Hot sweet and tasty! Anything and everything is fried this year at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California.
Costa Mesa, Ca. July, 2011 — The Orange County Fair, open now until August 14, serves up the best reasons to defy the food police. A carnival of delights awaits any willing to sacrifice their arteries for a day. By all appearances everyone is happily endorsing this year’s theme, “Let’s Eat!”
Totally fried Kool Aid appeared this year, as well as fried Girl Scout cookies, bbq ribs and brownies at Chicken Charlie’s. In numerous stands throughout the fair, which encompasses 150 acres, Charlie’s repertoire also includes his trademark totally fried avocados, Oreos, Klondike bars, zucchini weenies, Twinkies and smores.
A competing vendor sells deep fried butter. How, you ask? It’s actually a hollowed out churro, filled with butter, coated with batter and fried until crunchy. They also sell deep fried cinnamon crisps, chocolate covered bacon, chocolate covered corn dogs with sprinkles and beer batter bacon bliss.
Another concoction is a deep fried chicken sandwich with the bun made of two Krispy Kreme jelly doughnuts. Sweet and chickeny.
Just around the corner were Australian potatoes. Thinly sliced potatoes are battered and deep fried until crispy and they’re served with sweet chili sauce, nacho cheese or ranch dressing.
Texas Donuts sold maple bacon doughnuts. The lumberjack sized ring of soft doughnut was covered with warm maple glaze and generously topped with diced, crispy bacon. The salty – sweet, soft – crispy contrast was irresistible and addicting. “Homer Simpson’s dream!” enthused a visitor.
In keeping with the theme, culinary demos by local chefs, ice carving performances, cake decorating and eating contests furnish fair-goers with daily doses of food as spectator sport. Chef James Harris of Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach made wahini weenies (aka spam dog), battered and deep fried spam sticks. About 30 audience members were given samples with teriyaki dipping sauce. Chef Haley Nguyen of Xanh Bistro in Fountain Valley shared her pork saté with a coconut milk and garlic marinade.Chef Francisco Rincon took the stage for Clancy’s Clubhouse in Anaheim to demo their armadillo eggs, bacon wrapped, cheese stuffed jalapeños.
Celebrity chefs Carla Hall and Michael Voltaggio from Top Chef, Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes and Rick Moonen also prepare their specialties onstage.
The line to sign up for Knott’s Berry Farm’s pie eating contest is always so long names are drawn from a cowboy hat. Let’s eat watermelon, bacon, meatballs and corn competitions also draw more participants than space allows.
Who needs the Food Network?
Wandering through the halls visitors find crafts such as woodworking, quilting, model planes and leather work. Painting, photography, glass and ceramic exhibits from local artisans fill other areas.
Cow milking happens every day as do tractor pulls, backyard composting and oxen demos.
Throw in carnival rides, the ice museum, action sports arena and music; the OC Fair truly offers something for everyone.