Friday, November 21, 2008

Thee Food Fest of Middle America

Eating like a local: Regional food specialties
-The West Side Nut Club Fall Fest in Evansville, IN

On a recent trip to hog heaven down in Southern Illinois this past October, one of the reasons for cruising down there was to experience one of the more unique food festivals in the nation. The West Side Nut Club fall fest just celebrated its 84th year in Evansville, IN. The festival is held yearly during the first full weekend in October and it is known for its more uncommon food items. Now im not talking about "salad of endives with crispy potato's, basil, dijon, pancetta and a poached egg." Some of the more bizzare items to be eaten include chocolate covered crickets, kool-aid brined pickles, brain sandwiches, fried just about anything including but not limited to pineapple, dandelions and olives and also Kentucky specialties: mutton and burgoo. When it was all eaten and over it was a very fun experience and the food was better than your run of the mill celebration, this isn't your local towns annual summer carnival.

WSNC (Evansville, IN)

I come from the city of festivals and I will say that as a lifelong Chicagoan who is sick of the "Taste of Chicago" and what it is (not good) that this was one of the better food fest's I have been to. Keep in mind that this is the exact opposite of the "Aspen food & wine festival" in both food and people. Sometimes pictures tell 1000 words and that is going to be the case in this post. Here are some photos from the 2008 West Side Nut Club Fall Fest in Evansville, IN. I have to say the WSNC fall fest is one of the better eating festivals in the country. I say this because you wont find any corporate food outlets because all of the booths are non-for-profit organizations.

Fried salsa & cheese stuffed black olives/fried mac & cheese

Cajun sausage

Bugs in your lollipop on purpose

Homemade stromboli's

Dumplings of all variety are very popular

One of the more amusing items- a walking taco: a waffle cone stuffed with taco meat and topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa and sour cream

Fried donut on a stick dipped in chocolate topped with whipped cream and nuts (Jeff Barzin)

mmmmm (Jeff Barzin)

Indiana's state sandwich (oversized fried pork tenderloin w/ pickles, mustard, onions)

Desserts are plentiful at the festival

Packed at high noon on Day 1 (a Thursday)

Monte Cristo Sandwich (Served with jam-click for info on sandwich)

Fried pork tenderloin sandwich

Monte cristo (ham, turkey and cheese in bread-then breaded and deep fried)

the famous brain sandwich

ask Jeff Barzin

deep fried everything

These were really good. Bars around town should should start serving them complimentary.

Pulled Pork from a big green egg

Hot Tamales!

Pretty, Pretty, Good

Steak sandwich

Brat Burgers, banana canoes, Root Beer Floats, pretzel stix dipped in white chocolate

Chocolate dipped bacon

Freid Green Beans and fried ravioli

Corn Fritters

a popular festival food item

Muddy pig's

Whats a food fest without pie?

close up of corn fritter (amazing when dipped in the syrup)

Cajun cuisine

ask Jeff Barzin

no time for rides...must eat

apple dumpling with ice cream (Jeff Barzin)

Evansville has a heavy German population

Whiskey and Cider make a nice pairing (great w/o whiskey too)

Cotton Candy...always popular

Hot ham and everything

Some of the best onion rings I have had

West Side Nut Club planning their take over of the East side acorn crew

NO? Not Kermit! Why is he missing a leg?

encased meat and onions...a match made in heaven

Shaved Ice...another festival favorite

Smoked bacon wrapped jalapeño stuffed with cheese

ribbit, ribbit...crunch, crunch...frog legs

one of the better sandwiches at the fair

Kool-aid brined pickles


Deep fried oreo's and twankies for dessert (Jeff Barzin)

Blueberry pie with a scoop of ice cream (Jeff Barzin)

If you enjoyed this and the Southern IL BBQ trail tour then stay tuned. During my three days down there we managed to get over to Kentucky for some BBQ right after we left the fall fest. Regional report coming soon. For more info on the WSNC FF check out their website.

West Side Nut Club Website

1 comment:

dfb. said...

just found your spot.
i am from evansville, and for 30 years loved the festival, looking for it every year.

you da man , can you get a real evansville stromboli recipie???
please, please post it. for real.
i'm in chicago, haven't been there for15 years. man they were the best!!!!


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