Geddes, N.Y. — Today we honor the women and men of law enforcement in New York State with free admission. That goes for any active or retired law enforcement or corrections personnel who present a badge or picture ID from their department. If you see a police officer or state trooper, thank them for their service. Buy them a beer or a sandwich. I sure will.
I write about food for syracuse.com and The Post-Standard, I rely on readers to tell me what’s good in Central New York. That’s exactly what I’m counting on during the State Fair. I’m taking your suggestions and highlighting the best food and drinks here. If you eat or drink something that knocks your socks off, text me (315-382-1984) and I’ll give it a try. Heck, I might even join you for a meal and pick up the tab. And that’s exactly what I did on Friday.
Brunch/Happy Hour: Loaded Bloody Mary at Daniella’s Fresh Seafood & Pasta House, the old Empire Room.
I had to get to the fairgrounds early Sunday to document our new governor eating a sausage sandwich. (She chose Basilio’s, the stand that served me my first sausage for this daily menu column last week. Gov. Kathy Hochul obviously has good taste.) Anyway, I was parched after that grueling assignment, so I followed a reader’s suggestion and headed to Daniella’s.
This Bloody Mary isn’t just a cocktail; it’s a full meal with meat, seafood and veggies. Brian Stolusky, the general manager here, came up with the recipe. He uses a tomato juice base with worcestershire sauce, celery salt, pepper and just enough Tabasco sauce and horseradish to wake you up. He adds a dash of the seasoning Daniella’s puts on steaks. He mixes that with a generous shot of Ryze vodka from the Lock 1 Distilling Co. in Phoenix.
You can end it there. An unloaded Bloody is $12, and that’ll get you where you want to go just fine. But I was thirsty AND hungry. I had rolled out of bed and rushed to the Fair with nothing in my belly. So of course I spent the extra $4 (Actually, my company spent the extra $4.). That got me a skewer with two chunks of Italian sausage, a jumbo shrimp, two large olives, a hot pepperoncini pepper, a slice of lime and a salt potato.
I was good to go after that.
Dessert: Deep-fried pumpkin pie at the Fried Specialties stand on Broadway, next to the Expo Center.
Kathy Sakran, a reader from Liverpool, said I should tell everyone reading my daily menu about this $7 dessert. I resisted at first, simply because I usually don’t fall for the outrageous deep-fried novelties. She’s been there three times over the past few days, so I figured she knew what she was talking about.
Well, Kathy nailed it. It was really good. It’s huge slice of what I’m guessing is a store-bought pumpkin pie. They dunk it into a milky batter and bathe it in 350-degree vegetable oil for three minutes. The pie comes out golden-brown and then gets dressed with whipped cream and cinnamon.
This dessert has already changed my Thanksgiving dinner plans. I’ll be deep-frying a turkey just so I can deep-fry a whole pumpkin pie my wife bakes. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it. And Kathy? You’re invited to our table. Bring the whipped cream! I’ll supply the loaded Bloody Marys.
>> Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, 2 p.m. at Chevy Court
>> Alex Miller, 2 p.m. at Chevy Park
>> Grandson, 7 p.m. at Chevy Court
>> Justin Moore, 8 p.m. at Chevy Park
Tickets: Admission this year is $3 at the gate; children under 12 are free every day, and those 65 and older get free admission. The Fair will not accept cash at the gates this year. Buy tickets in advance on etix or use a a credit card at a nearby kiosk.
Hours: Door open at 11 a.m. each day this year, three hours later than previous fairs. The buildings close at 10 p.m., but the Midway shuts down at 11 p.m.
Parking: The parking lots surrounding the fairgrounds can accommodate more than 23,000 cars. Parking is $5 (advance sales or EZ-Pass) for all lots. They will not accept cash this year. (Click here for parking map and directions.)
Masks: Face masks are required for everyone inside buildings. If you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to wear one outside. Workers will have masks available at each building’s entrance.
Other rules: You can bring coolers with food and non-alcoholic drinks. No pets are allowed, unless they are working dogs or in a competition. All bags, backpacks, coolers, purses and fanny packs are permitted but subject to search upon entry. You cannot bring firearms or other weapons, signs, roller blades, skate boards or bicycles onto the grounds.
NYS Fair newsletter: Stay up-to-date on all New York State Fair news, food, music, schedules and more with our free newsletter. Get it in your inbox all 18 days of the 2021 NYS Fair. Sign up here.
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Charlie Miller finds the best in food, drink and fun across Central New York. Contact him at (315) 382-1984, or by email at email@example.com. You can also find him on Twitter @HoosierCuse.