Wednesday, June 16, 2010
My 2010 San Diego Fair Food Pre-Game Show
Circle your calendars, kids. My annual "junk food Super Bowl" goes down -- and, God willing, stays down -- on Thursday, June 24. This will be the fourth straight summer I've visited the San Diego Fair and my previous three trips ran the spectrum of historical context.
2007: The fried rattlesnake and Krispy Kreme Chicken sandwich was just the digestive challenge I needed before my first-ever trip to New York later that summer. As a result, my intestines were practically expecting the 4:00 AM rat-meat gyro I ordered off a cart in Manhattan the following month.
2008: While sitting on the ground, just on the periphery of an insanely crowded food court, I began to question my own "TBG Eats" gimmick. As I cradled a steaming basket of second-rate frog legs in my lap at the end of a gluttonous afternoon, I realized the need to balance my expanding waistline with a negligible reduction in my irresponsible eating. I've lost about 20 pounds since that summer. (Note: As Mrs. Bootleg often reminds me, I've never had my triglycerides measured. For all I know, I could be at death's door.)
2009: Speaking of Mrs. Bootleg, she was actually jealous of my immediate reaction to the Oatmeal Cookie Chicken Sandwich. Oh, and Michael Jackson died on the day we went. See? Historical context and HIStorical context.
Here is the tentative list of new foods coming to this year's San Diego Fair:
Deep-Fried Klondike Bar: Fried ice cream isn't all that original, but I'll probably be onboard with this. It'll have to be the VERY last thing I eat on the afternoon. Aaron v. Dairy is not unlike the Yankees v. Red Sox rivalry -- the pain lasts for hours and most of you are already tired of hearing about it.
Deep-Fried Pop Tart: I've been out of college since the late 1990s, but I still enjoy dorm room staples such as handfuls of cereal straight from the box and, yes, Pop-Tarts. These days, though, I'm only down with the apple, strawberry and brown sugar flavors. This has the potential to fall anywhere between "awesome" and "awful".
Beef Kabob: If there's a less satisfying meal involving red meat, I haven't seen it. And, I sure as hell won't be paying for it.
Funnel Cake on a Stick: Were the masses REALLY clamoring for a gimmicky change to one of the few perfect fair foods? Funnel cake should be served on a white paper plate with a white plastic fork, leaving only a greasy full moon on said paper plate after it's eaten. Popsicles, corn dogs and baseball are the only three things in the history of mankind that have been improved upon with the addition of a stick.
Deep-Fried Butter: This...is apparently a real thing. Honestly, I think avoiding deep-fried butter is all that keeps me from crossing over into caricature. A sideshow freak who'll eat anything impatiently waiting for the CW Network to inevitably revive That's Incredible! or Ripley's Believe it or Not. Meh...I've been called worse. Put this down for a "maybe".
Buffalo Chicken Fry Bread: I'm not all that familiar with fry bread, but according to a few finds on Google, it's played a significant role in the cases of obesity and diabetes within the Native American community. And, you say the fair is topping it with what's sure to be a mediocre knockoff of authentic Buffalo chicken? Sold!
Sweet Potato Fry Dog: I discovered sweet potato fries at a Cajun restaurant about 10 years ago and loved 'em. More recently, I've been devouring large bags of sweet potato chips from Trader Joe's like a man who hasn't eaten in weeks. And, Mrs. Bootleg's sweet potato pie finished second in that "Reason for the Season" holiday ad campaign that was eventually awarded to Jesus. But, a hot dog rolled in mashed sweet potatoes and then deep fried? If given a choice…
Hash Brown Fry Dog: …I'll go with the hot dog covered in hash browns and then deep fried, every time! I've selected this for my coveted 11:01 AM "first meal after the fair opens". A legacy that includes 2008's deep fried White Castle slider and chicken sandwiches made with ingredients like donuts, cookies, cream cheese and strawberry jam. Reward my faith, Hash Brown Fry Dog. Reward my faith.
Veggie Kabobs: "All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbecue and there was no meat, I would say 'Yo, Goober! Where's the meat!?' I'm trying to impress people here, Lisa. You don't win friends with salad." – Homer Simpson, October 15, 1995.
Dreamsicle Float: I need to write an addendum to my What Aaron Won't Eat post from last year. Dreamsicles – and their equally inedible relatives, Creamsicles – have long been enemies of my mouth. Also on the list of foods that won't pass my lips: floats of any kind. I maintain a strong segregationist position on ice cream and soft drinks, kids.
Ice Cream S'mores: I'm not a s'mores guy, either. This is because I've never been camping or – more likely – due to the fact I'm opposed to marshmallows in all forms save for their uniquely delicious ability to unify six cups of Rice Krispies® and three tablespoons of butter or margarine.
Chocolate-Dipped Pickles: Honestly, y'all? I'm intrigued. I'm still anti-pickles by themselves, alongside my sandwich or on my burger. But, in the last year I've discovered fried pickle slices (delicious) and whiskey with a back-shot of pickle juice (whiskey-licious). I won't go out of my way to find this, but in the event the chocolate-dipped pickle stand finds me…
Pickle Corn Dog: Last year's "Zucchini Weenie" (a giant, partially hollowed-out zucchini with a hot dog in the middle that's then batter-dipped and fried) is on the short list of worst fair foods I've ever eaten. Replacing the zucchini with a pickle won't suddenly make this edible.
Four-Pound Belly Buster Burger: "11 inches wide, 10 slices of cheese, eight slices of tomatoes, half a head of lettuce, 30-plus slices of dill pickles and five ounces of burger sauce".