Left at the Fork

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Category: May (page 1 of 2)

Taste of Cincinnati, Cincinnati OH, May 27th through 29th 2017

REVIEW

Either you love urban street festivals or you don’t. They’re not for everyone. We’re street festival veterans and you can put our names down among the lovers. In our New York days in the ’70s, we’d never miss the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, or the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival. It usually takes years of festival-going to learn each festival’s strengths and weaknesses. Continue reading

Soft Shell Spring Fair, Crisfield MD, May 29th 2016

Soft-shell crabs were invented in Crisfield MD. Well, OK, they were invented by the crabs themselves but the harvesting and marketing of them as a food item began in the Chesapeake town. It’s a very delicate process because, if left in the water, a crab’s new shell begins to harden about two hours after shedding its old one. Frozen and cleaned soft-shells are, of course, available year-round but live ones, which are definitely superior, can be obtained only from late spring into early fall. As you might imagine, getting them from the water to the cook alive, and before a new shell has formed, is no small endeavor. Yet the process goes on because the creatures are so darned delicious (and strikingly easy to eat compared to their well-armored brethren). Continue reading

Mill Springs Mill Annual Cornbread Festival, Monticello KY, May 28th 2016

Have you ever eaten a hoe cake (often spelled as one word, hoecake)? It’s an old-time Southern U.S. specialty. Folks from up north, around Rhode Island, may know them better by the name jonnycakes, but yes, they are essentially the same thing: dried flint corn is ground and mixed with boiling water and salt to form a thick batter, from which corn pancakes are made. Some people like to give them some breeding by enriching the batter with things like wheat flour, eggs, and sugar but if you really want to enjoy them at their corn-focused best, stick with the basic version. They are a rugged taste of a rugged time in America’s past. Continue reading

Scandinavian Heritage Festival, Ephraim UT, May 27th and 28th 2016

Did you know that about 650,000 Utahns are of Scandinavian descent? Hence the 40th annual Scandinavian Heritage Festival, May 27th and 28th, held in Ephraim, known as Utah’s “Little Denmark.” As if we need a reminder not to rush to snap judgments, it also appears that this Scandinavian festival in the state of Utah offers some prime eating opportunities! Need proof? Continue reading

Ware Shoals Catfish Feastival, Ware Shoals SC, May 27th and 28th 2016

The food page of the festival website proclaims, “Prepared by the Seasoned Chefs of Ware Shoals First Baptist Church” — no way we can resist a line like that! The 36th annual Catfish Feastival in Ware Shoals, SC features fried catfish and catfish stew, as well as fried and barbecued chicken and barbecued ribs. And that’s just what those seasoned Baptist church chefs will be offering. There’ll be other vendors there as well. The Feastival officially begins on Friday, May 27th but you can get a head start on the festivities as the carnival rides will be available Wednesday and Thursday nights. Continue reading

Shad Derby Festival, Windsor CT, May 21st 2016

Each year in Windsor, CT (a little bit north of Hartford) shad (the state fish of Connecticut) swim up the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers to lay their eggs in fresh water (similar to salmon). The people of Windsor observe this biological fact with their own annual event, the springtime Shad Derby Festival. The festival is really a series of sponsored events spread throughout the month of May (this year, from the 1st through the 21st). Some of the events that have already taken place include the Fishing Tournament, the Shad Derby Gala, and the Coronation Ball. Continue reading

Live Blues with a Side of World Class BBQ

We love outdoor blues festivals, for the music, yes, but also because many of them feature some form of barbecue on the menu as well — barbecue and blues go together like baseball and hot dogs. But very, very few can claim to serve some of the best barbecue in the country. That’s what you’ll find at tomorrow’s (May 21st 2016) Bob Sykes BBQ & Blues Festival in Bessemer, Alabama. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the music kicks off at 12:10 p.m. The forecast says 83 and no rain. Best of all, there’ll be plenty of local Bob Sykes pit-cooked pork. Find all the details here.

Adairville Strawberry Festival, Adairville KY, May 14th through May 21st 2016

The 70th annual Strawberry Festival in Adairville, Kentucky began Saturday, and continues through next Saturday (March 21st 2016).  Rides, crafts, and performances by local talent begin today, with live music, crafts, vendors, rides, and the opening of the Strawberry Shoppe (homemade strawberry ice cream, strawberry shortcake!) to follow tomorrow. Continue reading

Celebrate the Start of Ice Cream Season in Seattle

Chipotle Peanut Brittle. Double-Hop Caramel. Vegan Horchata. Durian, made with the fruit, not flavoring. Coffee floats and ice cream macarons. Those are just a few of the dozens of flavors and frozen concoctions you’ll have the opportunity to sample and purchase at Seattle’s first annual Ice Cream Festival, to be held this Sunday, May 22nd, from noon until 5 p.m. Continue reading

West Virginia Strawberry Festival, Buckhannon WV, May 14th through May 22nd 2016

Homemade ice cream and strawberry shortcake, plus homemade old-fashioned sugar cookies, at the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church; strawberry pancakes and sausage at the First United Methodist Church; rib eye steak sandwiches and strawberry shortcake presented by the 4-H on the Episcopal Church lawn; homemade strawberry shortcake offered by the ladies of the local American Legion. Yes, it’s time for the West Virginia Strawberry Festival in Buckhannon, which began Saturday and continues through Sunday, May 22nd. Continue reading

