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Enchanted, I’m Sure

October 2, 2015

There’s a first time for everything. Never did I think it would be part of my job to attend a Victorian steampunk and fairy street fair. But it turns out that I’m doing more than just attending it.

Perhaps you’ve heard that this Saturday The Enchanted City returns to River Street in Troy. Well, this year Yelp is a sponsor, and for better or for worse I’ve helped to shape the food part of the festival.

I’m going to encourage you to come for the food, and stay for the spectacle. You can see all the entertainment listed for the day on the website, but if you want the inside scoop on what and where to eat, you’re in the right place.

This was conceived of as a friendly competition among the neighboring businesses in and around the intersection of River Street and First Street. Other festivals commonly bring in outside food trucks, and that just didn’t feel terribly enchanting. So we came up with a plan for the culinary contest that worked with the theme of the event.

What this isn’t is a faithful recreation of Victorian era food. Rather it’s Victorian-inspired food, made using some of the more popular ingredients from back in the day. Protein often came from bacon, cheese or eggs. Common starches were bread, potatoes, rice or oatmeal. Flour, sugar, jam, drippings, and milk were also widely used staples.

The challenge was for each restaurant to make a dish that had at least one ingredient from each of those three categories. I put together a judging panel of Yelp Elites who will be going around to each business evaluating each dish for its taste, its alignment with the festival’s theme, and its use of the listed ingredients.

Naturally, we’ll be scoring each on a five star scale.

From what I’ve read, Victorians loved picnics and strolls. This is like a strolling picnic. And each establishment will be selling samples of its Enchanted City creations for just $2 a piece.

With the list of ingredients, I thought for sure the team at Peck’s would be all over this. Unfortunately, they had other commitments, as did The Placid Baker. But there are still some special dishes lined up.

Whistling Kettle will be selling samples from its storefront. The chef there is putting together two treats for the price of one. He’s making Treasures of the Orient Scones (with ginger and scallion) plus a Chocolate Sawney Quiche (sawney is victorian slang for bacon).

Infinity Cafe is recognizing that Victorian food is simple food. They too will be selling from the storefront, a bit off the beaten path from the event’s main drag. The bread pudding is squarely in the wheelhouse of the era, and it just so happens to be an everyday dish that’s a cafe favorite.

Bacchus is doing something very special from a tent across from Slidin’ Dirty on First Street. Jim and his crew will actually be selling slices of pizza. It’s unheard of from the place that only makes small individual pies. But they’ll be literally running hot pizzas from the restaurant’s magnificent oven out to first street, starting at 11:30am.

Psychedelicatessen will also be joining Bacchus in a First Street tent. Laura has put together a
zesty potato soup that not only is well themed, but also speaks to what she does at her bagel shop with high quality local ingredients. Her soup is made with organically grown yellow potatoes & onions from Denison Farm, Palatine habanero cheddar cheese, & local, nitrate free* bacon from the Piggery.

Slidin’ Dirty puts a lot of thought into its dishes. So much thought that I still do not quite have their final build. However, I’m sure it will be delicious, as it most likely has something to do with tater tots and bacon. Just don’t hold me to that. If you follow Yelp Albany on Twitter, IG or Facebook, I’ll try to post everything I know, when I know it.

Finally, Marla at Illium Cafe is bringing duck mini pot pies to the party. Yeah. I want one of those too.

All told, there are six participating restaurants. The festival itself is free. So you can come with $12 and try all of the above. Then you can see if your scores line up with what the Yelp Elites decide. It would be a big help if you came with plenty of one dollar bills. The winners will be announced at 4:30pm.

I’ll be in costume, so you might not recognize me. But please drop by the Yelp booth. Bring your phone with the Yelp mobile app installed, so you can check into the event and get some Yelp schwag.

And if you don’t have a costume, that’s cool too. You should still come. Again, all the details can be found here. Hope to see you there.


*We all know that means still full of nitrates, just not those synthesized in a lab, rather nitrates from celery extract and salt.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. ericscheirerstott permalink
    October 2, 2015 9:34 am

    Exxxxxxcelllllent! Doctor Irritation Will Enjoy

  2. Jessica R W permalink
    October 3, 2015 12:47 pm

    Man, you just gave me reason to get my butt off the couch!

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