Every year the week after Rochesterfest, city street crews are kept busy filling in the spots where the pavement has collapsed under the groaning wheels of the calorie-heavy food carts.
OK, so that’s not really true. What is true is that dieters should probably stay clear of the two-block stretch of Civic Center Drive some call “Greasy Gulch.” For the rest of us searching for something delicious, read on:
- Deep fried chocolate chip cookies, $5, “Alligator on a stick” stand
Do you believe there’s nothing that can’t be improved by deep frying? You’ll want to get caught with your hand in this cookie jar. Stand owner Carter Rosenthal, of Austin, drops globs of raw cookie dough into the fryer, where they bubble like the lava in a lamp before bobbing to the surface and being scooped up, dropped in a boat and drizzled with chocolate and powdered sugar. “If somebody wants a chocolate fix, that’s a good way to get that,” Rosenthal said. I said: Nom, nom, nom.
- Cheese or cream cheese-filled pretzels, $3, BMJ Delites
BMJ: Bacon, mayonnaise and jelly? Nope, those are the initials of stand owner Bruce Christie’s family members. A trap! Because actually, this stand is a place you’d find a reasonably healthy snack: frozen soft serve. “It’s lactose free, fat free, cholesterol free and gluten free,” Christie said. That sounds like no fun, but it’s actually pretty good. The pretzels, though, are a new and popular item, infused with cheese, undoubtedly by some unspeakable industrial method.
- Bucket O’ Cheese, $6-$20, The Cheese Shack
With powdered donuts and the turkey leg, cheese curds are the lords of street fair cuisine. Ssure, you might regret it later, but if you’re going to go, go in style. “Cheese curds and beer gardens go together really well,” said Rich Rosa, who runs the Rochester-owned stand. A Cheese Shack bucket comes in four flavors: ranch, garlic, Cajun (“It’s a little spicy, not bad,” one employee says) and original. Go mouse-sized with a single basket or be king cheese with a big bucket. Best, you get to keep the bucket —not kick it. (Not yet!)
- Irish nachos, $5, Catering Rochester by Karen
What in the name of Carlos O’Kelly do nachos have to do with Ireland? Quite a bit, says Karen Lowe-Connelly, a Rochester ntative. She tops red potato wedges with shredded beef, nacho cheese and horseradish sauce. “I had it in Chicago,” she said. “They had different variations with chicken and corned beef, but it’s kind of hard to hold corned beef, so I modified it.” Try it for dinner. “It’s kind of a meal — you have your meat and potatoes, and horseradish is kind of a root vegetable, right? Sorry, I’m kind of a joker.”
- Funnel cake (with strawberries), $7, Faye’s Concessions
Quick: What’s the difference between the Med City Marathon and one of Faye Pedersen’s funnel cakes? One is a stern test of physical endurance … and the other is a long footrace. (Oh, and probably about 5,000 calories in the plus-minus ledger, but we digress.) There’s nothing skimpy about Faye’s giant cakes, a good dessert for two. “It’s just a nice, sweet batter that we make from scratch — eggs, milk and all that good stuff,” she said. “There’s nobody else anywhere that makes them from scratch.” Whipped cream, powdered sugar, fresh strawberries and a homemade glaze make this a mountain you must climb.