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DINING: Tomato fare at the fair

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Dining - A&E

Every year, the Indiana State Fair powers that be select a signature food and invite vendors to use that item as a key ingredient in a for-sale dish.

This year that item is the tomato, the bright red orb that is a standard item in low-maintenance gardens and Red Gold cans. If the five finalists didn’t come up with anything likely to be a fair staple, they at least provided us an excuse to get out on opening day for a sampling survey. (And, yes, we also tried the chocolate covered—and tomato free—bacon. The less said about that, the better).

All dishes will be available through the Fair’s closing day, Aug. 23.

Pizza Cone: We had high hopes for the concept: tomato and cheese (plus optional pepperoni) tucked into a nest of baked dough. But standard-issue sauce, partially melted cheese, and long wait time led to our lackluster response. ($4. Find it at King’s Concessions, located near the Home & Family Arts Building.)

Pizza Cone (IBJ Photos/Robin Jerstad)

YaYa’s Tomato Balls: This one, it’s claimed, comes from a family recipe from the old country (Greece, in particular). And the deep-fried combination of tomato, grated cheese, onions, spices and bread crumbs does taste like there’s history in it. Our favorite of the bunch. ($6. Papageorge’s Inc., located near the West Pavilion across from Hook’s.)

YaYa’s Tomato Balls

Fried Pizza: Judges picked this one as the winner, and we sort of understand that, given the competition. But this attractive item is really little more than an elephant ear ladled with a thin coating of sauce and sprinkled with cheese. Forgive us for expecting something more akin to the Panzarotti, the more appetizing steam-filled calzone variation that’s been around for generations. ($5, Urick Concessions, located near the Grand Hall.)

Fried Pizza

Tomato Bob: Seriously? A couple of cherry tomatoes and slices of cucumber and green pepper qualify as a State Fair finalist? This healthy-but-so-what entry is more of a children’s-area craft exercise than a worthy food competitor. ($3, Smith Concessions, located near the West Pavilion)

 

Tomato Bob

Sun-dried Tomato Pork Burger: Moister than one might expect, this slider puts most of the tomato flavor on top, where it moistened the bun more than flavoring the fried pork. A good enough snack, if not particularly memorable. ($3, Barto’s Catering, located near the Farm Bureau Building.)

Sun-dried Tomato Pork Burger
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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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