Off the Menu: Eating Our Way Through the OC Fair

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Off the Menu columnist Catherine Del Casale gets ready to dig into a triple decker Krispy Kreme burger
Off the Menu columnist Catherine Del Casale gets ready to dig into a triple decker Krispy Kreme burger

By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy

Deep fried Twinkie topped with caviar. Triple decker cheeseburger with Krispy Kreme donuts as buns. Deep fried pizza. Giant donuts injected with cinnamon whiskey. Deep fried slim fast bar.

Yes, the OC Fair has returned with another batch of outrageous culinary concoctions guaranteed to dazzle your taste buds while hardening your arteries and sending your daily calorie count through the roof.

Of course, that’s the point of the myriad new food items at this year’s fair, which celebrates its 125th anniversary with “125 Ways to Graze” that features menu options inspired by the number 125.

With so many new food options, we took it upon ourselves to try and sample as

Deep fried Slim Fast bar
Deep fried Slim Fast bar

many as possible. Prices vary, generally $5 to $10 per item (more for larger portions).

 Deep Fried Starbucks from Bacon-A-Fair: A fun way to eat your coffee—in a ball of dough with whipped cream on the side.

Deep Fried Slim Fast Bar from Chicken Charlie’s: Yes, it negates the effects of a diet bar, but maybe you

can convince yourself this gooey treat is healthy…somewhat.

Deep fried pizza
Deep fried pizza

Deep Fried Pizza from Apple Fries: Catherine loves pizza, and anything fried, so this was a match made in heaven for her. The verdict: It’s really good! “Not as overwhelming as I thought it would be, it just has a nice extra crispness to it,” stated Catherine.

Fireball Donut from Texas Donuts: A sharable donut covered with caramel and bananas, infused with Fireball whiskey. A decadent treat.

Cuban Fusion Burger from Grant’s Tasti Burgers: Christopher

Fireball donut
Fireball donut

thought this was the best non-fried food he tasted. Pork sausage burger patty with smoked ham, tomato, sliced pickles, spicy mayo, mustard and Swiss cheese on a ciabatta roll. The sandwich was packed with flavor, and the soft bun made it easy to eat.

 Salt and Vinegar Tasti Chips: We absolutely love Tasti Chips and buy them whenever we go to the Fair. This year, they’ve added salt & vinegar flavor, and sour cream & onion. We now have a new addiction: salt & vinegar Tasti Chips. 

Triple decker Krispy Kreme burger
Triple decker Krispy Kreme burger

Triple Decker Krispy Kreme burger from Chicken Charlie’s: Yes it sounds a bit gross and looks like a heart attack on a plate, but this stack of burger patties sandwiched between Krispy Kreme donuts really does taste good. The sweetness of the donuts offsets the meatiness of the burgers. Warning—share this with a friend, it’s a monster meal.

Fried Peanut Butter Pickle Dog from Chicken Charlie’s: Love peanut butter? Love pickles? You’ll love this one. Christopher did.

Koolickle from Pickle O’Pete’s: Take a pickle. Slice it in half. Inject

Koolickle--a pickle injected with Kool-Aid
Koolickle–a pickle injected with Kool-Aid

with Kool-Aide. Serve. A refreshing treat on a hot day at the Fair.

 Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly from Biggies: Melt in your mouth goodness guaranteed to put a smile on your face and wreck your diet.

Chocolate-Covered Pork Rinds from Bacon A-Fair: Anything covered in chocolate is a good thing.

 Frosted Flake Chicken Fingers from Pickle O’Pete’s: The frosted flakes add a bit of sweetness to the chicken.

Truffle Gouda Bacon Fries at Baconmania: This is not a new item, but it’s remained one of our favorite Fair foods. Why? Simple: it has truffle oil, Gouda cheese and bacon. And it’s fried.

Deep fried Twinkie with Caviar at Chicken Charlie’s: It’s $125, but all proceeds go to CHOC Hospital.

Bacon wrapped pork belly
Bacon wrapped pork belly

A few items we did not try yet that either piqued our palates or sounded so gross we have to go back and try them: Cream Cheese On a Stick (stick of cream cheese that has been battered and fried and served on a stick with a sweet chili sauce), Funnel Cake Burger, Deep Fried Avocado Taco, Nachos on a Stick.

Every Friday from noon to 4 p.m. most of the food vendors offer $2 tastes of one of their popular items. Some stands offer what we’d call generous samples, including Tasti Chips.

Daily culinary demonstrations can be enjoyed for free in the OC Promenade throughout the run of Fair.

Featured culinary exhibits will offer overviews of cake and cocktails. In the Cakeology exhibit, fairgoers can learn the origins and history of cake from baking to decorating, while the SIP – Raise Your Spirits exhibit explores the history of alcoholic beverage and barware.

The OC Fair is open Wednesday – Sunday. For more information, visit ocfair.com.

 

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