My State Fair is better than your state fair.
I mean, sure, they might be KIND OF similar: Wonderful/horrible foodstuffs that are worse for you than rubbing raw uranium on your face, crowds of people that represent everything that’s awful about interacting with humans, parking lots, etc. However, MY Sate Fair has something that YOUR State Fair definitely does not:
Yep. A giant robot cowboy who sometimes bursts into flames. We call him Big Tex, and he is the best. What DOES your State Fair have? JACK and also SQUAT, that’s what. Tex-as, Tex-as, TEX-AS, TEX-AS [adjusts comically over-sized belt-buckle; tosses ten-gallon Stetson into the air; eats a fistful of Bluebonnets while defending the Alamo]!!! SUCK A BUTT, OHIO AND ALSO EVERY OTHER STATE.
Ahem… sorry. See, I just got back from a day at the State Fair of Texas, which is held every year in the city I call home, and… well… this native Texan is a little jacked up on sugar, grease, and Lone Star Pride. DID I MENTION THE SUGAR??? Wow, sorry again… I’m just… everything is all shimmery and I feel like someone just shot me in the back of the head with a t-shirt cannon full of deep-fried meats.
ANYWAY, I’m not here to get all United States of Texas on your asses. What I AM here to do is talk about every single thing that I consumed at the State Fair of Texas, in order of consumption, because the State Fair is DEFINITELY the most important thing that is happening in Dallas right now. Hahahaha ha haha ha [gargles with Purell].
First up, three notes:
-All of the foodstuffs in the following pictures were split between me and my wife. Two reasons: If I had eaten everything that you see in this post by myself, my stomach would have fallen out of my butt, and also, sharing is caring. Also thrifty, as State Fair dining is EXPENSIVE. I remember when a hamburger sandwich cost a quarter! And so forth.
-The pictures you see below were taken quickly, and in crappy, overcast natural light, in an effort to get their images recorded before they cooled off and congealed into horrifying wads of sorrow. I assume you’re not coming to low-traffic internet way-stations such as Zombie Fights Shark for Diane Arbus-level photographic glory, but still… forgive the cruddy quality on some of these. Dammit, the boy is TRYING!
-We also consumed two or three bottles of water during this adventure to prevent us from turning into Biblical-style salt statues, but water is boring, so we won’t be discussing it any further.
Everything I Ate at the State Fair of Texas, or, “Save My Soul, Deep Fried Jesus”
Funnel Cake Beer
Community Beer Company, who are big, smelly deals here in the Dallas craft beer octagon, made this beer specifically for the State Fair, aiming to create a drinking experience that was both reminiscent of eating a funnel cake, but was also… you know… a beer that doesn’t suck. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. The State Fair Brew was pretty goddamn tasty… sweet, pastry-like notes on the front end gave way to a sharp, hoppy finish which was mellowed out by the genius move to rim the glass in powdered fucking sugar. Actually, the cup I got could have used a little MORE powdered sugar… it REALLY sold the whole funnel cake angle… but that’s neither here nor there.
If you’re going to start your day off, like we did, drinking beers in a room full of 2015’s hottest cars, you could do a whole hell of a lot worse than Community’s State Fair Brew.
Deep Fried Shrimp Boil
This thing won, essentially, the Best In Show ribbon out of all the eligible foods served at this year’s State Fair. While it wasn’t my number one favorite thing that I ate, it WAS kind of a blow-your-hair-back experience. SO MUCH FLAVOR. Look at the guts of this sumbitch…
Various sizes of shrimp, potatoes, some corn, a little lemon, and an assload of spices, all coated in… I don’t know… magical Cajun swamp batter or whatever… and deep fried until it becomes the best hushpuppy ever crapped out of a gator-wrassler’s filthy dream. And there’s a spicy/tangy/sexy dipping sauce! Goddamn. Plop a regulation-sized football helmet full of these in front me during a Cowboys game, and I could WITHOUT HYPERBOLE eat them until my stomach exploded like that one guy in Se7en.
