The L.A. County Fair starts again this Saturday, a perfect opportunity to bury bathing suits in the sand and start stuffing our mouths. The country's biggest county fair is not about petting zoos for us, but the landscape of over 250 food booths that provide a pre-holiday excuse to eat food our doctors would not approve of. Beyond a bazillion varieties of pie and produce are the warped and delicious takes on our guiltiest junk food pleasures. Which food vendors should you make a beeline for among the massive fairgrounds? Here's a sneak peak at the new and notable eats you'll find this year.
The New Recruits
Two new additions that are well-suited to the fair will debut this year. Colossal Gelato crams an entire pint of Italian ice-cream made from natural local ingredients into a waffle cone as big as our arms and is sure to be a big hit. Made-to-order cupcakes are arriving from San Diego's CB'S, which are softball sized and topped with a vast choice of candy. Both fulfill the sugar needs and zany dimensions of promising fair food.
Juicy's Outlaw Grill
The fair's largest vendor, Juicy's, will bring back their number one stunner, The Outlaw Grill. This 83-foot grill is hauled by big rig and can cook 1,500 giant turkey legs at once, making it the world's biggest outdoor barbecue. "We buy about a half a million turkey legs a year," says Bill Witt, Juicy's rep.
While upscale Top-of-the-Park restaurant touts great racetrack views and a dressy menu, Juicy's has the most popular food sections for their mix of spectacle, half-pound burgers, giant sausages, and eleven-inch funnel cakes. "We work hard to make it the best experience around, way beyond just goofy fair food, but high-quality everything, from food to service." Witt adds, "We have bands and DJs playing, all the fair food everyone loves. It's really a whole fair experience beyond food or entertainment. Whether you're a thirteen year-old or a 65-year old grandma, we want our service to really form great fair memories."
Eating at the Fair wouldn't be half as fun without returning vet Chicken Charlie, he of the legendary obsession with deep-frying everything from White Castle burgers and S'mores, to Twinkies and frog's legs. Charlie returns, as always, with a few new victims for his fryer this year, and while other stalls sell deep-fried sweets, they are mostly ripped from Charlie, whose versions are still the best.
Nearly everything seems to be available "on-a-stick" here; we suggest you skip caramel apples for the more unique cheesecake, key lime pie, and chocolate mousse on-a-stick.
You also can't walk the fairgrounds without tripping over funnel cakes in every size, and this is the chance to get your annual intake, with specimens up to five pounds.
Scharffen-Berger chocolate ice cream from Dr. Bob's and traditional Spam dishes from Brody's Hawaiian Barbecue are two other edibles that novices shouldn't pass up. For meat lovers wanting something beyond burgers, everything from menudo to half-pound sausages and pounds of crawfish abound.
That's our basic plan of attack for eating at the County Fair, though with end-of-summer heat, a thick blanket of smoke, long lines, and wavering prices, we'll see if our wills collapse before our arteries do. You've been notified L.A., you have 3 days to save some room for Saturday.
The L.A. County Fair
September 5th-October 4th,
1101 W. McKinley Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768
Admission: $6-$17, kids under 5 free.