July 4th will mark the 40th annual Americana Festival in Centerville. Wouldn’t you know that The Big Ragu & Crew are veterans of practically every single Americana Festival over the years. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate America’s Independence that a brisk walk through the intersection of State Route 48 and Franklin Street, sampling food selections from various vendors. With over 100 spots to eat, this is a perfect opportunity for a summer Food Adventure. From typical festival fare like funnel cakes and to healthier choices like salads and grilled chops, there is something for every taste bud on hand. The food tour stretches from the center of town, down through Benham’s Grove and the Activity Center Park. French Fries, Deep Fried Snickers, Roasted Corn, Chinese food and Gyro Vendors are just some of our favorites on the yearly hit list. We would be amiss if we didn’t mention the various icons that will be open along the street such as Bill’s Donut Shop, City BBQ and Graeter’s Ice Cream. You can even enjoy a Marion’s Pizza near the classic car show in their parking lot. Ohhh Americana, how we love thee!
If you need the scoop on one of Dayton’s largest festivals, here you go:
HERE’S THE SKINNY:
— July 4th events start at 7:30am with a 5k Run/Walk – Always a nice start to a guilt free Food Adventure
— Parade starts at 10am sharp near Centerville High School and typically lasts until 11:30am
— The Street Festival runs from 11am-4pm with over 300 vendors (many of them food booths)
— Festival ends with a Fireworks Display at Centerville High School Stadium at 10pm
Now for the rumbling stomachs that sound like a fireworks grand finale, here are your Food Adventure MUST EATS !
— Nothing says independence like a mouthful of powdered sugar and fried dough, so get yourself a damn Funnel Cake
— Grilled Pork Chops – Various vendors are serving up these chops that weigh as much as a small dumbell
— Roasted Corn – More than knee high by the 4th of July, don’t forget the brush and buttery dip option
— Gyro’s – The Greek vendors at this event never disappoint. Grab a Gyro with the works, which sometimes includes some Caesar’s Salad lettuce on top
— Philly Cheesesteak – A little known secret of the festival is that some vendors fire up the grills as early as 9:30am. We took advantage of this one year. We also should have taken a tums. Huge, mouth watering, stuffed sandwiches. Just look for the banner “Italian Sausages & Philly Cheesesteaks”
— Deep Fried Snickers – Ok, so admit it, you have always wanted to try one. If you like rich foods and gooey chocolate, give it a whirl. It is like a small, powdered corndog with chocolate inside. Everyone should try these just once. Put it on your July4th bucket list.
— McDigger’s Pub – Go inside and grab a cold libation at the corner of Elm and East Franklin St. They also grill burgers and sausages on the patio. This is the only bar we know of where a round of drinks costs about the same as a local Moose Lodge. Just aim your beer burps the other way, please.
Whether you grab a pretzel donut or a grilled chicken wrap with Uncle Sam on stilts, this shindig is as much a celebration of taste as a celebration of the stars and stripes. So get yourself to the center of Centerville and see why this festival is one of the biggest in Dayton. Are you a veteran of the event? Then comment below and tell us your favorite bites from the Americana Festival!
Your hometown foodies Chef House, Hungry Jax and The Big Ragu wish each and every one of you a happy 4th of July. Enjoy the local street food and more on this warm summer’s holiday. This festival definitely shows off “America the Beautiful !”
Browse through our photos below, they will light your firecracker ! “Like” Food Adventures on Facebook HERE !
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This week, The Big Ragu & Crew grab a Tiger by the tail. Your humble Food Adventurers have been dining at China Cottage restaurant since it opened in 1987. Hairstyles and music have changed since then, but China Cottage’s menu has stood the test of time and remained one of our favorites. Locally owned by Chef Tiger Wang, this popular eatery has four locations including Wilmington Pike in Kettering, State Route 48 in Centerville, Springboro Pike and Trotwood.
How did this Dayton original get its start? In the mid-eighties, while working as a cook at Keeng Wha restaurant in Kettering, Tiger realized he wanted to start his own eatery. A couple of years later, he opened China Cottage, with the help of his brother. Tiger’s style of cooking is from Southern China and he was the first to feature General Tao’s chicken on a Dayton menu. Three restaurant expansions later, China Cottage is still one of the most popular destinations in Dayton, to get your Chinese fix.
So after a quarter of a century, what are some of the little known secrets of China Cottage? The answer is in the Chef’s Specials section of the menu. These are original dishes created by chef Tiger Wang, that you will not find anywhere else.
HERE’s THE SKINNY:
— Elegant dining atmosphere and gourmet dishes with a Southern China influence.
— Like most Chinese places, the best prices here are at lunch time, where you also get a soup choice
— Locally owned for 26 years and still operated by the same chef.
— The Chef’s Specials are the highlight of the menu, with original meals found only at China Cottage.
— Chinese New Year dinners are hosted annually and include some incredible culinary creations within this 10 course meal. Stay tuned to http://www.chinacottagerestaurant.com for information.
With so many great options, our list of favorites are as long as the Great Wall of China, but here are some highlights….
— Fire Cracker Shrimp – Jumbo shrimp sauteed in a spicy sauce that features cilantro, lime juice, scallions, red pepper flakes and herbs. It is served with 3 toasts for dipping. Are you kidding? Order this and thank us online later. There is no appetizer like this in Dayton.
— Pot Stickers – Giant, deliciously meaty and perfectly seared. That is pretty much all you need to know about these magnificent creations and the best pot stickers in the area.
— Hot and Sour Soup – The best in Dayton, hands down. A spicy mixture of pork, tofu and vegetables make this a peppery soup a great way to wake up your taste buds.
— Medallion Scallops – Large, lightly breaded scallops in a slightly spicy brown sauce that will make your mouth water. Tiger has a masterpiece with this original dish.
— Golden Calamari – Another signature appetizer from Chef Tiger. Deep fried calamari, tossed in a ginger, chili pepper and scallion sauce that is beyond tasty.
— Rock Salt Prawns – Don’t like a lot of sauce? Then this dish is for you. Shrimp tossed is a dusty, pepper and flour mix with scallions. The result is a smoky tasting, seared shrimp that was charred at high heats in the wok during frying.
Honorable mention menu items include the one-of-a-kind Creamy Chicken soup, the spicy Mala Pork, and the Happy Family combination of meats, vegetables and seafood served on a sizzling plate. We would also be amiss if we did not mention the unique Sesame Shrimp dish with a very rich, sinful cream sauce.
All of these wonderful dishes are enhanced by great service, not to mention the fancy, contemporary Asian decor. China Cottage is a great dining experience, and dare we say romantic place to take that special someone.
The Big Ragu is speaking from experience here, as China Cottage has always been a “go to” place for a great Food Adventure. Take our advice, try something new and exotic. Steer away from your standard, tired sweet and sour entrees and go for the menu section that says Chef’s Specials. Here is another secret. China Cottage maintains their quality because Chef Tiger splits his time each week between the four locations. His continuous training of employees and supervision ensure that high quality standards are maintained. If you have never stopped in China Cottage, give it a shot. If you you visit this establishment frequently, then you know what we are talking about. Just like the sign says at the Centerville location, this spot is “One of the Best.” Chef Tiger, you have definitely earned your stripes as a Miami Valley culinary superstar!
Dayton Most Metro along with Food Adventures are GIVING AWAY A $20 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO CHINA COTTAGE ! To be eligible, you must comment below and fill our the entry form, too Tell us your favorite China Cottage menu item, or why you deserve the gift certificate. Winner will be chosen on Monday!
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