Lowell Folk Festival
I had a samosas and a meat pattie pie from the African booth over at Tsongas. Both were tasty, the meat pie reminded me of the bright yellow knishes that most kosher butchers sell. Also had one of the Falafel samples and a few bites of a chicken skewer wrap from the middle eastern table.
Then over at Boarding house I went to the Latin table at the end. I forget the names for everything, but I had some sort of corn dough triangular meat pie and a cheese-dough ball. Didnt detect any cheese in the dough ball, just dough, not what I was expecting.
Couldnt resist an order of fresh cut fries from a guy in an ice-cream truck looking stand who was over by all the slush people. Tasty fries straight from the cutter to the oil, so hot I could barely hold the order for the 1st 10 minutes.
Other then that, all I had room for was a "fresh squeezed" lemonade from one of the restaurant based tables. Wasnt that great but it was so hot out that it didnt matter.
The Nigerians were back at St. Anne Saturday and the spicy goat stew was really good--tender goat in a bright red, oily sauce that started mellow but by the third bite delivered real toasted-chili fire. They also had non-spicy. There was another table there (run by the church?) that had a really tasty-looking Puerto Rican (I asked) chicken stew with rice and beans. Way too full by that point.
Finally tried the Filipino plate, it was good but my god what a line. Not sure anything could live up to that line.
The good papaya salad was over at the Lao American something or other, at the Tsongas arena parking lot (relocated from across from Market St.)
Missed the sardines but enjoyed a bacalaito (salt cod flavored fried dough) at St. Patrick's (Boardinghouse).
The Middle Eastern table at Tsongas (St. George's) was giving out falafel samples when I walked by--light and very crispy. Their fattoush was a nice relief from all the grease.
Did not see the Armenian Relief Society--was it under my nose? It usually dominates JFK.
Appreciated the tip on the sardines at the Portugese booth. Really enjoyed them as well as the marinated pork sandwich and the fava beans and smoked ham. Got to the Polish booth early and had my pierogi fix. My babcia would have scorned the soggy dough and bland cheese filling. The cabbage filling wasn't bad, though.
It was almost too hot to eat anything, but if you go today, make sure to hit the Portuguese stand in the JFK Plaza..
They had amazing grilled sardines for a buck a piece; fresh, delicate tasting, with a good bit of salt and oil. They were out of pasteis de bacalhao, and I never got back to check for a restock. This stand seemed to have the best variety of items, from some grilled meat, to octopus stew(which I was also going to go back for....)
A stand in the plaza also had Heffenwiezen, which went down well in the heat. All the Lao and Thai places seemed to have to sell the same stuff, which was weird. Fred got some anyway, liked the sweet, light Pad thai...The only dessert we got was some homemade sweet potato pie from the NAACP stand in the Boardinghouse Stage area...I had never had it before, and the intensely sweet, buttery filling was great!
Definitely the Armenian Relief Society booth, the stuffed grape leaves were amazing. I waited in line for pieroghies at the Polish booth, but they ran out before I got to them (they looked good). I can't remember where I had it, but someone was selling really good limeade, too!
I posted about this last year (below). Ju recommended the Filipino table, it did sound authentic and it's on the top of my list this year. Personally I've found the Armenian burgers too bland to be worth the calories, but it has been years. I prefer to try lots of little things.
Remember there are several food sites, don't spend all your calories at JFK plaza! Wander around and see.
Although I dissed one table's grape leaves last year I should point out that these things are made in batches and I wouldn't write a table off for one sample (no edit function last year!)
If you want a hearty meal, the Armenian burgers are the best! They use the same meat mixture as for lamejun, but in a large hamburger-sized patty on a bun. There's usually a line of repeat customers from year to year. They've been at the edge of the big central plaza for many years now.