Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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.

 

28 Responses to “San Diego County Fair”

  1. 1

    tigerfish — June 22, 2010 @ 12:59 am

    I am quite curious about this Indian fry bread. :O

  2. 2

    Julia — June 22, 2010 @ 5:30 am

    I must confess – when I think of California, I always think of healthy foods, beautiful produce, seafood, somehow even beef seems healthier in my mind’s eye when I think of California so it was nice to see this post and see that when the fair comes to town – we all go fried! LOL! I thought we Southern had the market cornered on that one. Though I didn’t see any fried Snickers or fried oreoes in your pictures.

  3. 3

    Darlene — June 22, 2010 @ 6:38 am

    I was wondering what Guy Fieri was there! Just to talk? That sweet potato hot dog sounds amazing!

  4. 4

    Kirk — June 22, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    Hey Kirbie – So no deep fried butter for you guys either, huh? I’m still wondering what thats like.

  5. 5

    Rosa — June 22, 2010 @ 7:50 am

    I miss the fair!! Hubby and I ventured to the LA County Fair once last year but it just didn’t feel the same… Maybe because we were cranky after fighting all the traffic to get there and then park. The SD Fair has it right…free buses!
    Hash dog and sweet potato dogs? Those sound enticing. I spied the sign for chocolate dipped pickles which just makes me gag. ACK! But oy, most of the deep fried things make me feel woozy…
    I have always wanted to try the Indian Fry Bread. :) I usually get bbq from that stand you took a picture of and…that’s usually about it cuz it’s so heavy and I can’t eat anymore.
    Friends who tried the deep fried butter were not pleased so I don’t think you missed out.

  6. 6

    Kirbie — June 22, 2010 @ 9:36 am

    It was good, but just too oily and filling for me.

  7. 7

    Kirbie — June 22, 2010 @ 9:37 am

    The fair also offers fried snickers and fried oreos. I didn’t take a picture of them. I’ve tried them in the past. Heehee, I guess it is all about fried food no matter where you are for the fair.

  8. 8

    Kirbie — June 22, 2010 @ 9:39 am

    He did a cooking show. Though he spent most of the time telling stories, playing little games with audience members. It was pretty entertaining.

  9. 9

    Kirbie — June 22, 2010 @ 9:41 am

    I was really curious about the deep fried butter..but not enough to try it because I’m pretty sure I’ll hate it.

  10. 10

    Kirbie — June 22, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    I’ve never been to the LA fair. Is it bigger or smaller than the SD one? Yeah, I saw the chocolate dipped pickles, but it just didn’t sound like a good combination.
    Everything is so heavy! So much better to go with a group of people so you can just have a bite or two of everything.

  11. 11

    Rosa — June 22, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    It felt smaller…a lot smaller. And it just didn’t quite have the same vibe as the SD one..more subdued? I think I am going to go again this year to give it another try.
    I wonder if I could talk Husband into going down to SD for the fair this weekend… :D

  12. 12

    Faye — June 22, 2010 @ 11:19 am

    OMG. I was SOOO looking forward to your post about the fair this year!
    I CANNOT believe you tried the deep fried klondike bar. That sounds so crazy and I don’t get how the concept of frying an ice cream even works. How does the ice cream NOT melt during the frying process?
    I was sooo sad to read about the cream puffs. I was really looking fwd to those. I’ve never had a freshly made cream puff w/ fresh whipped cream before. But I’m not exactly shocked that this place doesn’t use fresh ingredients – I don’t know if any place at the fair does?
    The sweet potato dog looked the best :) Just really original and yummy.
    I will take one for the team (that would include Kirk too) and order the deep fried butter when (and if) I go this year. And I’m so anxious to try to the deep fried bacon too.
    Oh man – yuck – what a combo – deep fried butter and deep fried bacon…yikes
    Wonderful post! Thanks Kirbie!!

  13. 13

    Kirbie — June 22, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

    If you try the deep fried butter, let me know how it tastes. Do you mean the choc covered bacon? I had it last year. I didn’t love it…I didn’t like the salty oily combination with chocolate. But I know some people who really liked it.

  14. 14

    Kirbie — June 22, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    Aww, I hope you can convince Husband to drive down to SD for the fair!

  15. 15

    caninecologne — June 22, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

    hi kirbie!
    wow, what an EPIC post! cool pix of the booths and the food, even tho’ some of them didn’t taste so good.
    i can’t believe someone would deep fry a klondike bar.
    and ewww. deep fried butter. mmmm…no.
    the hash brown dog looked pretty good along with the indian fry bread.
    we haven’t been to the fair in years, not since tc was still small (maybe when she was 2 or 3, so that’s a good 7 years ago).

  16. 16

    Mary — June 22, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

    I wanted to try the hash dog so bad but I couldn’t find it when I went last week! I just totally missed it. Oh well. Nice photos of everything!

  17. 17

    Jess — June 23, 2010 @ 11:42 am

    I tried the $2 Indian fry bread with cinnamon and had to say it’s very good! If the regular size is too filling for you, maybe the sample size is the way to go.

  18. 18

    Kirbie — June 23, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

    Hi C! I never went to the fair before when I was little. SD is the first fair I’ve been to. I went a few years ago and was so enthralled by all the food. I’ve been going every year ever since. Btw, I’ve been enjoying your Canada adventures!

  19. 19

    Kirbie — June 23, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    Oh that sucks. That happens to me too. Like one of the new foods is supposed to be funnel cake on a stick, but I didn’t see it anywhere.

  20. 20

    Kirbie — June 23, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

    They only do $2 on Tuesdays right? Sample size sounds like a really good idea..so I can try more things without having to eat a full serving. I think it would taste better with cinnamon since the bread is already kinda sweet.

  21. 21

    caninecologne — June 23, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

    hi kirbie – part of me wants to go this year but i want to enjoy my shortened vacation. i have to go back on the 9th which sux. i don’t really like the year round sched for the schools. i missed my 2 month vacation!
    i remember my husband and i bought a few kiddie ride tickets for our daughter (she was onlyh 2 at the time) – it was her first time on any kind of kind. i literally had to pry her fingers off the bars when the ride was over because she didn’t want it to end! so sad!
    we loved the australian battered potatoes. we couldn’t finish the plate – too large of a portion for just us 2. lots of heart attack inducing foods at the fair! yum!
    thanks re: canada posts. i’ve been slowly cranking them out. still only on day 2 and that’s not even done yet.

  22. 22

    Kirbie — June 24, 2010 @ 9:26 am

    Year round schedule sounds awful. I love the australian battered potatoes too but I haven’t gotten them the last few times since they are so big.

  23. 23

    Dina — June 25, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

    that smores ice cream sandwich is a good idea! love the cute colored cream puffs. the food looks great!

  24. 24

    Kirbie — June 29, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    I agree. I think I’ll try making my own sometime.

  25. 25

    San Diego Fair Part 2 | Kirbie Cravings — October 20, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

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    San Diego County Fair | Online REL — November 8, 2010 @ 4:16 am

    [...] sample the various fair foods. Boyfriend … Continue reading → Continue reading here: San Diego County FairKirbie’s Cravings » San Diego County [...]

  27. 27

    World Spinner — November 20, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

    San Diego County Fair | Kirbie's Cravings…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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