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The Annual Jewish Food Festival

March 9, 2018

Every year before the Jewish Food Festival, I tell people there’s going to be a Jewish Food Festival. Every year after the Jewish Food Festival, I share my tales of hot sliced pastrami with mustard, schmears of chopped liver, and bites of sweet blintz casserole.

And every year I hear the similar refrain, “I didn’t know there was a Jewish Food Festival!”

Let’s try this once again. And this time with feeling.
The Jewish Food Festival is coming!
The Jewish Food Festival is coming to Schenectady!
The Jewish Food Festival is on Sunday, March 18th!

Hey, isn’t that the day after the Tour de Slice: Schenectady? Yes. Yes it is. There’s been a lot going on in Schenectady recently, and it’s not going to stop. Just wait until you read Monday’s post. But one thing at a time. First let’s talk more about the Jewish Food Festival, including how to win free tickets.

For me, being Jewish, every day is like a Jewish food festival.

In fact, I’ll be heading over to synagogue tonight for a potluck. No, I won’t be bringing anything Jewish. My plan is to make a big batch of chana masala. But there will be baked chicken, challah, candles, and blessings over it all. There will also be a massive array of sweets at the end.

There are Jewish foods all over the world, and the Jewish Food Festival will do its best to cover a lot of them, but my favorites are the New York ones. I’m a long time fan of the Schenectady Price Chopper’s bialys. Plus, that hot sliced pastrami is really something special. Accordingly, at the festival, it’s the table with the longest lines.

Yes, there are lines. Yes, the place is crowded. And no, there aren’t really enough tables and chairs for everyone.

The food festival is best managed by the boxing technique of “stick and move”.

Somehow the herd mentality of human beings has most attendees shuffling in one continuous line from the entrance of the large hall to the exit. Maybe one day I’ll try that. The upside is that the line moves so slowly that you can eat your food from one table before getting to the next. Also, it guarantees that you’ll pass all the tables.

I just don’t like lines.

And the line itself has several choke points where it just stops. Leaving opportunistic openings at tables without any lines at all. So if you are paying careful attention, you can simply walk around the festival, look for tables without lines, grab a plate of food, and retreat to some quiet corner to enjoy it.

That’s typically my plan. And it works for me, because there is almost always an opening at the chopped liver table. Why it’s not more popular is beyond me. That stuff is amazing. Amazing.

Part of me is tempted to mix up my strategy though.

One option might be joining the line snake, just to see how the festival feels as part of the herd. The other option might be just hitting the pastrami table over and over again to see how many samples of that luscious, fatty, smokey meat I can consume in the three hour window.

You can find all the particulars about the Jewish Food Festival on Yelp. There is even a link to pre-order tickets which I highly recommend. They are cheaper if you agree to bring in three non perishable food items for the hungry.

Do that. Not just because it can save you money. Do it because it’s good to remember and support the less fortunate when gorging yourself silly on deliciousness,

Also on the Yelp event page, if you scroll down to the bottom there are some details about how you can enter to win a free pair of tickets. So that’s cool too.

And for those of you who do not know, I am not only a member of the congregation that puts on this event, but I also work for Yelp. So I am biased. Of course, I wouldn’t write about the event on the blog unless I loved it. Or hated it. Although the FLB feels like it’s been a force of positivity lately.

Okay. Gotta run. Have a delicious weekend.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dora Swan permalink
    March 9, 2018 11:56 am

    I’m biased, too It’s such a delicious event! fin – your fishmonger will be participating again this year, bringing smoked salmon spread and maybe a little herring in cream or wine.

  2. March 9, 2018 5:37 pm

    Yes, a terrific event with lots of friendly people and great food.

    I was introduced to chopped liver by my Irish-Catholic mother, who became a fan while growing up in the Bronx. I think many people can’t get past the word “liver” and won’t even try it. Oh, what they’re missing.

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