Category: Chowing down (Page 1 of 2)
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.
Hungry visitors to the New York State Fair this season may find themselves searching for their favorite food stands as several of the most popular vendors have moved from traditional spots in the reconfiguration of the grounds. State Fair Hound recently reported that Gianelli is near its old spot, in a tent behind the Horticulture Building. Likewise, Tully’s isn’t far from last year’s location, but several others have moved a greater distance.
Several longtime restaurants are now part of a new strip along the roadway known as Broadway, a lengthy stretch of blacktop that runs alongside the new midway. There you can get your middle eastern favs from King David’s, wash down your sandwiches with a beer at the Shamrock (minus the green-on-top light), enjoy some fine cuisine at Whelan’s, boost your cholesterol at Fried Specialties or steal a taste of poultry at the Chicken Bandit. There are also two Pizza Fritte locations, one at essentially both ends of Broadway.
The Hound will have an updates on some new places to chow down in an upcoming post.
Over nine months ago, Cooking Channel investigative eater Noah Cappe visited the New York State Fair to tape an episode of his series Carnival Eats. As reported on State Fair Hound (Tip of the Cappe, Aug. 29, 2015), Cappe made several stops on the grounds, including an early morning visit to Fried Specialties, sampling the notorious Defibrillator.
The show featuring that encounter was scheduled to premiere on May 5, but inexplicably didn’t air.
According to the Carnival Eats website, that show will be broadcast on May 8 at 11 p.m., May 15 at 7 p.m. and May 30 at 6 p.m. Usually CE splashes some scenes from the featured event between cooking segments, also stopping to chat with patrons of the starring eateries, so don’t miss a chance to see our State Fair on national television.
The Post-Standard recently quoted a local dietician they interviewed as advising State Fair visitors not to skip meals before heading out for a day on the grounds. In the interest of equal time, State Fair Hound offers this advice: Go hungry and eat a lot.
A good friend of The Hound once confessed to going to the Fair with her husband, but eating nothing, fearing that health and sanitary standards were lacking. Not true. Keep in mind that the vendors at the Fair are held to the same standards that restaurants are, including frequent inspections. These folks are professionals, often owners of year-round eateries or traveling diners that do this most of the year at locations all over the country.
When it comes to nutrition, not only can you find plenty to eat that’s healthy, if you don’t, no big deal. You’re allowed to splurge as part of the best festival of the year, so go for it. Unless you have serious medical issue, chow down and indulge yourself at the Fair. You can go back to minding your diet after Labor Day.
A television crew was on the grounds Saturday, taping the nationally-broadcast Cooking Channel show Carnival Eats, mentioned in our April 14, 2015 post, Chow Hound. Affable host Noah Cappe started early, interviewing Fried Specialties owner Jim Hasbrouck and getting the skinny—if you can call it that—on the Defibrillator sandwich, a decadent mixture of meats and cheese. Cappe then moved on to shoot several more segments at other stands to be broadcast on upcoming episodes.
Cappe, wearing the white shirt in these exclusive State Fair Hound photos, took time between to talk to The Hound, marveling at the size of the New York State Fair and revealing that he estimates that Carnival Eats, now in its third season, has presented about 200 foods from fairs and festivals in the US and Canada. This marks his first stop at our State Fair.
Watching the CE crew work was an eye-opener in terms of the elaborate and exacting effort that goes into each scene. First-rate production quality and expert editing make each show deliciously entertaining, allowing Cappe to gets his sparkling personality, as well as his hands, into each outrageous recipe. Off camera, the lanky Toronto native is as charming and personable as his television persona, taking time to chat and pose for photos between takes.
The State Fair scenes will appear in an upcoming season-three episode of Carnival Eats and the Hound will be watching.