Poke Salat Festival, Arab AL, May 20th and 21st 2016

The name of this festival is really for historical significance and atmospherics as you are not likely to find actual poke salat (or sallet) at this or any of the other poke sallet festivals held in Southern communities. What is poke salat? You may know it as pokeweed. It has been treated as a vegetable in the rural South, much more so in the past than today. Only the young leaves are eaten, and they must be boiled well – some say in several changes of water. The plant is considered poisonous, particularly the root, stems, and berries. Continue reading

Jambalaya Festival, Gonzales LA, May 26th through 29th 2016

Did you know that Gonzales, Louisiana is the Jambalaya Capital of the World? That’s what they decided to start calling themselves in 1967, the idea being that, along with a brand new Jambalaya Festival, the self-proclaimed title would help make a name for the town. And, you know what? It worked! Continue reading

Mudbug Madness, Shreveport LA, May 26th through 29th 2016

Call ’em mudbugs, crawdads, crawfish, or crayfish – doesn’t matter a bit, as long as there’s a steaming red mound of the boiled critters in front of you, preferably accompanied by plenty of ice-cold beer and a zydeco band. Is that how you want to spend your Memorial Day weekend? Then point your car towards northern Louisiana (Shreveport, to be precise) for at the 33rd annual Mudbug Madness. Continue reading

First Annual Philly Taco Challenge – Not What You Think!

This is not a Philadelphia eating contest to see who can eat the most tacos. That wouldn’t even make any sense in The City of Brotherly Love. No, the contest is as follows: who can eat a single Philly Taco the fastest? What’s a Philly Taco? You begin with a cheesesteak from Jim’s Steaks on South Street. Carry it down the street to Lorenzo’s Pizza, where you order one of their giant, pliable slices. Then you roll the cheesesteak in the pizza slice and begin eating! Obviously, this is not a dish born of straight and sober minds. Continue reading

Mudbug Madness, Shreveport LA, May 21st through 24th 2015

Call ’em mudbugs, crawdads, crawfish, or crayfish – doesn’t matter a bit, as long as there’s a steaming red mound of the boiled critters in front of you, preferably accompanied by plenty of ice-cold beer and a zydeco band. Is that how you want to spend your Memorial Day weekend? Then point your car towards northern Louisiana (Shreveport, to be precise) for at the 32nd annual Mudbug Madness. Continue reading

Jambalaya Festival, Gonzales LA, May 20th through 24th 2015

Did you know that Gonzales, Louisiana is the Jambalaya Capital of the World? That’s what they decided to start calling themselves in 1967, the idea being that, along with a brand new Jambalaya Festival, the self-proclaimed title would help make a name for the town. And, you know what? It worked! Continue reading

Rhubarb Festival, Kankakee IL, May 17th 2015

Where rhubarb goes, strawberry follows. Or so it seems. The crisp and tart vegetable/fruit that looks like pink celery is in season in springtime, just like its playmate the strawberry. Of course you do see rhubarb things without the berry but, to us, that always seems a little sad, as if someone is warning us not to have too much fun. That won’t be a problem tomorrow, Sunday, May 17th, in Kankakee, Illinois, as the 25th annual Rhubarb Festival will be held at the Kankakee County Museum at the Small Memorial Museum Campus. Continue reading

Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, Fruita CO, May 15th and 16th 2015

Let’s set the scene: imagine it’s 1948, and you live on a farm where you raise chickens. Your mother-in-law will be here for dinner tonight, and she is fond of eating the chicken neck. So you go out to your coop and grab a fat bird, and when you swing your axe you’re sure to leave lots of neck for your mom. Off comes the head, followed by tonight’s dinner behaving as if nothing significant has just occurred. That’s what actually happened to the Olsen family of Fruita, Colorado. Lloyd Olsen was moved by the chicken’s determination, named him Mike, and continued to raise and feed him (he grew from 2 1/2 pounds to 8 pounds) for the next 18 months! Continue reading

Poke Salat Festival, Arab AL, May 15th and 16th 2015

The name of this festival is really for historical significance and atmospherics as you are not likely to find actual poke salat (or sallet) at this or any of the other poke sallet festivals held in Southern communities. What is poke salat? You may know it as pokeweed. It has been treated as a vegetable in the rural South, much more so in the past than today. Only the young leaves are eaten, and they must be boiled well – some say in several changes of water. The plant is considered poisonous, particularly the root, stems, and berries. Continue reading

International Biscuit Festival, Knoxville TN, May 14th through 16th 2015

It’s biscuits, biscuits, and more biscuits as the International Biscuit Festival returns to Knoxville, Tennessee this week. This relatively new festival, first held in 2009, has rapidly grown into one of the country’s major food shindigs. There are really two parts to this event. Beginning Thursday, May 14th, and continuing through the day Friday, is the Southern Food Writing Conference, featuring seminars, speakers, and professional food writers. The $450 registration fee will keep those with a more casual interest in the subject away. Of more relevance to the general public will be the events from Friday evening on. Continue reading

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