I love the Los Angeles County Fair. I remember my first visit back in the early ’80s. I was an infant. Okay, so I was a little older, but I remember it nonetheless. The rides, the shows, the shopping and of course, the smell of food everywhere, tantalizing a kid with a budget and a need to try everything I passed. Who knew that all these years later, I’d end up being a Los Angeles County Fair Ambassador! (I *love* what I do!) This means that I get into the fair before it opens so I can try all the foods and share the new items — and some oldies, but goodies — with you.
Located in Pomona, California, just north of the 10 freeway on McKinley, the 487-acre LA County Fair arrived in town today, September 4, and it ends on September 27. (Did you know the first edition of the fair occurred in 1922?) I’m going again tomorrow morning, checking out Popnology, a new exhibit of pop-cultured inspired technology, Luminasia, the after-dark light show (which we saw last year and loved!), the Big Red Barn full of animals and farming education, and of course, more food. I’ll share another post later about all the exhibits and what else we eat, but for now, I want to make you drool over this year’s menu and inspire you, too, to go and eat your way through all the things you can only get once a year at the Los Angeles County Fair!
I call this the foodie midway, the place you start at when you’re hungry. Look at this place, then the next, then the next. Buy this, sample that..you know how it goes.
This Deep-Fried Guacamole was one of my top three favorites. New to the fair this year, and created by Chicken Charlie’s, it’s exactly what it sounds like: delicious, tangy and seasoned guacamole inside a deep-fried crust, drizzled with just enough ranch dressing to make it the kind of messy you love at the fair. I can’t wait to eat this again tomorrow and introduce the husband to one more ‘fried fair food,’ which is honestly the biggest reason we go each year.
Also by Chicken Charlie’s is the new Deep-Fried Peanut-Butter Pickle. It mixes the savory with the creamy natural sweetness of peanut butter and the chocolate sauce on the outer coating. It’s a big pickle, so this is a good thing to share!
Then this contradiction in terms, another of my top three favorites and one more of Chicken Charlie’s many new items. This is a deep-fried Slim Fast bar. I know, right? Don’t judge though until you try it. It’s so good! It is similar in taste and texture to the Deep-Fried Snickers, my most favorite fair food item ever, but a lot smaller and a little less messy. The Slim Fast bar maintains a crispy texture without the nuts in the Snickers and is a one-person snack. (Well, at least mine was. Maybe some of you share better.)
Chicken Charlie’s on a roll this year. This Pineapple Express Chicken Bowl is one of the healthier items you’ll find and is a hearty meal for at least two people. It’s a lightly sweetened teriyaki type of chicken strips inside of a fresh pineapple bowl. Grab a couple of forks with this one. If you’re taking a break from fried foods, this is a go-to. It’s always something I’d keep in mind if I was bringing younger kids with me, as you can share it, there’s minimal additives and it’s relatively neat. Put a strip on a fork or in a napkin and you’ve got stroller-eating food!
Then there’s the Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg and Waffle. This is a one-person snack and gives you both the sweet and savory without filling you up too much, so you can keep working your way down through the food options!
Deep-Fried Potato Chips — thin and crispy as can be but without any grease or coating. Delish! They come in several styles: salted chips, nacho cheese (with or without the jalapenos), garlic parmesan and cheese. I chose the nachos with jalapenos. The size you see above was just sampling size, so the full-sized item you purchase is about twice that size! Perfect for 2-3 people and another one of those walking snacks.
There are never too many versions of chicken and waffles, so you’ll love this portable version of Chicken and Waffles in a Waffle Cone! Smaller, almost bite-sized waffles and chicken with a semi-sweet glaze. Another one of those foods you can share, but you may not want to. What a unique way to serve up a traditional favorite food.
OMG. That’s what I said when I saw the Deep-Fried Cinnamon Apple Rings above. Five rings, lightly covered in a coating and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. Dip them into the whipped cream and you have a delectable sweet treat that’s new to the Los Angeles County Fair. I brought this home and shared with the family, I was so full. It was an instant hit with the four of us lucky enough to be here when I returned home.
And just for the heck of it, I’m sharing this corn that I enjoyed. I managed to eat this entire cob. Each kernel popped as I ate it, sweet corn cooked perfectly and with a great texture. (There’s also a deep-fried corn available but I had maxed out by that point.)
With over 60 food vendors at this year’s fair, you will undoubtedly find many foods you’ll want to try, and many you’ll want to try after that you just don’t have room for. That’s why you go to the fair again! (I’m going back again in two weeks, when I’ve got another empty stomach so I can try everything at least once before the fair leaves until next year.)
Last year’s favorite, the Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly (with 2′ of bacon on that baby) returns, along with many of your favorites. More new items are the Tajin Apple, a Koolickle (A Kool-Aid infused pickle), and the Affogato Ice Cream Sundae, which features a double-shot of fresh-brewed espresso in a glass test tube stuck upside down into the ice cream so it drains as you eat. Oh.Wow. That’s on my list of things to try tomorrow.
Looking for more healthy options? You’ll find them, too, including sushi, organic salads with local-sourced produce, rice bowls and lean proteins.
And don’t worry, there are beverages to go along with all the food. Wine and beer are back, of course, and I got to try a smooth Sauvignon Blanc called Fancy Pants, in between foods.
If you go on a hot day, don’t miss the Michelagua truck. Three varieties were available during our food preview, including the Mango, Pineapple-Spinach and Lemonade-Cucumber. I had the Mango but really want to try the others; friends were sampling them and raved about each flavor, despite the spinach ingredient throwing them off at first.
The colors alone will make you want to try these non-alcoholic refreshing beverages, perfect for a hot day or a stroll through the midway. And they’re a little filling, as you can eat the fruit. So fresh and the cherimoya and chili around the rim finishes it off perfectly. (You have to try that part, don’t just use the straw.)
Want to visit the fair yourself and try all these foods? Enter my giveaway for a chance to win a Mindblowing Fair Pack, including fun fair items, tickets and a parking pass!
Here’s how to enter for your chance to win your very own mind-blowing pack, including four tickets, a parking pass and other goodies. (Your prize will be shipped directly from to you from the vendor.) This is a fast giveaway, only over the long holiday Labor Day weekend, so you have plenty of time to use your tickets before the fair leaves town on September 27. (And that just happens to be my birthday!)
And if you go, don’t forget to say hi these adorable goats for me! This one even posed for a photo. I told her I’d put her on the blog, so be sure and tell her how pretty she is!