Fair food has always been a somewhat edgy type of cuisine featuring out-of-the box creations that were sure to clog your arteries.
I will never forget one of my first fair foods that I discovered at the CNE in Toronto, ON, Canada.
A perfect cube of salted butter, frozen, battered, fried and served with a caramel drizzle.
Yup, deep-fried butter!
This succulent treat offered an amazing explosion of salty goodness enveloped in that sweet caramel sauce. To die for.
So when the opportunity presented itself for me to attend one of the greatest fairs in the World and the city of Syracuse, NY, there was no doubt I was in!
Having never driven down I-81, this road trip was bound to be a good time.
With a couple friends in tow, off we went from Ottawa to Syracuse in only a few hours.
Syracuse, New York has a population of just over 143,000 and is known in food for their Salt Potatoes.
Salt Potatoes are fresh young potatoes boiled in a salty brine, smashed and drizzled with melted butter – simple yet delicious!
The Great New York State Fair started in 1841 and travelled around New York state until 1889 when it called Syracuse it’s official home.
The 375-acre Fairgrounds complex operates year-round, and annually hosts approximately 300 non-fair events.
Enough history – let’s talk food & drink!
What better way to start your day at The Fair than with a classic drink – a wine slushie!
One would be remiss to not line-up for the $1 baked potato or sweet potato! Add some toppings for 25 cents and enjoy a great baked potato for great price. Don’t let the line stop you – it moves quickly.
Off we went to the Villa Pizze Fritte stand – somewhat similar to a Canadian Beaver Tail but using pizza dough instead. It’s basically a 2-foot long pizza crust covered in sugar and cinnamon.
Wash that down with the 25-cent cup of white or chocolate milk that has not gone up in price since its inclusion at The Fair.
But the show-stopper and well, heart-stopper, and the winner of the best new creation was “The Heart Attack”.
Two Hoffman hot dogs stuffed with chili and cheese, wrapped in bacon, and deep fried. Topped with cheddar cheese, chocolate sauce, jalapenos and finished with a Hershey bar.
Not for the faint of heart!
The fair was tasty and I loved it – not to mention that it was Canadian Friendship Day and entry is free with valid legal identification.
Besides the Fair we had the pleasure of visiting many different restaurants and activities in Syracuse.
Al’s Wine & Whiskey Lounge has an extraordinary amount of spirits and wines to please any palate. If you want to try something new the bartenders are always willing to create something spectacular!
The Cheesecake Factory was a must having heard about it from almost everyone I know. The menu is so large one could wonder how the kitchen could put out that many items! I had a burger that was delicious.
My highlight by far was Texas de Brazil. This Brazilian Steakhouse has been on my radar since its inception. Large skewers of meat brought table side and carved to your liking. What more could one ask for. The meats varied from Lamb to Beef and all were cooked to perfection and seasoned precisely. If you haven’t been – go – go now!
Glazed & Confused offered some creative donut flavours and were surely a hit.
Funk ‘n Waffles is by far one of the most renowned restaurants in the area. Having appeared on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives breakfast here was a must. Mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, gravy & cranberry sauce atop a waffle – yum!
A visit to Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards, just a short drive from downtown in Lafayette, was beautiful and the samplings of their 1911 ciders, wines, gin and vodka were on point!
Another short drive is to the city of Skaneateles where I had what I would consider one of the best Fish & Chips ever! Although I ordered the fish sandwich at Doug’s Fish Fry, there was so much fish I ate some on the side. This is definitely on my list next time I visit.
To finish off the food trip we went to none other than Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. This is the original location and the BBQ was outstanding! I couldn’t decide what to try so I got a bit of everything! Just wow!
Syracuse was a beautiful city, the downtown core has so much history and a mix of old and new buildings. I truly loved exploring this beautiful city!
As for the Fair it’s definitely worth the short drive from Ottawa or Toronto. So next year I invite you to Find Your Great!