Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the fun starts here: la county fair.

the fun starts here

oh, the los angeles county fair. it's over, but you know, you can always plan for next year. i loved the ad campaign, which poked fun at la stereotypes, but god knows everyone i know has their own preconceived notions about the fair. i haven't been in some time now (we're talkin' twenty years, probably), so i was a little sad to see the fair more commercialized, and standardized (one company seems to run all the county fairs these days). the midway was no longer in the muddy fields, but on sterile concrete--it was actually clean and bright. i remember it being dark, somewhat sinister, and filled with drunk carnies and shady games that were virtually impossible to win--wait, those are still there. whew! at least some things don't change.

racers town

bottle game


it used to be that the great innovation/novelty of fair fare was that it was on a stick--hot dog on a stick, corn dogs, cheese on a stick, cotton candy, lollipops, popsicles, strawberries and cream on a stick....nowadays there's not that much being skewered, maybe because of lawsuits from punctured people? an environmental effort to save the trees or at least bamboo? i did see a pork chop on a stick at the rattlesnake chili kiosk, but the most interesting thing on sticks was the eggroll on a stick, which means not very interesting at all. i guess there was a glut of chopsticks at the chinese place.

chicken charlies

the draw now is deep-fried everything--chicken charlie's seemed to be ground zero for the more unusual items: frog's legs, peanut butter banana and honey sandwiches, whole vegetables, s'mores, avocados, soda (yes, deep-fried cola), cookies and cakes. and the talk o' the town: the fried chicken filet smothered with raspberry jelly, and sandwiched between two warm glazed krispy kreme donuts, and served with a packet of honey.

krispy kreme khicken sandwich

sadly, i've no photo of the real thing for you. i was sick from eating most of a very large doughnut and my companion refused to touch the thing. i asked several people in line if they were going to order it, but no one said yes. i offered to pay for the sarnie ($6.50!), then pay for someone to actually take a bite of it to let me know how it was, but even then there were refusals all around. sheesh. i guess you can only go so far (i also couldn't find anyone ordering a fried cola).

pile o smoked turkey legs

actually, i had read that the most sellable food item at the fair was the smoked barbequed turkey legs--positively healthy compared to the alternatives, even at such gargantuan proportions. i myself opted to go for the freshly roasted corn, which really was fresh as, sugar sweet, smoky, and crisp.

corn guys

'course, you could always opt for as many pats of butter as you could possible want, or why not dress it up with something from the condiments bar? shaker cheese? two kinds of hot sauce? lime? a giant vat o' mayonnaise?

corn essentials

i have to say, i sort of miss the old days, with the travelling salesmen setting up shop, the overwhelming smell of farm animals no matter where you went, the student art and the 4-H competitions. but the people still remain friendly, the fair-goers are excited to be there, and the giant stuffed toy prizes on the midway are still as cheap and as suspect as ever.

midway tent


KirkK said...

Hey Santos - The Missus's favorite memories of the LA County fair were of munching on a turkey leg, and wandering around people watching. Fair food sure has taken off in an interesting direction....

Anonymous said...

hi santos, your photos of the fair are awesome! i've actually never been. those rides kind of scare me.

reid said...


Did you have one of those Krispy Kreme chicken sandwiches? Please tell me you didn't!

santos. said...

hey kirk! that turkey leg is something. i don't think i can handle the direction fair food is going. although, there seemed to be some good barbecue going....

hey susan, yeah, the rides are a little scary. they used to be a LOT scary, though. the whole midway used to be very sinister and creepy back in the day, but it has cleaned up a lot. very wholesome (laughing)

reid, no WAY. actually, i was going to get one, i really was, but i had part of a doughnut the size of a tire and really couldn't handle anything fried or fat-filled no matter how hard i tried. doughnut was pretty good, though :P

Cathy said...

looks lik so much fun!

(served with a packet of honey?!?!?!?)

Michelle said...

I totally would have taken a bite for you. I wonder if I am romanticizing my pre-allergic life, but I don't think so. If I recall my fair-related culinary exploits with the teensiest bit of accuracy, I would have eaten at least half. in the name of being a game gal, of course.

Anonymous said...

wow, a krispy kreme sandwich.....