Monday, October 5, 2009

A Belly Full of Fair

Tulsa State Fair 2009

Like I mentioned in this post, I spent all day at the Tulsa State Fair last Saturday. Guess how I spent 87.1666 percent of my time - I'll give you two guesses, but I bet you'll only need one.

Tulsa State Fair 2009

That's right: Eating. Eating lots and lots of strange and wonderful and death-defying foodstuffs.

Despite its cost and any recent scientific study on nutrition and its affect on the human body, I'm pretty sure food is on most folks' top-three list of things they love about the fair. I know that's how it is for me.

That's why, when I try fair food that's outside my usual repertoire and it's disappointing, I want to spit and cuss and call people names.

First, I just wasted the same money I could have spent on a full dinner at a decent restaurant on a something like a soggy funnel cake or a cup of burned nacho cheese. Second, I only have so much stomach capacity, and I just used a portion of it, however small, on something unworthy of such prime real estate. Third, the fair comes around once a year, and I can only eat so much food during the several days TSF is in town.

To prevent said frustration in your world, consult the following fair food reviews before you set off for the fairgrounds. Let me tell you what to eat, what not to eat and what to order in excess so you can stow some in your purse or pocket for breakfast the next day.

What's wrong? I eat breakfast out of my pocket all the time. And see how terrifically I've turned out.

Tulsa State Fair 2009

Let's get started, shall we?

Indian Taco

Tulsa State Fair 2009

What it is: "Indian-style" fry bread topped with refried beans, pulled roast beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese and sour cream - essentially, a taco salad atop a slab of fried dough.
Where to get it: The Indian Taco stand in QuikTrip Center, second level, on the southeast side (download a PDF map of this year's fair)
Price: $7.50
Taste: 5 (on a scale of 1-5)
Value for the money: 5
Fair-time stomach real estate worthiness: 2
Comments: While the taste is killer, one can procure a decent Indian Taco from just about any festival that comes through this town. Save space for true fair food by splitting this deliciousness with a group of hungry friends.

Strawberry Newburg

Tulsa State Fair 2009

What it is: Puff pastry stacked with vanilla pudding, whipped cream and lots and sugary strawberries. And forks.
Where to find it: The Strawberry Newburg stand in Quiktrip Center, second level, southwest side
Price: $6.00
Taste: 4
Value for the money: 5
Fair-time stomach real estate worthiness: 5
Comments: A classic fair sweet. Who needs a boob job or a cleft chin if you can walk down the midway with one of these babies? You're sure to turn heads, no matter what your momma gave you.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries/Chocolate Covered Oreos

Tulsa State Fair 2009

What it is: Fresh strawberries dipped in milk chocolate, drizzled with white chocolate; Crunchy Oreos dipped in milk chocolate, drizzled with white chocolate
Where to find it: Exchange Center, northeast side, Made in Oklahoma showcase
Price: Two for $3 for the strawberries, $1 apiece for the Oreos
Taste: 3
Food for the money: 2
Fair-time stomach real estate worthiness: 1
Comments: The chocolate-covered strawberries are tastier and more frequently available at Steven Howard's KoKoa Chocolatier. As for the chocolate-covered Oreo, I prefer the store-bought version to the ones I found at the fair. Ooo, burn!

Chocolate-covered Bacon

Tulsa State Fair 2009

What it is: Bacon skewered onto a stick slathered in a milk chocolate-like substance.
Where to get it: N/A (TDT neglected to confirm procurement location)
Price: N/A (TDT neglected to confirm price)
Taste: 1
Food for the money: N/A (TDT neglected to confirm price - good thing I can't get fired from this job)
Fair-time stomach real estate worthiness: 1
Comments: Bacon-covered chocolate is nothing new in the gourmet food world. When done correctly, the flavor profile is not all that unlike the one we find in chocolate-covered pretzels or peanut M&Ms. The key to the salty/sweet combo, though, is very crispy bacon and high-quality chocolate. Neither is found in this fair food fail.

Atlas IPA from Marshall Brewing Company

Tulsa State Fair 2009

What it is: "Columbus, Amarillo, and Cascade hops are harmoniously blended together, bringing about floral and earthy tones which highlight this bold but delicious ale." Well said, Marshall Web site.
Where to get it: The beer garden! Also, at the Boulevard beer vendor in QuikTrip Center, first level, southeast side.
Price: $8.50
Taste: 5
Food for the money: 5
Fair-time stomach real estate worthiness: 5
Comments: Because it's always time for $8.50 worth of a cold, tasty, hoppy, locally brewed IPA.

Fair Food Platter: Fried Macaroni and Cheese; Fried Manicotti; Fried Ravioli; and Fried Garlic Mashed Potatoes, served with marinara sauce and "seasoned" sour cream

Tulsa State Fair 2009

What it is: A bunch of Italian food dipped in batter and deep fried in peanut oil, with a couple of lumps of deep-fried garlic mashed potatoes nonsensically added to the side
Taste: 3
Price: $7 for two mac and cheese, two potato, two ravioli and one manicotti
Food for the money: 3
Fair-time stomach real estate worthiness: 5
Comments: How could you, at fair time, resist such a platter of artery-hardening consumables? While it's not the best fried fair food I've ever had, I can at least boast that I ate it - all of it. Date me!

Turkey Leg

Tulsa State Fair 2009

What it is: A big hunk-a-smoked turkey leg.
Where to find it: The north side of the Esplanade. Follow the smoke. You can't miss it.
Price: $8
Taste: 5
Food for the money: 5
Fair-time stomach real estate worthiness: 5
Comments: The pictured turkey legs were the best turkey legs I've ever sunk my teeth into, ever. The skin was crispy, the meat was flavorful (and fully cooked! No, really!) and, as I was eating them, they made me feel like Bam Bam Flintstone. While turkey legs are a mainstream festival food and are certainly not relegated to the Tulsa State Fair alone, the legs from this particular vendor are more than worth your rentable stomach space.

What have you eaten so far at the fair this year? How would you score it?


cityboy said...

the turkey legs bother me... proportionally, ive never seen a turkey THAT big. it makes me think im eating a bunch of smoked steroids.

did you get a "Pineapple Whip"?

Homemade Hotty said...

I totally agree on the chocolate-covered bacon. I have had wonderful chocolate with bacon but the fair stuff was just terrible. Chocolate covered chewy fat is so unappealing! It was in one of the big white tent at a nut booth.

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