Sunday, October 19, 2008

NC State Fair - Food report

Just got home from the North Carolina State Fair. If you read this blog much you know I do try to avoid processed foods, and eat local, whole foods when I can, right?

Yeah, all that pretty much goes out the window for fair food. Saving the world is great, but so is a fresh corn dog if you know what I mean....

We got there pretty early and I was lucky to see some of the food vendors getting ready for their day - one of note, the "Roasted Corn" guys; all of them seemed to be using the same source for their corn, and I took note of where it was coming from, it was on every box: Salinas Valley, CA.

If that name sounds familiar, it has been the source of several large profile E. coli outbreaks. I wasn't so much worried about E. coli in the corn as much as I was about the length of the trip from California to North Carolina. Thank you, slow food movement for teaching me to look for such things. See, it wasn't all in vain, even for fair food - we skipped the corn. That will be the last sacrafice of the day, however....

Overall I would say the food was a let down with 2 exceptions.

The funnel cake I should have taken back for a fresh one. I would have, but I thought if I did and got one right out of the oil that it would have been too hot for my daughter - but in hindsight it still would have been better. Shame on the vendor for giving it to me, shame on me for accepting it.

The fried vegetables were just OK; I make them much better - but I learned from the master. My mom has been going to the same fried vegetable stand at the Ohio State Fair for years, and about 3 or 4 years ago I watched the guy make them and stole his secret.

That's twice I've learned how to make carnival food by just watching and taking mental notes - fried veggies and Kettle corn. Oh, and speaking of Kettle Corn; the guy I learned from earlier this year was at the fair! I almost felt bad for him because he was doing much better business this spring where I first saw him; some sort of art festival in Cary.

The french fries were decent; everything I want out of Fair Fries (wicked hot, salty, with plenty of malt vinegar) but nothing above it.

The winners:

A fresh churned, still soft - like home made, ice cream place that we saw by the Grist Mill exhibit at gate 8. The machines were being cranked by little steam engines. 2 flavors; vanilla and strawberry. We got the vanilla, and it was very nice. I'll say it - better than the dairy barn ice cream at the Ohio State fair.

And lastly, a corn dog from a random midway vendor. Damn I love a corn dog.

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