The Star-Herald

Ice cream lattes and ramblin’ ribs

Spring has finally arrived. This can be seen with the rapid decline of snowbanks and the disappearance of snow snakes. black snow, and the ritual of burning the long underwear (appropriate permits and safety gear in place). With this new spring, it is high time that the Star City begin to showcase new talent and new flavors.

On the north side of the city, spring has really arrived with the opening of Houlton Farms Dairy’s ice cream headquarters. Look for the classic milk carton, a longtime holdover from the sixties and still sporting the same orange, black, and yellow colors that have been part of The County for so many years. A warm spring night, and the line is almost into the street. Often it’s the one place in town to meet old friends, new neighbors and enjoy a couple of cones or a banana split.

It is a wonder that neither Dunkin’ Donuts nor Tim Horton’s have signed up to offer a coffee and ice cream deal. It certainly would be noticed if a fancy espresso, cappuccino or latte were to be served with a beautiful scoop of the local ice cream. Since ice cream is primarily cream, combining it with a decent brewed coffee could only enhance the coffee experience. First place to offer such a treat would be well on its way to making cream while the sun shines.

Waiting for one of the chain stores to open yet another fast food restaurant, and one would be better off renting out space at the cemetery. It’s a dead end due to the dour predictions of anonymous accountants who keep saying no one will ever buy such a thing. Other cities around the world offer their citizens a variety of street foods — why not Presque Isle? Surely the Star City is willing to try?

We have a top-notch industrial cuisine program at Northern Maine Community College. How about combining this with training a new generation of entrepreneurs? Loring’s Job Training Center trains for commercial cooking services. Can’t the vehicle rehabilitation unit throw a few body panels and wheels together and make a traveling food truck while training staff to work in that environment? Even the hospitals could get into the act. Who knows we might see the central anchor at WAGM turning her hand at fried Oreos or a cardiac compote of fresh fiddleheads and strawberries. The idea is at least entertaining.

The grand proof of success in food trucks will have to remain with the [Rib Crib’s] Rib Truck. Ribs, pulled pork, and pulled pork parfaits are a welcome respite from the blandness of the fast-food menu in town. Even Colonel Sanders squawks “Surrender” when the Rib Truck comes to town. The lines of fans keep growing for some of the best street food in The County. The satisfied grins and sauce stains speak loudly about potential.

Spring is only so long. Enjoy what limited food trucks we have. Money for those who can think of something different to offer. Any chance of trout tacos?

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

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