One thing I know to be true aboutÂ the California State Fair is that there are so many booths, tents, lean-tos, shacks, plazas, pavilions, andÂ chuck wagons, thatÂ it would be impossible to eat everything.Â So, let’s start with the things that I didn’t even bother trying:Â Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Thai, soft serve, cheesesteaks, onion rings, ribs, and corn on the cob.Â Why, you ask?Â Because, I respond, there’s very little point in chomping down on stuff that’s really, really easy to get anywhere in the city at any time of year.Â You only have so much room in your tummy, and I won’t endorse binging and purging (unless it’s for charity), so I suggest thatÂ spend your limited stomach resources on the truly unique and special meals.Â Here are those things, in no particular order:
BBQ Beef on a Roll- This sandwich is one of the main reasons I go to the Fair every year.Â Served out of a small booth towards the east side of the Expo, this sandwich does everything a greasy sandwich should, fill you up, make you smile, and get crap all over your face, hands, and clothes.Â It’s shredded BBQ beef on a deep fried roll with homemade potato chips.Â I haven’t found anything better out of a trailer in my life.Â Look for the booth with the word “SAUSAGE” prominently displayed on the marquee.Â The booth is right across from the Chevy trucksÂ and the animal petting area.Â
Turkey Leg- This is the first year that I’ve partaken in the beauty that is the barbecued turkey leg.Â Nothing makes you feel more like a caveman than ripping the flesh off of an oversized animal appendage using only your teeth and hands.Â The meat is fantastic, smoky, tender, and totally turkyliscious.Â Look for the giant smoker across from the Alhambra misting tent.Â Warning: at $9.50, the turkey leg is not a cheap meal.
Deep fried Oreos, Snickers, Twinkies, PB & banana sandwiches, etc.- located at various stands throughout the Fair, deep fried fare has come to embody the “devil-may-care” attitude that most Fair-goers adopt when they go through the front gates.Â Each person has his or her own favorite, mine the Oreos, Mrs. Eats the Snickers, Poppy the Twinkie.Â The deep fried PB & banana sandwich (aka deep fried Elvis) was new to us this year and lived up all that should be good in a deep fried heart killer.Â Despite the hot magma center, which literally melts the skin on your tongue and may require a graft, the deep fried Elvis delivers peanut butter perfection.Â I highly recommend it.Â Look for it at Chicken Charlie’s, right in the middle of the food midway.
Corndog- What more can be said about the corndog?Â How ’bout: “Corndogs make great pets!”Â The best one I’ve found at the fair is, strangely enough, at the same place that makes the great BBQ Beef on a Bun (see above).
Cinnamon roll- There is no debate, the cinnamon rolls in the county building are superior to any other dessert item at the Fair.Â Ask for it with extra frosting and “pan gunk.”Â Trust me.
Sure, there’s plenty more to devour at the Fair.Â I didn’t get a chance to try the deep fried Coke, or avocadoes, or the fricasseed clown shanks, but I’ll be going back next week, and next year, and the year after, so there’s no rush.Â Take you time and enjoy, and don’t go swimming or ride the Tilt-a-WhirlÂ after you eat for at least 45 minutes.