I really enjoy cooking. It’s both a passion and a pastime. When I leave on tour on Lois McClure, I miss our kitchen at home. Please don’t feel bad for me – on the upside, I also like to eat new foods and much to my surprise, Utica has some great specialty dishes.
The City of Utica was very kind to treat a number of our crew to the Brewer’s Festival, a very successful fundraiser for the Utica Zoo. Our escort to the event was Dana Crisino, Senior Planner with the city. As we made our way to the event, we discussed some of the highlights of the city, including the zoo, a ski area (yes, ski area), and its specialty dishes. Dana had already treated us to famous half moon cookies earlier that day.
Similar in appearance to black and white cookies found elsewhere, I was ultimately told these cookies were NOT the same. Judging by the speed at which they disappeared, our crew seemed to enjoy them no matter what the name was. Dana also encouraged us to try Utica Greens and Chicken Riggies. The following day, I got my opportunity, and went on a quest.
My search was quick as Utica is home to an inordinate number of fine restaurants. As promised, Utica Greens did not disappoint. A heaping plate of fresh escarole sauteed in olive oil with garlic, cherry peppers, prosciutto and topped with parmesan cheese. Wow, what a fantastic combination of flavors. I was so sated that I couldn’t indulge in Chicken Riggies.
Riggies gets its name from rigatoni pasta. It’s combined with chicken breast, mushrooms, peppers, black olives, onions, cream, herbs and spices. One thing is for sure – this crew member is looking forward to a return trip to Utica and some Riggies.