Fatty fantasies: Erie County Fair fried food

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Grub + Pub

Five healthy stops at the Erie County Fair

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

After persevering through the Murderers’ Row of fried foods yesterday, Ben T. and Kat reversed course and sought out the healthiest choices the Erie County Fair had to offer. We quickly found that it was possible to enjoy the throngs of people and attractions without the discomfort of grease sitting in your throat.

Stop no. 1: Butcher Boys for a charbroiled chicken pita, $8. Compared to the health value of yesterday’s deep-fried butter and Kool-Aid, run-of-the-mill Greek food would seem like a handful of radishes and organic grape juice from a nutritional standpoint. By (reluctantly) turning down the Feta cheese, we were left with a nicely grilled pita, chunks of charbroiled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and tzatziki (Greek white sauce made with cucumbers and sour cream). If you’re feeling especially health-conscious, ask them to go light on the sauce. The total package? Quite healthy.

Stop no. 2: Lemonade Corn Roast for sweet corn. Sure, it’s initially tough to trust a stand with no clear title and only “Lemonade Corn Roast” in its signage, but it’s hard to beat the health value of grilled sweet corn, especially in a fair setting. If you take it easy on the butter and the salt—or at least one or the other—you’ll feel even better about yourself.

Stop no. 3: Beth’s for fried green tomatoes, $8. While a little pricey and perhaps the least healthy of our choices, we still were able to pack in a little more Vitamin C through fried green tomatoes—a solid side dish or snack for the semi-health-conscious fair-goer. Despite being a little oily, the breaded coating was very thin. Having never sampled fried green tomatoes before, they were a lot sweeter than I expected and considerably more firm than your average red tomato. Sauce options include either ranch or blue cheese, and to keep the healthy value high, use sparingly.


Stop no. 4: Chester’s Cajun Grill for a “Seafood Combo Plate,” $11 and includes Cajun shrimp and rice, jambalaya and boiled crawfish. Seafood—especially when grilled instead of fried—is a healthy alternative to the jumbo sausages, roast beef on wecks or “Donut Dogs” that the Fair also offers. Eating the boiled crawfish is a little tricky; there’s a sign that instructs the eater to “twist the tails and suck on the heads.”

The most ‘meat’ came from the tail, and like the rest of the plate, the crawfish was plenty spicy due to the Cajun brine it was boiled in. Both the shrimp and rice were quite spicy, and the variety of ingredients in the jambalaya—tomatoes, onions, sausage, and much more—made each mouthful a little different.

Stop no. 5: Sweet Melody’s for pina colada sorbet, $4. Sweet Melody’s separates its Erie County Fair menu into two sections: gelato and sorbet. Though skipping dessert may be the most health conscious move, the sorbet is a close second. There’s still a hefty dose of sugar in the sorbet, but there’s no dairy products—cutting the fat exponentially. Truthfully, there’s little difference between gelato and regular ice cream in terms of fat content, even though the gelato is quite delicious. There were real bits of coconut in the pina colada sorbet, too.

TAGGED: chester's cajun grill, erie county fair, fair food, healthy fair food, sweet melody's

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