Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ten Years at the LA County Fair

This year was my tenth consecutive year attending the LA County Fair. I first visited back in 2001, upon hearing of the deep fried Snickers bar, still one of my fair favorites. Over the years, I've become very strategic at navigating fair food, concentrating on a few old favorites (notably the aforementioned Snickers and Dr. Bob's excellent ice cream stand) while scouting for anything new that looks like it has potential. (All of my fair coverage can be found here.) This year, I came out with two new finds.

The best strategy at the fair is to look for stands that are connected to local restaurants. Why eat some generic corn dog when you could be eating a taco from King Taco or a shrimp po-boy from Harold & Belle's? This year's find was a stand from the famous East LA institution, Manuel's El Tepeyac. The fair stand, as with most stands, has a limited version of the regular menu, but it includes the Hollenbeck Burrito bursting with chili verde, beans, rice and guacamole and their famous taquitos, which are some of the best anywhere.

The next good find was from an unexpected source, Chicken Charlie's, that haven of deep fried crap (which may have been an actual menu item one year). I generally decry each year's deep fried novelty but then try it anyway because I'm a sucker for such things. This year, it was deep fried cookie dough. About the size of doughnut hole, the fried cookie dough balls were sweet and gooey with a chocolaty molten filling. The contrast of a sweet, gloppy filling with a fried exterior is exactly what you want out of a fried treat, and this one worked well.

The Fair has another week to go so you're not too late to catch some deep fried goodness.

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