San Diego County Fair
I've been eagerly anticipating the opening of the San Diego Fair. Every year, I love seeing what new food creations will be at the fair and it's a yearly tradition to go and sample the various fair foods.
Boyfriend and I paid a visit to the fair this past weekend. The theme this year is aptly named "Taste of Fun." We were surprised by the lines that greeted us at the entrance. In all the years we've been to the fair, we've never seen the lines so long.
Once inside, we headed straight for the food. I'd already scoped out all the new food fair offerings online as well as printed a map of the different vendor locations and what they would be offering. Out of all the new featured food items, the one I had been anticipating most was the deep fried Klondike bar offered by Chicken Charlie's. Prior to visiting the fair, I had read Darlene's preview at My Burning Kitchen. She had not enjoyed the klondike bar because it was completely melted. After reading her review, I almost passed on trying it, but curiosity won over. I had been wanting it for so long that I just had to check it out for myself.
The Klondike bar took an usually long time to make. When it came out, I was happy to see how big it was. Upon digging in though, I was pretty disappointed. The ice cream was a complete melty mess. Chicken Charlie's has come up with some tasty deep fried treats over the years, but this was one creation I was not a fan of.
Another treat I thought looked interesting was the ice cream smores offered by Fruit Caboose Ice Cream. Soft serve ice cream was sandwiched in between two crispy graham crackers. Mixed with the ice cream were small marshmallows. The top graham cracker was covered with a thin layer of chocolate. Biting into this, I did feel like I was eating a smore, but with the addition of ice cream. I enjoyed this treat. The vanilla ice cream was super soft and creamy and I was surprised at how well the graham crackers complemented the ice cream, having not eaten this combination before. Boyfriend wasn't as pleased, but he also doesn't like graham crackers.
The Fresh Cream Puff is something I've seen every year at the fair, but have never tried. It always looks really popular. I used to enjoy my puffs filled with whipped cream, but after trying Beard Papa's cream puffs, I'm always disappointed by the whipped cream ones. When I saw that the Fresh Cream Puff would be offering "Puff on a stick" I decided this would be the year to finally check out this vendor.
Once I arrived, I noticed that they had both a puff on a stick: four mini puffs stuck together on a skewer, or you could get puff on a plate: the same four puffs in a plate. Since I would have to remove the puffs off the stick to eat them anyway, I decided to get the puffs on a plate. They had patriotic puff color/flavors going on. I chose to get one of each flavor because I liked the colors.
Unfortunately, neither Boyfriend or I were fans of the puffs. The cream tasted too light and artificial. It tasted more like the whipped cream in a can rather than the fresh whipped cream I like to make at home. The various flavors made them taste even more artificial. The puffs themselves were a bit hard and chewy too.
Two other items that looked interesting to me were the hash dog and the sweet potato dog being offered by Del Mar Diner. Already getting quite full, Boyfriend and I decided to just try one, saving the other for our next trip. We opted to try the sweet potato dog.
I absolutely loved how gnarly this looked with the sweet potato spikes. The dog tasted like it was dipped in a corn dog type batter and them topped with lots of sweet potato pieces. It was a delicious batter that was a little bit sweet with crispy sweet potato pieces. The dog itself was spicy, which was another surprising twist on the classic corn dog that I really enjoyed. This was by far my favorite item on this trip to the fair. Boyfriend is not a fan of sweet potatoes so he didn't particularly liked the batter, but he liked the spiciness of the hot dog. I suspect that he'll be a bigger fan of the hash dog.
After that, we paid Fish and Chips a visit for the clam chowder, something we've always enjoyed. I thought the clams were too sandy on this occasion, and I wasn't as happy with the soup as I usually am.
The Indian Fry Bread was something that I saw for the first time last year at the fair but didn't have room to try. A lot of the creations offered were sweet, and didn't really appeal to me. However, this year, they offered one topped with buffalo chicken.
As I just happened to have a buffalo chicken craving, this seemed perfect. I was surprised by the Indian Fry Bread. The bread was nothing like what I imagined. It was puffy, a bit oily and doughy, with a very subtle sweetness. It reminded me of something I had before, but I couldn't put my finger on it until a few bites later. It tasted just like a chinese doughnut/cruller, though it looked nothing like it. I enjoyd the bread, but just like chinese crullers, I can only handle a little because of the oily batter. After a few bites, it was a bit much for me. I also didn't think the buffalo chicken went well with this because the dough was slightly sweet. Boyfriend enjoyed this more than me and polished it off the next day.
We checked out some more food stations, marking ones to try next time when we come back with my brothers. The Heart Attack cafe is one I hadn't noticed before. I think it's new but I may be wrong. It seems to be rivaling Chicken Charlie. It's offerings this year included the deep fried butter, which does not sound the least bit appealing to me.
Something else I noticed was that one of the hot new items from the fair last year, chocolate covered bacon, was now being offered at quite a few locations.
After we were stuffed, we went over to the stage to check out Guy Fieri. I was surprised he was in the lineup at the stage usually reserved for big ticket concerts. I guess it just shows how popular the interest in food has become.
Guy Fieri had even more energy on stage than he does on his tv shows, if that is even possible. We didn't have great seats since we got there right before it started. It was still pretty fun to watch.
You can find all the information as to new foods, a food map and what the vendors are offering here.