Monthly Archives: September 2012

F is for Fried Fair Food

Standard

I’m back in Pittsburgh from my weekend home, having rolled in about two hours ago.  And when I say rolled into town, I mean rolled in.  My word, I don’t ever remember eating so much in my life!  I guess that’s what happen when you attend the 157th annual Bloomsburg Fair!

Let’s be honest about a few things for those of you who have never been to my hometown fair: you don’t go there for the carnies, for the scenic views, or the horse races.  You certainly don’t go for the Ferris wheel rides, the traffic jams, and the often-scary bathroom situation.  You go to the Bloomsburg Fair for the food.

So many places to eat at!

Among the zigzags and stripes of tent awnings and food trailers, there is a mecca of fried food, cooked meats, and questionable health code violations all waiting to be consumed by willing and ready.  Streets guide many fair-goers from stand to stand, but more often than not you find your nose guiding you to the next stand.  So many scents and smells mix together as you walk from stand to stall it’s hard to decide where to start first.  There are the traditional standards that show up every year: Grotto’s Pizza, Hewlett’s Hot Sausage, Mays BBQ.  For those who spend the week there, it’s easy to take in all the food you want and more.  But for my mom and I, on a one day mission throughout the large grounds, there’s only so much space our stomach provides us, so sacrifices and choices must be made.  Sometimes a “fair tradition” must be replaced by a “What the heck is that?!” creation.

We walked around for almost an hour and a half sampling all the smells and free samples we could handle.

How do you choose just one?

We arrived super early to beat the rush of people trekking in on a Saturday, so we were there as most of the stands opened and started preparing their food for the day.  It was fun to watch, and even more fun to taste and smell.  Fudge in this stand, funnel cakes in the next, fresh brewed birch beer and hand-rolled pretzels.  Penn State ice cream, amish-made apple dumplings, and an Asian family preparing some very questionable Chinese food.  Everywhere you turn there’s even more for you to look at, buy, taste, and fall and love with.  Honestly, this is such a diet-buster!  No will power can stand up to the powers of the Bloomsburg Fair!

My favorite food I bought and ate came from the most eclectic booth I saw on my trip there.  What looked like three college buddies were running this stand, and I could easily see how one Saturday, drunk, or hungover, or possibly both, they found a deep fryer lying around and asked themselves, “I wonder what weird foods we can deep fry that will actually taste good.  Sure, we’ve all had deep-fried Oreos.  But these guys wanted to go above and beyond just that.


Their stand was hopping, for obvious reason.  Where else can you find deep fried jelly beans, deep fried PB&J sandwiches, deep fried Pop-Tarts, and deep fried Snickers wrapped in bacon?  They had specials called “The Triple Bypass” that, as you can imagine, offers you three delicious fried foods to feast your palette on.  I skipped the triple bypass, though, for something even more amazing and delicious: deep fried pumpkin pie.

When I saw the sign I couldn’t believe it: can you really deep fry pumpkin pie?  Is that even possible?  How does it stay together?  What does it taste like?  Let me tell you, now that I’ve eaten it, I’m not sure I can ever eat regular pumpkin pie again.  It’s UH-MAZING!  Warm, gooey, full of sugar and deep-fried amazingness.  I ate one and honestly thought about camping out in front of the stand so I could keep eating piece out of piece.  Would Initech even care if I never came back to work because I became a carnival worker at the deep fried food stall?  Probably.  Would I care if I never went back to Initech?  Definitely not.

I was so happy to go home and catch up with my family and spend the day with my mom at the Bloomsburg Fair.  We also ate tons of Mexican food, and baked and decorated cupcakes with my sister.  Very  productive weekend in deed!

For now, I’m going to curl up on my couch and try to sleep off some of this food baby I’m still carrying around.  Looks like it will be salad and veggies for me this week at work.  You know what, I don’t even care right now.  It was totally worth it for the epic food fest I experienced this weekend.

I’ll be back later this week with a new alphabet, and news about my life and all that’s going on with it.  If anyone wants to hook up a deep fryer this week, let me know!!

Lis

 

Advertisements

Next Week: F is for Fried Fair Food

Standard

What a week.

