About a month ago I wrote a preview for the Taste of Nebraska event for the Vice Blog. My editor over there asked me if I could write an event preview for something happening that upcoming weekend and that is what I came up with. Of course I sincerely doubt that anyone actually came to the Nebraska Society of New York's event because of my posting but it sure did make Glen's mom happy.
It was a blast, well it least it became one once we got the DJ set-up figured out. Of course the manager was not a sound guy and I ended up having to figure everything out myself, but at least my free admission was well-earned. I was thrust into the role of volunteer and Nebraskans are so damn nice I couldn't very well say no. After setting up the MC who hailed from Red Cloud (most known for the Brandon Teena murder portrayed in Boys Don't Cry) I was finally free to wander around and get my grub on. I ran into two people from my high school, one I was on Student Council with, Emily Chen who brought up our soon approaching 10-year reunion. Class of 2000, oy vey. I'm not going, I've got nothing to prove, and more importantly nothing to show off aside from the fact that I'm like 30 pounds lighter than I was in high school and the fact that I have a super rad boyfriend that none of them would appreciate. I can't imagine going to a reunion sober and me. I'm in touch with everyone I need to be from my class and have no desire to reconnect with anyone else. Besides, there's always Facebook for that.
I stayed the night before at Sean's house so I wasn't dressed for the event. My "Poppa Husker" shirt unfortunately spent the afternoon languishing on my bedroom floor. Glen. on the other hand, was dressed for the event. He had it down to the footwear:
The big man behind the DJ booth which unfortunately didn't have turntables...after all the trouble we went through it ended up being a laptop sort of day.
You know, until I wrote the write-up for Vice I didn't feel any nostalgia for Nebraska food, least of all Valentinos. Vals as it's commonly called was the site of many a soccer team banquet dinner and childhood birthday party. It's locally famous for it's buffet which I will admit is impressive. More baffling is how it's sweet gloppy pizza is consistently voted the best in town by locals year after year. Papa Johns is better than that crap. The only worse pizza in town is probably Godfathers or maybe Ramos. But my family's scorn for Valentino's had led me to forget their crowning glory, their Dessert Pizza!
It doesn't look like much, but GOD DAMN it's good. Hot apple filling, struesel topping, and a cream cheesey icing. Fuck, I can't even explain how awesome it is. I hadn't tasted it since those birthday parties of my youth, and now it's going to be hard to avoid a trip there when Sean and I visit in July.
Another local obsession are Kolaches. I never quite got their appeal, to me they seem like an inferior Danish, but I guess it's a Czech heritage sort of thing. I was more stoked on these cinnamon rolls I hadn't tasted since I was a little girl and the best ice cream ever from the UNL Dairy, more famous as the home of Husker Cheese (I know, sounds a little gross, right?)
There was a silent auction featuring several items donated from Nebraska businesses, the most humorous to me being the Bright Eyes and Cursive gift packs from Saddle Creek Records.
"Nebraska...enjoy flying over us"
Dorothy Lynch Dressing, the stuff of childhood nightmares. I was salad-phobic and this orange concoction scared the crap out of me.
Glen digging into the most important of Nebraska delicacies, the RUNZA!
These savory beef and cabbage pockets are a little bit of heaven. I smuggled three home in my purse to share with Sean. So good. Even working for almost a year at their now-closed 50's theme restaurant Rock N Roll Runza during my high school vegetarianism didn't traumatize me enough to not want to indulge in their deliciousness.
One hell of a t-shirt, but doesn't Glen look mean?
I asked him to stop making his mean face and this is what he gave me instead. I think I like the mean face better.
It was crowded, a sea of mostly red and white, or should I say scarlet and cream as those are the official Husker colors.
I tried so hard to get a good picture of the lady in pink on the left. She was in full LARP gear and her nametag said "Lady" somethingorother. I wussed out and only got a crappy aerial shot from the DJ booth.
Someone wanted a photo of all the Husker garbed people together. She asked for my help. I fled the scene.
I'll leave you with a photo of Glen's souvenir, the least practical, most flammable candle holder of all time.