FARGO - Ask people what comes to mind when they think "North Dakota Tourism." They might mention the Badlands, the Medora Musical or even Josh Duhamel. But a doughnut from Fargo probably doesn't make the cut.
However, this is no ordinary doughnut, according to New York-based comedian and motivational speaker Drew Tarvin. Tarvin wrote a book called "The United States of Laughter" in which he travels to all 50 states and records who he meets, what he sees and what what he eats. In chapter 26, during his visit to North Dakota, he proclaims Sandy's s'mores long-john to be "the best doughnut I have ever eaten."
Tarvin describes his mouth watering in anticipation of eating the s'mores doughnut in his book.
His glorification of a local favorite says "my taste buds danced with the scrumptiousness of the ambrosia in my mouth. Fried dough mixed with marshmallow icing smothered my tongue while chocolate and graham cracker circled back for a second hit of sugary ecstasy."
It's not that Tarvin didn't experience other things when he visited the Roughrider state during the summer of 2015 - including a stop at the state capitol in Bismarck and another at The World's Largest Buffalo in Jamestown. But it was the doughnut that made a lasting mark on his taste buds and memory.
He learned about the iconic Sandy's Donuts after speaking about humor in the workplace to a class at North Dakota State University. When he mentioned he loved desserts, the professor recommended Sandy's - a suggestion that was "the most important phrase I heard in North Dakota," Tarvin says.
It's not surprising that those at Sandy's are tickled pink about the review.
"For us to be singled out from all the great places in this state of North Dakota is not only an honor but downright cool," says owner Mark Ostlund, whose father, Sandy, started the business in West Fargo in 1983. "One of our core values is 'fun' and being included in Drew Tarvin's book is definitely that!"
Ostlund says the s'mores long-john has been one of their most popular doughnuts among the estimated 80 types of doughnuts they sell. He credits the light and fluffy angel icing as one reason for the popularity as well as the pleasing flavor, texture and taste.
But one thing is certain, that flavor left an impression with Tarvin. More than two years later he's in New York City promoting his book, still raving about that one doughnut.
"What can I say, that s'mores long-john just did it for me," he says. "I keep thinking how can I get back to Fargo?"
If he makes the trip back to the Red River Valley, you can bet Sandy's Donuts will pull out the welcome mat.
"One thing we love about our job is how a doughnut can make someone's day," Ostlund says. "Being the son of the person whose name brings smiles to many faces in the Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and the surrounding community, I really do feel honored to hear stories of how his dream has made an impact on someone."
"The United States of Laughter" by Drew Tarvin is available through Amazon and other book retailers.
The s'mores long-john is available at both Sandy's Donuts locations. 301 Main Avenue West, West Fargo, and 300 Broadway North, Fargo.