My boyfriend’s family has lived in places like Iran and Idaho and Ohio but thankfully settled in California, giving me an excuse to visit once a year for sunning, beaching, and stuffing my face with his mom’s fine Persian cuisine. This year, we happened to pass some signs advertising the Orange County Fair on one of our many drives between his parents’ house and In-N-Out and decided to go one night.
We rode the skyride, just like my sister and I used to with our mom as kids at the Ohio State Fair, until the year she happened to accidentally kick off her flip-flop while we were still up in the air halfway across the park:
We watched the giant ferris wheel light up bright white in beautiful patterns:
and met up with one of Kamran’s old friends:
but most importantly, we ate.
The stands we tried were out of fried butter, so we just ate fried everything-else:
deep-fried Baby Ruth wrapped in a jalapeno on a bed of churros
This one seemed like a bit of a stretch, but Kamran’s friends promised we’d like it, and it ended up being my favourite treat of the night. Not only do I now understand why people like churros so much–these were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and coated with sugar–but I also gained new appreciation for sweet and spicy combinations. It wasn’t just sweet and spicy for sweet and spicy’s sake, though; the flavors of the jalapeno and the Baby Ruth actually complimented each other.
The thing about coating foods you already like in batter and frying them is that you always gain the flavor of batter but lose some of the flavor of the original food. So while I liked the warmth of the Oreo and the addition of the batter texture and flavor, I missed being able to pick out the delicate flavor of the cream.
deep-fried chicken on a Krispy Kreme jelly donut
We somehow missed that this was a jelly donut, so biting into it and having the raspberry filling ooze out the sides was a pleasant surprise. The donut’s sweetness was entirely balanced by the savory flavors of the chicken, though of course the donut didn’t have quite the structural integrity of a normal roll. This is the closest I’ve gotten to a Luther Burger and only further fuels my desire to have one.
jalapeno popper wrapped in bacon
I love a jalapeno popper, and this didn’t disappoint. With the addition of the bacon, I didn’t even miss the usual batter.
I’m not sure how I expected it to be made, but I imagine the deep-fried Kool-Aid having a cold, slushy center. Instead, these were like donut holes sprinkled with a packet of cherry Kool-Aid mix. They were enjoyably packed with sour flavor, but I missed the refreshing aspect I was expecting from Kool-Aid.
And now I can’t wait to go back next year to try even more!