Today, I have another guest on my blog, Roxane B. Salonen. She is a writer living in Fargo, ND. She has a regular column in The Fargo Forum, is a freelance writer and blogger. She also has two children’s books published, and she’s a great writing friend. We’ve gone on several writer’s workshops together and attended numerous conferences. I’m excited to have her words on my blog today.
When my friend Mary asked me to do a food-related blog for her series, I was just about to leave on tour to New York City with my daughter’s high school choir. The assignment gave me a sense of purpose as I toured a few of the thousands eateries in the Big Apple. At the end of it I was ready for my food-post debut.
But we bloggers tend to be fickle, “in the moment” sort of people, so I’m not surprised that before I knew it, I was already in the midst of another food-related post idea. And it wasn’t happening in NYC but right here in my home city of Fargo.
Yah, you betcha.
What I discovered during the writer’s and blogger’s workshop sponsored by the North Dakota Tourism Department last weekend is that Fargo’s food offerings can be every bit as tantalizing as what you would find in New York City. That’s right. We have nothing to fuss about right here in little old Farrrr-goh.
Don’t get me wrong. The NYC dishes were spectacular. Here’s just one of the many delectable taste-bud blasts I experienced there: mozzarella and basil pizza. I will admit, I wasn’t excited about this meal choice but the small group of teens I was guiding around the city were hankering for pizza, so pizza it was. And when I bit into my slice, my eyes grew so large with delight at the taste of oven-baked goodness, I’m sure my young companions will never forget my expression. They were vindicated in an instant.
Leaving NYC now, however, let me give you just a wee glimpse of my “dine-around Fargo” experience in my own back yard.
Our group started with a grand tour of the HoDo Hotel — a place where Mary and I stayed with our friend, Jennifer, on an “artist date extraordinaire” a few years back. I knew that it was a very special, creative, artsy sort of place — the only boutique hotel in our state. But I’d never had the privilege of being given a true look-around, including the hotel basement, where a private eating area, Stoker’s, and its accompanying wine cellar hide.
We also peeked in at the restaurant, which offers such North Dakota delicacies as quail, buffalo and duck soup. This restaurant recently was honored with the prestigious AAA-designated Four Diamond Award for its very fine food.
After glimpsing some of the rooms and hearing more about the hotel history, we sat for a bit in the HoDo lounge, enjoying a variety of appetizers and delicate desserts. Uh…yum! Can I have two please? Thank you very much!
Next, we found our way to a non-eatery offering, a fairly new craft store, Unglued. It was so fun to look around the place and learn about its origins. The owner had been a nurse with a creative flair, and never set out to do retail, but that’s what unfolded. She now nurses her craft-loving patrons, who come to her store to learn new ways of adding a punch of fun to their lives.
The closest thing to food there were these bottles of “nose pollution.” You want the smell of Fritos wafting through your house? Or that new car smell? How about some gasoline? Dill pickles? Buttered popcorn? Frying oil? It’s yours for the taking and sniffing.
Our appetizers now digested, we next walked into a store which is part retail (Fowlers clothing):
And on the other half, a mouth-watering Pinch and Pour pairing.
I live here and had no clue this place existed. Shame on me. Pinch and Pour was so much fun. We were given a chance to sample as many of the wide variety of imported olive oils and vinegars as we liked, and offered a deal to boot. I ended up coming home with a bottle each of Tuscan Herb (infused) and red apple balsamic vinegar!
Next, we had dinner at the new and fabulous Wurst Beer Hall. This is the place where I decided my blog-post direction would change. Knowing of Mary’s love of German culture, I knew she’d want to know about this place. I hope she and I can go here together someday soon. (Hint hint!)
Well, only if pierogis in spicy curry butter sauce with cilantro, or chicken and apple sausage with baked brie and roasted red pepper sauce sounds appealing. These, along with the pretzel breadsticks with beer-cheese sauce, were oh so heavenly.
We ended our amazing food tour at the Radisson, where we enjoyed dessert and visiting with the other workshop participants. I had a chance to sneak in a photo of myself and Jessie Veeder (left), a fellow North Dakota gal, who triples as a singer-songwriter and columnist for our local daily newspaper, The Forum, every Sunday.
There’s nothing like the chance to meet up with fellow bloggers, as Mary and I know well, and even more, doing so with good food as a conversation point.
Here’s to writing, food and friendship and the beautiful ways they can come together.
Thanks for letting me take up so much space on your blog today, Mary. I’ll make it up to you the next time you’re in town.