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About printersdevil78

  • Birthday 07/16/1978

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  1. Greetings! My name is Peter DiDonato, and I operate a YouTube channel called Theme Park Crazy. May I use your photos of the Brer Rabbit ride at Oakwood Theme Park in a video I'm making about strange dark rides? I will give you full credit with an on-screen caption.

  2. when the family summer vacation doesn't go as planned... Looks like a backdoor pilot for Disney’s first original Fox show: “When Theme Park Guests Attack.”
  3. I got 83 out of 126, but health issues largely have kept me away from amusement parks in the past couple years, save for a few local ones and two very worthwhile trips to Orlando, so most of my credits are older. Still fun to learn that I've ridden two-thirds of the wooden coasters in North America.
  4. I enjoyed the Twilight Zone TV show. I'm not a big fan of drop towers, but I like the theming in the TOT attractions. That said, my generation (and probably only a small percentage of it) is probably the last generation that's even heard of The Twilight Zone, much less cares about or has any emotional attachment to it. And there's still a Twilight Zone TOT in Orlando. And it sounds like it's basically going to be the same ride but with different characters (whom a larger portion of today's audiences will have heard of/be able to identify). Sounds like a win to me. Unless retheming-instead-of-designing-new-attractions becomes an ongoing trend Which, considering they're building an entire new land for Star Wars and now talking about an all-new Marvel-themed area, it doesn't sound like it will.
  5. It's been a long time since I posted a TR.... My wife and I had a great time at this year's final weekend of the Busch Gardens Williamsburg Food and Wine Festival, so I thought I'd share. Enjoy! To all who enter this happy place, welcome! We bought the 15-sample dining package, good at 14 food stands around the park. First up: Ireland! Many of the stands were decorated with representations of food or actual kitchen items. What better decoration for the Ireland booth than potatoes? Speaking of potatoes... here are some bangers with colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage), topped wtih Guinness brown sugar gravy. They were pretty good and a nice way to begin the festival. (Though the park opens at 10 a.m., the food stands don't open until 11.) In the late afternoon, the park's Ireland section hosted an ice carving demonstration. Here are the results! Next up was Hawaii, a new addition for this year. The stands in more open areas had decorated seating areas. Each stand also had informative kiosks (which also served as a convenient place to store napkins and spare plasticware). From Hawaii, we got huli huli chicken (sweet pineapple and soy barbecued chicken) with orange-and-purple sweet potato salad. The chicken was good, but I wasn't a fan of the slaw. We paired it with a signature hibiscus lemonade for a small upcharge. The lemonade was pretty good, but I'm not sure I'd get it again. In addition to ice carving, the festival also included some cool food art demonstrations. Close-up of jellybean dinosaurs! The Crepes and Coffee stand was up next. This was the first stand where we encountered a significant wait (20+ minutes with about five people in line ahead of us) due to poor staffing. There was one person cooking, one person taking the money, pouring the drinks and tending to the coolers (three completely separate parts of the booth) and one person just kind of standing around with a clipboard. It seemed pretty ridiculous, especially at stands where the drinks were set up in a completely different section of the area than the cash registers. Crepes and Coffee had a winery theme. More educational signage. We tried a chicken cordon bleu crepe, with an orange marmalade and brie crepe for dessert. The chicken crepe wasn't bad. The marmalade in the dessert crepe was good, but I didn't think it paired particularly well with the brie. This was also the first area with wine tasting. I don't drink wine, and my wife and I were both feeling under the weather (in different ways), so we didn't partake. Each stand also had a person nearby dressed in regional clothing to answer questions about the food, wine and country. This was France's. Up next was the French Quarter stand. This warm muffaletta and Cajun coleslaw were my favorite items at the festival! I've had muffalettas in New Orleans that weren't this good. And the slaw was just out of this world! Well done, Busch Gardens. The France stand was nearby. I was really looking forward to the steak au poivre. From my high school French class, I thought I remembered "poivre" meaning "pepper," but apparently I really means "lots and lots of salt." Seriously, a spoonful of salt has less salt in it than this thing. It literally made us both gag. I didn't know Canada was so well known for apples and pumpkins, but they were all over the Canada food stand, so.... Inside the Canada stand. I think this area is usually used as part of Trappers Smokehouse. This stand was one of the few where we got bad service. The cashier clearly didn't want to be there, and the server seemed like it was her first day on the job. In fact, there were a few servers throughout the day who seemed new to the concept of food stands, which was pretty incredulous considering we were there on the second-to-last-day of the event. That's pumpkin maple mouse on the left, and I thought it was OK; Kelly liked it more than anything else she tried. On the right is cheddar and lager soup with smoked paprika oil. It also was OK; Epcot doesn't have anything to worry about. Did you know there are Canadian wines? Well, there are! Nearby was the American Southwest stand, where we tried a chocolate lava cake based on nearly every online review I read of the event hailing it as the best thing at the festival. I thought it was pretty good, but not really any better or worse than any chocolate lava cake I've ever had in a regular sit-down restaurant, even with the addition of ancho chiles. