Friday, May 11, 2012

Crawfish

I had crawfish for the first time last weekend at the Crawfish Fest in Clinton Square. They've always kind of freaked me out because it basically looks like people are eating really large red insects, but I figured it was about time to give them a shot for real ("Shot for real" meaning NOT at a Chinese buffet).

Overall, I was surprised at how good they were. Fairly spicy and flavorful. They don't necessarily taste like catfish, but they're within that same kind of realm. And yes, I went so far as to suck the heads out. It looks gross as all hell in there and I'll refrain from posting a picture online, but there was actually a ton of flavor inside.

Crawdads aren't something I'd normally seek out - even after trying them now. It strikes me as more of a novelty thing when they're by themselves. It was a nice little appetizer though (split 3-ways between a few of my buddies). The corn and potato were fine, but the boiled garlic was awesome and nice to pick at after the meal was over.

I'd get them again, but have no problem waiting until next year to do so. 'Til then, sign me up as a shrimp lover and a crawfish liker.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

5th Annual Crawfish Festival

Like crawfish? Then you'll love Operation Southern Comfort's 5th Annual Crawfish Festival which kicks off this Saturday, May 5th and runs from 11 AM to 7 PM in Downtown's Clinton Square. Admission is free and there will be plenty of live music and tasty crawfish on hand. Other food includes: gulf shrimp, corn, potatoes, jambalaya, red beans and rice, beignets, blooming onions, cajun wings, deep fried crawdaddies, and cajun curly fries (for a full vendor list, click here).

Donations will also be accepted (cans or boxes of nonperishable food) which will benefit the food pantries at St. Joseph the Worker and St. Lucy's churches.

Operation South Comfort is an all-volunteer organization based in CNY that was organized for the people of the Gulf Coast to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More information about the Crawfish Festival can be found at crawfishfestcny.com and more information about Operation Southern Comfort can be found at operationsoutherncomfort.org.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cuse Mob!

In an effort to support local business, Syracuse First is launching its Cuse Mob! this Saturday, May 5th at Noon in a yet-to-be-named location.

Mob-goers will all wear the color orange and each bring $10 cash to "mob" the business by making a purchase. In the days leading up, Syracuse First will give clues as to where the event will be taking place.

You can RSVP for Cuse Mob! on Facebook and stay up-to-date on their website for clues and guesses at syracusefirst.org/blog.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pasta's Daily Bread



If you've never had it, you should probably go now. Pasta's stretch bread along with their spicy hot tomato oil is without a doubt one of my favorite foods to eat in Syracuse. My typically reaction after my first bite is usually not of how amazing it is (and it is amazing), but why on Earth I had to wait so long between my this and my last visit.

You can find these two delectable things, as well as other goodies like raisin pecan bread, foccacias, cheeses, homemade pastas and sauces at Pasta's Daily Bread in Armory Square, located across the street from Pastabilities.

Bonus: I've got chunks of day-old stretch bread in the freezer stored for the next time I want to make croutons.

Double Bonus: I've also found that their spicy tomato oil is an excellent addition for pizza sauce.

More info on hours, location, and menu can be found on their website at www.pastabilities.com/bakery.htm.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Reviews

April Fools! I hope I didn't scare anybody.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review: McDonald's

Name: McDonald's
Address: 7505 Oswego Rd, Liverpool, NY
Phone: (315) 622-5883
Website: www.mcdonalds.com
Menu: View menu
Cuisine: Traditional American, burgers, breakfast, ketchup
Parking: Private lot
Takes Reservations: No
Take-Out: Yes
Waiter Service: No
Attire: Casual (range is anywhere from a suit and tie to pajama bottoms).
Delivery: No (but could you imagine!?)

My long awaited visit to the McDonald's in Liverpool finally came to fruition this past week. I had been eyeing it from afar and remember hearing a little buzz about the burger franchise when I was just a wee lad, so figured now is as good time as any to see what all the hubbub was about.

For the record, this was my first experience with any type of fast food restaurant. And boy was I missing out! Evidently, people go mad for this concept of quickly made food. Like really mad. All of the customers at McDonald's were all into ordering and eating. I mean, I tried to get in there before the dinner rush just to make sure I had a good seat, but even so, they deal with a lot of business here. And fast. (An accurate description might be "fast food", but that acronym will probably never catch on).

The interior is warm, comforting, and welcoming. This is helped with ample seating, plenty of windows that look into the surrounding parking lots, and a pumping station for ketchup and sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Cashiers operate most of the orders by computers and relay messages to the back of the house with headphones and by telling terrible jokes.

Also, there's a few creepy pictures of a clown with red hair in an ugly yellow outfit scattered around the place, as well as this weird character with him that looks like a purple Teletubby. I didn't quite understand it. At any rate, the marketing tends to be geared towards children between the ages of 0 and 17.

Most of the customers seemed to know how to order and what to do after placing it, so I just tried to copy them to fit in so I didn't look out-of-place; putting my hands in my pockets, then crossing my arms, looking around, tapping my foot. I think I creeped one guy out because I was copying him a little too well.

After waiting in line and getting to the ordering station, I asked the cashier what she'd recommend on the menu. There was this strange look and an awkward moment of silence, so I went ahead and opted for the Big Mac special (or #1 as they refer to it), which came with French fries and a soda.

FYI, they tend to label most of their meals by numbers here, such as 3 and 6, so if you're good with math, this may be the place for you.

The order...

#1 with a Big Mac, fries, and soda: $6.05
Total amount spent with cash and tip: $5,784.99

I wasn't exactly sure how and when I was supposed to tip, so I just stuffed the money in an empty cup next to the cash register.

It's fill-your-own-beverage here and the fountain has a plethora of choices like Coca-cola, Sprite, root beer, Dr. Pepper, and water. I couldn't find the wine dispenser, but I didn't bother asking.

I made my way to an empty table which was behind another table with about 4 to 6 screaming kids climbing all over it - which DIDN'T ANNOY ME AT ALL.



Mmm! This is a tasty burger! Le Big Mac lived up to the hype and was topped off with a good helping of their signature special sauce. Deelish! The crunchy fries were addicting and even come in little red canisters with the McDonald's logo printed on them. Fancy-Schmancy!

Other things of note...

- McDonald's offers drive-thru service. I've never used it before, but from what I could tell, it seems like a really great concept that could be mimicked by similar restaurants and other fasted-paced, consumer driven businesses.

- They also sell partially gelatinated non-dairy gum-based beverages. They call 'em "shakes".

It's a well-oiled machine, this McDonald's franchise and it seems to attract visitors from out of town as well as people who live in the area. I asked one gentlemen at a nearby table if he had ever been to a McDonald's before and he gave me a look that was not unlike the same one I received from the cashier. (Word to the wise: do not ask people questions here or they will think you're totally crazy!).

The idea of cheap food made quickly may sound outrageous, but this thing could catch on. You may see one of these types of places pop-up in your hometown soon. And who knows, maybe one day restaurants will run the same concept with fried chicken.

Or tacos.