There are very few places outside of Erie that know what a pepperoni ball is. I tasted four pepperoni balls from different locations. Everyone seems to have their own twist on the classic recipe. All of the ones I tasted had something good about them. For the best pepperoni ball, there needs to be a good dough to pepperoni ratio. If possible, the ball should be made to order. The dough needs to have a good chew to it as well as a crispy outside. Some cheese and spices on top go a long way. A fried pepperoni ball holds too much of the grease so I think baking gives the best result. My overall favorite was from Dough Boys Pizza.
Greek Sauce is another Erie staple. Like pepperoni balls, a lot of people make it, but every recipe is different. A good Greek sauce should be able to stand on its own. It needs to have enough “sauce” in comparison to the meat to keep it moist, but not overly greasy. I like Greek sauce to have a kick, but it shouldn’t overpower the overall taste. To me, Greek sauce goes best on a burger with ketchup and a little mustard. My favorite local recipe was from New York Lunch on East Avenue . Their food was great and the history of the restaurant is intriguing.
Erie has many fantastic chocolatiers in a small area. To some, chocolate is just chocolate, but the chocolatiers around here couldn’t be further apart. With different cocoa levels and varied blends, Finney’s, Romolos, Pulakos and Stefanelli’s all offer something different. Although I get something incredible from all four locations, my two favorites were Finney’s and Romolos. The inventiveness and the close family ties of Finney’s really make them stand out to me. Their creative confections, like chocolate covered bacon and beautiful, hand painted ganache, draw you in, but it’s good-natured owners Bill and Cheryl Kent that keep you coming back. Romolos candy-making past has really allowed them to perfect their chocolate. From their fantastically light sponge candy to their decadent truffles, everything that comes out of their kitchen is delicious.
I am not a big beer drinker, but our taste test of local breweries gave me some great insight as to what’s available in our market. The overall favorite brewery was Lavery Brewing. The beer that Jason Lavery creates is creatively delicious. His small batch brewing technique allows him to be innovative with his flavors as well as change the taste of the beer rather quickly, if needed. Another favorite was the Heritage Alt Beer from Erie Brewing. This seasonal brew is one of the best I have tasted, but it is their everyday beers (Railbender and DeRailed) that are nationally recognized.
Erie offers many unique and incredible foods that you can’t find anywhere else. Our local food scene is fantastically growing and the regional products we have hear set us apart. Thank you to everyone who helped make this tour a success, and thank you to those who keep the food traditions alive in this city.
The next tour brings me back to where I started. Wings. I got to try eight places before and I hope to try eight more. Please keep your recommendations coming as well as your entries to eat with me.
Until next time,
Andrew – Beard vs. Food