The L.A. County Fair: Fair-ly Delicious
And for me, it’s all about the food.
While the grub you eat at the fair may not please your nutritionist, it will certainly please your stomach. Sure they have the fair staples like funnel cake and barbecue, but it’s so much more.
Having never been to the L.A. Fair, I started with the recommendation from a friend of mine - barbecued corn on the cob. Boy was this a good way to start.
What beats sweet corn, husk and all, grilled over an open flame and topped with just about anything imaginable ala Mexican street cart style: butter, mayonnaise, salt, black pepper and, of course chili pepper and Parmesan cheese - the whole kit and caboodle. The answer: almost nothing! You may not be a fan of vegetables, but try telling your mom you don’t want to eat your veggies after that.
From there, I made my way around the fairground until I stumbled upon the Plaza de las Americas. It was here that I eyed my next victim, the shrimp cocktail from the Marisco booth. Succulent white shrimp marinated in a cup of tomato cocktail full of cucumber, onion, cilantro and one of my favorites, avocado. And it didn’t disappoint. The shrimp was not only delicious, but plentiful and the authentic cocktail juice had just the right amount of spice.
Then I decided it was time for a dessert intermission. That’s right, I said a dessert intermission. So I walked back to the main drag where something had caught my eye earlier - chocolate-covered bacon. (Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of bacon and I truly believe that anything paired with bacon takes that item to the next level.) Chocolate was no exception.
Upon purchasing, the cashier took a white, Chinese take-out container from a freezer and handed it to me. I opened it and there it was: the food of gods covered in delicious milk chocolate. I sprinkled a little salt on top for that sweet and salty flavor and hopped aboard the train to heaven. It had all the right flavor and texture combinations. Salty bacon covered in bittersweet milk chocolate nearly frozen for a nice cold and crunchy exterior: A true winner.
It was the fried food booth, the house of battered and fried. They had all the goods including new-food phenomena like deep-fried Twinkies, Oreos and Snickers made famous at fairs across the country. Been there done that, so I decided to step outside the box. As I scanned the menu, my eyes stopped and lit up like a slot machine: a deep-fried White Castle burger. This was it. I had finally found the ultimate fair food, at least for me. It was the little burger that everyone east of the Mississippi had grown to love dipped in a nice thick batter and deep fried to perfection. You’ve heard of love at first sight - this was love at first bite.
The baby burgers were battered and fried frozen, which equated to a tender bite of beef, cheese and bun throughout. Think delicious, perfectly cooked slider stuffed inside one of the flakiest biscuits you ever had. At that point, my life was complete. Couple these delicious items with the cheddar cheese spread and pumpkin loaf that I took home and I was truly a satisfied customer.
So be sure to check out the fair next year and clog an artery or two. And remember, just because they call it a fair, doesn’t mean the food isn’t great.
Reach reporter Chris Pisar here.