Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Festival Food

Ed. note: This post originally appeared in my 2008 food blog Fork It Over on the website of the Rochester Insider magazine, which is now Metromix Rochester. Since the old blog is no longer available online, I'm re-posting some of those posts here and backdating them to their original posting dates. Although in most cases they are specific to Rochester, hopefully you'll still find them somewhat interesting!  ~Rachel, 6/28/10

What can you find at the Lilac Festival aside from lilacs (and tulips, which are also in full bloom right now)?

Festival food! From fried dough to corn dogs to smoothies, you can find all your festival favorites scattered throughout Highland Park this week. I stopped by the festival on Saturday and battled the crowds to get a good look at all the flowers and a good taste of some of the food. Whether you're looking for something on the healthy side (smoothies, maybe?) or something to clog your arteries (just about everything else on the menu), there are plenty of options.

The Labatt Blue Beer Garden features beer as well as food from local restaurants like Beale Street Cafe, Abbott's, India Palace (Ed. note: Closed.), Nick Tahou's, and more. Elsewhere in the park, all of these vendors (Ed. note: Broken link. Sorry.) can be found selling tasty treats. Good luck maneuvering through the long lines! A weekday trip is a good idea if you have the time. The Saturday crowds were huge.

Fried dough has always been my favorite. I actually showed up to the festival not very hungry (yes, really) so I avoided it this time around, but it smelled amazing :)
Fried Dough...mmm

Just out of (morbid) curiousity, I decided to look for nutrition info for an average piece of fried dough. This recipe on RecipeZaar claims that one serving of fried dough has only 168 calories and 4.3 grams of fat. It must be for a very small serving size, but if it makes you happy, you can pretend that it applies to the festival-sized portion! This chest-pain-inducing article from WebMD claims that one funnel cake has 760 calories and 44 grams of fat, but funnel cakes seem to have more surface area than fried dough of the "elephant's ear" variety (the round, puffy kind without all the little points) so maybe fried dough is a little bit healthier. Ok, "fried dough" and "healthier" don't really belong in the same sentence, but you know what I mean. If you're confused about the difference between funnel cakes and elephants' ears, check out this informative little article from TampaBay.com.

For something a little less fried, you can stop by a cart selling popcorn and candy apples.

Dessert crepes with a variety of chocolate and berry toppings can be found at Le Crepe Cafe. These looked amazing. If I go back later this week, I know what I'm eating :)

A Maui Wowi stand offers some tasty smoothies.

...and there was even a stand advertising pet food and giving away samples!
Pet Food

While you're eating, be sure to check out the flowers. It is the Lilac Festival after all. Many of the lilacs were already in full bloom as of this weekend.

These bunches of lilacs look like bunny faces :)

In addition to lilacs, there were tons of beautiful tulips around.

I have to admit that I liked the tulips better than the lilacs!
Pink Tulip

While you're in Highland Park, check out Lamberton Conservatory (on Reservoir Ave.) $2 gains you entry to a large greenhouse full of tropical flowers, cactus, and more. I love going there every month or so to practice taking pictures of flowers. It really is a great thing to have in the area, especially during the winter. Even when it's snowing outside, you can still find flowers in full bloom in the conservatory.

Enjoy the festival, and be sure to park far away so you can walk off all the delicious food you'll eat ;)

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