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The 5 Foods that Define Utica

Brian Bushner/Townsquare Media

I’ve lived in Utica all my life and I must say we have some GREAT food! I know when my family from out of state comes to town they always look forward to some of the food staples here in Utica. Even my friends from New York City look forward to their meals here. I find it quite entertaining to listen to them talk about our food if I do say so myself. Below are some of the food staples that my family and friends look forward to eating when they come to visit.


Chicken Riggies


 
 

This is a MUST for my friend out in Buffalo. She’s originally from Long Island and has had her fair share of Italian food but when she came to Utica to visit and tried these she went crazy! Now almost every time she comes to town she must have chicken riggies. And when you think about it, who wouldn’t like rigatoni, chicken, peppers, onions, and mushrooms in a delicious red cream sauce! Even Rachel Ray introduced it to her viewers!

 

Greens

 
 

I must say I’ve only tried this once, not too long ago. Call me crazy but I never really knew what it was. I had heard of them but had no clue what it consisted of. It was pretty good. Uticans eat it with their breakfast, lunch, or dinner because they love it so much. It’s a mix of escarole, prosciutto, garlic, peppers, Romano cheese and a few other items. If you haven’t tried it I recommend giving it a try!

 

Salt Potatoes

 
 

Everyone looks forward to salt potatoes in the summer around here. My grandmother who is originally from here and now lives in Arizona makes sure she gets these every summer she visits because Arizona has nothing like them. You might be thinking so what, it’s just potatoes, but that’s not the case. These tiny potatoes are boiled with their skins on in salt water and served with melted butter on top. There is something about the potatoes being cooked in the salt water that just makes them. Yum! They might be originally from Syracuse, NY but Utica loves them!

 

Tomato Pie

 
 

People that aren’t from here are confused when they hear about this. It’s pretty funny when they say “So, it’s un-cooked pizza?” I laugh every time. It’s completely different from pizza. Yes, it is dough rolled out like pizza and baked in the oven. Yes, it has tomato sauce on top. And yes, it had sprinkled Parmesan cheese on the top. But this isn’t hot when you eat it. It’s at room temperature. My family from out of state looks forward to having it at our parties. They love snacking on it since they can’t get it at home.

 

Half Moon Cookies

 
 

These are great! They were made famous by Hemstrought's Bakery and now you can only get the Hemstrought’s Half moon cookies at certain stores in the area. Other local bakeries make their own half moon cookies too, so we aren't going to ever run out. Who wouldn’t love a chocolate cake-like cookie with chocolate icing on half and vanilla frosting on the other half? This is a treat everyone enjoys.

 

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