One of the most popular reasons to come to Texas Renaissance Festival is the food. I mean, which of you doesn’t have some delicious treat that you look forward to from the moment you set out to the faire, whether it’s from your camper or in your car?! I personally save up my indulgences all week so I can enjoy a food I really only get when I am at faire. (I promise- we will do a feature on how you can eat clean and healthy for a faire day, too! We know that is important for many of you!)
Let’s take a foodie tour through the Festival grounds, shall we? We’ll start at the front gate and work our way counter clockwise, and if you aren’t salivating by the end of this, you are just inhuman!
We’ll start at the Queen’s pantry for a Scotch egg. A boiled egg wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs and fried, this is one of the staples of faire. It’s nourishing, warm, and tasty. I personally think it’s best accompanied by a rich dark brew (coffee or maybe a beer like Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout from nearby Prince of Wales Pub).
We need to let our food settle, so we will stop at the Globe Stage, and enjoy either Clan Tynker or Ded Bob working their magic for the crowds. We’ll pass lots of great shops and path performers as we head toward the next major food area, Spain. This area is huge and bustling with color and energy, and delicious empanadas! You can get them savory or sweet. Christine Boyett Barr describes the savory empanada: “I love the beef empanadas! Crisp, flaky pastry encasing the spicy, satisfying beef and veggies! And such a deal! It was priced so low I had to double check.” Angela Staha rhapsodizes on the sweet: “I adore the banana empanadas. They are crazy crunchy on the outside and made of sweet banana heaven on the inside. Warm and fragrant…filling and addictive.” Wow! Makes my mouth water just to read!
As we continue our food trek along the outer perimeter of the faire, passing gypsy fortune tellers, Sky Chairs, and the bungee jumping (which, on a full stomach, seems like a bad idea), we head into the next major food area, Germany. Now, this area also happens to have a couple of really great snacks- the cinnamon roasted nuts as well as a traditional candy store that looks like a fairy tale candy house, but what I am really headed for here is the hamburgers. I don’t know what’s the best part- the sweet bun or the enormous patty of beef. You may even get to watch your burger being grilled- this is no frozen-microwave operation. This is the real deal. And you can get it with sauerkraut! I always take someone with me, so we can split a burger. They’re that big.
Our next stop is quite a trek- but we need it! Otherwise, we will have to be carted out of here in a rickshaw, and let me tell you, I would feel sorry for any rickshaw puller who has the burden of my scotch egg- empanada-hamburger filled self to drag around. We’re headed to the Italian Village for fettuccine alfredo!
Now, this is a dish that you can get outside of faire. But really, it’s so good, so filling, why not have it while you’re here as well? You can slurp it down with a glass of red wine while listening to the band Saxon Moon and watching the camels and llamas.
We need to walk off some carbs, so let’s stroll through the Magic Garden and head back to the heart of the Faire, the Joust Arena. We’ll cheer for our favorite knight (I always choose England), then be ready for more food! Just across the path from the Arena is the immensely popular Sea Devil Tavern, where the Merchant Prince serves up a generous helping of fish and chips. Batter-dipped and served with vinegar, the salty, pungent, crisp fish is a slice of heaven, cooked like they do it in the UK. You might get lucky and catch the Pride O’Bedlam or the Tudor Cannibals while you eat.
After some shopping at the essential oils booth, a visit with Mark at Wood Harbor, and a massage at the corner of Industrial Row, you might be ready for another treat. Head over to the Golden Dragon on Mockingbird Lane for an egg roll. The addition of Asian food at Faire is pretty recent, but couldn’t be more welcome. I also like their fried rice, but my tummy is full, and I am holding on for dessert.
It’s getting late, we have seen Arsene’s last show at the Odeon, fireworks will be soon, and it’s time for dessert, which is going to be the #1 food on our exit surveys, funnel cake! It’s available at Buccaneer Bay (as well as other booths), which is right on your way as you walk from the Odeon to the Arena for fireworks. Listen, there is no redemptive nutritional value here, just powdered sugary dough, hot and fresh, and ready to pull apart with your fingers. But really, where else can you get it? Enjoy your treat, and do a few extra laps tomorrow. Or come back to the Festival for a day of brisk walking on our beautiful grounds.
What’s your favorite faire food? Tell us all about it, and use as many really rich words as you can!
(originally posted 5/5/2015)