Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It might not be basketball season, but that does not mean Syracuse has lost my interest. Its just shifted from Syracuse University to the City of Syracuse.
The best part about Syracuse? My parents are there and its where I grew up. The best part about spending time back home? (other than the obvious time with the parental units) the comforts of home.
FOOD…. duh!
There some restaurants that are only back home and have the most amazing food (in my opinion). By no means am I a foodie, I’m actually quite picky but my loves are back home in Syracuse at a few particular restaurants.
My dad gave me this and asked if I wanted to go
umm…… heck yeah!
The Taste of Syracuse is a huge food carnival, where all the restaurants in the local area have a booth set up in Clinton Square. Yes, it gets slightly infiltrated with chains but it’s primarily local awesomeness.
Each booth offers a menu “tasting” item for $1.00 and then some offer other items or larger portions for more money, nothing over $10
The three of us had a few booths on our list that were must visits, but enjoyed moseying around the square stopping at which ever made us salivate or had a short line, below is a brief summary!
Clinton Square
Where to go first?
Dad went and waited in the lines, being our "food gopher" as well as our financier

Our First Stop was Thai Flavor  
tasting item: spring roll
Other menu items: fried ice cream, shrimp rocket and pad thai
***this was high on my list. Why? umm… fried ice cream need I say more? Well, neither of my parents agreed w/ my excitement. Dad claimed there was soo much other better food and my calorie conscious mom reminded me how healthy it was.
Well, in fear of rain we went early in the afternoon and being Upstate NY’s crazy weather it felt more like an early spring day and the occasional gusts of wind were goose bump inducing, plus having fried ice cream as the first thing I ate, I opted out on the fried ice cream.
The spring roll 
It was sooo good, hot (right off the fryer) not mushy with the cabbage and carrots were still crunchy! YUM
So good that on our way out we picked up one more!

Mom and Dad had some grape leaves Byblos Mediterranean Cafe, mom could only eat one bite. Too soggy and too salty according to mom, dad ate his & hers

Next, my dad’s number one must taste:
Bone Fish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp
My dad went on and on about this, having it in the restaurant and unwilling to wait in the HUGE line last year.
Thankfully going at an off-hour and the weather kept all lines pretty short.
I liked it, not my favorite but it was decent. Its shrimp breaded & fried with a zesty cream sauce.
 While dad waited in the Bone Fish line, I went to the Dunkin Donuts truck. Free Samples!

Better yet, free samples of a new test product
Fruit Sparklers
A spritzer with dunkin flavoring, fruit chunks, fruit juice, carbonation & iced tea
2 flavors: Mixed Berry & Tropical Fruit
It was sooo good. (I went back twice, 2 diffent flavors….. duh)
Sadly, they are only a test item, please dunkin big wigs make this a menu staple!!!

Twin Trees 
good Italian flavors & a classic pizza place in town
I have never really been a huge fan of pizza, and especially where I live now, they put American cheese on their pizzas…. YUCK

They had 3 types of pizza for their $1 sample. I had the garlic pizza, yum :)

Waiting in line, there was a really good band playing, the Perry-Mulhauser Band and for me to say that, they have to be good. Not because I’m a roadie but because they got my attention and I noticed them. (music is nice just not a necessity in my book, my ipod is still in its shrink wrap)

 My parents entertained the Charlie’s chicken spiedie, they said it was a bit dry
Dad tried the Jerk Hut’s jerk chicken 

King David’s

only the best Lebanese food on the planet!
Falafels topped with tahini sauce…… HEAVEN

These might have been the best King David’s falafels I ever had! thin, but crispy on the outside with a plump tender center. YUM

During the complete euphoria of the falafel consumption we listened to the band playing. It was fun people watching. I noticed quite a few old timers, “moving” to the beat bobbing their head & tapping their foot! A bit like a pigeon pecking, the funniest part, my dad may or may not have had his foot tapping!
Some just had one motion, others had both, others had a smooth rhythm in their pecking. I told my mom that’s how you could tell how old they were! I even imitated it while off to another booth. It was all in good fun.  
Even though I live in a town that has an annual Italian food festival, some of their Italian is not the Italian I’m used to, so I really wanted a meatball.
We Dad picked up Benvento’s meatball sample, very good people!

Ever since I went to Georgetown Cupcakes I have been repressing a cupcake craving. So, when I saw Yum Yum’s Bakery sample to be a chocolate caramel cupcake. (no cupcake places near me) I made sure we stopped there.
Well, it was total bogus, a rip off and not a cupcake!

It did have a nice whipped frosting, but it was less than a square inch piece of sheet cake with a lot to be desired.
While I people watched, (so fun & so much diversity and quite a few characters) Mom and dad shared a Spanakopita topped with a thick layer of tzaztiki from Kiki’s Authentic Greek Food
It smelled good, but prolly not as good as King David’s

This is only a brief insight on the awesomeness of the Taste of Syracuse. There was food booths we didn't visit, typical fair food booths (fresh lemonade stand, cotton candy, kettle corn etc....), advertising booths, annoying promoters trying to get you to sign up for some give-a-ways, chain resturant booths, an icky green elmers glue looking protein shake booth, beer tents, wine tastings and even a fried pickle booth....yuck! There was a really sweet family zone with tons of blow-ups, bouncy houses, games and face painting, all FREE. I wanted to go in, but my dad laughed at my request! Those things are fun, who cares what age you are!

 We had perfect timing too, in fear of rain we went in the early afternoon. I wasn't particularly hungry but I can pretty much eat whenever, good for my diet though! Barely any lines, hot fresh food, a decent crowd but not overly crowded, parking was simple, (though paying had a few hiccups…HA). Towards the end I started feeling off and I fell asleep on the car ride home! That has not happened in fifteen years!

An amazing reminder of the awesomeness of Syracuse. 


  1. what fun! though I can't believe you turned up the fried pickles - they may be my favorite fried food (after potatoes)!! a place in Chapel Hill does fried pickles & jalapenos ... my favorite combination :)

    1. I guess the thought of fried oil mixed with vinegar makes something inside my stomach churn! Its got to be "ok" in my head before I consider allowing it to meet my mouth. I'll try new things but on my terms! haha :)