Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pennsylvania: The Sweetest Place on by Los Campesinos, Candy Claws, and Miike Snow/Lykke Li

Consider this the wrap up post to our recent trip through Chicago, DC and Pennsylvania. Like a good rollercoaster, it will go many places quickly. Please buckle up, keep your arms and hands inside the car at all times, and hold on.

It has been years since J-Fur and I returned to PA, our childhood home, during the summer months. Usually when we visit the state, the ground is frozen, dagger-like icicles are hanging from the underpasses, and river swimming breeds hypothermia. That means two of our favorite places (Massey's Frozen Custard and Hersheypark) are warm-weather memories long since suffocated by winter's gray sky. This time things were different and we made sure to enjoy those seasonal celebrations not usually afforded us.

We arrived in PA early Tuesday morning (after narrowly dodging another accident), caught a few hours of sleep, and then made our way to Hershey, PA (dubbed the sweetest place on Earth). The town really 'milks' their chocolate products as they have a factory that you can tour and streetlights shaped like Hershey kisses. If the air blows just right the smell of peanut butter and chocolate, from the Reese's factory, greets those that pass by. Our sole reason for visiting Hershey was the theme park which features eleven rollercoasters. My favorite is the wooden beast known as The Wildcat which jiggles and shakes the rider like a good piece of flan. The park features a new coaster, Fahrenheit, that mimics the unstable Pennsylvania weather by going straight up at the beginning only to fall straight back down. Here's the view from the bottom:Fahrenheit was pretty dapper and an amazing rush. I still think I prefer The Wildcat but things are getting tighter at the top. As unfoodie like as it may be I didn't spend time on Tuesday enjoying Hershey's local vegetarian cuisine. I choose a diet of Peanut Butter cups instead.

The whole reason for returning to Pennsylvania was for my friend J.H.'s wedding. She was a groomswoman in my wedding, so she returned the favor by anointing me a bridesman. Unfortunately most people didn't change their vocabulary so throughout wedding preparation I was referred to as a girl. "The girls will do this" or "Have the girls walk and stand here." The groomsmen, people that I knew in high school, seemed to get a kick out of that. Anyway as we prepped on Saturday for the twilight union J-Fur and I made a quick pit stop to Massey's, a soft serve ice cream parlor in Carlisle that makes the best milkshakes I've ever had. I enjoyed a small blueberry and peach (two because we also went back the next day). She drank a medium cherry and raspberry. Delicious.
Thankfully, the sweets didn't stop there. As part of being in the wedding party J.H. gave J-Fur and I a Peanut Butter Bomb and Oreo Brownie. These desserts were impressive, especially when you take into account that they came from Vegan Treats a vegan bakery in Bethlehem, PA. Most vegan desserts I've had are too dry or contain too much of something to make up for the lack of animal products. But when we visited Vegan Treats at Christmas, the sticky bun that I bought tasted really...animally. It was amazing how little was lost by removing the animal by-products. The Peanut Butter Bomb was no different. It was very creamy and rich. If you'd have told me it was vegan I would've said you are lying.

Vegan Treats on Urbanspoon
A picture of the couple that made all this sweetness possible:
When I think Sweetness and music the first band to come to mind is Los Campesinos! and their song "Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks." I wasn't all that impressed when they played in Tampa (although when they performed Sweet Dreams Gareth Campesino came into the crowd and grabbed people around him to help him sing which was some excellent showmanship). I did not have high hopes at Lollapalooza considering they were on a much bigger stage but they were very intense, put on a great show, and had the crowd really into it. The difference? Probably the fact that one of their band members missed the Tampa show due to illness and she made all the difference in the world. My friend BH took some pictures of their Lollapalooza set and made a cool all around view of it.

During Lykke Li's set at Lollapalooza she invited Andrew Wyatt (lead singer from Miike Snow who reminds me of a Fleet Fox wearing Johnny Cash clothing) to join her on stage. The two performed a cover of the Kings of Leon "Knocked Up." I've not heard a sweeter set of words come from Andrew Wyatt's mouth than when he looked at Lykke Li and professed "Always mad and usually drunk but I love her like no other." Top notch.

Nothing to do with Lollapalooza "Catamaran" by Candy Claws is sweet for obvious reasons.

Finally a little blast from the past (in the same vein as going to a wedding with people you knew ten years ago). You Say France and I Whistle just posted a new video for their song "When Lovers Die" (which I included on a playlist here). The video has a little bit of baking involved although more of the creation winds up in people's hair than on the tray at the end. For an interview with the band click the link.