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a photo. Next, we were in the Caribbean! Most of the regional representatives seemed pretty bored throughout the day. Were they new this year? I can't imagine this continuing going forward with as little interest as anyone demonstrated in them. The Caribbean stand included seashell art! And this snazzy beer tap! The gamba fritters (basically shrimp hushpuppies) were sort of the "poster child" of the festival. This is what they looked like in person, along with tres leches con mermalada de pina. They were OK; the pickapeppa dip they came with was the best part. The dessert was OK, as well; it tasted like sweet cake with crushed pineapple on top, which is basically what it was, I guess. On to Germany! I'm not sure what the wooden spoons represented, but the "silver" plastic steins screwed into the building's exterior were a nice touch. The currywurst with curry-spiced ketchup and roasted potatoes was good. German wine! Germany also featured a special artisan's market for the festival, but only some of the vendors sold edibles. At least one of them sold handmade soap. On Friday nights during the festival, this stage in the park's Oktoberfest section featured live music. As we were not there on a Friday night, the stage featured nothing. In addition to the food stands, there were a couple of standalone alcohol stands, as well. This one featured wines from Argentina. Some of the stands were squeezed into areas where they didn't really fit, causing bottlenecks, like this one representing Italy. The Italy stand's decor predominately was made of wine corks. The stand featured only desserts, most of which are available at Olive Garden, so we skipped it. A little of the bottleneck in front of the Italy wine tasting flag. More bottlenecking at the Spain stand. Decorations made from plates and utensils! Small stands like this were stationed outside some of the food booths, representing regional culinary plants and herbs. Spain's regional representative was fortunate to have both a fan and a shady spot to stand. It was hot and humid throughout the day. I was disappointed with the food from the Spain stand. That's bacon-wrapped scallops with rice on the left and two chorizo empanadas on the right. Both were just OK, though the scallops were the most expensive item at any of the stands. Fun with fondant! That's a cake, if you can believe it. The Asia stand didn't have anything our local Chinese restaurant doesn't, so we saved our tastings for other booths. The areas around most of the stands were decorated with flags. At Asia, they went a step further and added Chinese lanterns, as well. The Greece stand represented another bottleneck, directly across from the entrance to Escape from Pompei. I also wasn't sure I was ever going to get to order here; the people in front of me apparently had never heard of "food" before and proceeded to ask the cashier many, many, many questions, such as what it was, why you would want to put it in your mouth and how you make it small enough to go down your throat-hole. I timed them; they literally asked questions non-stop for nearly 10 minutes. Fortunately, the halloumi (grilled Greek cheese with honey and pistachios) was well worth the wait! It was amazing, my second-favorite tasting of the day. Our last food stand stop was the new Virginia stand. I don't know what makes tulip poplar honey any better or worse than any other honey, but they had it! For our last tasting, I selected the bacon and cheddar hushpuppies with honey butter. They were great, and my wife proclaimed it the best butter she's ever had. Nearby was another stand-alone alcohol stand, offering scotch tastings. Near the end of the day, we had reservations on a Date Night cruise on the Rhine, offered specifically for the festival. During the afternoon, they offered similar "Wine on the Rhine" cruises, though kids were allowed on those. The Date Night cruises included music and were for adults only. There's our ride! These were the entertainers for the half-hour cruise. It was advertised as a 25-minute experience, but ours actually lasted nearly 40, which was nice. We had good music... Good scenery... And good wine! The cruise also included a fruit, cheese and chocolate tray. The strawberry was tart for my taste, but everything else was good. I understand that in past years, they also threw in a couple packets of crackers, which, at $55 per couple, would have been nice. After the cruise, we got to see the food stands lit up for the evening. Overall, we had a good time, and even the "worst" food we tried was really good! Thanks, Busch Gardens! See you again soon!
