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
Bugs in your lollipop on purpose
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
Pretty, Pretty, Good
Brat Burgers, banana canoes, Root Beer Floats, pretzel stix dipped in white chocolate
Chocolate dipped bacon
Freid Green Beans and fried ravioli
a popular festival food item
Whats a food fest without pie?
close up of corn fritter (amazing when dipped in the syrup)
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