Some questions I am more qualified to answer than others, so we may need some expert opinions/advice/lessons from other readers.
"Maple Bacon donut? Tell me more! Not a meat eater, but never heard of such a combo!"[Disclaimer: This discussion may be a little too much for anyone who doesn't like/eat pork. Sorry! I just can't help myself, but I love bacon!]
Well, my quest for said donut started on a flight from Dallas to somewhere, traveling on an airline that actually shows movies and television shows free of charge (what a concept). Anthony Bourdain was doing a tour of the Pacific Northwest, and one of his stops was Portland's (what I now know is legendary) Voodoo Donuts. This place has every kind of donut never imagined. A browse through their menu is actually kind of hilarious. Anyway, Anthony finished up his trip with a taste of the maple bacon donut, which he admitted sounded kind of gross. But then his face lit up, and you could tell he was in love. And when you think about it, it makes sense. On the rare occasion that I eat pancakes, I always make sure to have leftover bacon to sop up the remaining maple syrup. That combination of sweet and savory is so tasty! And the cake texture of the donut, the sugary crusty texture of the maple glaze, and the crunch, crispy texture of the bacon is so much fun on the tongue. I know all this now, because on our last trip to Portland, we finally made it to the shop, and the maple bacon donut was all I had hoped for. But definitely not something I would want to eat everyday. (I don't have a death wish for diabetes!)
On a side note, if you ever end up in Portland and need to bring some kind of food for a group of people, you can go to Voodoo Donuts and buy a bucket of "day-old" donuts (which are actually from that day) for $5. And the bucket is really a bucket, like the kind found at Home Depot or something.
"Have you tried sweet potatoes/yams with a bit of rosemary salt & butter!?"
[Disclaimer #2: If you hate fried food, you might want to skip this discussion too. What can I say? I love food!]
Heck, yes! In fact, there is a place here called the Boise Fry Company that serves all different kinds of potatoes in all different (fried) forms. On a chalkboard they indicate the types of fries they have that day (russet, yukon gold, yam, sweet potato, purple, fingerling, etc., etc.) and how they have them prepared (shoestring, curly, home style, steak cut, etc., etc.). Then they offer a condiment bar not only with the usual ketchup, mustard, and Idaho's own weird fry sauce (essentially French dressing ... yuck), but also with all sorts of flavored salts and sauces. My favorite? Home style sweet potato fries with the rosemary salt and either the garlic aioli or the chipotle dipping sauce. Yum!my!
"And curious ...how is Ilan pronounced? Stosh was almost Elan...pronounced E-Lahn...but it didn't make the cut!" [p.s. I'm so glad I am not the only one with a love for ellipses.]And now I must pass the answering baton to the experts. I pronounce it E-lahn with almost equal accents on both syllables. But I am most likely getting it wrong. When it comes to names and Mark's family, I realize that I won't ever get the accent quite right. Not only am I missing the ability to make the throaty "ch" sound in Hanukkah and hummus, I am pretty sure that I never quite pronounce Ariel or Ilan exactly right. But then again, Mark says "Mahk" (which, I guess, is technically correct, since that is they way it is pronounced in "Australian") and "Tah-ra," so I think we can call it even. :-)
Keep those questions coming. Otherwise it will be quiet around these parts until something else comes along.
Oh ... p.s. we had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend with friends old and new (including a surprise visit from a friend who Mark worked with on the Kern River 20 years ago). Here's a shot from the post-Thanksgiving dinner charades game (just about everyone is wiping tears of laughter from their eyes ... good times!).