Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fair Warning: Eating Carefully at the LA County Fair

As an annual pilgrim to the LA County Fair, I have learned certain lessons about fair food. If you're not careful, you can leave disappointed and nauseous. If you do it right, you can find some really good eats, but you have to be careful.

Beware the latest deep fried or chocolate covered novelty. With the exception of the excellent deep fried Snickers, these things are almost always sub-par. In particular, the over-hyped Chicken Charlie's, home of the annual "Look What Crap They're Deep Frying Now" news story, is pretty uniformly bad.

Remember, just because you can deep fry it or cover it with chocolate, doesn't mean you should. There are a reason people have been deep frying potatoes and onions for centuries, because they're good, and the homemade chips at the Tasti Chips stand are as good as any you'll find.

What the Fair does have are a number of stands from great local eateries. A carnitas torta from King Taco or a Pink's hot dog beats out pretty much all of the other crap. This year, I was pleased to see that Harold & Belle's, the South LA Creole/Cajun restaurant, also had a stand. So, yeah, you could get a three foot long corn dog and a plate of french fries as big as your head, or you could get a perfectly spicy gumbo, a rich and succulent crawfish etouffee or a shrimp po-boy and a bread pudding with Jack Daniel's sauce (pictured).

Finish it off with a scoop or two of Dr. Bob's ice cream and you will leave knowing you have conquered the culinary obstacle course that is the LA County Fair.

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