Sunday, June 29, 2008
I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thang II
Current Weight: 181.4 lbs.
Here are a few random things I learned from The Cameron Family's visit to the 2008 San Diego Fair this past Thursday:
Ride Tickets vs. All-Day Pass - If I remember correctly, ride tickets were $10 for 14, $20 for 30 and $50 for the 77 ticket "ride lover's" deal. An all-day pass sold for $30 and allowed for unlimited riding on about 90% of the attractions. Somewhere between Stately Bootleg Manor and the Fair's front gate, the wife and I forgot that the 40 lbs. of four-year-old with us was, in fact, with us. Last year, we got by just fine as the boy was worn out before we got too deep into debt. This year, the pass would've paid for itself after the 45-minute mark. Next year, we're either getting Jalen the pass or I'm bringing the ether (that sh*t that makes your soul burn slow).
Jalen meet Jesus…Jesus, Jalen - In a futile attempt to find the ONE food item that eluded me all day, we came across a hastily constructed cardboard castle front. The simple sign outside promised FREE Bible stories for the kids. Now, I could joke about how the Fair organizers shunted this show to a part of the fairgrounds that no one could find unless they were lost or that the unbelievably old ladies working the attraction are probably in the "acknowledgements" section of The Good Book, but before you knew it, Jalen was sitting down in front of both them and captivated with a colorful flip book. Could Mrs. Methuselah's first-hand accounts turn us into regular church goers or will I be satisfied with the three weddings The Cam Fam will attend in June/July and the fact that we live across the street from a church?
Fame is Fleeting - On our way to another ride, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted former NFL running back and San Diego resident Terrell Davis. Quick nugget of knowledge for you, TD: dark-skinned bruthas shouldn't wear an all black warm up suit. Anyways, when I mentioned to Mrs. Bootleg that Davis was within spitting distance, she looked around excitedly and asked if I meant Terrell Owens. 10 years ago, Davis might've been the most eligible athlete among African-American women and the morbidly obese white women who date African-American men. Today, he's just another anonymous Negro. Welcome, TD!
I also learned that one should not ingest a metric ton of fried foods on a sunny, 86-degree day. Here's what I ate this year, in chronological order:
Deep Fried White Castle Slider (10:30 AM) - We don't have the ubiquitous drunk food-at-4 AM franchise here in California, so I'll assume that these were the mediocre frozen version (which we do have), battered up and then flash fried to a golden (molten) brown. The end result looked like a small, crispy brick. The taste, however, was an eventual heart attack from heaven. A little bit of gooey cheese oozed out of every bite, while the thin bit of ground beef and uninteresting bun kept their textural integrity. The heavy crust was a bit much – and, it was still dripping with Crisco when it was handed to me – but, it's the Fair, for God's sake. Who comes here to complain about something being too greasy? Grade: 5 (out of 5)
14-inch "Cowabunga" Corn Dog (12:00 PM) - I stumbled upon the enormous Outlaw Grill area, which featured Flintstone-sized pterodactyl legs, steak-on-a-stick and…jumbo corn dogs. I ordered the corn dog and immediately had my manhood questioned by the child at the counter. "Do you want the jumbo or the "cowabunga" corn dog?", she challenged. "The jumbo's 12 inches and the cowabunga is 14, so that's, like, two more inches." Figured that out all by yourself, Staci-with-an-I? While carrying this engorged phallic symbol, it dawned on me that maybe - just maybe - I'd taken this food review thing a touch too far. And, I'm not sure what went into the "dog" part of this thing, but I'm pretty sure that dog parts were involved. As someone who grew up with a mom who recycled used grease in an old can on the stove, I know the taste of something fried with 50 other items. Grade: 1.5
Deep Fried Oreos (1:30 PM) - This seemed to be one food item that everyone could agree upon. Last year, I was hugely disappointed by the fried Twinkie, so for dessert, I thought I'd play it safe and order something that was popular with the people who didn't seem to mind a lard-filled cookie fried in more lard. As they were described to me, I was expecting a crispy coating and hot innards akin to the earth's core. What I got was a mushy cookie that tasted like someone had simply submerged it in warm milk. It wasn't even that hot. I'm willing to extend the benefit of the doubt here, as the Fair's food service employees seemed a little, umm, "indifferent" to food service. Grade: 2
Street Tacos (2:30 PM) - For the uninitiated – i.e. anyone who doesn't live 45 minutes from the Mexican border – "street tacos" are considered the most authentic tacos around. Take two lightly oiled up hot corn tortillas, stuff 'em with carne asada, pollo asado or carnitas, top with a blend of chopped onions n' cilantro. Insanely hot sauce, optional. As Mrs. Bootleg put it when she took her first and only bite, "I should've known something was wrong when I saw the cheddar cheese." Now, I love Mexico. Some of the wife's hottest friends are Mexican. And, it's a damn shame how a demographic so vital to the fabric of this country has been systematically scapegoated by a lot of Americans. That said, this was horrible. It was worse than horrible. The chicken-flavored mystery meat within set back Mexican-American relations by at least 200 years. Get out of my country. Grade: -500
Frog Legs (4:00 PM) - Last year, the last thing I ate was the fried rattlesnake, which came out of nowhere to win the most awesome menu item award. This year, my expectations were a lot lower. I don't get indigestion too often, but…there was trouble down below. I never did find the fried mac n' cheese, so the frog legs became one of my "must eat" items be default. At $11.95, they came with a mountain of fries, served up ice cold by the clowns behind the counter. It was 4:00 PM and I couldn't care less at this point. The frog legs themselves kind of grossed me out, initially. There were four legs in my basket, but they come still attached to each other. Not clear enough? Just chop off the frog's back legs from the "waist" down and fry. They were fishy-tasting (think a milder trout) and kind of stringy, but otherwise unspectacular. I could've really used some hot sauce, but even that wouldn't taken these beyond OK. Grade: 2