  6. Assuming the headsets don't all break in the first year and they abandon the project, I think these could easily tie into Fright Fest and, for the parks that have it, Holiday in the Park, as well. It's not hard to imagine changing the programming to simulate fleeing from a coven of broom-mounted witches or vampire bats or (insert flying malicious ghoul of your choice here). Or maybe you're hitching a ride on Santa's sleigh. This seems like a good way to breathe new life into old coasters. If it works at Six Flags, I can see other parks (especially chain parks) getting in on this.
  7. The local newspaper today covered the new "cart coaster" -- a mash-up of a go-kart track and roller coaster -- at Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City, MD. Photos and video here.
  8. And... we're into 2014! Enjoy! Summer 2014 began with a trek to northern Pennsylvania to visit Conneaut Lake Park… while I still could. En route was a visit to The Snowman in Portersville, PA. No, seriously. It’s a snowman! Unlike most snowmen, this one serves tasty frozen treats. Plastered on a T-shirt hung in front of the stand on a breezy day, this yeti moved a lot more than the one at Animal Kingdom! Can’t afford a Yeti right now? Charge it to your Diner’s Club! So this is the Yeti milkshake — ice cream, syrup and crushed ice blended to a pleasant consistency and topped with whipped cream. It was yummy! An overview of The Snowman’s seating area. Goodbye, giant snowman! We’re off to ride the Blue Streak! After an afternoon at Conneaut Lake and early evening at Waldameer, we stopped by Sara’s in Erie, PA, for dinner. This is the view from the parking lot. For those who haven’t been, that blue “bridge” is the portion of Ravine Flyer II that crosses the street before returning to the park proper. Let’s all go to the drive-in… They serve both kinds of food… new and used! Mirror, mirror, on the motorcycle… Lots of neon at Sara’s. Time to dine! I had a coupon for a free footlong hot dog with the purchase of a footlong and fries, so that’s what we did. They were tremendous! The fry seasoning was unique, as well. But Coke Freestyle is the headline! This gate is where drive-in customers stop to place their order; it’s lifted so they can go through once the order is placed (and also keeps cars from blocking the path to the bathrooms). The building in the background is Sally’s All-American Diner. It’s supposed to be good, as well, but was closed when we were there. Based on the Sara’s/Sally’s website, I can’t figure out if it’s just overflow seating for Sara’s, if it’s an actual restaurant in its own right, or if it used to be a restaurant and is no longer in business. Check out some of Sara’s’ outside décor. Sara’s is located at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park, which according to the tourism material provided, receives more visitors annually than Yellowstone National Park. Need to pee? Just following the yellow brick road! Wait… that doesn’t look like a bathroom. And that’s a Texaco station! Oh, I see. The bathrooms are inside the Texaco building! Sneaky, sneaky! The next day’s adventure included a visit to Penn State University in State College, PA. But what does Penn State have to do with roadfood? Here’s a hint…. Here’s another…. And here’s the answer! A little history for you. A view of the inside. Here were our choices this day. I opted not for Peachy Paterno… … but for chocolate chip cookie dough! This oversized commemorative “scoop” dug the first dirt for the new building in 2005. Go Nittany Lions! After a couple “culture” stops… and a visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World… our final destination that evening was Springettsbury Township, PA. We were at Springettsbury Park to see a performance by the Surf City All Stars. I read a book about them, from their formation as the backup band for ’60s surf rock legends Jan and Dean during their comeback as a nostalgia group in the ’80s to their time working at Disney’s California Adventure to their establishment as a stand-along touring act, during my first TPR trip in 2008 and have wanted to see them ever since. They don’t play too many shows on the East Coast, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity. But all that aside… this is why this stop is included in the Roadfood thread! I had heard good things about Bricker’s Famous French Fries, which had a stand at the concert. For better or for worse, they seemed like just standard frozen fries with an optional vinegar-and-salt topping. Oh well. For breakfast the next morning we made our way to the Etters, PA, outpost of Maple Donuts. I wish I could receive my mail via doughnut! Noted! Take home a dozen… ...which is 13 in Maple Donut-speak! We opted for a half-dozen (which, sadly, is not six and a half). If I remember correctly, they were (clockwise from upper left) maple crunch, salted caramel and pretzel, apple, coconut cream, sour cream and bowtie. lol Our next stop was the potato chip tour at Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, PA. Unlike Hershey, this is a glass-enclosed tour of the actual factory, not a theme park recreation. No photos allowed on the tour, unfortunately, but there was one photo op…. Afterward, we took a short drive to the Utz factory outlet. No photos in here, either, but the historical building was cool. Unfortunately, my 13-year-old car started acting up that day, so we had to cut the vacation short. It cut off twice on the way to Knoebels and died on the way home. I ended up having to buy a new one that week. Up next: My new car and I hit the road to New England!
