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Philrad's Phoodie Thread

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Hi folks,

Being that I have enjoyed some of the foodie threads on here, I figured that I would start my own.


In this thread, I will cover some of the food festivals my partner and I went to last year in Western NY as well as food at some of your favorite theme parks - and yes, there will be some ride/coaster pics thrown in as well! I will also share some of my culinary creations as I do love to get experimental when I cook.


So with that being said...who's ready to eat?


Our first stop takes us to the Italian Festival in Buffalo. People are in such a hurry to eat Italian food, that they forget how to properly park their vehicle!


It wouldn't be an Italian festival without a Venetian gondola! This was prepping us for our fall vacation to Venice and Florence!


You can stomp on some grapes & cream cheese if you wish.


Or catch a creepy puppet show.


But we're here for the....Lobster hut?


Turkey legs, sausage and fries? WTF??


Deep fried Snickers, pickles and Oreo's? Not really what I pictured for an Italian food festival! Oh wait, they have Italian Sausage, Italian wings & Chick N Parmesan sandwiches so it's all good!


Okay...we're weak and had to go for the deep fried pickles, which were very good!


Steak and dandelions? Guess I'm not up to speed on my Italian cuisine!


Another Italian delicacy - chocolate dipped strawberries on a stick!


It didn't end well!


Next up: beer-n-balls! You can never go wrong with beer and balls.


Yep...they had rides too.


I thought about whoring myself out for this ghetto looking parking lot coaster, but decided against it. Scream's got nothing on this theming!


We decided to try the (sort of) Italian sounding stuffed pepper rolls.


These were actually really good!


Next up was the Scatchia Bread, which was also quite good!


A bit heavy on the dough though.


I'll leave you with this oddly shaped piece of deep fried goodness. Next stop - Taste of Buffalo!

Edited by Philrad71
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Love seeing food reports.


Did not know about "steak and dandelions" being a delicacy, but it was popular for Italian immigrants to make homemade dandelion wine early in the 20th century.

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^ I have had dandelion wine...it's quite good! I now wished that I would have been a bit more daring and tried the steak with dandelions - or that Italian mac and cheese...maybe this year we'll make a return trip.

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^LOL! I was actually more afraid of riding that than some of the bigger coasters out there....that thing didn't look stable at all!


I was also surprised more people weren't tripping over the cords trying to get to the rides...this was one of the more ghetto midways I have ever seen at a fair or carnival, no doubt!

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^Thanks...looking forward to sharing more!


Every July, Buffalo has their 'Taste of Buffalo' two day food festival where local eateries can dole out some of their original menu items and compete for awards in several different categories. It touts itself as the largest two day food festival in the US and takes up more than a few city blocks with food tents, live music, beer and wine tents and local celebrities taking part.


I would assume that most other country-wide food festivals are similar where you purchase tickets for food items at various tents at the entrances (I believe that they are $1 each) and then each sampling of food or beverage costs anywhere from 1-8 tickets depending on what you are getting. Obviously a glass of regional wine would be more apt to be about 7-8 tickets, as to where a small sampling of locally made ice cream might go for 1-3 tickets. We typically go for the samples so we can taste more of the food without getting too full!


While it isn't the cheapest day you could spend, it is definitely fun sampling what the local area has to offer. Every year, restaurants are trying to get more and more creative with their dishes, although I feel that they still have waaaay too much of the standard carnival fare (pizza, wings, ice cream, etc).


Personally, I wish/hope that they can offer a lot more creative items in the future versus the usual stale slabs of over-cooked pizza, pretzels, hot dogs and plain ole French Fries. I understand that you want to appeal to the mass population as well as fussy kids, but why go to a food festival and have something that you could get that would taste better at your local McDonalds?


I do hope that they continue to expand more each year. In 2012, I was particularly excited about the addition of three food trucks to the festival - a first for ToB! Although there were some grumblings about this from local restauranteurs, I think B-lo area is slowly starting to warm up to the awesomeness that is the food truck craze.


And two of my personal favorites of this year's festival just happened to come from two of those trucks!


View on and let's see what I picked as my favorites!


First up - Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.


People in the Rochester and Syracuse area probably know about this place of which one just recently opened in the Buffalo area. I guess they have a few locations downstate and in Jersey and Connecticut as well.


Michael got the pork slider sample portion for four tickets. I didn't think it was all that great to be honest. Definitely lacked sauce and what it had on it was somewhat bland.


I opted for some garlic parm wings which were undercooked and lacking in flavor - definitely not a Buffalo trait when it comes to wings. Didn't get a pic of the vendor so I will definitely have to either write down names or take pictures of all of them next year so I can remember what's good and what isn't!


