The Enchanted City: A Steampunk Blitz (with a Food Competition)

Over the years I have been a very fortunate man. Back in my younger days, I had the opportunity to tour all over the world with my music and meet people in a wide variety of circumstances. I got to eat and drink in more places than I can go into here, but THIS was one for the books. Welcome to “The Enchanted City”, a popular steampunk-themed festival.


Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century British Victorian era or the American “Wild West”, in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power.

A Ghastly Ghoul Pageant & Costume Promenade, a Dance Party with DJ Mechno Sferatu, a Frightening Foods Chef Challenge, Absinthe Tastings, a Goblin Market, and Ghost Tours of 433 River Street, led by a descendant of The Brothers Grimm lineage, were all on the docket for this Friday night in the Downtown Waterfront District of Troy.

I was invited to be one of the judges in the “Frightening Food” competition along with blogging/food story favorite Deanna Fox (, and the Capital District’s food writing icon Steve Barnes (Times Union). Hundreds of Steampunk aficionados filled the market in full costume, making the night feel even more unique and special.

Chefs representing each of the six restaurants of River Street Market competed to prepare the best dish using all of the “frightening” ingredients provided. Each chef had 25 minutes to whip up a dish to be served to the “royal poison snoopers,” or judges.

Can you name all these ingredients?

The results of those efforts are here…

The winner was the fish dish prepared by Lukas Salumeria & Spirit. It defied description…

The bottom line here was FUN. Everyone seemed thrilled to be there, and many a chuckle came at the judges’ expense as we did our “judgely” duty! The last time Steve and I were at a food event together it was the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival, with rare vintage wine, intricate preparations of ingredients collected from all over the world prepared by regional chefs as well as chefs flown in from Europe. As I looked over at Steve at this event, a woman with purple antlers was peering over his shoulder as he smiled and said, “This is really cool!”

I love this job.

1 Comment
  1. karen Opalka says

    we went last year and loved it, should have tried harder to go, dang!

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