Wizarding weekend is full of wands and broomsticks, talking pictures, lines of people waiting to receive their Hogwarts acceptance letter and be sorted into their Hogwarts house, the deathly hallows symbol on every piece of jewelry, people dressed as wizards yelling spells at each other and perhaps most importantly, food. If you are not a Harry Potter fan, you probably have no idea what half of these things are. But food is one thing that that everyone knows and has opinions about.
I got to the Commons, where Wizarding Weekend was taking place, at around 9:30 a.m. Saturday to volunteer for the event with my roommate. Despite a strong breeze, it was a perfect day for this event; it was sunny and bright, and the leaves whirling around in the breeze made it an ideal fall day. Instead of food stands lining the Commons like at other Ithaca festivals, there were jewelry stands, stores selling Harry Potter merchandise, wand stores, picture booths, wizarding chess and basically anything Harry Potter-themed you could ever want, with a few vendors selling food scattered in between.
Near Center Ithaca, I passed a place serving grilled cheese, tomato soup and chocolate warts, which I learned were chocolate covered apples. As appealing as the chocolate warts sounded, they were not what I was craving. I passed a place serving vegan shepherd’s pie with organic salad, Little Tree Orchards selling their famous cider and other apple products, and a Latin food station set up outside Pizza Aroma on Cayuga Street.
I then reached Pressbay Alley and realized that most of the food was set up around this area. There were food trucks everywhere, such as Silo famous all-natural fried chicken, Silo Mac express, a sandwich place, an omelette place and Indian Creek Farm. There were people everywhere lining up for food, talking in the sun and watching the Quidditch match nearby.
All of the options were overwhelming, but my roommate and I eventually decided on sharing the Silo Veggie Mac. It consisted of Silo mac and cheese with organic, local, wilted greens and house-made pickled onions. It was originally $9, but we got a dollar off for liking Silo food truck on Facebook. It came out pretty quickly and we took it over to a grassy area to sit and eat.
When I got the food, the lettuce looked so wilted and the onions were such a strange pinkish color that I thought I had made a mistake. Yet I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the combination of flavors. The warmth and creaminess of the mac and cheese complemented the cold and crunchy onions nicely. The onions were refreshing, and even the wilted-looking lettuce was actually very tasty. Magical mac and cheese indeed!
We ate our food quickly, and I could have happily had more. But instead of going to get the same thing again, we walked back to the Latin food stall stationed outside Pizza Aroma. The Latin food place was selling bean or pork pupusas ($4) and chicken or bean tamales ($5). I had never had a pupusa before, so we decided to share a bean pupusa. A pupusa is a thick corn tortilla with some sort of filling —in this case, a bean filling. On top, there were cabbage and onions with an orange sauce.
It took a little while to get into the heart of the pupusa, where all the beans were, and without the bean filling it tasted plain. Once I reached the filling and had a bite with the onions and cabbage as well, I very much enjoyed the meal. I was too full from the mac and cheese to eat much of the pupusa, but I’m glad I got it as it was a mixture of flavors I had never experienced before.
All in all, if you don’t want to go to Wizarding weekend for the people dressed up as wizards living out their Harry Potter fantasies, then at least go for the the variety of food and the atmosphere of excitement during the day. Even muggles are welcome!