  9. Holy molasses, that Fun Bun looks amazing! Also, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies look awfully familiar....
  10. Maybe they should rename it "French Fries: The Ride."
  11. As always, thanks for reading! I promised a couple 2013 leftovers before we head into the 2014 Roadfood adventure... so here we go! In November, I took my sister on a bus trip to New York, a place she's always wanted to visit, as an early Christmas present. While there, I purchased some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor. For those who have never seen the inside of a chestnut, here it is! And for those who have never tasted one... well, they're just plain awful. At least these were. Maybe they're an acquired taste. I can't imagine why anyone ever would have written a song about them. For several years, a friend of mine has spoken the praises of Ellen's Stardust Diner in New York. I told my sister about it, and she was very interested in checking it out. Here's a look at the inside. It's a little cramped, but they make good use of the space available. Very retro! Did I mention it's very retro? Along the walls are plaques honoring New York's past Miss Subways winners. But the real reason to visit Ellen's Stardust Diner is the singing waitstaff! They day we were there, they sang everything from Elvis to One Dimension. My sister was less than impressed... though some of the songs were OK. The same can be said for the food. Not altogether impressive... but OK. My sister tried a quesadilla... ...while I got loaded waffle fries. Kelly, Lauryn and I rounded out 2013 with what has become our annual Thanksgiving weekend trip to Lancaster, PA. Our first day there, we stopped by Dienner's Country Restaurant, where Kelly's grandparents took her as a child. Dienner's is actually a small buffet... but what it lacks in size it makes up for in taste! Here's my first plate. Clockwise from top is sour beef, ham, sauerkraut, filling (the Amish word for stuffing), macaroni and cheese, and what I thought was the restaurant's best dish, hot buttered noodles. The desserts were good, too, but the chocolate cobbler at the left was the only one I was able to finish completely. I was so full that I just kind of tried a bite of everything else. The next day, we visited the Wilbur Chocolate Co. in Lititz, PA (an earlier trip there is posted in this thread), to do some Christmas shopping. We ended up parking near this little bakery and decided to stop inside. Well, of course, we couldn't leave empty handed! The cupcakes were good -- not great -- but I'm a firm believer that there's no such thing as a bad cupcake! Up next: Pushing forward into 2014, with stops throughout Pennsylvania, New England, upstate New York and Wildwood, NJ. All aboard!