Sorry about such a long absence.  It has been the week from hell at Initech.  I just returned home after logging 72 hours there this week.  No, you didn’t read that incorrectly: 72.15 hours logged this week.  Oh, and did I mention I had a ridiculous cold too.  Elisabeth: tired, over-worked, underpaid, and sick as a dog.  Fun week to be around me, let me tell you.

Enough about that, though.  I’m home, off for the rest of the weekend, and determined to relax, have some fun, and forget about the job I just left two hours ago.

So let’s talk about my next adventure.  Only one week away: F is for Fried Fair Food.

Now before I go any further, let me tell my Pittsburgh friends out there: the Butler County Fair that you all put on such a high pedestal every July, it’s the lamest “fair” I’ve ever seen.  Argue if you want, but I’ve been spoiled all my life by growing up in Bloomsburg Pennsylvania.

A quick Google search of Bloomsburg Pennsylvania will bring you two main returns: Bloomsburg University (developing hard-core liver problems since 1839) and the Bloomsburg Fair.  Those are our two claims to fame.

Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, with the fairgrounds in the center.

The Bloomsburg Fair (or just the Fair) makes Butler look like a child’s picnic.  On most Saturdays the fair peaks out at over 100,000 people.  That’s not a joke.  For a town of about 15,000, it’s almost more than we can handle.  School is shut down for the entire week, because buses cannot get to students with the traffic.  Many employers offer a half day off, or some similar incentive, so that workers do not ditch. Semi-large name bands and groups such as Joey McIntyre, Switchfoot, and LFO have performed there.  See why the Butler County Fair seems so rinky-dink to me?

I haven’t been to the fair in 10 years.  My last year at home, 2003, I spent the entire week working at Wendys.  Didn’t even make it to the fairgrounds.  And as I sat in my cubicle a few weeks ago and came to this grim realization, I realized I wanted to do something about that.  I wanted to head back to the fair.

My family is less than thrilled that I’m coming home for the fair.  To them it’s a ridiculous annoyance they can’t bear to be over.  I guess small-town living in north east Pennsylvania means they’re not used to sitting in traffic 🙂  To be fair, maybe I’d feel the same way if I lived there year after year and had to deal with the same old boring traffic, drunks, derby enthusiasts and carnies.  But to me it’s a fun life event, like Christmas or vacation, so I’m eager to be home to see what’s new and improved about the fair.

The other reason I want to go is to see what has happened in the year since the flood.

Right behind this home is one of the fairground entrances. You can see the damage Hurricane Lee had on the town.

Last September, Bloomsburg was one of the hardest hit towns that Hurricane Lee dumped itself upon, and even today the town is still struggling to recover.  For the first time in a very long time (and perhaps ever, I cannot remember) the annual Bloomsburg Fair was completely cancelled.  The storm had wiped out many of the permanent buildings on the grounds, and caused millions of dollars of damages to that and surrounding areas.

It’s not that I’m a huge fair junkie, bouncing around throughout the summer from one fair to another.  Often times I find them boring, stuffy, repetitive, and, at times, down right creepy (the world’s smallest woman?  Really?)  But there’s a certain hometown pride that never leaves you, and I want to see how my hometown has worked to recover in the year since the storm.  I could think of no better place to do that than the Bloomsburg Fair.

So next week I will be gorging out on fried foods.  Oreos, cheese, Snickers, Fruit Loops (yes, it exists, and yes, it’s wonderfully delicious!), and everything in between.  I’ll be visiting my family, spending some time with them, and watching as thousands of people stream into my hometown for the wonders that are found in the Bloomsburg Fair.

As always, if anyone wants to tag along on the road trip, let me know. 🙂

Talk to you soon, hopefully without so much of a delay as this time.

Lis

D is for Dance and Dine

Standard

Let me preface this post by announcing in a loud and clear voice that I am not a girl who likes to go clubbing.  Strobe lights, expensive drinks,grinding, blech, totally not for me.  I’m what you might call an introvert.  Clubbing is not for introverts.

The goal of my.alphabet.year, though, is for me to step out of my comfort zone a little, to live life and see and do things I wouldn’t normally do.  So while I didn’t exactly go clubbing, I did step out and shake my groove thing a little.

