The Milk Bar switched from the classic tickets to tokens while retaining the popular 25-cent price. At times the machines ran out, requiring customers to stand in line to buy from a cashier, but overall, things went smoothly.
Category: Chowing down (Page 1 of 2)
State fair visitors, surrounded by food vendors selling deep-fried twinkies, chocolate-covered bacon, Dippin’ Dots and rainbow-colored cotton candy may think that there isn’t anywhere on the grounds to buy real food, but they’d be wrong. A large corner stand across from the dairy cattle barn takes pride in serving tasty and wholesome food, something they’ve been doing in the same location since the early 70s.
The Grange Ox Roast stand is a rare oasis in a sea of junk food fads. They have no deep fryer and no interest in joining the competition, passing off culinary novelties as fair food. They’re best known for serving a dinner of sliced or barbecued beef with sides including a baked potato, applesauce and tossed salad. But if your party includes a finicky kid, you can get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—skip the peppers and onions.
Not to forget breakfast, Fair workers and early arrivals know that the Grange serves a fine one featuring eggs, bacon, ham, home fries and omelets. New Hope Mills pancakes are topped with genuine New York maple syrup. The stand opens daily at 7 a.m.
The all-volunteer crew is the friendliest on the grounds. Most staffers are Grange members there to support the rural community service organization as all profits go to the Grange.
You can look at any food stand or structure at the New York State Fair as a restaurant. If the definition is a business that serves food, they all qualify, at least loosely. But the way The Hound sees it, the Iroquois Cookhouse comes closest to a true restaurant, not only because it an actual building devoted to cooking, serving and eating, but also for its variety and flexibility.
For starters, they serve three meals a day, opening early with one of the best breakfasts on the grounds. For lunch and dinner, the menu changes from day to day, featuring one or two daily specials from spaghetti to roast turkey. Many different sides and desserts, some homemade, complete the meal experience.
One thing that’s especially inviting is the flexibility the Iroquois cooks offer. They take requests where possible, customizing or modifying the featured dishes to satisfy customer appetites. Plus, they keep it affordable.
There is plenty of indoor seating, while the deck, screened porch and nearby picnic tables offer pleasant choices for eating alfresco. For diners who are moved by the spirit of the festive surroundings, several traditional native items are served. One, a favorite of State Fair PR guy Dave Bullard, is Haudenosaunee fry bread, the forerunner of modern fried dough. Stop by, you don’t need a reservation.
It’s back to normal eating since the Fair closed on Labor Day, but we have the memories of that amazing Fair chow.
When it’s time to eat at the new York State Fair—and it’s pretty much always time to eat—you can find sausage or steak sandwiches, fried dough, burgers and French fries everywhere. If you’re looking for something a little different and just as tasty, the Pan African Village offers a delicious change of pace.
This year, in addition to Gwen’s soul food, island hopping at La Delicias and Bongo’s spicy jerk entrees, Creole Soul Café has arrived with a taste of New Orleans. Local chef and restaurateur Darren Chavis, whose hosts a downtown eatery of the same name, is serving up traditional Cajun and creole dishes like gumbo and red beans and rice, and plenty of hearty choices from catfish and gator to crawfish and shrimp. This isn’t Chavis’ first Mardi Gras, as the bayou-born chef had been stirring the Nawlins pot for many years prior to taking up residence in the old Dey Brothers Building.
Creole Soul fits perfectly as part of the eclectic and exotic Pan African Village, which this Fair celebrates 20 years located between the Center of Progress and the Art and Home Center, just inside the new gate 11a, near tram stop 2.
In addition to terrific ethnic cuisine, there’s a steady stream of live entertainment and several boutique tents of jewelry, crafts, gifts and collectibles. Though emphasizing African and Caribbean cultures, everyone is warmly welcomed to this not-to-be-missed Fair locale.
The new space has seating inside the air-conditioned diner, but the lines often extend out into the hallway. Baked tater’s, white or sweet, are still a buck a spud with your choice of toppings.
One great change is the addition of genuine New York-produced drinks from Saranac, right over in Utica. Premium Soda, like root beer and cream soda, are just a dollar a bottle, a real bargain for the Fair.