Pretty straightforward, really… it’s two slabs of dense, well-seasoned meatloaf that have been deep-fried in that sort of crumbly, almost corn-flakey batter that is so specifically tied to chicken fried steak. They were tasty… because they’re deep-fried meatloaf, and not, say, deep-fried your-high-school-janitor’s-underwear… but they were also a tad on the dry side, screaming out for the accompanying dipping sauces. One was like a spicy ketchup kind of thing (meant to mimic the glaze one finds on a well-conjured meatloaf), and the other was cream gravy (meant to be poured directly down your throat, because cream gravy is as essential to human life as oxygen, water, and sunlight).
My wife preferred the ketchup. I preferred the cream gravy. We side-eyed each other suspiciously for the remainder of the day. I feel that this disagreement has started us down a path that will one day end with us battling each other for some sort of dipping sauce-based supremacy in an American Gladiators-style arena. Only time will tell.
Look at all the pleasing rows of canned veggies, fruits, jams, jellies, and butters. They’ve all been tasted and ranked and awarded ribbons. The display seemed to go on for miles, and I could have gazed upon it for a fortnight. If this picture doesn’t satisfy the part of your brain where the OCD Demon lives, then you are a sentient wooden puppet who has somehow gained access to the internet, and I hope you cry yourself to sleep tonight wishing you were a real boy. OR GIRL, whatever. Pinocchio-looking motherfucker.
Kona Iced Coffee
The wife wanted an iced coffee, so we got an iced coffee. Nothing particularly memorable about this beverage… it wasn’t dunked in hot oil and transformed into some kind of spongy, whipped cream-covered mass that will forever haunt my arteries… but you know, it was a nice example of the iced coffee form. Plus, they put a little cocktail umbrella on it, which is pretty fucking cute. Everything at the State Fair is just better, you guys.
Deep-Fried Potato Guts
These are supposedly twice-baked potato guts, formed into a shape that TOTALLY ISN’T TURD-ESQUE, then deep-fried in the standard fashion. They weren’t bad at all… good even… but they also weren’t terribly exciting. Basically, they were mashed potatoes with a crust. My wife described them as “deep-fried clouds,” texturally-speaking, and I can’t really do any better than that in the description department.
Any forward-thinking sports bar owner would be delighted to have these taking up valuable real estate on their appetizer menu.
Sausage on a Stick
It’s a spicy, foot-long smoked sausage on a stick. Simple, elegant, and very much like eating the BBQ version of a command performance by the Joffery Ballet. Or at the very least, Riverdance.
Demerits are given, however, due to a structurally unsound foil wrapping job that lead to barbeque sauce being dripped on my nicest Hawaiian, big-fat-party-guy shirt. Fat guys HATE shirt stains. They’re our “scarlet letters.”
While at the State Fair, we attended some pig races. Like ya do. Those little pink blurs in the center of the photograph? Pigs. Racing pigs. The prize for winning the race was an Oreo cookie. It was all very adorable, though the experience was brought down a little bit by an unrelenting typhoon of pig puns, all spoken by an MC/fake farm girl who had the worst case of “children’s theater superstar voice” I’ve ever heard. Also, there was a Forrest Gump reference in the script, which I’m sure killed in the late-90’s, but c’mon pig race banter writers! It’s 2014! We need that modern jazz, man.
I’m going to try to get through this one without crying, but no promises. You guys… this is a hunk of moist, fatty brisket that is deep fried, then covered in a thick BBQ sauce and sprinkled with some spicy dry rub. Look at it! LOOK AT IT, GODDAMNIT:
This was so fucking good, I thought about shutting down the whole “touring the State Fair” thing and just bellying up to their operation, ordering round after round of deep-fried brisket, until my grunts of pleasure got so pornographic that the State Fair security had to come remove me by force. I WOULD NOT GO PEACEFULLY.
Seriously, the deep-fried brisket was THE number one best thing I ate at the State Fair, and it is also quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten ever. Caviar, foie gras, lobster butts… all of that expensive junk can go straight to hell. Pure, undiluted happiness can be bought for a measly 15 tickets at a booth next to a guy selling airbrushed face tattoos. THIS is luxury. THIS is living. CHRIST, I’m hungry for these again. As will I ever be, forever.
