Eating On The Fly: The Dakotas

One of the perks of being a flight attendant is having the benefit to travel for leisure on my days off.  I am planning the arduous quest of visiting all 50 states.  This past week I visited North and South Dakota on my days off, which leaves me with just three more states to go before I hit all fifty.

I met my friend Emmalyn in Minneapolis.  She had flown in from New York and I had flown in from Raleigh.  We rented a Kia Soul and drove to South Dakota.  We visited the very kitschy tourist attraction Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.  Corn Palace is a giant palace built of.....well, corn!  Inside there is a small museum, centering around the bountiful harvest of corn in this region.  

After our visit to Corn Palace we had dinner at Chef Louie's Steak House.  Louie's is somewhat of an institution in Mitchell.  The restaurant appears to be old and historic, with a "supper club" feel.  The service was top-notch, proving South Dakota to be friendly and hospitable.

We started with "chislic." Chislic is a regional specialty, a dish of deep-fried meat served on a skewer or toothpick. The name is derived from the German schaschlik, which, in short means "shish kebob". It was introduced to South Dakota by a German immigrant in the 1870s. These tender little juicy bitelets were the perfect appetizer, and just what we needed to quench our palates after a long drive through the prairie.  For my meal, I opted for the rib-eye, a perfectly marbled cut of meat, which proved to be juicy and tender.  I devoured every last bite. 

Next was Fargo, North Dakota. We picked the HoDo Lounge for lunch.  The diner is adjacent to the Hotel Donaldson, a unique artsy boutique hotel in downtown Fargo. What a treat!  With its funky décor, sophisticated menu, and friendly wait-staff, I think every visitor to Fargo should make a stop at HoDo a top priority. 

My friend and I opted to share a few different small plates.  First: black pepper & strawberries- a luscious salad served with pistachio butter, sorrel, goat cheese, and vecchio balsamic.  The flavors blended perfectly together on my palate.  Next were the HoDo Fries, served with fresh herbs and bone marrow béarnaise.  Oh, my my!  I couldn't get enough.  We couldn't pass up the fresh clams. And I think some of you may melt when I tell you how they were served:  with bacon broth, roasted chowder vegetables, and potato chip cream.  What is potato chip cream, you ask?  It is whipped crème fraîche, blended with potato chips.  I want to shake the hand of whomever thought of this concoction.  We also tried the duck nuggets: duck confit, jicama & cucumber, yuzu, and something called nu'ó'c châm.  They were tasty, but not my favorite.  My favorite was the lunch special: soft shell crab BLTA, which was tempura fried, served on sourdough bread with Tabasco mayo.  Fargo has just jumped to the top of my short list of cool places to visit.  All because of the HoDo Lounge.  Thank you for my lunchtime miracle, HoDo. 

And no, I didn't make it to Mount Rushmore, which is on the other side of South Dakota.  I guess this just means I'll be putting my benefits to good use again so I can see that giant mountain of President heads and find some good eats on the west side of South Dakota!  

And one more thing- in case you were wondering, yes, the fine folks in Fargo do speak exactly like they do in the movie.  How 'bout that?