As many of my readers know, I love County Fair Food! This blog post will take you on a trip through the 2012 OC Fair’s best dishes. Brace yourself, these pictures and descriptions will induce you to visit the OC Fair and eat yourself silly. Some side-effects of eating fair food include pregnant belly syndrome, lethargy, food highs, food hangovers, and a general sense of well-being (while eating the food at least).
I took a tour through the fair and I was overwhelmed by the smells of fried food wafting down the midway. The first stop was Bacon A-Fair, one of my favorites. The “Porkabello” ($14) was a serious concoction that is made with some high-end ingredients. Portabello Mushroom chucks are skewered and then wrapped in thick-cut bacon. The whole skewer is then grilled on an open flame until the bacon is crisp. The skewer is then served on a plate of truffle fries and topped with shredded Gouda! Be sure to order your Porkabello extra well done, so that the bacon is crispy and the mushrooms are sizzling hot. The Gouda cheese really makes this dish pop.
The Beer-Battered Bacon ($12) was one of my favorite new dishes at the fair! Extra thick raw bacon is coated in a wet batter and then dredged with seasoning laced bread crumbs. The coated bacon is then deep fried to make it nice and crispy. The flavors of fennel and garlic are front loaded on the taste buds and there is a nice balance of batter to crisp bacon. The bacon has side options of Ranch or BBQ for dip; I suggest you use both at the same time!
Our next stop was at Tasti Chips, a favorite of the food blogger community. This vendor offers hand-cut potato chips that are deep-fried in peanut oil and served piping hot! Tasti Chips are made from White Rose potatoes that have been sourced directly so that they can ensure the potatoes are fresh. Interesting fact: Most potatoes in the grocery store are sometimes months old. In order to make great potato chips you need the sugars in the potatoes to be fresh. The results are delicious chips that vary in texture from puffy and crunchy to crispy on the perimeter and hot and gooey in the center. The dippers, jalapeno cheese or cheddar bacon, set the chips off the chain, by adding new flavors and accentuating the potato. This is how chips should be eaten!
If you have been to any county fair in Southern California, then you have definitely seen the monstrosities created by the mind of Charlie Chicken. This is the same guy who dared to think differently and who deep-fried a whole White-Castle burger. Our foodie friend Charlie has decided to change it up this year and introduce a new stand called Pineapple Express.
After last year’s fair, Charlie was recovering in Hawaii and developed the idea to hallow out pineapple halves and fill them with chicken or shrimp, sticky rice, and more pineapple. This was the most innovative food at this year’s fair. My favorite was the chicken pineapple, as it was very flavorful and juicy. At a price tag of $13.75, this dish isn’t cheap, but it is a great dish that can be shared by two people. I definitely recommend you loosen up your belt and try this at least once.
Of course Charlies chicken wouldn’t be charlie chicken without throwing in some deep-fried goodness on his Pineapple Express station. Going with the Hawaiian theme, he also is offering deep-fried spam, a favorite in Hawaii, and deep-friend pineapple rings. Both are good in their own right, but I liked the deep-fried pineapple the best.
The next stop welcomed us with the sounds of Notorious B. I. G. blasting from the stations loud speakers, Biggy’s Meat Market is as big and notorious as the rapper. This vendor sells the now infamous “The Big Rib” ($16.95) which is literally a whole rib with two pounds of meat on a 17-inch rib bone! Woahhh! This rib was BIG and conjured all types of “That’s what she said” jokes. The meat it self was juicy and flavorful, and on par with top steakhouse who sell this cut as a “Tomahawk” for $60 plus.
Biggy’s Meat Market’s 4-pound burger was larger than Paris Hilton’s dog, and definitely too big to fit in her Louis Vuitton purse. I witnessed a group of 4 teenage boys try to finish this burger together and also watched them fail! Anyone want to attempt this with me?
We finished up with dessert! Bacon makes everything taste better, even giant doughnuts! The Bacon Doughnut from the good folks at Texas Donuts is the dish that made me tap out! The Texas sized doughnut is covered in a maple glaze and topped with four strips of Farmer John bacon!
To my readers: After an afternoon of eating all this rich food I had a big smile on my face although I was starting to suffer from fat and sugar overload. May I suggest that you visit the wine garden and get a glass of wine to wash it down? The OC Fair is always a great time, especially for foodies! Although much of the food served at the fair will require you to hit the gym an extra day, it is well worth it! Plus, a picture of you eating a hamburger that is bigger than your head is definitely Facebook worthy material!