Lobster corn dogs. Fried avocados. The Krispy Kreme hamburger.
The annual Sonoma County Fair has become is something of a pilgrimage for culinary adventurers who can’t wait to challenge their palates (and gullets) with the good, the not-so-good and the calorically questionable concoctions that grace the midways each year.
Sure, there are the tried-and-true standbys: Planked salmon at Johnny Garlic’s, comforting polenta at the Pasta King’s Spaghetti Palace, posole at Old Mexico and of course, Pronto Pups, Willie Bird turkey legs and Pennsylvania Dutch funnel cakes.
Longtime fair concessionaire Phil Delahoyde says this heart-stopping marriage of beef and yeasty goodness has long been a favorite at East Coast fairs, where Krispy Kreme donuts are a familiar sight. Inspired, his family has introduced it to Sonoma County at Stuffie’s Char-Broiler (on Magnolia) to moans of delight. Or horror, depending on your nutritional perspective.
Pace yourself for Delahoyde’s other devilish creations including the Lobster Dog (lobster salad dipped in corn dog batter and slathered with lemon aioli), the Frilly Chip (a foot-high pile of curly fried potato chips) and the fried avocado (an acquired taste) at Sharky’s Fish Fry (Shade Park).
But wait, there’s more. Just a day into the fair, Delahoyde said he’s still working on a few ideas, including a chocolate dipped banana wrapped in bacon that may debut later in the fair. And the much-anticipated hot dog sundae advertised in fair flyers? It’s a no go this year, but you can find it at his dad, Don Delahoyde’s concession stand at the Sacramento Fair. “Maybe I’ll do it next year,” said Phil.
Here are a few more new bites to search out at this year’s fair…
– Bacon Macaroni and Cheese (Sliders Gastro Pub & Sports Bar): A hefty plate of penne pasta doused in white cheddar sauce, topped with real bacon, potato chips and green beans. My favorite dish of the year, by far.
– Lagunitas Imperial Stout Brownie (Sliders Gastro Pub & Sports Bar): One of three brewery-inspired desserts, this one has fudgy cream cheese icing, berries and whipped cream.
– Make a Stand Lemonade (Grace Pavillion): More than a tasty bottle of lemonade spiked with yerba mate and ginger, Make a Stand “Kick” lemonade helps raise awareness about child slavery. Read about nine-year-old North bay student Vivienne Harr’s journey to raise more than $100,000 to help enslaved children at makeastand.com.
– Tostilocos (Pepe’s Aguas Frescas near the Community Theater): Chips with cucumber, peanuts, pork skins, jicama and bacon. Need something without the guilt? The stand also sells heaping fresh fruit cups you can slather with lemon juice and chili salt.
– Garlic Corn Dogs (Garlicky’s, Shade Park): Corn dogs, but with way more garlic.
Got some of your own favorites? Share ’em.