Christi Erpillo of The Dock restaurant has been kind enough to give me two season passes to the State Fair of Texas. Usually, these passes are for employees, but she’s made a very special exception here. With these magical passes, you can get into the fair for free and every day until the Fair closes. Didn’t like Erpillo’s fried Samoas the first time? Go again. And again. And again.
To enter this giveaway, just state your favorite thing about the State Fair. (Please keep your comments clean.) I’ll enter all your names randomly into a drawing and pick a winner by 5 p.m. today. You can either come to our office to pick up the tickets or we can mail them to you. You pick.70 Comments »
You’re probably wondering why one-handed foods at the State Fair are worth the search. Easy. Allow me to explain.
On a recent romp through the State Fair, I’ve discovered that it is possible to eat healthy foods there, contrary to popular belief. You just have to know where to find them between the stalls of endless fried-to-death junk.
Most people who avoid contracting fried fooditis go for the usual suspects: turkey legs, pickles, hot dogs and hamburgers. These are all safe options. They’re not exactly low on calories (except for pickles), but they work. At least they’re edible, right?
Lucky for all you healthy eaters out here, 2012 will be known as the year the State Fair of Texas actually has tasty non-fried options. This year, for instance, Good Karma Kitchen and SlushWorks teamed up to create an anti-fried food menu inside the Food & Fiber Pavilion that features a gluten-free cheddar cornbread cake on top of sweet baked beans.
The Food Court also has the highest concentration of healthy food options. Inside this building, there’s Greek salad, blackeyed pea soup, savory and sweet crepes, and rotisserie chicken for less than 20 coupons each.
Jump for the list of healthy options (with a printable pdf created by our favorite web designer Charlotte Tobin).14 Comments »
If my arteries could talk, they’d be screaming in half-pain/half-joy because tomorrow, my friends, is the FIRST DAY of the State Fair. When those beautiful Fair Park gates open in 19 hours, 20 minutes, and 45 seconds, we’ll finally be able to enter Fried Food Heaven and rest in buttered peace. But enough of this chitter chatter. We’re wasting time and breath whenever we’re not talking about fried food.
Deep fried jambalaya by Abel Gonzalez*
This winner of “Best Taste” at the 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards is a Cajun mix of rice, shrimp, sausage and seasonings that’s spicy even if you don’t dip the ball into the spicy ranch sauce.
Jump if you know what’s good for ya.16 Comments »
Tommy Tolls is the Cotton Candy guy. He’s going to be standing inside Cassie’s Frozen Yogurt booth at the Texas State Fair starting on September 28, supervising the cooks to make sure they make the fried cotton candy balls perfectly right. Cassie Uptmore, who started her froyo biz in Grapevine and had her own booth at the Fair for the first time last year, entered in the 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards competition, but she didn’t get a finalist nod. (Abel Gonzales and Butch Benavides ended up taking home the trophies with their deep fried jambalaya and bacon cinnamon roll, respectively.) Still, her fried cotton candy will definitely be making its debut at the State Fair, and I have a feeling it’ll be a big hit among kiddos all over the state.
Jump if you like fried stuff.
This morning at 9 a.m., the eight finalists in the 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards gathered at The Dock Restaurant in Fair Park for a little fried food showdown. Within an hour of tasting all the entries, the three judges (Rep. Eric Johnson, Andrea Rega, and Donovan Lewis) announced at the Eighth Annual Big Tex Choice Awards that Abel Gonzales, creator of the deep fried jambalaya, was taking home the trophy for “Best Taste.” Butch Benavides also won “Most Creative” for his sweet bacon cinnamon roll dipped in pancake batter and topped with fried bacon crumbles.
Gonzales, whose win today is his fifth at the Big Tex Choice Awards, says winning this year still “means a lot.”
“A friend of mine gave me the idea. His name is Matthew and he was just determined that I should bring this out here,” says Gonzales, who came up with a deep fried pineapple upside down cake last year. “I’m very excited to make my first real food and not a dessert.”
Jump for photos of the eight fried food finalists. Continue reading "Deep Fried Jambalaya Wins “Best Taste” in 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards Competition"5 Comments »
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Isaac Rousso, the frying genius behind Big Tex Choice Award finalists deep fried salsa (2011) and deep fried pop tarts (2010), hopes to win this year’s 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards with his gorgeous little food finalist: the deep fried pork wings. “I’ve been a bridesmaid two years, so I’m hoping to actually win this one,” he says. In Rousso’s test kitchen in the back of his Addison office, the Cuban-American man who owns the concessions stand, Taste of Cuba, fries me up some pork wings in two seconds flat, lathers them with a zesty BBQ sauce, and places them on a plate with freshly fried potato chips.