For starters, I decided to amo up before I went out for a night of dinner, dancing and fun.  Put on my slutty heels, got my hair did, wore make up (gasp).  Really trying to make the effort to do this right.  I also brought Ashleigh, one of my best friends and most extroverted person I know.  She could make cats become social animals.  If anyone can help me find my social, dancing side, it’s Ashleigh.

So we went out to Jergels, in Wexford, for an interesting night.  Let me preface this trip by saying that Jergels is a hodgepodge of clubbing rejects who all come together within 4 walls to try to feel relevant again.  Ashleigh, who had never been there before, asked what the theme/mood of the place was.  My response: Uhhh….a little country, a little biker bar, a little high class wannabe.  After seeing the place for herself, she had to agre.

That’s not to say we didn’t have fun.  We had a blast.  A 70s cover band called Dancing Queen was there, and they were surprisingly good.  Surprisingly loud, but surprisingly good. (Another reason why I will never get into clubbing: they play the music WAY too loud.  Why must it be so loud you can’t talk to anyone else?  Isn’t this supposed to be a social event?  Aren’t we supposed to be able to verbally communicate with our friends?   I swear, I felt like an 80 year old wishing I had ear plugs, noise-cancelling headphones, SOMETHING to help with the ridiculous volume they blasted the music at.

Easily the best part of the night, though, was the audience.  A large group of people were there celebrating a birthday/bachelorette combo, and they decided to hit the dance floor looking like Kelso, Jackie, and Eric Foreman.  And one disturbingly accurate Hyde.  I’m not sure if the band knew what to do with them, as they crowded the dance floor and started a conga line.  I mean, does Prince music really inspire a conga line?  Anyone…anyone?

Our favorite was a couple in their late 50s, we’ll call them Bob and Suze.  Now remember, these folks are older than my parents, and hanging out at Jergels on a Friday night.  So you can already imagine where this is going.  But Bob and Suze, in their late 50s, were there to par-tay, and party they did.  They were all over each other.  Imagine a middle school could that has just discovered they own a set of finely-tuned hormones.  Groping, kissing, canoodling.  If the dance floor was a little less crowded I cringe to think about what they might have done with the space and the opportunity.  They were not dancing, or really enjoying the music, they were totally just into each other.  Which, I guess is fine, glad Bob still digs Suze after being married for 30 years.  The problem was all of this was displayed for us about 6 feet away from where we are.    I could have reached out and touched Bob as he was all up on Suze.  Suze might have killed me if I touched her man, but the possibility was there if I wanted to take it.  Don’t worry, I didn’t.

In the end, Jergels wasn’t the kind of clubbing experience you’d expect a girl in her mid-20s to attend with 5 of her closest friends on a Friday night.  Not even close.  But I guess my.alphabet.year is about stepping outside the normal bounds of social, even in our own unique way.  So I went dancing with a 70s cover band.  With the gang from That 70s Show.  Where I watched people who could be my parents get hot and heavy with each other.  Definitely not your typical “night at the club”.  But in its own way, it was the perfect night for all of us.  Kicking it old school.

I’ll be back later this week with some updates.  I’m about to go bake some pumpkin cupcakes with dolche de lache to top it off.  Yummmmmmmmy. 🙂  Thank goodness fall is here, I love fall flavors.

Lis

Letter Updates and Itineraries

Standard

It’s come, folks.  That sad moment where you put one letter to bed for good.

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that F is for French Infusion is no more.  A night of crepe and quiche making, wine drinking, and Amelie watching is no more.

Some of my friends are more than ok with that.  To quote the always-quotable Red Foreman, “If it wasn’t for us Americans, their asses would be speaking German!”

Instead, I have replaced it with a new agenda: F is for Fried Fair Food.  I don’t want to give too much away, because I’m actually very excited to be switching this letter up, but for now let me just say this: for the first time since 2003, I will be visiting my old stomping grounds.

It almost looks American!

