State Fair Hound

An independent view of the New York State Fair

Category: Chowing down (Page 1 of 2)

A Token Change

The Milk Bar switched from the classic tickets to tokens while retaining the popular 25-cent price. COIN MACH. 17At times the machines ran out, requiring customers to stand in line to buy from a cashier, but overall, things went smoothly.

Home On the Grange

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. OX ROAST 17A 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. OX ROAST SIGN 17New 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.

Home Cooking

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, COOKHOUSE EXT 17not 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. COOKHOUSE INT 17 (1)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.

 

Countdown Photo–4 Weeks

With about a month to go to the opening of the new York State Fair, regulars can almost smell their favorite fried dough.

With about a month to go to the opening of the new York State Fair, regulars can almost smell their favorite fried dough.

Countdown Photo–15 Weeks

Changes are coming to the popular milk bar. This is how it looked in 2016.

Changes are coming to the popular milk bar. This is how it looked in 2016.

Countdown Photo–27 Weeks

It's not the Fair without the clickety-clack of the taffy-making machine and those sight of those brightly-wrapped nuggets.

It’s not the Fair without the clickety-clack of the taffy-making machine and those sight of those brightly-wrapped nuggets.

Bloody Good Time

Maybe your New Year's party can draw inspiration from this  elaborate bloody Mary cocktail, served at the Empire Room at the Fair.

Maybe your New Year’s party can draw inspiration from this elaborate bloody Mary cocktail, served at the Empire Room at the Fair.

Who’s Hungry?

It’s back to normal eating since the Fair closed on Labor Day, but we have the memories of that amazing Fair chow.

Some stands were demolished and relegated to tents, but Restaurant Row remains, with anchors such as Bosco's attracting loyal customers.

Some stands were demolished and relegated to tents, but Restaurant Row remains, with anchors such as Bosco’s attracting loyal customers.

 

Food trucks lined Chevy Court on Sep. 3, adding to the spectacular array of culinary choices.

Food trucks lined Chevy Court on Sep. 3, adding to the spectacular array of culinary choices.

 

It wouldn't be the Fair without once-a-year favorites like funnel cake.

It wouldn’t be the Fair without once-a-year favorites like funnel cake.

Cajun Seasoning

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. CROELE SOUL 16Local 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, PA VIL SHOP 16just 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.

Inner Tubers

There’s been another change to the location of the new York State Potato stand. This time it’s actually moved down the hall to the enclosed restaurant space in the Horticulture Building. SPUDS AND SUDS 16

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.

 

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