“Whatddya think?” he asks. “Is that money or what?”
Between mouthfuls of fried pork wing, I’m thinking, “HolymotherofStateFair, I can’t stop eating this,” “I’m about to bust out of my pants,” and “If I unbutton the top loop of my jeans, will Rousso notice?”
Jump if you like fried stuff.8 Comments »
Oof. Do your best to look healthy and alive while you review the finalists for the 2012 Big Tex Choice Awards contest this year, which doesn’t include the deep fried samoas we’ve been anticipating for the last, oh, three to four months. (Bummer.) For the eight years since this contest has existed, we’ve seen things like fried coke, fried bubblegum, and fried praline perfection win awards for Best Taste and Most Creative. The winners for the 2012 Big T Choice Awards will be announced on Labor Day after the contest is over. Here are this year’s contenders:
The descriptions, according to the State Fair of Texas website:3 Comments »
DMN reporter Eric Aasen says that the one woman, Christi Erpillo, has successfully found a way to dip a Samoa into a vat of boiling oil. The fried food expert is using her favorite cookie to celebrate the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary this year at the State Fair, which starts September 28.
Erpillo plans to top the chocolate-caramel-coconut cookie with more chocolate drizzle, caramel, and toasted coconut.
Apologies to all of y’all drooling at your desk right now.3 Comments »
Kent and Tracy Rathbun threw open their penthouse in the sky on Sunday for their Eighth Annual Art Party. As previously reported, the ticket proceeds went entirely to the Dallas division of The March Of Dimes, which works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Other sponsors making a difference were Fiji Water, Park Place Premier Collection, Allen Brothers, Martin & Martin Design, Veev, Justin Winery, adastra Public Relations, and The Heights at Park Lane. Guests dined on “State Fair” themed food prepared by Rathbun Catering and enjoyed Justin Cabernet Sauvignon, Landmark Chardonnay, and cocktails.
Since an Art Fair it a very visual event, check out some of the local artists who exhibited here.1 Comment »
I was talking with a friend of mine who loves the fried food madness of the Texas State Fair. Obviously many other people share her passion for fried strawberry waffles, fried margaritas, fried butter, and fried bubblegum. The recent “winners” for this year’s State Fair were announced Wednesday and the local blogs comment boxes have lit up like fried Christmas trees.
I hate it all as much as I hated eating in Paula Deen’s restaurant in Savannah. I can still smell the cloud of burnt butter that met me at the door of Lady and Sons Restaurant. The portions were obnoxiously huge and I had to shower when I got back to my hotel.
The last time I visited the Fair, I sat at one of the picnic benches and watched a family of three eat their way through a pile of food. The husband and wife, maybe in their early 40s, were obese. The woman was in a wheel chair with an oxygen tank. The husband, who weighed at least 350 pounds, was shoveling food in his mouth using both hands. The saddest sight was their son. He couldn’t have been 12 years old and already on the verge of obesity. He was listlessly staring at the ground and gnawing on a huge turkey leg.
I can hear you crying: “It’s only once a year. Live a little. Have some fun.” I can’t. That isn’t fun or funny to me. It’s gross.32 Comments »
What’s this? Jump to read all about it… Continue reading "Lil’ Bits Mini-Donuts Gives D Staffers a Reason to Get Out of Bed on a Friday Morning"1 Comment »
Love the Fair but end up steering clear of the Midway on vegan principle? Your reunion with Frito Pie is in the offing. The first State of Texas Veggie Fair on Oct.16 (sponsored by DallasVegan.com) combines cruelty-free vegan food (think veggie corny dogs, Frito pie, and funnel cakes) with carnival games, fried food, and fire dancers.
jump here to read more… Continue reading "Oh, the (Lack of) Cruelty! at the Texas State Veggie Fair"
Disclaimer: Let me preface the following by saying that I was raised by Pennsylvania Dutch parents, which explains a lot about what I’m about to say:
When I was growing up, the list of what my parents “didn’t believe in” (mayonnaise, private cars, food made by strangers, and tuna from a can) was almost as long as the list of what they actively feared (avocados, botulism, spices of all kinds, and activities that attracted more than four people). That being said, both going to the State Fair and eating spicy foods were completely out of the question. (My only experience of going to a Fair came in 1976 when our elderly neighbors staged a pity-abduction and took my brother and me in the back of their wood-paneled Travelall. Sidenote: once we got there, I was both too thrilled and too afraid to eat anything.)
So, imagine the illicit charge I got (as both a food writer and Fair virgin) as I noshed my way through the tastings at last night’s Fair Food sneak peek in the Food & Fiber Pavillion. From this year’s bumper crop of TX commestibles, three standouts made my list for best bets for stocking the goodie-corner of my pantry.11 Comments »