Our Eater San Diego operative steeled her stomach and braved the first week crowds to give you a taste-tasted report on the weird and wacky food that's now become a hallmark of the annual San Diego County Fair, which runs through July 4.
The quirky food item that's gotten the most press is the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe at Chicken Charlie's, a stand known for their wild edible mash-ups. The sandwich isn't officially endorsed by the doughnut company, but that hasn't stopped it from getting lots of buzz.
Chicken Charlie himself, Charlie Boghosian , first test drove the odd concoction a few months ago, telling Eater, "The first bite was sweet and salty. My mind stopped. I thought for sure we've got to sell this."
Without further ado, here are 10 Wacky San Diego County Fair Foods Worth Eating; just
please remember to rest for 30 minutes before riding the roller coaster.
Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe & Totally Fried Cookie Dough
Follow up the ridiculously indulgent sandwich with an with an equally decadent dessert, warm, gooey cookie dough captured in fried form. Charlie says he created the concept a decade ago, and while he's sold the circular balls at many California fairs since, 2013 marks its debut in San Diego and it's already a winner; he said, "It's been one of the biggest sellers."
Deep Fried Wrangler Burger & Appalachian Pork Chop Sandwich
The Ranch's new Louisiana-inspired items wedged between a sesame seed bun include the Deep Fried Wrangler Burger, a deep fried half-pound beef patty piled high with slow smoked, thinly sliced Tri Tip, topped with signature BBQ sauce and an onion ring, and the Appalachian Pork Chop Sandwich, a half-pound pork chop marinated in BBQ sauce with slow smoked pulled pork, lathered with appalachian spread and covered with cole slaw.
Hot Dog on a Stick
Bacon Corn Dog & Chocolate-Covered Dog
Bacon bits are mixed in with the batter in this new addition, and back after popular demand is the chocolate-covered corn dog with sprinkles.
Biggy's Meat Market
The Big Rib & the Big Chick Stick
The two-pound beef rib on a 17-inch bone is fit for a king, but surprisingly, many of its customers are ladies. "We had no idea women are full-blown carnivores. They want it bloody rare. We thought it would be a man vs. food kind of thing," said Dominic Palmieri of Odyssey Foods. New this year is the 22-to-24-oz. chicken breast, which is garlic herb marinated, slow smoked in a rotisserie pit and finished on the grill. Good things take time; two hours for the rib and one hour for the chicken.
Chipotle BBQ Beef Chips
Perennial favorite, Tasti's signature potato chips, get a nachos makeover with chipotle barbeque beef, blue cheese, shredded jack and cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, onions and chipotle mayo sauce. In the fair business since 1974, the Tasti camp says it's time to expand with a beachside booth during the year.
A piece of bacon acts as a swizzle stick in this buzzed-about root beer. Pair it with chocolate covered-bacon and you've just ordered the $10 Coronary Combo. Bacon-wrapped jalapenos bursting with cheese are apparently popular amongst afternoon drinkers craving a spicy snack.
Cupcakes are so last year. This year, a deconstructed cut-up cupcake joins ice cream, whipped cream and sprinkles in a cup.
Grilled Cheese A-Fair
A sandwich with brie, swiss, apricot jam, dijonnaise spread and apples wouldn't look weird at any California winery, but it does at a fair. This fancy stand also offers a pulled pork mac and cheese melt and the All American with american cheese, white bread, hickory smoked bacon and tomatoes.
Bacon Cotton Candy
Bacon is everywhere these days (the fairgrounds hosts the inaugural Big Bite Bacon Fest June 16) so it should come as no surprise it's the latest cotton candy flavor. Brown is the new pink.
· San Diego County Fair [Official Site]