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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Locals Rate the Best Food at the San Diego Fab Fair 2014

Eat This, San Diego!

Forget the foodies.  Forget the critics.  In fact, forget everything you know about fair food and listen to San Diego locals who ate it all and picked the best things to eat at the San Diego Fair, 2014.

NAME: Kodi (with a little heart over the "i")
LIVES IN:  4S Ranch
SOUND BITE:  "It's everything I love in the world"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  If you have never tried these, Australian Battered Potatoes are slices of potato dipped into a tempura batter and deep fried.  Top them with your favorite sauce.  As heart stopping bad as this sounds they are surprisingly delicious - so good that they got my vote for best thing to eat at the far a couple of years back.  But fair warning, a little bit goes a long ways so share an order.  As for the "Best Value" giant bucket, are you insane?
Before we get too deep into this a quick plug:  Don't miss Local Wally's San Diego microbrewery night with the Padres!  Tickets and info here.  Padre's versus the Mets and lots of beer tastings from San Diego north county breweries.  And now back to the fair....

NAME:  Michael
LIVES IN:  Chula Vista
SOUND BITE:  "I'm going to really hate myself tomorrow"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  You can count on Chicken Charlies to come up with the oddest of odd fair food.  They seem to have this obsession with legitimizing the use of a Krispy Kreme donut as a bun.  I give them credit for trying but this really is a WTF sort of idea.  I mean, really, imagine moms' across America serving this for dinner and the reaction at the table.

Mom:  "Look kids, I made burgers with donuts for the buns!" 
Kids:  "Dad, Mom's smoking weed again." 

This one is shock value only, but if you must try a burger with a glazed donut for a bun then this is the place.  Their better idea is the fried chicken skins. Wait, that was my idea a few years ago.  And it was a joke!!  Don't believe me?  Read my blog from 2010 where I said, and I quote, "chicken skins would be BIG, BIG, BIG!"

NAME:  Elizabeth and Toni
LIVES IN:  East Lake and Vista
SOUND BITE:  "Super delicious...Amazing!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  Funnel cake is life changing.  Yeah, it can kill you if you eat too much so I mean it when I say it can change your life.  But who can resist donut batter poured through a funnel into hot oil?  And you thought the Dutch were all about wooden clogs?  Little did you know that they are pioneers in deep fried fair food.  Don't mess it up with ice cream or bad sauces.  Go clean, go pure, just dust some powdered sugar on it and you will be in heaven (one way or another).

NAME:  Charles and Alejandra
LIVES IN:  Escondido
SOUND BITE:  "This is the first time we have had these and we're fans!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  First off, is that the weirdest photo or what?  Is that guy the Geico caveman?  I mean that in the nicest way, of course.  I told these two (possible winner of cutest couple at the fair) to get together so I can take their photo and they did this strange wedding sort of pose eating Tasti Chips.  This was their first time trying Tasti Chips so perhaps they were just in fried potato bliss.  Tasti Chips are totally legit, freshly fried potato chips that would be perfect on the menu at Fleming's steakhouse if only they were smart enough to add them.  Guilty enough to be fair food worthy but so good you won't care about the calories.

NAME:  Kristi
LIVES IN: Laguna Beach
SOUND BITE:  "Thumbs Up"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS: Gourmet grilled cheese is all the rage in foodie circles.  And these aren't the cheese sandwiches you grew up with.  Grilled Cheese A-Fair takes a basic grilled cheese and adds Mac N Cheese to the gooey cheddar and tosses in a helping of pulled pork for good measure.  The result is a carb heavy delight, a perfect bite of deliciousness that takes the absurd to new levels.  I knocked a point off because a grilled cheese needs that greasy, buttery outside to finish it - but that wouldn't be healthy, would it?

NAME:  Ray
LIVES IN:  Chula Vista
SOUND BITE:  "Very good, it IS good!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS: Juicy's is the place that grills up the giant turkey legs and this year was pushing the giant sausages.  These were quite good but how hard is it to heat up a sausage on a grill?  On the other hand the deep fried zucchini and onion rings were so greasy that you should lean over when you take a bite unless you want to look like you were playing paintball with Crisco.  "Grease-Bomb" was the quote from Mallory above and that says it all.  So go for the sausage, avoid the fried foods.

NAME:  Susan
LIVES IN:  Rancho Santa Fe
SOUND BITE:  "They're the best.  I eat these 5 times a season!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  Not everything at the fair has to be a greasy deep fried bacon wrapped glob.  In fact, one of the very best things to eat is what looks like a fairly normal cinnamon roll.  But make no mistake, these cinnamon rolls might be some of the best you might ever have.  Go ahead, cut that roll into dainty, civilized bite sized pieces and let that guy with BBQ sauce running down his chin keep his giant turkey leg and deep fried cookie dough.  You know better.  Simply none better and one of the best things to eat at the fair year after year.

NAME:  Jaqueline
LIVES IN: North Park
SOUND BITE:  "You can have Hot Dog On a Stick anywhere but these are special."

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  Every fair visit deserves a corn dog.  But don't waste your annual corn dog allocation on an inferior dog.  Yes, I'm talking about Hot Dog on a Stick.  Come on, you can get those at any mall so when you are at the fair go to the place that makes the best corn dog in town.  They're scorching hot and plump and worth every heart artery clogging bite. 

NAME:  Paul
LIVES IN:  San Diego
SOUND BITE:  "It is as advertised.  It's a deep fried hunk of cheese!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:  It's brilliant.  Take a block of string cheese and deep fry it in corn batter and you have an amazingly elastic bite that's sure to have people pointing at you and asking where you got it.  Like a gooey pizza that won't let go of the box the string cheese cheese dog hangs on to the stick for dear life as your mouth tries to take it all in.  It's fun, it's tasty, don't get a regular cheese dog when you can get one of these.

NAME:  Jim
LIVES IN:  La Mesa
SOUND BITE:  "It's awesome!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:   I know, you can make this at home on any gas grill.  But do you?  No, you don't so when you're at the fair treat yourself to an honest to goodness healthy piece of Americana.  Every year the food at the fair gets weirder and weirder but the Original Char-Broiled Corn just keeps doing what they do and that's make the mundane ear of corn into something to look forward to.  If you haven't tried it because you've thought that it was just an ear of corn then get one this year and be prepared to be very pleasantly surprised just how delicious fresh corn cooked on a BBQ can be.

NAME:  Kerry and Andrew
LIVES IN:  Del Mar
SOUND BITE:  "It's decent"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:   San Diego has a lot of great fish tacos.  In fact, right down the street is The Brigantine, home to arguably the best fish taco in town and there's a Rubio's now in every mall making excellent fried and grilled fish tacos.  So we San Diegan's know a good fish taco when we taste it and have gotten pretty darn picky and opinionated on who makes the best.  As for Palapa, it's good but not good enough to compete with the best.  If you really must have a fish taco at the fair then this is the place but locals agree with me that there are better bites elsewhere.

NAME:  Dave
LIVES IN:  San Elijo Hills
SOUND BITE:  "Yummy!"

LOCAL WALLY SAYS:   So hard to decide - should I get the deep fried cheeseburger or the deep fried hot dog??  Wait, pulled pork?  Tri-tip and chicken sandwiches?  That's the way to go.  Avoid the novelty foods and stick with the basics at The Ranch and you will not be disappointed.

General Info (hours, tickets, etc)

  • Best Pass Ever:  $24 gets you unlimited admission into the fair for all 24 days.  Only a certified lunatic would go every day but considering the price of one ticket the Best Pass Ever is perfect if you just want to pop in and see a show or, yes, get more chicken skin.
  • Albertson's $4 tickets for June 11th.
  • June 24th and July 1:  Taste of the Fair days mean $2 bite size samples of some of your favorites.
Bon Appetite,
Local Wally
The original San Diego local guy.... since 1996
Don't miss Local Wally's microbrewery night with the Padres, July 19th.  Tickets here.

1 comment:

stevenjared0853 said...

What great food festival!! All these dishes are looking so yummy. You know dear I am also going to attend the Food fair events in NYC. I am going there with my friends. It will be our first trip to New York. We are eagerly are waiting for that day!