Because everything tastes better on a stick
While you’ll have to wait until next January to sample the fried cheese cubes on a stick at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, there are plenty of other tasty kabobs, skewers and pops found locally. And that’s exactly what you’ll want to eat on March 28, which is national Something on a Stick Day.
Clearly, I’ll take any wacky excuse for a food holiday. I know, your mind probably goes straight to corn dogs, the American epitome of food on a stick. But why settle for a run-of-the-mill corn dog at Sonic or Red Robin when you can get one at J.R.’s Fresh Cut French Fries? (Pssst, they have fantastic fries, too!)
Or better yet, get the bull and shrimp skewers at White Rose Bar & Grill in York. With grilled pit beef and jumbo shrimp, these are like a portable version of surf and turf.
For a Latin American shake of the stick, visit Arepa City in Harrisburg for grilled chicken or beef tenderloin shish kabobs served with your choice of hot, mild, barbecue, spicy barbecue or herb sauce. You also can visit one of the El Serrano family of restaurants in York or Lancaster for pinchos, which are kabobs of aji panca-marinated filet tips, onion and red pepper that are impressively served standing upright.
Then circle around to the Mediterranean flavors of Hellenic Kouzina, offering pork or chicken souvlaki skewers, deliciously marinated and served on a bed of rice or in a grilled pita, gyro-style, with tzatziki sauce, vine-ripened tomatoes and red onions.
Taj Mahal, an Indian restaurant in Lancaster, offers several tandoor delicacies, including lamb boti, lamb seekh, chicken malai and chicken tikka kabobs. I’m sure you could also find these at other area Indian eateries.
One surprise to me was that Bonefish Grill in Camp Hill or Lancaster doesn’t seem to have any skewered seafood on its current menu, but it does always have chopsticks on hand, most commonly used for the Bang Bang Shrimp. So, technically, you can put any of its menu items “on a stick.”
Keeping chopsticks in mind, you also can use them to partake in the Chinese hot pot at Fusion Fire Asian Fondue & Sushi Bar in Camp Hill. It also has satay chicken skewers served with peanut sauce, as well as seafood kabobs (kusi yaki) with shrimp, scallops, salmon, onion and pepper.
For a different hot pot altogether, spend an evening at The Melting Pot in Harrisburg, a fondue restaurant where a fondue stick is a necessary tool for appetizer, entrée and dessert courses.
Here’s one thing that sounds like it would be on a stick but it’s not: potstickers. I’d still recommend the organic steamed potstickers at Houlihan’s in Hershey. They’re basically ginger-pork filled dumplings served with spicy soy sauce.
Let’s not forget dessert! I bet most of you didn’t know that Tres Hermanos in Harrisburg sells frozen chocolate-covered bananas on a stick. To me, these are a total throwback to my childhood. This place also sells a variety of exotic popsicles made with pureed fruit.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my own Little Ditty Pops, which are my take on the wildly popular cake pop trend. I make the cake and frosting for these itty-bitty cake truffles on sticks entirely from scratch, and I’m convinced that they’re all the more delicious because of it. From what I’ve heard, my customers and friends agree. Bonus: There’s built-in portion control in this tiny treat.
What’s your favorite food on a stick?