One of us eats up national food holidays, the other doesn’t give a flying fig. It’s understandable, as the official status of these celebrations is as arbitrary as the dates they’re assigned. The vast majority, of course, are associated with sales and raising awareness by prodding consumers to eat more marzipan, Peking duck, corn chips, glazed doughnuts, lobster Thermidor—not all on the same day, thank goodness.
Such food holidays started at the beginning of the 20th century. One of the earliest ingredient-related moments was National Apple Week, which was first observed in October 1904. And some of these fake holidays are properly official. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan actually took time to make delicious proclamations with congressional backing: Ike pushed for walnut appreciation, while Reagan declared a national day for ice cream. Then along came John-Bryan Hopkins, food writer and founder of Foodimentary.com, who added to those already established.
So there we have it. It’s the beginning of a new calendar year, and here we decide on the food and beverage milestones we are most looking forward to.
February 1 and March 24: National Cake Pop Day
Amazingly enough, the cake pop lobby is powerful enough to have two national observance days. We’ll start at Starbucks with a few cake pops and cups of black coffee. Then we’ll head to Wonderland Bakery at Downtown Summerlin to try the ice cream cone cake pop, which comes in a waffle cone and topped with a fondant cherry.
July 6: National Fried Chicken Day
Fried chicken is obviously one of the greatest foods ever and perhaps the pinnacle of chicken-based dishes. We’ll be setting aside the entire day to pay this culinary marvel the respect it deserves. Breakfast at Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles followed by a quick nap. Then off to lunch at M&M Soul Food Cafe and maybe another nap. A light midday snack at either Popeye’s or Church’s may also be in order, but not KFC. Dinner will be at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken inside Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq.
July 14: National Hot Dog Day
Las Vegas’ hot dog game is strong. Cheffini’s Downtown is as good as it gets—and it’s hard to beat the Classic with jalapeños, shredded mozzarella cheese and crushed potato chips. Buldogis on Fort Apache Road provides a delicious Asian fusion take on gourmet hot dogs with banh mi and bulgogi offerings. We can’t forget about Hollywood transplant Pink’s Hot Dogs in the Miracle Mile Shops for its dogs with bacon and guacamole—two of our favorite toppings. And for the chili dog, we’ll head to the first non-NYC outpost of Papaya King, located across the street from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
July 27: National Scotch Day
Nothing says summertime like a nice glass of Scotch, right? Clearly whoever chose this particular date had consumed their fair share of Scotch already. This year we’ll celebrate by circulating a petition to move National Scotch Day to a more Scotch-friendly month …
August 8: National Frozen Custard Day
Now this is an appropriate day to celebrate the cold treat! At sunset we will gather in a parking lot at the corner of Oakey and Las Vegas boulevards to worship at the church of frozen custard: Luv-it Frozen Custard, serving our city since 1973 and still the best in town. We’ll have a Western (topped with hot fudge, caramel and pecans) and a Scotch Jimmie (finished with butterscotch, sliced bananas and jimmies, a type of sprinkle).
August 25: National Whiskey Sour Day
A proper whiskey sour is one of our favorite drinks, and with August 25 falling on a Friday this year, there is no better time to pay homage to this classic cocktail than with a good old-fashioned bar crawl. Start at Downtown Cocktail Room with the classic version: bourbon, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup shaken and served over ice. Then move on to the appropriately named Improved Whiskey Sour at Velveteen Rabbit, its flavor augmented by egg whites and a cleverly applied Angostura bitters stencil. Finish up at Herbs & Rye with a Ward 8, a delicious variation on a whiskey sour using rye whiskey, lemon and orange juices, and grenadine, which sadly does not have its own national holiday—at least not yet.