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Friday, April 5, 2013

Food Festivals

I search the newspapers looking for food festivals in my area.  It's a great way to try out new restaurants that are popping up all over the county.  I went to one this past weekend and was pleasantly surprised.  So many choices of what to eat.

Being from the south, the bar-b-que booth line was the longest in the tent.  So, that may sound a bit stereotypical, but they brought their smoker, wood, ribs, sausage, and chicken. Foods smoking on the open fire would even make the vegetarians ready to try some southern ribs that day.

Other popular lines were the ice cream line, Hawaiian ice line, and the deep fried brownie line.... whoa!! What? Deep fried brownie? That caught my attention very quickly.  I watched the man cut the huge pan of brownies into perfect 2 x 2 squares (or were they 3 x 3), dip them in a thick batter, drop them in the fryer and wait.  At just the perfect hint of golden deliciousness, he took them out of the fryer and let them drain on a metal rack.  After an eternity of waiting, they were then sprinkled with powdered sugar and then drizzled with caramel or fudge sauce.  Guess what I did?  I refrained from eating one!  Seriously, I knew that something this sinfully delicious was best shared in the company of others.  Since I attended the event alone, I decided to opt for the healthy food... well somewhat healthy food, and save the brownie for another time.
The vendors were having so much fun at the event!

I heard laughter and Spanish being spoken at the booth of a new Mexican restaurant opening up the street from where I live.  There was mama wearing an apron in the "kitchen" cooking, and her relatives frying the strips of beef, taking orders, and chatting with the crowd.  How could I not order something from these people who were having so much fun? I ordered a flauta.  I'm not sure if I had ever had one before, but I certainly know  what they are now.  I satisfied the deep fried (albeit not a brownie) desire of the day.  It was filled with chicken, and covered with a delicious cream salsa with just a hint of heat, fresh cilantro, and crumbly cheese.  It was the best $1.50 lunch I've ever had.  It was so good that I went back to the booth and told them I loved it!  They smiled and said: "Oh, you need to come to the restaurant..they are even better there. More to a serving, plus chips and sides too." I can't wait for the restaurant near my house to open! I will be there....  But in the meantime, my slogan is: "Will drive for food"!
I walked around and spoke to a few vendors, saw a few students that I knew from school, and watched other events.

I stopped to take a look at the puppet show.  It wasn't the typical puppet show of late where they use hand puppets, but the old fashioned stringed puppets.  The puppeteer was amazing.  One little skit was about a clown learning how to dance.  Here I am in my fifties, and I find myself thinking: "come on clown, you can do it"!  I was cheering inside for the little clown.  It was simply amazing.  I will continue to go to food events for the food, but I will also look for the little hidden gems like the puppet shows.  It truly returned me back to my childhood when I received my string puppet as a gift from my parents.  I still have that little string puppet, but have never learned how to bring him to life.
My little friend the clown taking a bow.

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar