Summer is road-trip season, so we're taking a culinary tour of America. But because Portland is a city of immigrants from other states, we don't have to leave town to do it. We're traveling to 50 Portland restaurants to try one distinctive food from each state. Our 50 Plates tour continues with Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream from Vermont, which joined the union on March 4, 1791.
The state: Vermont, known variously as “the Green Mountain State,” “Inland New Hampshire,” and “The Oregon of the East.” We love those dudes. They’re super chill, considering they have to live right above a bunch of loud Bostonians, probably because the largest city in the state has half as many people as Beaverton. Mostly, they’re skiing the best terrain on the East Coast, sippin’ on some maple sizzurp and trying not to get caught holding by the Mounties.
The food: Phish Food, a jam band-flavored ice cream from Unilever, the same great folks who bring you TRESemmé shampoo (oh la la) and Lipton Tea. Back in the winter of double-ought, Old Man Unilever purchased the brand from these two weird hippie dudes, Ben and Jerry, who were probably going to fuck everything up, anyway. Now, they’re out smoking dope and, umm, standing up to other rich dudes. Ben and Jerry make many flavors of ice cream, but we chose the one made for the “neighbor through the woods,” Phish, the jammy trio which has more dough than One Direction, but not Ben or Jerry.
Other foods considered and rejected: Cheese of some type, Chunky Monkey, apple butter, weed brownies, Cherry Garcia, a bowl of oyster crackers, maple syrup, past-date Wavy Gravy from a deep freeze.
Get it from: Ben and Jerry’s own storefront shops, of which there are three in Portland. We got a cone of Phish Food—chocolate ice cream with marshmallow, caramel and little fudge fish—at the location on Southeast Hawthorne. Sure, you could buy it for roughly half the price two blocks down at Fred Meyer. But, think about this: not only can you listen to music at home, you could also download a Phish bootleg for free and drink your own cheap beer instead of paying Phish $120 million (in aggregate, over four years) to see a show (or 16 hours of shows). But not only do you know better, you never even questioned the value of either experience. Ice cream cones from a parlor are the live rock show of the food world: Obviously, technology has progressed to the point that they’re not really necessary, they’re super pricey and involve putting on pants, yet no one questions the experience is awesome and vital…. At least, this is what I thought about while licking my Phish Food, in that most Vermonty of ways.