The latest rage in Fargo-Moorhead is fancy ice-cream shops, where you can get a delicious treat made from free-range organic milk likely squeezed from udders by a cow whisperer wearing velvet gloves. A one-scoop cone will only cost you about $7.
If you're feeling the need for caffeination, you can also stop into about 140 coffee joints and a peppy barista will make you a cold-pressed latte-mocha-espresso-macchiato thingy for the low, low price of $9.
There are a growing number of local beermakers, cranking out IPAs, EPAs, Belgians and sours for the artisanal palate when a Pabst just isn't good enough.
Food trucks are all the rage, too, just like in the big city. They let the cool kids know where they're serving tacos, hot dogs or some other hip vittles via Snapchat or something.
It's quite a vibe we have going here on the prairie, just ask us. And it's mostly good. I occasionally indulge in a craft ice-cream cone, enjoy sitting in coffee shops like every other chatty slacker, certainly love a good hoppy brew or three and will drive across town for an authentic Chicago dog (celery salt not optional, mustard only).
But I, for the life of me, cannot find the answer to a culinary question that's been gnawing at me for months.
Why does nobody in this town make a pork tenderloin sandwich? A real, honest-to-cholesterol, pounded, breaded, deep-fried, salty delicious pork tenderloin sandwich on a too-small bun and served with sliced raw onion and yellow mustard?
We're not talking about a frozen patty out of bag, dunked in hot oil. Not a pork chop sandwich. Not a pulled pork sandwich. We're talking about a fresh pork cutlet made into a heavenly hunk of hot meat by hand. And with love. Like they serve in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana at any cafe or bar worth its salt.
Certainly somebody in the kitchen of a fancy restaurant or modest cafe or cramped food truck or divey bar in the Fargo-Moorhead area has said, "We are a large people. We like heavy, filling, unhealthy food. Nobody else is serving a proper pork tenderloin sandwich in this town. I shall be the first and shall make a fortune doing it."
If you've heard this sermon before, it's because I've preached it before on this newspaper's website and my 970 WDAY radio show. How can, in a place where meat and potatoes remain king in a hipster-foodie world, pork tenderloin be a sandwich non grata?
This is like Texas swearing off internal-combustion engines, Idaho picking carrots over potatoes, Maine craving crayfish over lobster. Nonsensical.
I will make one final, desperate plea to my foodservice friends: Make a proper pork tenderloin sandwich, add it to your menu, price it reasonably and serve with cold beer. You will be popular, I promise.
At least with me, who appreciates our ever-growing love of designer ice cream but yearns once in awhile for greasy simplicity. Guys, we're getting beat by Iowa on this. Iowa. If nothing else, do it for pride.