Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fair Food at the Wyandotte Street Art Fair

I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Michigan, it's art fair season! Wednesday the 17th marked the first day of the infamous Ann Arbor Street Art Fair which I will working quite a bit during this week. (I pray I find parking.) Last week, Greg and I headed downriver to Wyandotte to check out the Wyandotte Street Art Fair. Neither one of us had been to Wyandotte before, but a couple of friends live there and we were delighted to run into them!

Since I worked until 6pm, we didn't get to Wyandotte until nearly 8pm. I had barely eaten that day and was extremely hungry! Luckily, the fair and the surrounding downtown offered many choices. Since we only had about an hour left to wander before the tents closed, Greg and I decided to get some quick fair food, settling on a gyro truck (God bless Michigan for having gyros as fair food) that also offered an entire plastic bucket of fries.

I do love fries, and I was sorely tempted. However, our friends insisted we try the butterfly chips located on the other side of the fair. And I am so glad they did. Butterfly chips are awesome! (You may know them as butterfly fries.) First, they used a power drill to thinly slice potatoes through a slit in a board. You can find videos of this on YouTube. Once they had two potatoes sliced, they were thrown into a fryer and turned into chips. Out of the fryer, drained, and into a bowl as big as your head, they added toppings of your choice. We got the works: nacho cheese, sour cream, chives, and bacon bits. DELICIOUS! It was a lot of food, though, and we had to save about half for later consumption.
In addition to all the cool art we saw (I recognized a few artists from previous shows as well as from my job at Catching Fireflies where we carry a lot of art from local artists and crafters), there were street musicians, possibly my favorite kind of musician. The first group we came across very much reminded me of musicians I might see in San Francisco, specifically in the Haight. Maybe it was the flower crown and bare feet. They were pretty rockin', and Greg and I both enjoyed them. They had a sizable crowd gathered around, as well. Later we saw a few lone players, and in another section was a bandstand. 
After the sun started to set and the tents were closing up, Greg and I decided we needed ice cream. We had earlier passed two shops of locally famous ice cream brands, Sanders, also known for their fine chocolates and candies, and Stroh's, originally a brewery that switched to making ice cream and soft drinks during Prohibition. Though Stroh's is very tasty, we usually buy it in box form from Meijer, and Greg often tells me how Sander's ice cream parlours were quite the thing back in the day, so we decided on Sander's.

Random: Along the way to the ice cream, I spotted something shiny hanging from a tree. It turned out to be a black and silver rosary, much like the kind we sell at Crazy Wisdom. Very strange! So I took a picture. 

Now here's something much of the rest of the country is probably missing out on, and I feel sad for you if you are one of those people: Superman ice cream. Superman ice cream, purportedly invented by Stroh's, is a tri-colored swirl ice cream that is usually considered a children's flavor, like bubble gum or blue moon. Oh, right. That's another thing non-Great Lakes America is missing out on, blue moon, my favorite ice cream flavor ever. What exactly the flavor of blue moon is is in question since everyone who makes it keeps it a secret, but the general consensus is almond. 

Superman's three colors are blue, red, and yellow, like the old comics, hence the name. Superman ice cream, like blue moon, also varies by creamery, as I discovered after ordering it from Sander's. The blue is blue moon regardless of who makes it, but the yellow and red change. On the west side of Michigan, yellow is typically vanilla and the red is cherry, which is the combination that I grew up with in Kalamazoo. (Examples: Hudsonville's Superman and Meijer's Scooperman.) It turns out that on this side of the state, the yellow is lemon and the red is Red Pop. 

Okay, another thing most of America is missing: Red Pop. Red Pop is not the same is strawberry soda. Close, though. Think of it as a strawberry creme soda, though in Faygo's case, more strawberry, less creme. (Other Red Pops are a blend of fruit flavors and creme.) I am totally down with Red Pop ice cream. I would even eat it on its own if I ever saw it somewhere. The lemon, however, was both unexpected and overwhelming. It overpowered the other flavors and I felt like I was eating straight lemon ice cream. Not terrible, just a little disappointing. I did learn something new that I didn't know before about ice cream, one of my favorite foods, so that was fun. Greg got a cone of Bumpy Cake ice cream, a Sander's original, and also tasty.

We walked around the block eating ice cream, listening to live music blaring from a bar nearby, then settled by the nice water fountain halfway to car. (I like water and fountains, though only in a region that isn't under permanent drought conditions (California) and in a region that is water plentiful (Michigan).) Greg and I decided that downtown Wyandotte might be worth another visit when there is not a festival going on. People keep telling me about the Boston Tea Room, which had a tent at the art fair, and how I must visit. There are also a good amount of restaurants and other stores to wander through. I found a couch I wanted to take home with me, and it was more than reasonably priced, but alas! It was not meant to be. Maybe we'll find something similar if we go back. If only we can find the time.

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