This Brasciole slider sounded different, so we sampled one. It ended up winning best overall item.


While tasty, I didn't agree that it was the best item. Basically tasted like sliced beef with tomato sauce & mozzarella cheese to me.


After three samplings, we had to take the obligatory beer break!


Yay....FOOD TRUCKS! And one named Cheesy Chick no less. I just hope that the Cheesy Chick blowing her cigarette smoke in front of the truck isn't the owner. ;-)


They only had three trucks, but they had two of the three best items at the fest.


I'm sure some of you may have had Mexican corn on the cob, but this was my first try. Butter, mayo, fresh cilantro, cotija cheese and cayenne pepper. Good stuff!!!


We were both a mess when all was said and done....but it was well worth it. This was my #3 ranked item. Also love the saying on the truck behind Michael!


I can't even remember what this was, but it was not good. Total lack of flavor...tasted like eating soggy weeds with a light taste of scallop as an afterthought.


I thought that mac-n-cheese pierogi bites sounded good, but these ended up tasting more like grease pockets filled with slimy pasta - not good!


Fried calimari w/banana peppers and a rib sampling. Neither one of these impressed either. Calimari was rubbery, grainy and obviously not fresh. Ribs were dry and lacking flavor.


I decided to go all-out original here and get the crab cake and the 'Sicilian Cigar'. This had won ToB in 2011.


They might look kinda gross, but this was my #2 favorite item at ToB! The crab cake was very fresh & flaky, while the 'Cigar' bursted with cheesy garlicky goodness blended with the seemingly bizarre compliment of the melon salsa. I can see why this won last year...it should have won two years in a row!


But this was my personal favorite. From food truck #3 - 'The What Burger" featuring peanut butter and bacon jam!


Yeah it might look like more like a diarrhea burger, but this thing kicked major ass!


We went for the sampling, but if they have this next year I'm definitely going for the 8 ticket sample - this thing was AWESOME! Peanutty, bacony, burnt char on the outside and medium rare on the inside. Simply decadent & bursting with flavor!


Thanks for reading!

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Some of those definitely didn't look too appetizing (the wings in particular), but I'm glad you found some good ones. The What Burger looked very odd, but I'm glad it was good!

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^^Yes, the wings were a major disappointment and a downright embarrassment to what real Buffalo wings should taste like. I sure hope no tourists ate these as their first ever taste of Buffalo wings!


I love the idea of the different flavor of wing sauces versus just Franks Red Hot and butter and have had garlic parm wings at other various locations which (while not as bad as these) just didn't have enough flavor even though I love garlic and parmesan cheese. I guess I have eaten so many hot & spicy wings over the years, that perhaps I just expect that they should taste that way!



^ I have tried to make the Mexican corn on the cob at home on the grill after that, but could not find the cotija cheese in the supermarket. I instead used (surprise, surprise) parmesan cheese and garlic powder and while good, it wasn't nearly as good as what we got from the food truck.


I Googled Mexican corn on the cob today and got several recipe hits that looked the same ingredients as the one off the truck...I would definitely recommend trying it at home sometime! I was also thinking of trying a variation of this recipe with canned corn, add the ingredients and then frying it up in a pan on the stove. This is because my grilling option is now out because we got a foot of snow here (on the first day of spring, no less) and my grill is now buried on the patio!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Been a bit since I posted here, so I figured I need to get back to posting about what we all love....good food!


This past February, Michael and I were up in Buffalo to catch the Blue Man Group at Sheas Theater. The show was good, but the following day I was on a foodie hunt for a restaurant called Grover's that proclaims to have been voted Buffalo's best hamburger/cheeseburgers for three years running.


Grover's name actually comes from the ex-president (and Buffalo mayor/NY Governor) Grover Cleveland who if you didn't know, was the only president that served two non consecutive terms in the 1800's. The restaurant itself is actually his old hunting lodge that was converted into the restaurant bearing his name.


Now that you've had your brief history lesson for the day, the specialty here is obviously the burgers. They are also famous for their cheeseburger soup and parmesan garlic wings and while we didn't have the wings (perhaps next time), the cheeseburger soup was fantastic (we split a bowl).


For the burgers, they start with 12 oz. of beef cooked any way you want it - mine was ordered medium rare and was cooked perfectly. While they don't have all of the fancy ingredients and toppings that a lot of places do, they don't need to rely on that to cook up one helluva good burger! The Bruiser is their signature burger, which of course is why we were there. It comes with bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, mayo, onion, lettuce, tomato and grilled onions.


I know a lot of you are not the biggest fan of Guy Fieri (and neither am I), but this place was featured on Diner's, Drive In's and Dives a few years back. You will see a signed photo of him (of course) as well as other silly signs and Buffalo memorabilia throughout the restaurant. The place itself is very small and instead of waiting for someone to seat you, you sign your name on a blackboard and they will seat you when a table becomes available. Luckily for us, we didn't have to wait too long to get a seat at the bar, but we were there at 3:00 on a Saturday and it was crowded. I would assume that if you visited on a weekend around dinner time, you better be prepared to wait a while to get a table!


For the beer connoisseurs, they had a decent draft selection. Most of the staple crap: Coors Light, Bud Lite, Blue Moon, Shock Top etc....but they also had a local brew of which I downed a couple pints of - Flying Bison: Rusty Chain (think of a little stronger version of Killians) as well as some other rare microbrews. Rusty Chain was a very good brew to down with a HUGE, awesome burger!


I will say that you either need a huge appetite, or you might want to choose to split a burger. We made the mistake of ordering a side of fries and onion rings and I don't think I even ate more than four or five of them. Not that they were bad, I just couldn't stop eating the burger and still couldn't finish it!


Of note, our bartender was a sweetheart. She was not only attentive and friendly, but when I told her we were foodies from Jamestown, she was elated that we had chosen to come out of our way to their little restaurant. While we were waiting for our order, they had a magazine of Buffalo/Niagara's best restaurants that I was thumbing through. When I asked her where I could buy one, she said: "Just take it. I think we might have more in the back, so you can just take that one with you".


How cool is that?


Grover's is located about 10-15 minutes from the Buffalo Niagara airport on Transit Rd in East Amherst. If you are looking for a great burger in B-Lo, this is undoubtedly the place to go...very highly recommended & we definitely plan on going back for the wings. Perhaps this time, we'll split a burger and a single order of the garlic parm wings!


Michael isn't a huge fan of grilled onions, so he opted for the bacon & bleu burger.


And here is the Grandaddy of them all: The Bruiser!


It was definitely a struggle getting my mouth around this thing, Make sure you ask for extra napkins!


Medium rare - done perfectly!


Michael said he was full this far into the burger. He plowed on, but neither of us could finish. Notice the free foodie magazine to the left as well as the 'Retro Genny Light' 16 oz can special for $2.50. Anyone that has never had Genny Light and likes good beer, I would recommend getting the Flying Bison: Rusty Chain!

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^ I definitely would like to back a few more times to check out some of the other menu items, but you certainly can't go wrong with The Bruiser. Nothing fancy at all in regards to the burger in regards to heavy seasonings, spices and that sort of thing like most places might do to "gimmick" up their burgers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This update will be my New England/Boston tribute to those that lost their lives and were injured in the horrific Boston Marathon bombing on 4/15. We visited the city twelve days before the bombing and my heart goes out to the families that have had to suffer through this senseless act of evil.


Even though I have to admit that I am both jealous and envious of Boston sports teams (because my Buffalo teams suck), I will say that the people of Boston are a tough, resilient, yet very friendly bunch in which the tragedy that unfolded weeks ago will only bring them all closer together....and it's a city that I always enjoy visiting.


Not a ton of phoodie photos from my week on (and around) the Cape, but a few...


First stop - breakfast at Joe's Diner in Lee, MA on the way to the Cape for a week of R&R.


Famous people from New England have eaten here, so it must be good, right? And when you see stools that are ripped and are being fixed with duct tape, you know it's good!


If you're ever in Western Massachusetts, give this place a try as they have great breakfasts!


My plate of eggs, hash and rye bread...simple, yet done perfectly for about $6.50.


Next up was a quick stop at Quincy Market in downtown Boston...


Where you have to have the Boston Chowda! Actually, I settled for the lobstah bisque although I wished I would have had the clam chowdah. While this was wicked good soup, it was lacking in chunks of lobstah and tasted more like tomater soup with very foin slivahs of lobstah meat. Still wicked good on a cold spring Bahsten day although I still prefer the chowda at the Cabby Shack in Plymouth.


Michael doesn't do anything seafood so he opted for some carrot cake.


A look at the outside.


A great mix of old and new buildings - here is the Old Statehouse, I believe.


We were getting hungry again so we decided to have dinner at 'The Tap' on Union Street.


Michael opted for this concoction which was pork covered in onion rings, coleslaw and a chipotle mayo - meh.