  12. Time for another update! After my big summer trip, I spent most of the rest of 2013 at home on the Delmarva Peninsula... but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of good restaurants there! Here are a few of them. On the way back from a day trip to see Kelly's grandfather in August, we stopped by the Vanderwende Farm Creamery in Bridgeville, DE. The building itself is unassuming... ...but the pasture out back guarantees all the milk, cheese and ice cream inside is fresh! Cookies and cream for me. Here are the rest of the flavors. After Hopkins Farm Creamery (reviewed earlier in this thread), Vanderwende's is my favorite ice cream stop in Delaware. Kelly’s birthday was a couple weeks later, and to celebrate, I took her on a mini restaurant tour. In late 2012, the Irish Penny Pub opened in the strip mall across the street from my office in Salisbury, MD. I’d eaten there a couple times, and it was decent. I mentioned earlier Kelly’s fascination with Irish restaurants, so we started her birthday restaurant tour here. I know it looks dark in this photo, but the restaurant itself is really nice inside, with old barrels (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) converted into tables, as well as a number of booths, regular tables and a bar. A friend of mine who frequents the restaurant recommended trying the Irish egg rolls, stuffed with corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, onions and cheese. I had never tried them before, so why not? They were awesome! I opted for the Reuben with pub fries, which, up to this point, had been my go-to here. Kelly ordered a “build your own” burger with bleu cheese and bacon on a pretzel roll. She insisted I try a bite. Holy cow! I’ve never gotten anything else here since, and I usually come back about twice a month. It’s seriously the best hamburger I’ve ever had that I didn’t make myself. If you’re ever in the area, I strongly, strongly suggest you stop by and try one. (Kelly got onions on hers, but I prefer mine without.) That evening, after dinner at a Bahama Breeze franchise in Christiana, DE, we made our final stop of the day for dessert at Shuckers Pier 13 in Dover, DE. The interior is rather homey. I mean, this is the service area, for crying out loud! But despite the restaurant’s name, we weren’t here for seafood. Doing some online research, Kelly determined that Shuckers was the closest place to our home that served our favorite cheesecake from Junior’s in New York (discussed earlier in this thread)! Mine was original… …while Kelly lived a bit more dangerously with a combination cheesecake and chocolate cake. I took this photo of the locally famous Kirby and Holloway Family Restaurant sign on the way home. The restaurant opened in the 1940s and was a landmark in Dover... until it burned down five months after this picture was taken. A week later, I had some time to kill between appointments in Salisbury, MD, and decided to grab some lunch. Paul’s Pizza was right across the street from my next stop, so I figured I’d give it a try. The restaurant had recently opened in a building that formerly contained another pizza parlor, Route 12 Pizza. The interior was festive. Beach-themed, even. The pizza was pretty tasty, but the crust was a lot crispier than most “New York” pizzas I’ve had. There definitely was no folding happening here! The bad news is, this particular restaurant closed down late last year and has been reborn as another eatery. The good news is that Paul's Pizza is still around, having reopened in a nearby shopping center. In early November, Kelly, Lauryn and I decided to take a day trip to Newark, DE, to attend the Delaware Saengerbund’s annual German Christmas Festival. The band and dancers were great, but they took up a lot of space. This place was wall-to-wall people, and there was absolutely no chance of getting a seat. No one who was lucky enough to have one was about to give it up for any reason. Of course, the biggest reason we were here was the food! It was served cafeteria style. Each of these ladies staffed a chaffing dish, and if you wanted some of what she was serving, you’d say so. Then, at the end of the line, you paid for whatever was on your plate. This was some of the best German food (and hands down the best sauerkraut) I’ve ever had! There’s spaetzle, sausage and a German meat patty covered in the finest gravy these lips have ever tasted. Too bad I had to eat it standing up in the lobby, off the top of a baby grand piano. For dessert I snagged a piece of hazelnut cake. Unfortunately, it didn’t really taste the way I expected it to. When I think of hazelnuts, I think of something like Nutella. This tasted more like sour-ish fruit… which I guess is probably what it was supposed to taste like, but it was a surprise. It took me a long time to make my way across the room to the German candy and cookie vendor, and it took the couple running the candy and cookie booth even longer to ring up my order, but I did end up with an assortment of confections, both for myself and for Christmas gifts, by the time they were done, including these pfeffernusse cookies. They were subtly sweet, almost like stale spice cake with 10X sugar icing… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Up next: some 2013 leftovers in Lancaster, PA, and New York City!
