My mission: To seek out the most artery-clogging delicacies at the Del Mar fair. The idea of unusual food concoctions and deep-fried goodies thrills me. I may have potentially shed weeks, maybe even years, off of my life expectancy, but I’m determined to be the best foodie I can be by being open to trying anything and everything.
In previous years, vendors impressed eaters with chocolate-covered bacon, beef sundaes and deep-fried Klondike bars. And this year is no exception, with an appearance from Pink’s hot dogs and new calorie-bursting recipes from Chicken Charlie’s that will make your tummy turn upside down.
Pink’s carries decadent hot dogs that can be covered in chili, guacamole, bacon or you-name-it toppings. The dogs are known for having a fresh snap in every bite, and the juicy polish dog certainly did not disappoint. It definitely made me re-evaluate how I feel about generic hot dogs.
This year’s hit at the Chicken Charlie’s stand is the deep-fried Kool-Aid and brownies. The Kool-Aid is essentially the powdered drink stirred into a batter and fried like a doughnut hole. For such a greasy item, the fruity flavor makes it oddly refreshing and balances the heaviness. The deep-fried brownie tastes similar to a chocolate empanada, with a chocolate gooey center surrounded by a crunchy outer layer.
The Texas Tater Twisters was one of my favorites. A potato is thinly spooled out onto a foot-long stick, deep fried and then seasoned with one of your favorite spices. They are essentially like French fries, but for a fried item it wasn’t too heavy and was a really nice compliment to a meal.
Deep-fried food becomes overwhelming pretty quickly, so pick and choose your battles carefully, as these dishes can be costly. I saw many people throwing away half-eaten platters ranging from treats from Chicken Charlie’s to blooming onions.
My least-favorite item had to be the Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich. The fried chicken matched with the jelly-filled doughnut was not exactly a made in heaven, because the chicken was stale and the glaze made the item a sticky mess.
The chocolate-covered bacon was sadly disappointing. It was another item where savory and sweet didn’t match. The bacon was also served cold, which was severely unappetizing.
Although they were a dime a dozen, several stands did make an attempt to serve healthy items. The Roxy served a variety of fresh veggie items such as salads, artichoke hearts and garlic-battered mushrooms. Fresh & Fire Roasted even offered grilled asparagus.
The fair makes a fun alternative to generic dining, and although fair food is not for the faint at heart, it’s almost a necessary splurge once a year.