Pierogi Fest 2010!

welcome to Pierogi fest shawn

On Sunday, Shawn and I had several hours free, and a unbelievably beautiful day on or hands so we decided to make the 30 minute drive to Whiting Indiana’s Pierogi Fest for some stuffed dough goodness. I have had my share of small town midwestern festival goodness, but  was really in for a surprise when I stepped onto the main drag at perogi fest.

Meet Mr. Pierogi! The Whiting Indiana Pierogi Fest official Spokes-pastry.

No Shit.

Are you kidding me?  This festival was out of control. And everyone was so happy! The perogi guy was running around high-fiving everyone, there was a guy dressed as a stuffed cabbage roll running a found being grumpy and hot…

Insanity. It was really A DREAM COME TRUE. I had never seen so many folks happy about pierogies and summer fun since the now defunct 185th street festival days back in Cleveland. The Whiting Pierogi fest has been on for 16 or so years and is 90% focused on Pierogi, and 10% focused on Polka. To that end, and to add to the ever growing list of costumed characters running amuck at the festival, there is even a lady named Polka- hontas who is the festival’s official polka ambassador/ mistress.

That being said, the reason we came here was pierogi. And we had a lot to pick from, and  many many lines to wade through to get to them. Which was not nearly as bad as one would think,other than the occasional asshole with a stroller every one we encountered was happy and incredibly polite. I sneezed three times while i was there and EVERY SINGLE TIME someone said “bless you.”  Impressive. We waded through the immense and incredibly polite crowd, and found at the far end of the fest Kasia’s pierogi booth selling pierogi for basically a buck a piece.

The selection was pretty standard, beef, beef and cheese, sausage, potato, bacon cheese and potato, spinach, cheese and jalapeno, sauerkraut, sauerkraut and mushroom… Shawn did a survey of seven. I did the same, but only the meatless options.

Pretty standard serving size, coupled with the ubiquitous condiment of choice.This stand also offered the classic applesauce and not so classic pico de gallo, but we decided to keep it classic and creamy.

get down.

All in all delicious. It’s pretty hard to fuck up a pierogi, and  it’s equally hard to reinvent the pierogi, not without risking pretentiousness.  I would say these did the genre proud, but no points for invention. But to be fair that is not the point here, the point is to eat starchy stuff and get down to polka, and that kind of stuff never goes out of style.

To end here’s a little video treat of the annual pierogi toss.

Food Painting

Today, i was eating one of my favorite snacks, Flamin’ Hint of Lime Cheetos, and saw a little blurb on the bag asking “What can you do with 28 Cheetos” which is the approximate size of one serving. So i looked on their web site and was invited into a whole world of amazing things people do with 28 Cheetos.

It was there that I discovered Eclectic Asylum, who does all of these photo-realistic drawings and paintings out of food and lipstick and all kinds of stuff.  One of my favorites is “Speed Painting on velvet with crumbled Cheetos.”

and this one of Conan O’Brien


Cheetos is  not all this guy does, check out this amazing portrait of Morgan Spurlock from Supersize Me, made with ketchup and fries!!!

Home is where the Hardwood eating mycelium is (are)

Right before i left for Brooklyn and my ensuing duties there, I wanted to do some real fun stuff before I lost all the space I could claim as “mine” for the following months. And really what better way is there to claim a space a home than to grow edible fungus? Let me tell you folks, there isn’t one. Fuck your interior improvement and couch re-upholstering projects sir, grow some mushrooms in your house and a bottomless well spring of home-ownership with bound forth from your bosom like never before.

First i went to  youtube and watched shroom videos. really good and really entertaining….

these are about growing all kinds of mushrooms…

and these are about  taking magic mushrooms…

At any rate i grew some edible non-hallucinogenic mushrooms from a kit i bought off of  a website called fungi perfecti which sells kits for growing a slew of edible mushrooms. I chose the bearded tooth mushroom because it yields softball sized balls of little tiny white icicles. Also i chose it because it is supposed to taste like lobster, which is so luxurious i just had to get it. This mushroom is also know as lion’s mane, but i prefer the idea of a “bearded tooth” so i am going to call it that.The kit its self is basically a bag of hardwood sawdust and wood chips that have been innouclated with spores.  Exposing them to air signals to the spores it’s time to fruit. When you get the bag all you have to do is cut some holes for the mushrooms to grow through, and then mist the whole bag 2 or 3 times a day.

Here are photos of the kit and the bearded tooth’s growth over the course of 6 weeks.

This is the bag as it came to me, on top are some fruits from the mushroom, i hat to scrape these off to start the spores to fruiting again.

Here in this very fuzzy photo, you can see the spores starting to cover the interior of the bag. in a while they will begin to push out from the bag and grow these mushroom clusters.

This is after about six weeks of care, the spores aren’t very big, but you can get the idea. Also, for the purposes of eating, you have to get them while they are young to get the maximum tenderness and flavor form them. If they are left to grow big they my stop growing  and start to brown on top, which is a sign they are old bitter tasting.

It was at this point that i made my first harvest.

and here it  is all fried up with garlic and butter and green onion.

In conclusion, this does taste vaguely fishy, and kind of lobstery, and on the flavor front in general it is pretty amazing. On the growing stuff front this was a sucess, but was it worth 50 bucks for shipping + a kit?   Maybe… given that dried Bearded Tooth mushrooms go for 8 dollars an ounce some places, it’s a pretty good return on my investment. PLUS you can use the substrate to innouclate logs or other matter like coffee grounds and keep growing mushroom as long as you have the intrest to do so. COOL!


Today is Thu Tran’s Birthday!!!!! Happy Birthday Thu!
Last night to celebrate Thu’s birthday we went to Fette Sau and ate our body weight in meat. After that we rolled over to Santos Party House to catch SHONEN KNIFE!! Here is a video I took on my phone [it’s totally crappy].

Miho Hatori [from Cibo Matto and Gorillaz] and her new band opened up. They are called NEW OPTIMISM and the one and only Bad Brilliance got up onstage and danced with Miho and her hot male revue. Check it out!

Here is the cutest video from Shonen Knife’s new album, Super Group! Have a good birthday THU!