  13. Thanks, all! I've never been to Dick's, but it sounds like a place to check out if I get back to Seattle. And speaking of Seattle... this update contains the last of the photos from my 2013 Pacific Northwest/Northern California trip. Enjoy! On the way back to our hotel after Otto's, we passed Annie’s Donuts, which was on my list for breakfast the next day. We decided to get a jump on things and stop in. The interior was very ’70s. The selection was pretty large. We’ll see about that…. Our assortment included a regular glazed, chocolate frosted, sour cream, buttermilk (that’s the one without a hole) and two raspberry fritters, for which we had high hopes. I really liked mine, but my dad thought his was just OK. Unfortunately, I pulled a muscle in my back either the day before our vacation started or the day we left, and it got progressively worse as we went on. By the time we made it to the Rheinlander for an authentic German dinner that evening, I was in considerable pain. They really did up the “German” exterior. Inside, too! My dad, having not gotten his fill of sausages at Otto’s, opted for a German sausage platter. I, on the other hand, ordered a sampler that included sausage, cabbage, hot German potato salad, two types of schnitzel… …and a Bavarian pretzel! Like Otto’s, the Rheinlander also had a mustard buffet… granted, a slightly more refined version. Though we opted for indoor seating, we spied a few diners enjoying their meals on the patio on the way out. After a visit to a somewhat sketchy immediate care center the next morning to get some pain medication for my back (I got a discount for paying for my prescription up front, in cash…) and a truly amazing afternoon at the Enchanted Forest (if you think Challenge of Mondor is trippy, try it on oxycodone!), we stopped for dinner at Big Stuff Barbecue in Cottage Grove, OR. Based on all the signs and bumper stickers we saw, there is a tremendous amount of civic pride in Cottage Grove. The walls of the restaurant were decorated with vintage photos from the region. The hand-cut fries were pretty good. The beans were OK, as well. I tried the pulled pork sandwich, while my dad got a brisket sandwich. Both were pretty good, though if I had to do it again, I would have gotten my sauce on the side; it was hard to taste the flavor of the pork whatsoever with so much sauce on top. Outside, a series of freshly painted Coke murals decorated adjacent buildings. This really was a nice little town. After setting up camp (OK, renting a hotel room) in Crescent City, CA, for the night, we spent the next day touring the California Redwood Trail. On the way to Rohnert Park, from which we would leave the next day for San Francisco, we pulled off the highway in Cloverdale, CA, in an attempt to find someplace for dinner and stumbled upon Pick’s Drive-In. Unfortunately, it was closed for the day. A bit further down the road, we discovered Zini’s Diner. Zini’s was a very bare-bones restaurant located in a strip mall, but its food proved to be quite tasty. I started with a bowl of clam chowder. My dad, having regretted not getting the turkey dinner at the Rheinlander a couple days before, made up for it here. I opted for the bleu cheeseburger. When it comes to dessert, my dad is always on the lookout for peach pie, though it tends to be a rarity. Not at Zini’s! I, on the other hand, opted for the chocolate crepe, which was good but very rich. No new Roadfood for us the next day, as we skipped lunch to fit in tours of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa and Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, then had dinner at In-N-Out Burger, which already has been covered in this thread. On our way back to Seattle the next day, we passed the Del Norte County fairgrounds and decided to stop for a short break. Why? Farmers market! By this time, we had been driving for awhile and were looking for an excuse to stop and stretch our legs, so why not? We really didn’t expect to buy anything, but when I saw this stand, I was intrigued. Apparently it’s so popular that it has to advertise the days it will be at the farmers market (first and third Saturdays). So I took the bait and ordered a breakfast burrito. The result? Amazing! Far better than the ones I get at Sonic. As we approached Seattle many hours later, I started looking on my iPad for potential restaurants for the final meal of our trip. The Pick-Quick Drive-In in Fife, WA, sure sounded good! The outdoor dining area was very picturesque… …and much better than the alternative across the street! It took us awhile to place our order due to a rather lengthy line, and it took even longer for our number to be called when the food was ready. But when we got it… wow! The burgers were great, and the shakes were tremendous. Mine was butterscotch. Up next: a return to the Delmarva Peninsula for some ethnic fare, pizza, ice cream and even cheesecake!
