Phish Phood Phor Thought

December 10, 2009

The jam band Phish has been around for over 25 years now, and have amassed a huge following of devoted fans that follow them around on tour from town to town.  Traveling along with the concert goers is a small community of vendors, who set up shop in the parking lot by the venue where Phish is playing on a given night.  They sell everything from t-shirts to hats, jackets to jewelry, hand-blown glass pipes (for tobacco of course) to beer, bumper stickers to tapestries, and of course, food.  The culinary work stations these food vendors set up range from the very small hot plate, to large elaborate flat-top grills.  This isn’t your ordinary parking lot tailgate food either.  Sure there are burgers and hot dogs, chili and BBQ chicken.  But there are also some great treats that you might not expect to find, and they are always very reasonably priced.  Over the years I have been to quite a few Phish shows, and the parking lot experience is always a big part of going to the event.  Some of the great food highlights I have experienced include:

Garlic grilled cheese – sure, it doesn’t take much to slap a couple of cheese slices on two pieces of white bread and grill it, but taking the added step of spreading fresh roasted garlic on the sandwich is a delicious variation, one that never occurred to me to try on my own, for some reason.

Fajita burrito – fresh, seasoned chicken or beef grilled right in front of you on a flat-top, along with peppers and onions grilled right there too, piled into a warm tortilla and topped with cheese, lettuce and freshly-made salsa.  Sounds just awful, right?  Delicious.

Homemade hummus – this was definitely one of the best foodstuffs I ever came across in a Phish show parking lot.  They were mashing the hummus together right in front of me, just a simple basic recipe, and serving it with pita bread.  So very tasty.

Rotisserie chicken – yup, the guy had a portable rotisserie contraption and was spinning whole chickens right there out of the trunk of his car.  He sliced them up on a plate, the juices flowing out.  Yummy?  Yes.

Veggie quesadillasagain, grilled right in front of me were tortillas filled with peppers, onions, tomatoes, corn, salsa and cheese.  Can’t go wrong with that.

So it just goes to show you that tailgate food need not be unhealthy, provided you are willing to take the time to make it and have the money to get the right equipment.  And it sure beats the terrible, overpriced concession stand food inside the venue.  What’s your best tailgate food experience?


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