San Diego had a County Fair with a ‘Taste the Fun’ theme. I’m gonna say this right off the bat: I didn’t taste much fun.
This was the first time we attended the County Fair in San Diego, and I was looking forward to it, even though I’m not that into fairs. I thought the ‘taste the fun’ theme was an interesting idea, but it got my hopes up in trying unique food specialties that California had to offer. I was imagining a heaping handful of taco vendors (since we ARE in SD), or at least more than ONE fish taco vendor and…I dunno, what else is famous in California? I still don’t know, because all I saw were an array of vendors selling deep fried butter, burgers, fries, hot dogs, corn dogs, ice cream, you know, the standard fair food.
We had a couple of sliders (photo above) for the $2 tasting special they offered on Tuesdays. And washed it down with a plate of cheese fries. Just standard fair food…nothing special.
I had to have the cinnamon bun because the aroma from this vendor was unbearable. Like when you walk by a pretzel place at the mall and just want pretzels the entire time you’re there. This was pretty good, topped with cream cheese frosting, soft and warm on the inside with lots of cinnamon in between.
We also tried chicken kabobs and a sample pita with hummus at a Greek vendor. They were decent too.
I think it was the first time in awhile that I missed something from NY. Chris dragged me to the NYS fair every summer, and I reluctantly went even though I was never crazy about walking in the hot, humid sun with the stench of farm animals nearby, and having sweaty (smelly) people accidentally rub up against me as I walked through the crowds. No, I didn’t miss THAT. But I miss how excited he was when he’d take me to the great baked potato booth (where every huge potato was baked to perfection, loaded with butter, sour cream, or cheese and sold for $1), seeing the long lines in front of the famous Dinosaur BBQ vendor (also serving Gianelli sausage, another local specialty), tasting the fresh milk in the Dairy Building (your choice of white or chocolate, for $25 a cup), and local delicacies like chicken spiedies (marinated chicken grilled over charcoal and served in a hot dog bun, which I’m not crazy about, but other people seem to love it), salt potatoes (small potatoes cooked in salty water, which come out perfectly salted and then served with butter), and vendors serving Zweigle’s red hots or white hots (my absolute favorite). I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t a few vendors selling the infamous garbage plate too. We also check out the annual butter sculpture. And of course, they have the generic food vendors selling corn dogs, hamburgers, blooming onions, fried dough and ice cream.
I know it sounds like I’m biased, but there’s no denying that NYS Fair serves up its’ local delicacies with pride, and people visit yearly because of it. I miss seeing my husband’s eyes light up when we saw something that he looked forward to every year since he was little. He was reliving his childhood memories. Maybe it’s the nostalgia that we won’t experience that makes him sad. Now it almost feels like if we go to a fair, we’re just mindlessly filling our stomachs with fried foods like pigs eating out of a trough, just for something to do.
So what’s your favorite fair food? Does it gross you out? Does your local fair have specialties? Is it even worth going to? Are you from San Diego and are there any local specialties that we should try?