I made my way up to Central NY this past September, first for an extended Labor Day weekend with my girlfriend to visit my family and to see the Canadian prog-rock band, RUSH, at the Great NY State Fair. What better chance to sample some regionally correct Roadfood? The second trip was a solo one as I had planned to run the Delta Lake Half Marathon in my hometown of Rome, NY and it would be my first half-marathon! Now, on with the show! Wednesday Sept 1st
- Dayna and I took the train up to Syracuse and just relaxed with a nice cookout of burgers, dogs, my sister's potato salad and family and friends. We also caught the Syracuse episode of Man v. Food where they featured Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Heids and Mother's Cupboard. Thursday Sept 2nd
- After a good night's sleep I logged a 15K run around my sister's neighborhood and rested for a bit before Dayna and I met up with my friend from college, Shawn, whom I had not seen in almost 20 years! It was great to catch up with her and we made plans to run together in Seneca Falls this October in the "It's A Wonderful Run" 5K. Now, l had driven by Mother's Cupboard
numerous times when my sister lived in the Eastwood section of Syracuse and I had always thought that it was closed. When I found out after the MvF show that it only serves breakfast & lunch and closes at 1:30pm, we hightailed it over there in time to enjoy a late breakfast. Not a big place and with a dirt/loose gravel parking lot, this spot serves up some HUGE meals!
Follow the rules! There was a line out the door to get a table but seeing as it was just the two of us, we opted for the counter stools. Score!
I love all of the little sayings on the menu.
Any place that serves S.O.S. needs to be on my list!
Adam Richman after finishing the Frittata challenge. On the show they said it was 6lbs of food. I couldn't believe he finished it all, especially with the huge pile of home fries included in it.
They start out with a load of rough cut potatoes...
...let them sit for a bit. This is key. I watched the cook put them on the flat top, sprinkle on some salt & paprika and then leave them alone! He didn't move them around or keep turning them. BTW, on the right side of the griddle is either a half or full frittata. Insane!
This is the end result. Some of the crispiest, creamiest, most flavorful home fries I have ever tasted. I would go so far as to call them addictive and we only had a half order!
My foot-wide Blueberry pancake. Crisp-edged and spongy, soft in the middle, these didn't need any syrup but I made good use of that rapidly melting butter and I managed to polish off the whole thing. Somewhere under there is a dinner-size plate, I swear!
Dayna's Vegetable Omelet (made with egg substitute per her request). This was very tasty and filling. Between the two of us, we couldn't finish it, just too much food! The vegetables inside were cooked down yet had a slight crunch to them which we both liked.
After Mother's we went back to my sister's house to relax for a bit and then drove to a drop off spot where we caught a shuttle bus to the Great NY State Fair. The buses were $1.50 each way and much easier than driving in the extra heavy fair traffic and dealing with the parking! Billy and the produce become fast friends!
So much food to choose from, but what to eat, what to eat? Spiedis? Salt Potatoes? Chicken with Bob Gibson's red sauce? Wait, we're not Alabama!
Off to the Dairy Products Building
To check out this year's butter sculpture.
Welcome to Dairyville! My name is Bill and I'll be your tour guide in the world of buttery goodness!
Hot beef sundae? Love the idea, but not what I was hunting down on this day.
An obligatory stop at the Rainbow Milk Bar for...
a cup of chocolate and a cup of white. These were so cold and so fresh that I bought a couple more. Quite refreshing on a hot day. Ron Burgundy had it wrong! Milk was a GOOD choice!
Chicken Riggies? Nope.
I saw this sign and for a moment pictured ill-tempered children being cast off in an auction!
My goal for the day was to make it to Baker's Chicken Coop
, a fair fixture for 61 years! I do love Cornell style BBQ chicken whenever I have the chance.
As you can see, Dr. Baker's influence on the chicken was extensive.
I'm ready for my dinner.
The chicken was very moist and the skin had that perfect balance of crispy/slightly charred texture, but the flavor wasn't imbued with the intense marinade/barbeque sauce I had expected and had come to know at Brooks' House of Bar-B-Q in Oneonta and at the many fire house chicken barbeques of my youth. It was more charcoal-y than anything. The salt potatoes with melted butter were everything I could want and the roll made a nice mini sandwich stuffed with the chicken, potatoes and drizzled with some of the melted butter!
I wished that I had brought something to carry this in, but alas it was not to be on this evening.
Part of my excitement of Roafooding at the fair stemmed from a RF Digest post that Bruce Bilmes had put up. It said that the Anchor Bar of Buffalo was going to be selling their chicken wings at the fair. These two spots were supposed to be selling them. I found the New York Cafe in the Horticulture Building around 6pm, but no wings in sight and many of the other items sounded like a marketing person's version of what the dishes should be. They had a NYC pizza that didn't sound like what I have come to know as NYC pizza. I couldn't find a garbage plate anywhere and the place seemed empty-ish and sad.
So we moved on in the Horticulture building and I was fascinated by this beehive with the queen bee in the middle (with the pink dot on her) while the others surrounded her. I think I knew a few "queen bees" in college!
Mmmm...MAPLE!!! Maple candies, cream cotton candy, syrups, etc...
Naturlly, I had to try to the maple ice cream and it was a deliciously creamy soft serve with a justly assertive maple flavor!
And of course, being me and knowing full well that donuts aren't just for breakfast anymore I totally had to have this maple cream donut. Now we can't even get fake maple donuts in NYC, let alone one topped with REAL maple cream! I believe that THIS is what Willis was talkin' bout!
I wish I had room for one of those spicy sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions. Love the Gianelli!
Our reason for coming to the Fair. Dayna managed to score 2nd row seats to see these three guys: LEE (Geddy)
LIFESON (Alex) I thought I was going to strangle the guy who got in the way of this perfect close-up shot!
and PEART (Neil). Better known as RUSH!!!!!!!!!
This was part of a short video piece RUSH has filmed in advance and it shows the guys trying to play each other's instruments in a comically awful way!
Love the t-shirt and it shows the sense of humor the band has and their ability to laugh at themselves.
Dayna and I at our seats before the show. This was really an awesome concert and they played their album, Moving Pictures (1981) in it's entirety for the first time! A three hour set and every concert-goer was going bananas!
We ended the night with a couple of slices from the Twin Trees
pizza booth. A Syracuse favorite for many years. Normally, I would think this much cheese is too much but with Twin Trees it always worked for me. The crust is chewy, crisp and substantial and holds up to the mantle of cheese and sauce. Not fresh mozz, but the grated kind and the sauce has a slight sweetness to it. I could have downed a couple more slices, but good judgement at that hour took over and I decided I didn't need it right before going to sleep! Coming up next on the CNY RF Channel...fun at the Strong Museum in Rochester and bar-b-que on the Genesee River (finally!)
<message edited by billyboy on Thu, 10/14/10 3:10 AM>