San Diego County Fair 2011
I’m not quite sure when it began, but going to the San Diego County Fair has become a yearly tradition that we look forward to every year. And the main reason we go to the fair? To eat the food of course!
Every year I look forward to checking out the new fair food offerings. I love that there is a whole map devoted to fair food, who is offering what, new items, and where the food is located.
After checking out the new fair food selection this year though, I was a little underwhelmed. It seemed creativity went out the door and instead the idea was to just deep fry everything or dip it in chocolate.
We started off our eating at Chicken Charlie’s which is one of the most popular vendors for their deep fried creations, with offerings like deep fried oreos, klondike bars, avocados, etc . This year Chicken Charlie’s new offerings were the deep fried brownies, deep fried girl scout cookies and deep fried kool aid.
I hadn’t heard good things about the deep fried Kool-aid so we ended up skipping it. Instead, we chose to try the deep fried brownies.
One order came with four brownie balls. These were pretty straightforward. Large chunks of brownies, fried in a thick batter, and topped with some chocolate sauce. I didn’t really enjoy the combination. The batter had a light saltiness to it that I didn’t quite enjoy with the brownie.
Next we headed over to the Gingerbread House, another place we visit every year for desserts like fried ice cream. This year, the new offering was the Eton Mess, which is apparently the dessert that was served at William and Kate’s wedding.
It is a combination of strawberries, raspberry puree, ice cream, vanilla meringue cookies and whipped cream. The presentation was quite cute.
No one in my family enjoys meringue cookies though and that was a main ingredient in this dessert. As a result, no one was a particular fan of this one.
We also got the Mexican fried ice cream again. While it tasted good, it also confirmed for me that it’s basically the same one I recently made, except I didn’t drench mine with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The dessert is not really fried. Instead, vanilla ice cream is coated in cinnamon corn flake-like cereal, then drizzled with chocolate and topped with whipped cream and more chocolate.
The final “new” fair food we tried was the Rosie O’Donnell dog from Pink’s Hot Dogs. Pink’s is a new vendor this year, probably because they opened a location this year inside Harrah’s Rincon Casino. If you haven’t heard of Pink’s, it’s a famous hot dog restaurant in Hollywood.
We passed by once on a trip to LA and were thinking of stopping by but the line was so long that we decided to pass.
Pink’s hot dogs are known for their snappy texture, and sure enough the skin on the dog has a crisp, snappiness to it. However, the dog is also quite small and skinny. The Rosie O’ Donnell dog is topped with mustard, onions, chili and sauerkraut.
We all though the hot dog was just “okay” and way overpriced. Our dog was about $8. Given the hype about this place, I definitely would not stand in the long lines in Hollywood for this hot dog.
There were a few other new fair food I had been considering trying, but didn’t really feel like it after these bites. So we went on and had some of our usual favorites.
Last year, we really enjoyed the hash dog and the sweet potato dog offered by Del Mar’s Diner. Interestingly, both items are listed as new fair food items, even though they aren’t new.
We got both again this year, and also their garlic fries which looked really good.
We also got the jumbo smoked turkey legs. While you’ll see turkey legs all over the fair, my opinion is that the best ones are made by Tony’s. I’ve tried turkey legs from other vendors and have been so disappointed and now I only get them from Tony’s. Turkey legs are their specialties and you can watch the men cooking the meat and constantly checking the legs with a thermometer.
This is one of my favorite fair foods. Because it is so big, we always ask to get it wrapped up in foil to go. Apparently it is an option a lot of people choose since the person who gives you your turkey leg has a roll of foil sitting next to him.
This year we managed to polish off one at the fair, and took one home. Not only is the turkey leg fun to look at because of it’s large size, but the smoked meat is delicious as well and so much better than regular baked Thanksgiving turkey.
We ended our food adventures with the giant western sausage at Juicy’s, also one of our favorites. A few years back, my friends and I tried every single sausage offering at the fair, and agreed that the best one was the ones offered here. The sausage is large, slightly spicy, and served on a hefty roll and topped with grilled onions and peppers. For some reason, I found the sausage to be a little too salty this year, so it wasn’t as enjoyable as in the past.
Turtle coin collection! I love turtles.
Fan tailed pigeons. I loved how they look like little turkeys.
We had a good time and left very full. The fair runs until July 4. You can get tickets at the fair for $13, of if you are looking for some deals, Albertson’s sells tickets for $2 off, and Costco has a package of 4 tickets, ride and drink coupons plus one free parking for $54.99 I believe. I was very lucky this year and was given tickets by Cathy, saving me a large chunk of change.