While preparing for my first fair visit, I was thinking about the size of my stomach, how much food I could store, what I would be trying, and if my pants would still fit at the end. I didn’t expect to be humbled, gain perspective, and a new meaning to my life. None of this came from the various deep fried, beer battered, bacon covered food that we tried; it was from the people and the stories they told.
The fair has a little something for everyone. For most, it’s a pleasant Summer escape or a chance to get away from the usual diet. I was invited to take an exclusive food tour and meet with the vendors. Our first stop was at Bacon-a-fair – home of the turkey leg wrapped in a pound of bacon and bacon covered everything else. Here we learned that bacon was a true passion, every recipe is unique, and crafted with love on a grill. Out on the fair grounds, I sat across from the man that started this food stand and heard him tell me his tale of bacon while I politely munched away, savoring every morsel. My favorite was the beer battered dog which is a creative take on the typical corn dog and made with an all beef frank. Thank you, bacon man.
The next favorite from the fair are the winners of the first Fair vs Food Truck chowdown from last year. They were the only stand that beat out a food truck and there’s an obvious reason for that. Beaming with pride, Tasti Chips is a family operation and sticks to a recipe that’s solid gold. Tasti Chips are hand cut potato chips made fresh to order, deep fried in peanut oil, and served to a perfect crisp with handcrafted dipping sauces. You can also get a side of onion rings and fried jalapenos but the true star is the chip itself. I could easily eat a tray but had to save room for the other fair offerings.
New to the fair this year is Pineapple Express by Chicken Charlie’s and it’s one of the lighter options at the fair. I’m not a big pineapple fan but I found myself taking bite after bite of the deep fried pineapple covered with coconut shavings and a light drizzle of chocolate sauce. Mind you, this isn’t the healthy option. That was just much needed dessert. The healthy option, and amongst my top favorite, was the carved out pineapple filled with succulent juicy pineapple chunks, grilled chicken or shrimp, and a mound of rice. I was hooked on this dish and the pineapple. The juicy pineapple was refreshing on that hot Summer day and I’d order this dish again at the fair. If you’re looking for healthy, stop by at Pineapple Express.
As the food tour winded down, we escaped the heat and wound up in Baja Blues. Somehow, I found room in my stomach to take down a few bites of the delicious beer battered avocado stuffed with carne asada. Sitting on a bed of salad, I managed to convince myself it was healthy even though it wasn’t. However, I didn’t come to the fair to eat healthy. I was there for the deep fried goodness and if you’re still craving something deep fried, hit up Baja Blues for this fine dish.
Our tour concluded with a palate cleanser of assorted gelato from Legendary Gelato. I was pleased with several of the flavors but my favorite was the peach champagne. I have a thing for peaches. Why can’t someone deep fry some peaches and mix them up with something? I’d go for that. Peaches and bacon? Deep fried peaches with chocolate? Hmm..now I’m hungry again. The fair concludes in a few days and I’ll be sad to see it go but until next year, the deep fried memories will remain on my hips and butt.