I will freely admit to having a love/hate relationship with my hometown of Erie.
Love: The lake and beaches.
Hate: The 7-9 months of shitty weather.
Love: The older urban architecture.
Hate: The careless urban dilapidation.
Love: The small town feel.
Hate: The pervasive small town mindset.
Love: The friends and family I grew up with.
The list could go on and on.
Lately, however, the "hates" have receded to the back of my mind and intense cravings for Erie food has been at the forefront of my brain. For some, Erie may not have a lot to offer, but it does have a very distinct and delicious food culture. Here in Nashville there is, of course, an abundance of Southern food but I haven't really found much in the way of a particular Nashville food culture. There's the Hot Chicken which I've been told is distinctly Nashville, but that's about it.
Erie on the other hand...
Well here's a comment I found about Erie on a thread over at ChowHound:
"For being a little hellhole in Pennsylvania, they sure do have their own little food culture, and I love it!"
Right on man!
Today, Daniel and I went to the Greek Festival for lunch and my mouth was watering anticipating the Greek Fries I grew up eating at the Greek Festival in Erie. Imagine my profound dismay when I was served a cup of french fries sprinkled with a few Greek herbs. WTH!?
Okay okay, I realize that the Greek Fries I was served this afternoon were probably more authentically Greek, but when I think "greek" fries I can only conjure up a plate of greasy fries piled high with the spicy "greek" sauce and melted cheddar cheese. Oh mama! Erie-ites, back me up here!
I could even eat a greek hot dog right now (which is unusual for me because I generally hate hot dogs and can't even remember the last time I ate one).
But let's not stop there.
How about Pepperoni Balls? ohmigod. Little fried tennis ball of dough filled with spicy pepperoni. I have never seen nor eaten these things outside of Erie. Speaking of Italian food...Erie has some of the best Italian food joints. I seriously have not been able to locate an Eggplant Parmesan Sub anywhere near equal to the one served by Valerio's. Makes my wouth water just thinking about it.
And for dessert there are at least two options. Morning dessert = Mighty Fine Donuts. Especially the chocolate cream filled donuts. I try and try to like the chocolate cream filled donuts that can be found around here, but they pale in comparison. Evening dessert = Sponge Candy from Romolo's (or any candy really). This is the food of the gods and I could eat a whole bag of it right this second.
Not sure where these cravings for my hometown foods are coming from exactly - nostalgia? pregnancy hormones? Or maybe I'm just hungry!
I'm going to go see if I can find a recipe for Daniel to make some authentic tasting Erie Greek Sauce!
What are some other distinctly Erie foods?