IBJOpinion

DINING: When boy meets soy at Indiana State Fair

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Dining - A&E

It’s the Year of Soybeans at the Indiana State Fair, a theme that carries over into the so-called “signature” food. And while the little wonder certainly contributes mightily to our regional economy, the mention of it doesn’t exactly send the salivary glands into manufacturing mode.

Still, as they do each year, organizers staged a signature food competition in conjunction with The Indianapolis Star. The top five dishes are available for purchase during the fair from their respective creators. Here’s what I found as I made the rounds to each of them:

For an appetizer, I started with the Deep-fried Tofu with Dip ($3) from Ulrich Concession inside the Ball State University Ag/Hort Building. But maybe I wrote that wrong. Is there a singular for tofu? Because all I could stomach was one of the oddly textured foursome skewered on my plate. The formerly healthful non-meat—made from tofu, of course—was deep-fried in soy oil to a crunch-free consistency. The spicy dressing provided to dip couldn’t mask the fact that this is, well, tofu.
 

Dining You can trust the American Dairy Association to create a simple, delicious grilled cheese sandwich. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Also in the skewered department, Barto’s Catering and Concessions concocted a delicious Honey Sweet Chili Garlic Soy Marinated Beef on a Stick with Sesame

Ginger Soy-infused Sauce. I just wish the guy in charge weren’t so rude about the whole thing, stating that the announced $2-per-stick price was only on Tuesdays and refusing to give the promised dipping sauce.

The American Dairy Association and the Indiana Pork Producers both strutted their stuff successfully. I was concerned when the Pepper Jack Sandwich on Sour Dough ($3) was handed to me so quickly from a warming tray at the Dairy Barn. But what I was so casually served turned out to be an ideally toasted (crunchy but not dark) sandwich of spicy melted-and-still-warm cheesiness. The soy connection is a bit of a stretch—the cheese is made with the milk of soy-fed cows—but that’s OK. Oh, and extra points for the pricing. No grilled cheese sandwich anywhere should cost more than $3.

The pork producers offer what they call a Bacon-Flavored & Fabulous Pork Burger ($5). Again, the soy-relation is tenuous—this time, the process began with soy-fed pigs. But the result, while not quite “fabulous,” is remarkably smooth, subtly (for State Fair food) flavored, and made all the better by tangy, thin barbecue sauce from Shoup’s Country Foods in Frankfort.

I almost skipped dessert, since I lean toward the non-chain offerings at the State Fair. But the powers that be awarded Baskin-Robbins a place in the pantheon for its Deep-fried Ice Cream ($5). It’s hard to argue with a dish of ice cream on a hot day at the fairgrounds, but here the crunch (fried in soy oil) and character were lacking. Perhaps I should have gone for the not-in-competition Deep-Fried Fruit instead.•

Lou Harry

__________

Next week, we return to this month’s series of reviews of new arts district eateries.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Kent's done a good job of putting together some good guests, intelligence and irreverence without the inane chatter of the other two shows. JMV is unlistenable, mostly because he doesn't do his homework and depends on non-sports stuff to keep HIM interested. Query and Shultz is a bit better, but lack of prep in their show certainly is evident. Sterling obviously workes harder than the other shows. We shall see if there is any way for a third signal with very little successful recent history to make it. I always say you have to give a show two years to grow into what it will become...

  2. Lafayette Square, Washington Square should be turned into office parks with office buildings, conversion, no access to the public at all. They should not be shopping malls and should be under tight security and used for professional offices instead of havens for crime. Their only useage is to do this or tear them down and replace them with high rise office parks with secured parking lots so that the crime in the areas is not allowed in. These are prime properties, but must be reused for other uses, professional office conversions with no loitering and no shopping makes sense, otherwise they have become hangouts long ago for gangs, groups of people who have no intent of spending money, and are only there for trouble and possibly crime, shoplifting, etc. I worked summers at SuperX Drugs in Lafayette Square in the 1970s and even then the shrinkage from shoplifting was 10-15 percent. No sense having shopping malls in these areas, they earn no revenue, attract crime, and are a blight on the city. All malls that are not of use should be repurposed or torn down by the city, condemned. One possibility would be to repourpose them as inside college campuses or as community centers, but then again, if the community is high crime, why bother.

  3. Straight No Chaser

  4. Seems the biggest use of TIF is for pet projects that improve Quality Of Life, allegedly, but they ignore other QOL issues that are of a more important and urgent nature. Keep it transparent and try not to get in ready, fire, Aim! mode. You do realize that business the Mayor said might be interested is probably going to want TIF too?

  5. Gary, I'm in complete agreement. The private entity should be required to pay IPL, and, if City parking meters are involved, the parking meter company. I was just pointing out how the poorly-structured parking meter deal affected the car share deal.

ADVERTISEMENT