A three-day Phish Festival in Watkins Glen, New York (August 21-23)
A five course, wine and beer paired feast unlike any you’ve ever experienced …
Friday, August 21st
With Guest Chef Emma Frisch
Cavern-Aged Grilled Cheese
on Heidelberg cracked wheat with big ball jam served on timber
Sample in a Jar
Grilled eggplant, spruce tip syrup, garnished with wood sorrel leaf
Grilled bok choy with Cayuga Blue, Guyute Praline Brittle, nasturtium, honey-mustard dressing
Split Open and Melt
Pasta purse filled with organic yolk and homemade ricotta over fire-roasted shiitakes topped with peas, pine nuts, and Piggery pancetta
Fluffhead S’more Tart
In collaboration with Serendipity Catering
Graham Streusel, Finger Lakes Distilling Bourbon Ganache, Toasted Housemade Marshmallow Fluff, Honey-Wheat Pâté Sucrée
Testing “Split Open and Melt” at home. A pasta purse filled with a surprise.
Watch the song live
Ever since I was a tiny teeny bopper, I’ve loved Phish. Yes, the kind that you eat, but also the Vermont-born band that surged in the post Grateful Dead era. I fell in love with the community first; a come-as-you-are and be-kind-to-your neighbor crowd that ups the ante with glitter and other fantastical adornments. Phish fans live life to the fullest, from farm-fresh, gourmet burritos and parking lot grilled cheese to inexhaustible dancing stamina.
The band itself is an art form to unravel. For new ears, it might sound like a cascading jumble of melodies and quirky tunes. For the dedicated, the four musicians that make up Phish are pioneers, crafting cutting-edge music that’s never been done before. Jams are interwoven with melodies and lyrics, instruments defy convention (like when Fishman plays the vacuum) and special guests are frequently welcomed. The light show is exquisite and the theatrical surprises unfathomed (such as when the band flew on stage in a giant hot dog). There is a ferris wheel at every festival. I’ve spent nearly fifteen years seeing live music, and few performances come close to the all-encompassing experience that is Phish.
Festival Eight, 2009.
This year, Phish’s three-day music festival, Magnaball, is in the heart of the Finger Lakes wine country and my backyard, Watkins Glen. I immediately began dreaming of how I might collaborate. I had always wanted to create a lyrically-inspired feast at a Phish festival that would take concert-goers to the next level. In the past fifteen years that I’ve been traveling to music festivals, I’ve been disappointed with the food scene (ex. “behind the fork” at Bonnaroo). But the aromas wafting out of Phish vendors’ food trucks and fans’ camps was another story. The Phish community knows how to take the best of their kitchen outside.
By day (with my hubby), by night (in “Ocelot” attire) and a reviving morning bite.
At Festival Eight, Phish dished out thousands of eight-shaped donuts and coffee (2009).
In anticipation of Magnaball, I didn’t have to search far before I got a phone call asking to be involved (picture: JUMPING OUT OF MY PANTS!). One thing spiraled into the next, and I found myself collaborating with one of the most outstanding restaurants in this region, LOFO in Syracuse. LOFO is running Phish’s first-ever, full-service, on-site restaurant … outside! The owner, Abigail Henson, and Chef Luke are a power team, committed to using nearly 100% Finger Lakes products. Everything is made from scratch. They are undertaking one of the largest and most innovative food happenings out there: Phish’s Festival Ate.
Breakfast and lunch will be offered with table service. The dinners will switch over to prix fixe, farm-to-table style feasts with wine and beer pairings. Five courses will be served to the tune of Phish songs, tied together with an overarching theme. Each dish will be a playful, taste bud-shattering experience inspired by Phish lyrics. Dinners will be served between sets so diners won’t miss a beat of the show. I have the honor of collaborating with LOFO for our Friday night dinner, kicking off the weekend’s festivities.
My menu was inspired by “Fuego,” a Phish song and the new medium I love to cook with. At Firelight Camps I’ve been playing with the heat, cooking up farm-fresh ingredients and Finger Lakes gems over the campfire. The menu reflects a fire-cooked, forest theme, with the flow of the dishes invoking a sense of building the fire. The dinner begins with an appetizer served on “Timber,” essential to the process. The teaser, “Sample in a Jar” includes spruce tip syrup made with foraged spruce tips (also good kindling) and garnished with wood sorrel. “The Wedge”, also a tool to split firewood, is inspired by this recipe. “Split Open and Melt” makes me think of a raging, molten fire over which anything would melt, and the “Fluffhead” S’more Tart is a deconstructed version of the s’mores we offer our guests at Firelight Camps. The components of this dessert will be prepared by Serendipity Catering’s Pastry Chef Benjamin, who has taken our s’mores to the new heights. Each night promises to be a one-of-a-kind culinary journey.
I truly hope I’ll bump into some of you, dear readers, in the crowd. And if you will be there, join me at the table!