Saturday, August 26, 2006

NY State Fair

My friend, Diane, and I went to see Keith Urban perform at the New York State Fair last night. It was a (to use Diane's favorite word) FANTASTIC concert. I've been to a lot of concerts, and I'd put this one in my top five.

Why do I mention this on a food blog?

Well ... because that man looked good enough to eat! Har, har, har. Sorry, I couldn't stop myself.

No really, I'm a married woman and of course I don't take much notice of such things. I like Keith Urban for his music. He's quite a performer -- an excellent vocalist and guitarist (I should know, as I'm mediocre at both) – and he even tickled the ivories on one song.

OK, I’ll tear myself away from the memories of the concert to write about food.

This was my first time at the New York State Fair – or any state fair, for that matter.

I’ve wanted to enter the culinary contests at the fair for a few years now, but procrastination has always gotten the best of me. We stopped by the arts & home building to check out the entries. The culinary entries were in the back corner of a room devoted to senior citizen crafts. Today was canning day (or some such thing) and there was a shelf crammed with lots of jars of pickles, jams and so on, with some jars bearing ribbons. There were also a few pies in a small refrigerated display case. We puzzled as to why the pie with the blue ribbon had a teeny slice taken out of it, while the 2nd place pie was almost all gone. I was expecting the food winners to be displayed the way the other crafts in the building were, so I was a bit under whelmed -- but not enough to discourage me from throwing my hat in the ring next year.

Not too far from the arts & home building we spotted the huge booth of a familiar establishment – the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. “The Dinosaur,” as it’s called here, is a very casual bar-b-que joint located in our downtown. I’ve been there just once, but the atmosphere was fun and the food was very good. We quickly decided on that for our dinner.

We split a full rack of ribs platter, which came with a side of beans and cole slaw ($21). The ribs were meaty, smoky, and tender, although we both agreed we’d prefer them with a little more sauce. The beans were really tasty and unlike any beans I’ve tried. Diane thought she tasted lime; I tasted something smoky, like chipotle. We scraped those clean. The cole slaw was shredded cabbage with a slightly spicy dressing. The texture was nice and crunchy, but we’d both prefer a sweeter flavor to compliment the smoky flavors of the meat and beans. Still, it was a much better meal than I expected at the State Fair.

We wandered through the International Food Pavilion and the rest of the fair en route to the concert. I was amazed at the vast variety of foods you could get there. Then came the concert, and all thoughts of food vanished from our minds.

All in all, it was a scrumptious evening.

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