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!
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!
Next up was the Scatchia Bread, which was also quite good!
Last edited by Philrad71 on Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:57 am.
^ 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.
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!
^^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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