I mean… it’s a funnel cake. It’s going to be good, because it is hot dough and powdered sugar. Oh, and by the way, if you’re one of those people that globs on a bunch of strawberries or blueberries or whatever-the-fuckberries on top of your funnel cake, then you are so unbelievably basic that you’re practically yoga pants. Why dilute greatness with unnecessary toppings? Sometimes, the simplest path is where it’s at. Not everything has to be OMG 3D HD all the time, you dummies. JUST EAT IT LIKE JESUS WOULD HAVE.
Anyway, it was good, but it also came after the deep-fried brisket, so it definitely lacked a little in the impressiveness department. It’s kind of like how Shaq looks like a goofy younger sibling when standing next to Yao Ming. Same thing, but with fried foods.
Fletcher’s Corn Dog
Sorry that this isn’t a pretty, pre-chomp picture of a beautiful, unbroken corn dog. Actually, NOT SORRY. I want you to see where my gross mouth just was. I want you to be able to see each individual tooth-print. The above crime scene is a CELEBRATION of delicious glory. It is a testament to the corn dog… the FLETCHER’S Corn Dog, mind you… accept no substitutions.
Fletcher’s Corn Dogs… often imitated, never replicated… were invented at the State Fair of Texas, like, several million years ago (Fletcher was a Stegosaurus). THAT’S RIGHT… my State Fair invented a thing that has become a CLASSIC FOOD. What did YOUR State Fair invent? Some kind of weird fish horseshit, Minnesota? GO SIT AT THE KIDS TABLE; THE ADULTS ARE TALKING ABOUT SEX.
Gah… sorry, sorry… I just get so worked up about Fletcher’s Corn Dogs (and corn dogs in general, because who are we kidding, brand loyalty doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re hammered at 4am with a fridge full of knock-off slop cornys chilling in your freezer, wanting only for the gentle kiss of your microwave so that they can take your hangover and crumple it into a ball and point at it, saying, “leave this place”).
Corn dogs are just the best, and Fletcher’s Corn Dogs, in particular, should win every award ever created at least once. Even the Heisman.
This is a painting of Con Air-era Nicholas Cage that was slapped on the side of some sort of Tilt-A-Whirl contraption on the midway. I do not know what it has to do with carney rides, but I DO know that it looks goddamn majestic when framed by a stormy sky and a flapping Texas flag.
When you deep-fry a Snickers bar, what you’re left with is a somewhat dense enclosure of quickly-soggifying dough that is holding back a flood of molten-hot Snickers components that have been lava-fied because heat and melting and so on. It is a tricky proposition, eating one of these, because the chances of it burning your skin and muscle and attractively-trimmed, fashionable beard clean off down to the exposed skull that lies beneath are very, very real. However, it is also a whole lot of chocolate, nougat, peanuts and fried dough, and who can resist that? Some things are just worth the years of painful skin grafts and accompanying hospital bills.
Deep-Fried PB&J w/Banana and Bacon
This was the last thing we ate at the State Fair, and by the time it rolled around, we were both kind of settling into the walking coma phase of our evening. It’s a shame, because this was kind of the secret star of the day. I mean, it’s no deep-fried brisket, but what is? NOTHING, EVER AGAIN, WILL BE DEEP FRIED BRISKET.
But still, this was damn tasty. The fattiness of the peanut butter and the general fried-ness was spectacularly cut by the glorps of grape jelly, and the banana added a nice fruitiness as well. I didn’t really taste the bacon, though. Like… at all. I think we may have actually been given a baconless fried sandwich, which, yes, IS a felony offense in the State of Texas. I’m a benevolent, kind C-dog, however, and am not pressing charges. Frankly, that would require effort, and after eating all of this, it’s all I can do to keep breathing normally sans gasping.
The State Fair of Texas is wonderful, and you should go there and eat a bunch of stuff. If you’re NOT in the great state of Texas, I guess you could go to your own State Fair, but… you know… keep in mind that you’re living a goddamn lie.
Now, I’m going to go eat small, dry salads for a week, but before I go, I want to leave you with one more picture:
This is from the State Fair of Texas’ butter sculpture exhibit. The subject this year was galloping stallions, and what you see above is an artist so focused on detail and accuracy that they spent at least a little bit of their day fashioning a horse’s butthole out of butter. That is amazing. The State Fair of Texas is amazing. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING.
Except for your State Fair, which, as previously mentioned, sucks nards.