with gelatto cones twice a day. At our favorite shop, if you ordered two flavors, they didn’t just plop one down on the other, snow-man style, but created radial little blossoms of creamy coolness.

Whenever I’m in a foreign land, I like to hunt down grocery market finds by brands we have back at home of specific products which we do not. I even sacrificed precious room in my suitcase to pack in a big box of Kellogg’s Tresor cereal.

The daffy door leading to the unisex restrooms at Colette.

As you can see, France isn’t all fussy refinement. It can flash a little crass and whole lot of sass.

Kschocolat

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Forced to kill some time yesterday I came upon a basket of these 60 cent mini-bars.

Kschocolat

The Honeycomb & Vanilla ones are made with Bourbon Vanilla, no less, and they’re gritty to the tooth – crispy little crystals crinkling inside the creamy, classic chocolate.

I was imagining hunky chunks of honeycomb inside and, well…I guess I still am.