The Sonoma County Fair is on, and with it, the delicious fair food we all get super excited about exactly once per year. With good reason, because it would kill you if you ate all that greasy, salty, sugary, luxuriously yummy food more than a few times each year.
This year, however, I found myself less than eager for the challenge of stuffing thousands of calories into my face in 98 degree heat and minimal shade.
Instead, I did something far more entertaining and eminently more kind to my fellow fairgoers—I took a bite or two then handed it over to an unsuspecting person to finish. Really. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to eat my leftovers. I know I was. But it seems such a waste to throw away perfectly good fair food, and man, people are stoked to eat free food.
So after two hours of annoying people, spending a whole lot of money and walking around in circles, here’s my lineup of everything I wanted someone else to eat. And a few things I wanted to eat. Mostly in order of awesomeness. (PS read on, because I got Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane to eat a gold leaf ice cream cone).
The Unicorn Shake, $14
A unicorn among unicorns, this is the shining beacon of happiness at this year’s fair. I have no idea what it tastes like, because really, I don’t care. It’s everything that is right and good and happy in this firestorm of a summer. I think it involves a strawberry shake, a whole bunch of candy, marshmallows and actual fairy dust. Look deep into its rainbow mane, golden horn, whipped creamy goodness and multicolored sprinkles and sigh. You’re at the Sonoma County Fair and for a moment, everything is good in the world.
The Handoff: I wanted to give this to a shrieking little girl who would faint with happiness. I got this guy instead. He later fainted with happiness just after sharing it with his young friend and her mom. Find it at OMG Ice Cream.
Cap’n Crunch Fried Chicken Sandwich, $13
No. Seriously. This is really good. A little sweet, plenty crunchy, totally yum. I ate half, then put the rest in my purse for later. And later, I actually ate it. The Handoff: Nope. All mine. Sharky’s near the Shade Park Stage.
Chicken Mowie in a Pineapple, $14
Anything in a pineapple is good. Teriyaki chicken in a pineapple with rice is even better. I love this addition, and so does my daughter. She refused to be photographed eating it. I also asked a really cute firefighter to take a picture with his pineapple bowl. That is not a double entendre, but he said no, anyway. So, a beautiful picture of the bowl will have to suffice. The Handoff: My kid destroyed it. I got a bite. Then she got mad that I didn’t have a way to save the leftover pineapple bowl. Kids. Find it near the Shade Park.
Kalua Pork Bowl, $13
Slow roasted pulled pork atop brown rice and mixed greens with pineapple mango salsa and mango cream sauce. The presentation was a little off, so I decided to class it up with a shot near the hall of flowers. I dug into this one pretty hard, friends, and would return repeatedly for the Ahi Poke Bowl, Rainbow Bowl (with avocado, beets, carrots and a ginger miso dressing). For heartier appetites, the Loco Moco Bowl has a burger patty, beef gravy, rice and fried egg. Find it at Kalikos Hawaiian Kitchen (Mexican Village). The Handoff: Finger-lickin good, even sans fork. But he was pretty bummed I didn’t offer him a fork.
The Pronto Pup Corn Dog versus Rocket Dog Corn Dog, Both $10
Peter is my nephew. He loves fair food because his parents are horrible people who feed him very healthy food all of the time. We didn’t tell his parents I fed him this Rocket Dog. Peter was pretty sure it was the best thing he ever ate. Jason is my husband. He refused to go to the fair with us but asked us to bring him back a Pronto Pup. He said it was the best thing he ever ate, especially since his actual dinner was a Hungry Man. I take no responsibility for his food choices. I’m pretty sure the corndogs were exactly the same, but my spiritual beliefs don’t allow for corn dogs so I couldn’t eat one. At least that’s what I tell people because I hate corn dogs. Pronto Pup: Magnolia Ave., Rocket Corn Dog, Shade Park.
Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cake, $9
It’s a funnel cake. With a gel-like raspberry sauce and whipped cream from a can. I still love everything about it even though it is so very wrong. Crispy, crunchy, sweet and lovely that will burn your tongue if it has half the chance. The Handoff: ME: “You look like you could use a funnel cake. But can I take a bite first?” HER: “Sure?” It was a little weird, but she was totally stoked for the free funnel cake. I knew she wanted a funnel cake. I have ESPN. Linwood Avenue.
Flaming Hot Cheetos Cheese Fries, $8
I was hoping for something a lot more horrifying than the meek bowl of fries covered with cheese sauce, a few desiccated slices of jalapeno and exactly six Flaming Hot Cheetos. I’m not even sure they were the real deal. Oh, and a bit of Flaming Hot Cheeto Dust. I’m not saying they were exactly bad, but the whole thing just seemed like it could have been more intestinally volcanic. Paired with Ranch dip. The Handoff: Despite not exactly knowing what she was getting into, our taste-tester dug right in with glee. Which turned to a bit of horror. And then glee again. Sharkey’s Fish Fry, Magnolia South. Apparently, there is also a Flamin’ Cheeto fried onion for your pleasure at Sharky’s Corndogs & Onions.
Hot Mess Cookie, $6
It’s not hot, which would be so great, but it is a beast filled with M&M’s, chocolate chips, and a bunch of other candy crispies. It is a mess, kind of like me trying to balance four plates of fair food on my arm. Easily sharable with a hungry group who have the munchies. Just saying. The Handoff: We encountered a bit of suspicion with this one, but really, who can deny a cookie? “Yum!” Last seen being pounced on by several friends. This photo in no way implies that the lady eating it is a Hot Mess. She seemed pretty nice, actually. At Monster Bakery, Kidland inside the carnival.
Bucket O’ Soda, $14
No fair food tasting can begin without a solid beverage source of at least 64 ounces, with a cup that can later double as a paint can or small animal transport. Refill it with water, or another $7 worth of soda. Bonus: Just wait until 7-11’s free Slurpee day and you have a heck of a cup to fill. The Handoff: No freaking way. All mine. Various locations around the fair.
Gold Leaf Covered Ice Cream Cone, $8
We ripped Golden Girl and Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane and her friends away from the fudge counter to experience something a little more regal. Gold-covered chocolate soft serve was just her speed, though we struggled over whether the Oreo Bubble Waffle (waffles filled with cookies, whipped cream and ice cream) was a better choice. Nope. Gold for Shirlee. Gold leaf, she said doesn’t really taste like much. I thought it looked nice with her hair. Doesn’t she look relaxed? I think its the gold. Find it at OMG Ice Cream near the Shade Park. The Handoff: This one was all Shirlee, who said it was delish. You don’t exactly ask a Supervisor for a lick of their ice cream, cause that would be weird.
What are your favorites? Maybe I’ll go back.