Sunday, July 31, 2005

Festival food

Last weekend I went to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival with some friends including The Lurker and The Dancer. It has become a tradition for us. We camp on the farm where the festival is held, which makes it very convenient to catch all the music one could want. Since we camp, we bring some food with us; the rest we buy on the midway.

Stuff I brought this year included:

*Gatorade - essential for long days outdoors, especially in summer.
*seedless green grapes - quick doses of food and fluid in an easily managed package. Unfortunately, the sun, heat, and trips in and out of the cooler are hard on them, and some always go to waste.
*Stella D'oro Marguerite breakfast cookies.
*an assortment of tea bags - I only drank the Ten Ren ginger tea and Good Earth Original tea this time.
*two small bottles of Caravelle Thai tea - delicious!
*arare - Japanese rice crackers labeled "Friendly Pack" in a blue and white bag.
*butter cookies from the bakery at the Asian supermarket - tasty but on the dry side.
*Goya Maria cookies - not eaten during the festival, so I'm been snacking on them this week.
*Chiang Mai noodles that would not die – lunch on Friday, but more about them in the next post.

One of my favorite things about FRFF is Myron's Number 1 Yakitori. I discovered Myron's sauces in the supermarket and was quite happy to buy them off the shelf (my favorite is the tsukeyaki). Then I was strolling the FRFF midway in 1997 (my first visit to the festival) when I spotted a red stand selling yakitori. It was Myron himself. Boy, did that make me happy.

Myron’s stand sells an assortment of food. You can get beef teriyaki or chicken yakitori on rice, chilled noodles in spicy peanut sauce, pork or vegetarian shumai, and iced jasmine tea. The shumai in particular are highly addictive. If you want to doctor your food, a full assortment of Myron’s sauces is available, along with sriracha sauce. More than one musician playing the festival has lauded Myron’s food from the stage; I remember the Waybacks waxing eloquent about the shumai when they played Winterhawk (FRFF’s currently inactive sister festival) a few years back. If you want a souvenir, Myron will be happy to sell you bottles of sauce to take home.

This year I had the chicken yakitori; it was tender on the inside with not too much char on the outside, skewered with green pepper and onion and served on white rice. I also had the delectable pork and leek shumai and a teriyaki sirloin special without rice (a little on the rare side but not enough to cause trouble).

One quibble about Myron’s is the smallish portion sizes, but that is not uncommon on the midway (and besides, it makes portions easier to carry around). A number of stands bucked the trend this year by serving up big platters of food (then again, Sunflower Pizza has always offered huge slabs of pizza). Since the festival audience is a captive one, prices tend to be on the high side (at $8 for a pulled pork sandwich from the barbecue stand, The Lurker regretfully said no). Vegetarian food has always been well-represented at the festival, but those of us who require meat to get through a long camping weekend have been left wanting more. Not this year. There was barbecue, there were chicken fingers, there was a new Cajun stand.

Since I wasn’t there for the whole festival, I missed some places I normally visit. With all the Gatorade, I never needed a smoothie for emergency rehydration. I never had a morning blast of cappuccino. I missed Sunflower Pizza and never got around to sampling the ginger ice cream at the 4-H stand. I did get catfish cakes at the Cajun stand. The cakes were small, mild and of falling-apart consistency; the accompanying remoulade was also mild but tasty and a good complement. The “Cajun slaw” served on the side was a mix of sliced peppers, onions and radishes in a vinegary sauce – not bad, but not quite what I was in the mood for. I wanted to go back and try some of the other Cajun food, but that didn’t happen either.

Finally, in an indication that I may be doing something right in the diet and exercise department, I was able to hike up the steep hill without huffing and puffing for the first time ever. We camp on the hill and the stages are at the bottom of the hill, so the trek back up to the campsite is never a welcome prospect. Even though there are shuttle buses, one always ends up climbing the hill more often than expected.

No comments: