Like all good things, the OC Fair ended it’s run this Sunday. I was lucky enough to go twice and try all the deep fried goodness. Now I’m in detox mode until the next food event comes along. This years fair theme was “Let’s Eat.” This is foodie paradise and fair favorites were paired up with food truck Thursdays and events like Chowdown where food trucks were up against fair food.
During my last day at the fair (Thursday, August 11th), we learned that around 4pm the fair broke attendance records with a 1 million people. During my trips to the fair, I avoided the rides and headed straight the exhibits and other attractions. I was asked to judge twice for a hot dog and deep fried dessert Chowdown and also managed to sneak in some fair food. Here’s my take on this year’s fair goodies.
Deep Fried Klondike Bar (Chicken Charlie’s)
I really wanted to like this one. Chocolate covered ice cream is one of my favorite ways to have ice cream however deep fried and battered is another story. In order to encapsulate the ice cream flavor and create a cool creamy center, you really need to lay on the batter thick and that’s where this dessert suffers. That batter is so thick that by the time you break into the center you have a gooey mess of batter and ice cream and the thin drizzle of chocolate and powdered sugar does nothing to save this dessert. FAIL.
Deep Fried Kool-Aid (Chicken Charlie’s)
Deep fried what? I imagined the worst. A packet of powder fried and served up. How good can that be? However deep fried Kool-Aid is a donut mixed with Kool-Aid and topped with powdered sugar and more Kool-Aid. I tried the cherry flavor and sadly missed the grape (oh well, I’m not a big fan of grapes anyway). The flavor impressed me. I could get used to this but unfortunately I could only eat one. Fried Kool-Aid is ridiculously deep fried and greasy.
I couldn’t leave the fair without visiting Tasti Chips. They are the only fair food that beat the food trucks in the Chowdown competitions. For a mere $5 you can get a small order of hand cut Tasti Chips with a variety of their incredible sauces. Each order is sliced, diced, and fried before you. What I loved about these potato chips is their flavor and the light crisp. Paired up with some cheddar bacon sauce and a slight drizzle of ranch, you’re in chip heaven. Other great combos are salt and malt vinegar. Despite being fried, I’m surprised that they weren’t greasy and after a day of fair food adventures a small order was enough for me.
Maple Bacon Donut (Texas Donuts)
I love donuts. I love maple donuts. I love bacon. That maple bacon donut was made for me. This is an impressive donut and one that was split with 3 other friends. The combination of flavors had us all thinking about breakfast, maple syrup, and a side of crisp bacon. That’s just how memorable it was. This is a wonderful glazed donut topped with maple and bacon. You really can’t go wrong here. This donut is served warm and the bacon manages to stay crisp.
The fair was a wonderful food adventure for me and I can’t wait until next year.
Photos by Albert Evangelista