  14. On this leg of the adventure, we head down to Portland, OR. Enjoy! That evening, having eaten lunch at Wild Waves, we stopped by a Burgerville in Portland, OR. Burgerville is a very localized chain with several dozen restaurants, all in the Portland metro area. More faux-’50s décor. Burgerville prides itself on using only locally sourced ingredients. The burgers were good, the fries and onion rings were OK, but the shakes were out of this world. Chocolate for my dad, blackberry (seasonal only) for me. And then it was time for dessert. This place has long been on my food-stop bucket list. After a 10-minute-or-so wait in line, stained glass windows greeted us at the entrance. Those 10 minutes offered a very unique look at the city that is Portland. The young gentleman offering to draw the people in line as dragons for a mere $5 each certainly was doing his part. Pennies aren’t weird enough for Voodoo Doughnut. This is the scene beyond those stained glass windows. But this is what we’re really here for! A display case offers a visual aid for ordering. And they even have vegan doughnuts. Weird! At Voodoo Doughnut, you can order doughnuts by the box… …or by the coffin! Creepy stone-face man says, “Hurry up and choose your doughnuts so I can get back to being weird!” And the winners are… Two random iced doughnuts for my dad and a signature voodoo doughnut for me! He’s filled with jelly so it looks like he’s bleeding while you eat him. The pretzel stick doesn’t represent a cigar; it’s supposed to be a stake through the doughnut’s heart. Apparently the baker was so busy being weird that he missed. (You know, the more I think about it, maybe “weird” is really just a euphemism for “high.”) I tried an apple fritter, and we both got one of Voodoo Doughnut’s famous maple bacon bars. I’ve had these from other places, and they were always OK. Voodoo’s struck just the right balance of sweet and salty. I thought it was the best doughnut of the trip. The next morning, we headed out for Pine State Biscuits, with two locations in Portland (not to mention a booth at the Portland Farmers Market). Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us, one of those locations closed shortly before our vacation, so we spent an unfortunate amount of time cursing the GPS and trying to find a restaurant that no longer existed. Once a friendly (weird!) local set us straight, we made our way over to the one that was still in business. After standing in line for about 15 minutes (fairly typical at Pine State, I understand), we were greeted with a menu board and a list of rules. This is pretty much it for the indoor seating area, though patio and sidewalk seating was available. We were fortunate to find an open table. This would be the Reggie Deluxe — a breaded, fried chicken breast with bacon, gravy and cheese on a freshly baked biscuit — and a side of hash browns with ham, onions, mushrooms and cheese. I thought it was the best breakfast of the entire vacation. (My dad disagreed, largely because we had to stand in line for it.) From there, it was off to do some sightseeing. First on the list: Candy Basket Chocolates. We were hoping to schedule a tour of the Candy Basket factory. Unfortunately, they were not available the day we were there. However, we had another reason for visiting: behold the famous 20-foot chocolate waterfall! Noted! The factory store is a candy lover's paradise! It’s decorated with all measures of candy and candy-making equipment. I liked this Popeye chocolate mold the best. My purchases were rather modest, but good! They included a small box of Clodhoppers (chocolate-coated cookie crumbles)… orange sherbet squares (I’m not even sure how to describe these — they were kind of like orange-flavored white chocolate, but the consistency was more like solidified cake icing that melted on the tongue)… And a big bag of assorted taffy to take home to Kelly, with unique flavors including cheesecake, carrot cake and birthday cake. After a few more tourist traps, it was time for lunch at Otto’s Sausage Kitchen, also in Portland. The sausage-surrounded pig means it’s good! While Otto’s does have a very small area for ordering hot foods to go, it’s predominately a German specialty grocery store. This is more along the lines of what we came for. We had to go outside to get it. No frills here; an Otto’s employee cooks up sausage fresh from the store on a home grill modified from an old oil barrel. Drinks are available from a nearby cooler. Don’t forget the mustard buffet! “Sausages of distinction”? We’ll see about that. Truthfully, they were pretty average. But sausages weren’t our only reason for coming to Otto’s! I also wanted to try some of the store’s homemade jerky. Honestly, it, too, was just OK. While it was a cut above gas station jerky, it was very tough and kind of reminded me of a cross between regular jerky and a Slim Jim. Oh well. If nothing else, Otto’s is still a great place to have your wild game processed and fish smoked. Up next: More Portland and a descent into the wilds of northern California!
  15. Wow, all that Key West food looks awesome! The schnitzel restaurant and Ford's Garage definitely will be on my itinerary should I ever venture down that way.
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