New Food Items at OC Fair 2014
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OC Fair 2014 is underway and residents of Southern California are migrating to Costa Mesa for the annual right of Gluttony. For me, the OC Fair is about the food, all of the other exhibits are just fluff. Every year I have been reporting on my favorite dishes that I tasted at the OC Fair.
In the past I have attended a media tasting experience of all the dishes, that way I can report back to you my readers the best of the best at the fair. This year I unfortunately missed the tasting event and had to do a walkabout on my own with just a couple vouchers. This is probably a good thing because last year I over indulged and had to put myself to bed. This year the list of food vendors is quite impressive (click here to see them all).
See other foods at the OC Fair from my 2013 OC Fair Food Guide. many of the same vendors and dishes will still be there.
Also Check out my Award Winning 2012 OC Fair Food Guide. This post won Tom’s Foodie Blog the “Theme Award” from the 2013 OC Fair Blogger Competition.
Innovate or get Fried – A Case Study at Chicken Charlie’s
Year after year, my favorite food vendor continues to be Chicken Charlies. Why you may ask? I think Chicken Charlie’s does the best job innovating their menu. Just like Game of Thrones, your favorite item may get killed off, but a new favorite item will emerge.
I chatted with Jerald, one of the managing partners at Chicken Charlie’s, and he described to me how they decide on new items every year.
The process is the stuff of reality television.The core management team meets for an emotionally charged pitched session where there are no sacred cows and hurt feelings are left at the door. Think of it as a combination of Shark Tank and Couples Therapy with Dr.Drew. There is a four person vote, majority wins. Charlie has the tied breaking vote. The results of this year’s deliberation are the Fried Doritos and the Totally Fried Skins.
Did you know that the Travel Channel filmed a pilot for a reality T.V. show around Chicken Charlie’s fair operation? You can still find the Pilot airing on The Travel Chanel. Do a search for a show called “Fried.”
New Food at the OC Fair 2014
Deep Fried Doritos
The Deep Fried Doritos are made by coating Nachos Doritos in a seasoned batter and then processing them through a flash fry. The results are a little magical. The chips gain a little thickness from the battered exterior and takes on a texture that is both crispy and chewy.
They taste really good with the Frank’s Hot Sauce they serve at the condiment station. I recommend you order extra ranch to go with the Doritos.
Totally Fried Chicken Skins
Perhaps my favorite new item at the fair this year was crafted again by Chicken Charlie. If the deep fried Doritos is not your thing, how about battered and deep fried chicken skins? Yes this dish is not for everyone, but it should be tried at least once.
Think about the last time you ate fried chicken. What did you do with the skin?
- If you answered: I throw away the skin. Just do me a favor and close this site and never come back. 😉 Just kidding, I love you anyways.
- If you answered: I eat the skin and meat together. You will probably like this concoction, but you may want to share a basket with some friends. You may tap out after your third piece.
- If you answered: I peel off the skin and eat it alone, let me give you a big hug.
If you eat the fried chicken skin, you will LOVE the double fried nature of this totally fried chicken skin creation. This is Charlie Chicken’s answer to the chicharrone and I think it is pure genius. Just for the record, I ate the whole basket by myself. Also note I ate a couple bowls of oatmeal the next morning to counteract the grease 😉
Bacon Wrapped Jack Daniels
This is a new creation from the folks at Bacon A-Fair. If you just scratched your head and wondered how they pull this one off, it is fairly simple. First they take a churro, hollow out the center and pour in some Jack Daniels whiskey. As a result, the Jack permeates into the fried dough. Next, they roll the Jacked up churro in sugar, wrap it in bacon and grill it until the bacon is crispy and alcohol burns off.
Give the Bacon wrapped Jack Daniels to your unruly kid. I don’t know if they will get hyper, sleepy or fall into a food coma. Let me know if it works better than Benadryl.
I did not personally try this item, I ran out of cash , but I interviewed a gentleman named “Ted” about his experience. According to Ted,
“Brah, It reminds me of this binger at my frat’s beach house in Rosarrito. It tastes like whiskey, churro, bacon and regret.”
I gave him a high five for this answer.
Giant Doughnut Creations
The folks at Texas Doughnut have come up with a couple new variations this year, including the cherry pop rocks, Reese’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate Banana Cream. doughnuts. As I reported in last year’s post, the bacon covered doughnut is still the most popular crowd pleaser.
Deep Fried Deep Dish Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
The deep dish fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was one of our favorites. The folks at Texas Doughnuts take a deep dish Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, insert a stick, dip it into a batter, then deep fry it.
This concept has been done before with Snickers and Twinkies, but I thought that the melted chocolate and peanut butter went together remarkably well together.
Not of caution. Take your first bite carefully! The molten peanut butter is very painful on your chin, if you bite down too hard on the tip. Start with nibbles, before you bear down on it.
The Colonel Klink at Pink’s Hot Dog
This year’s the new item at Pink’s Hot Dog is the “Colonel Klink”, which is named after the character on the T.V. show Hogan’s Heroes.
The hot dog is topped with pastrami, sauerkraut, cheese, and mustard. The hot dog itself had the distinct snap with each bite. I really like the addition of the high quality pastrami. The sauerkraut had the right balance of sour, acidity and sweetness. Altogether, this is a great tasting hot dog.
Culinary Demonstrations and Competitions
This year I will be judging the “Water” Chef’s Challenge on Friday July 25th at 7 p.m. The Chef Challenge with pit Chef Mike Doctulero from Scott’s Restaurant and Chef Ben Wallenbeck from Ways & Means Oyster House.
I judged the Doughnut throw down last year and everyone had fun. If you come by, please stop by and say hello! I will be the guy wearing the Tom’s Foodie Blog t-shirt; lets take a selfie together.
There are also other daily culinary demonstrations, cooking classes, and eating competitions. Follow this link for a daily run down of food events at OC Fair 2014.
Taste the OC Fair for Cheap
The OC Fair 2014 runs until August 10th (Closed Monday and Tuesday). If you want to try a lot of items and save some cash, I suggest you try the $2 tastings. The $2 tasting runs every Friday from 12-4pm. Eat smaller portions and get more a diversity of tastings for your hard earned money. http://www.ocfair.com/2014/docs/2014_Tastings_Flyer.pdf
Win Tickets to the 2014 OC Fair
OC Fair Location and Hours
88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, Ca
July 11 – August 10
(Open Wednesday – Sunday)
Wednesday – Friday: Noon – Midnight
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – Midnight
Enter to win tickets to the 2014 OC Fair
Win (2) tickets to the OC Fair by liking, commenting or sharing. The more entries you submit, the better your odds. Follow this link to enter to win tickets to the 2014 OC Fair.
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