Also, I may have set a date!  Haha, not to get married, but to scuttle off on my International Adventure.  Scuttle, a word that is not used nearly enough in the English language.  Shame, too.  Anyway, our international roadtrip to the Great White North is scheduled to commence Friday, March 1, 2013.  By “our international roadtrip”, I mean me and my old college roommate.  We’ll be the two girls blasting up I-79 in Wilson, my dear old Elantra, rocking out to the Biebs (when in Canada, eh?) while puffing on Cuban cigars.  Ok, probably not the cigars.  They make me vom.  A lot.  But we’ll be bringing chopsticks, Ukrainian juice, American money, our video cameras, and probably a poncho.  I mean, what’s a trip to Canada without a stop at Niagara Falls?

Also, NHL, could you maybe, pretty please, end this hissy-fit-rich-keep-getting-richer-one-percent bull crap and end this potential lockout?  WHAT IF WE WANTED TO SEE A HOCKEY GAME IN THE COUNTRY WHERE IT ORIGINALLY STARTED?  WHY MUST YOU DESTROY ALL OUR HOPES AND DREAMS, NHL?!?!?!?

Ok.  It’s time for me to be productive.  Maybe shower, eat, do a little cupcake shopping.  Enough of this cool, trendy blogging crap.  What am I, a hipster?

Lis

Next Week: D is for Dance and Dine

Standard

Back from my almost week-long hiatus.  Blame Initech and their ability to make my life a living hell.  I don’t really want to talk about work, but let me be honest and candid with the faithful blog readers I have: if you know of a job in the Pittsburgh area, let me know.  IMMEDIATELY!

So this week has been awful.  That kind of week where you either want to kick a small child (I don’t think I will ever be allowed to legally reproduce) or break down on the couch with Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked, the Notebook, and your favorite gal pals.  I’ve teetered both directions this week.

Luckily, next week I’ll be back with a brand new post: D is for Dance and Dine.  That’s right, I’m gonna bust my move.  Well no, I’m gonna shake.  Shake my groove thing.

There’s a band in Pittsburgh known as Dancing Queen.  I’ve never heard of them, but see them for a concert, I will.  They are a 70s and 80s tribute band.  You know, two decades I really experienced first-hand.  My experience of the 1980s revolved around cribs, diapers, Seasame Street and preschool.  I’m not what you’d call “well-versed” in the 80s world.

But, oddly enough, this is where my life is taking me.  One foot in front of the other, Day. One step at a time.

Sidebar: I have been listening to 90s music all week at work.  What an amazing decade for music.  I’m not just talking about Nsync, BSB, Hanson, and NKOTB (though they do count).  I had Third Eye Blind on repeat today for awhile.  (Did not realize THOSE were the lyrics to Semi-Charmed Life when I was 10)  Followed by some old school Weezer, it’s Buddy Holly’s birthday after all.  TLC’s Scrubs, R Kelly’s Bump and Grind, Spice Up Your Life by the fabulous Spice Girls.  WHY ARE THERE NO 90s COVER BANDS?!?!?!? My generation feels so neglected.  Let’s start one!  Oh, C could be for Cover Band.  The Hootie Matthews Project?  Weezing Pumpkins?  Or some acronym a la boy bands.  Music of the Nineties are Kick Ass: MONAKA.  Boom.  Cover band name done.  Who’s in?

So this is my life.  Dreaming up 90s cover band names in my room on a Friday while the tv blares in the back round.  What do you mean, I’m part of the over stimuli-zed generation?  My cell phone is on its charger right now, thank you very much!

I’m switching some letters around.  You’ll hear about this soon.  Maybe this weekend if I can get my act together.  It’s a pretty big deal, to be honest.  I will be setting foot on a holy ground that I have not seen in over 9 long years.  Get ready.

See you soon.  Happy weekend!!

Lis

P.S. A friend of mine (don’t ask how, the 100 degrees it takes to link her to me up are ridiculous) is going to be studying in Rome this semester.  I am mucho jealous, as that is where I fell in love with Italy.  She’s going through the same college program I went through, and I know she’ll love it.  If you’d like to read about Rome, stalk random people you’ve never met, or finally find out if they do make teaberry gelatto, give her blog a glance.  Or two.  Buona fortuna, Amy!