I went with the tri-tip sandwich which had promise, but the meat was just a bit too fatty. The sweet potate fries were great and they had $8 Molson Canadian pitchers (which was what drew us in to begin with). If I were to visit again, I think I might try the wings as I noticed several people that ordered them and they smelled delicious. Very reminiscent of Anchor Bar wings in B-Lo.


And I'll close out the update with a classic New England shot - Truro lighthouse on the Cape. We were able to golf the Truro Highland's links course here, which is always fun before a visit to P-Town. Thanks for reading & remember...Boston Strong!

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^One of the major bummers about going to the Cape in March/April is that a lot of P-Town is still shuttered for the season. I don't things really kick off there until late April or early May because of the weather. I have only been to P-Town twice in the peak season and the vibe is like night and day!


But being that Truro is so close to P-Town, we HAVE to go there every time we visit the Cape even though it is like a ghost town. The last time we were there, we went to one of the few opened restaurants that was open - Napi's and I had a very nice lobster dinner. We were going to go to the Lobster Pot, but that opened the week after we were there.


We basically parked the car and walked down Commercial Street and went to one of our favorite places, The Gifford House for a drink and then walked back and drove back to the time share in Brewster.


Here is a pic of Michael and I donned in our Mardi Gras beads for the tea-dance at the Boatslip back in '05...the last time I was there in peak season and as you can see, I had my jacket on! The other one's from Herring Cove Beach I'm not allowed to post here!



Edit: I am currently downloading all of Michael's pictures to my computer which means that I'll be able to post some P-Town phoodie pics as well as places we have visited in past years. In looking through them, I didn't realize how many food photos I had taken!


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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry for the lack of updates, but it has been a busy last few weeks.


I do have a couple of pictures from Cape Cod, Plymouth and P-Town to share and will try to post some pics from our tour of the Sam Adam's brewery - yeah, not food, but beer is just as good!


Last weekend was a gastronomic affair in Columbus, Ohio at Schmidt's German restaurant...hope to also post these one's soon!


View from the P-Town Pilgrim's Monument in awesome Provincetown, MA - one of the USA's most gay-friendly towns. The top of the tower is accessible by stairway only, but offers spectacular views of the Cape.


My lobstah dinnah at Napi's in P-Town - even lobstah's like to spread their legs in P-Town. Was this one at the A-House before it ended up on my plate? Whoa, did I just say that?? lol


Next stop - The Cabby Shack in Plymouth for lobster roll and beer!


Very good lobster roll, but pricey at about $16-18 - note the nice claw chunk of meat on top...delicious!


Local flavor although I did not get the Blueberry Beer as I am more of an IPA guy myself. This was the Wachusett Green Monstah IPA. Any baseball fan can guess where the name came from - good stuff! ;-)

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^One thing that surprised me was that I had heard that lobster prices in New England had come down due to an over-abundance. When we were there however, the lobster rolls were expensive everywhere we went and even buying a fresh whole lobster at the pound to cook at our time share still cost me about $26.

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Here is pic of a tasty meal that I made recently - home-made fish tacos.




Ingredients: pan fried haddock in olive oil (cooked to brown) with several herbs and spices from my spice rack & Lazy Susan, shredded fresh cabbage and onions on a jalapeno corn tortilla garnished with a mayo consisting of (obviously) mayo (Hellmans w/olive oil), a friends home-made chipotle hot sauce, garlic powder, sliced green olives, diced banana peppers, sweet pepper relish, a touch of Sriracha hot chili sauce, a touch of powdered curry, a bit of Dijon mustard, bit of ketchup, a smidge of brown sugar and dash of cilantro - yeah, I don't measure anything when I cook! ;-)


Very tasty!!!

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I have never had fish tacos of any kind, brand, make.

It has always seemed 'wrong" to me. But that's just me, lol.


They do look good, what you made there. And the ingredients

read tasty, too.


One of these days, weeks, months....

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^One thing that surprised me was that I had heard that lobster prices in New England had come down due to an over-abundance. When we were there however, the lobster rolls were expensive everywhere we went and even buying a fresh whole lobster at the pound to cook at our time share still cost me about $26.


Yeah, I'm no expert on seafood pricing strategies but I think with today's flash freezing and packaging/distribution technology prices for fresh seafood (and other meats and produce) aren't as drastically different regionally as they used to be. Here in north Florida most grocery stores often have fresh Mayport Shrimp seasonally (Mayport is a near the Florida/Georgia border) that are still several dollars per pound more expensive than previously frozen shrimp from Texas or Key West or China or where ever(and the quality isn't drastically different). I've even noticed Mayport Shrimp in other grocery stores across the southeast that are close to the same price if not slightly cheaper than the stores here that are 10 miles from the port!

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