Friday, August 21, 2009

Step right up folks

Ok, so it has been WAY too long since I updated the blog. I could make up excuses as to what I’ve been doing instead, but I’m just going to get right down to it.

The San Diego County Fair came to town as per usual at the end of June. This year I doubled up on my visits and hit the fair twice. The results: way too much fried food, but always a big smile on my face.

Trip one I took with my roommate. We went up before work on a Tuesday to visit a friend who was working at a booth, ride some rides and eat some tasty food. We played this trip smart and took a ride on the Zipper before we dug into the grub.

I have irrational fears when getting on carnival rides. I imagine the carnie who put the ride together and visualize the latch breaking or a screw coming loose sending me crashing down to the ground. But for some reason, I think this irrational fear totally adds to the excitement of going on fair rides. Of all midway rides the Zipper is my favorite; it has just enough stomach churning spins and drops to keep it interesting, but not cause me to lose my lunch (as long as I don’t eat right before getting on the ride).

I can’t remember the last time I went on a midway ride and by the time we stopped swirling and twirling I couldn’t see straight. Stepping off the ride I took a few crooked steps, but was quite satisfied with my 45 second Zipper experience. Even though we had a few leftover tickets, my roommate and I decided one ride was more than enough for the day. Onward to the food booths.

We grabbed our friend for her lunch break and the three of us set out to devour a few (OK, a lot) of calories. Having someone with us who has tried multiple food booths while working at the fair was almost an unfair advantage. The first stop was the Chuck Wagon for some BBQ beef brisket sandwich. The nice thing about having three of us is that we got to taste more without getting full too fast.

The sandwich got my stamp of approval. I love a good tender meat that practically melts in your mouth and when it’s smothered in BBQ sauce there’s no going wrong.

Next up: the “healthy” portion of our day. Our friend raved about artichoke sandwiches served by The Roxy (which is actually a restaurant in Encinitas), so even though it had nothing fried in it, we gave it a go.

This sandwich really was pretty healthy and tasted good, but just didn’t have that “fair flare” I was hoping for. The sandwich had sprouts, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, sunflower seeds, tomato, avocado (which we added as an extra) and mozzarella, all served with a whole-wheat bun.

To accompany the sandwich, we also got a basket of Tasty Chips with a side of cheddar and bacon dipping sauce. The chips were a cross between kettle chips and French fries. They were a little greasy and not as crisp as a chip and for having bacon in it the cheddar dipping sauce was a bit of a flop.

The grand finale was a batch of deep-fried Oreos. When you want something good and fried you go to Chicken Charlie’s and that’s just what we did.

We passed on the other fried items like Twinkies, hotdogs stuffed in zucchinis, avocados, Snickers, etc., keeping to the simple, or so we thought. Apparently it’s not enough to just deep fry the Oreos; in addition, they are drenched with chocolate sauce and topped with sprinkles. We asked for no chocolate sauce to try to save ourselves a little, but apparently our cashier wasn’t too smart (he also thought we tried to order Twinkies with our Oreos) and the chocolate sauce was not left off. Sadly, we all agreed that the cookies probably would have been way better without the sauce because it made it way too sweet. Oh well, at least now I can say I’ve had a deep-fried Oreo and my heart has lived to tell the story.

Trip two took place when my mom was down visiting. I’m always looking for ways to entertain my mom when she visits so I figured stuffing her with greasy, fried fair food would be the perfect thing.

Our first indulgence was mini donuts inside one of the expo areas. These little treats were a perfect start to the fair experience. The donuts are light and fluffy with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar on top.

For lunch we returned to The Roxy booth but instead of ordering the healthy artichoke sandwich we got fried mushrooms and artichokes on a stick. It’s not a full fair experience unless you eat something from a stick. We also returned to the Chuck Wagon and each got a BBQ beef brisket sandwich (you know it must be good if I go back for a repeat). The fried veggies had a lot of batter on them, but it wasn’t too overwhelming.

After a rousing concert put on by The Guess Who, I topped my night off with some chocolate covered bacon and my opted for a corn dog. The chocolate covered bacon came packaged in a small Chinese take-out container. Inside there were about 5 pieces of delicious bacon, on the outside there was a small packet of salt taped to the box. As if it weren’t already unhealthy enough they needed to add a packet of salt?! Odd. The take-out boxes were kept in an ice cream handcart, which kept the chocolate bacon practically frozen and very crisp. I thought it was awesome. When I originally made my chocolate covered bacon I used milk chocolate. At the fair the bacon was covered with dark chocolate and I think that made a world of difference. I’ll have to use that the next time I try a batch.

There were some highlights and lowlights this year, but one thing is for sure: I can’t wait to see what they have in store for next year’s fair-food circuit


Michelle said...

Wow!! I'm full just from reading that blog.

Jumpthesnark said...

The BBQ sandwich and the artichoke sandwich look great. Most of the fried stuff I can do without though. I know, I know - I'm totally missing the point of fair food. Sue me.