Week 16: The Hotel Donaldson

  Photo by John Borge

Photo by John Borge

This week’s biscuit story begins in 1893, when the state of North Dakota was just four years old. Before the biscuit of North Dakota was a twinkle in its flour and butter’s eye, there was a fire that took out much of the city of Fargo. 160 acres were burned to ashes and from this a new town was erected. In 1894 a hotel was built and owned by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Later to become a to become a laborer’s hotel and fall into disrepair, the hotel, and the city of Fargo were waiting for something big. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Hotel Donaldson.

The more you learn about this hotel the more it becomes obvious that the best biscuit of North Dakota lives there. The 17-room boutique hotel beauty is nothing short of a love letter to the Roughrider state. The Fargo night life, culture and dinging, finds its center in this beacon of the downtown resurgence. Equipped with a fine-dining restaurant, lounge, a basement venue with a wine cellar, and a rooftop bar and hot tub space called Sky Prairie, you don’t even have to leave the hotel to explore the city.

  Photo by John Borge

Photo by John Borge

We’ve said rooftop bar and we haven’t even gotten to the best part, which is saying something. The Hotel Donaldson, known as Hodo, is a celebration of art in all forms. Representing and showcasing over 70 regional artists, the walls are lined with all mediums from oil, to glass, to mechanical sculptures. Everywhere you turn there is a piece of art there to provoke a reaction. Furthermore, from their restaurant to their beautiful suites you will find and enjoy the local flavors of art, music, specials brews, and of course food. And food always provokes a reaction, (the biscuits are coming).

This idea of local flavor is very important to Hodo. That’s why when we asked pastry chef, Dana Swanson, what, in her opinion, is the best thing about their biscuits, she stressed local and organic ingredients.

“We make our biscuits fresh daily. The Hotel Donaldson prides itself on our farm to table concept and we do this by using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. The flour, butter, and sugar in our recipe are all sourced locally.”

  Photo by Jodi Regan

Photo by Jodi Regan

When you go to North Dakota and you want to eat a biscuit and you want to taste North Dakota in that biscuit, you go to Hodo, there’s no getting around it. Everyone knows the best spread for a biscuit is a whole community jammed into it.

If you can’t make it to Fargo in time to satiate the burning need for a Hodo biscuit in time, have no fear! There recipe is here:

HoDo's Buttermilk Biscuit:

Ingredients:

20oz ap flour

2T baking powder 

2T sugar

1T salt

4oz unsalted butter

21oz buttermilk

Clues:Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture is consistent no lumps. For this I like to use the whip attachment on the mixer. Once combined remove from mixer and add in buttermilk by hand. Scoop out biscuit mixture and roll lightly in flour. Butter each lightly And bake 15-20 minutes at 350. Makes 24 biscuits

Now you may realize a small limitation on your chances of making this Hodo biscuit exactly right. If you are not local to Fargo, chances are your ingredients will not be either! But Dana has a left us little clues to solve that problem. Specifically, “The Hotel Donaldson's biscuits are great because they have just the right amount of crisp on the outside and are perfectly fluffy on the inside.” And here is where you need to pay attention. Hodo’s biscuits are amazing not just because they are local flavor, but because they “are made by people who truly love what they do!”

What this means for you is you have to love biscuits. Obviously. And biscuits will love you back.

  Photo by Jodi Regan

Photo by Jodi Regan

For it was a passion for art, hospitality, and true admiration of an amazing town that led to the creation of the Hotel Donaldson, and thus, a passion for biscuits and eating them that lead to the creation of an amazing biscuit. Also, Hodo adds Bison Sausage Gravy, and that never hurts.

Moral of this story is that the Hotel Donaldson is a place you want to visit, and they have all of the preparations for you to stay the night, or week, so you can eat biscuits until your heart’s content.

  Photo by John Borge

Photo by John Borge

We thank you North Dakota. We aren’t going to tell you to stop by Fargo next time you visit North Dakota. What we are going to do is tell you to make the decision to go to North Dakota for the very purpose of going to Fargo. You won’t regret it.