Fair Food 2010 Preview: Fried goodness on a stick

Fair Food: Sonoma-Marin Fair 2010 and previews to the Sonoma County Fair and California State Fair

Sonoma-Marin Fair: June 23 to 27
Make your first stop with Engineer Ken at the Rawhide Express Solar Train. He’s got the goods on what’s happening at the fair, pointing out the highlights of each exhibit hall and vendor as you toot by. One of his top picks: Big Bubba’s Barbecue, at the south end of Gnoss Concourse where they’re grilling up chicken, ribs and hearty pulled pork. It’s worth knowing the margarita shack is within a stone’s throw, as are pronto pups and Mary’s Pizza. Stands with fried Oreos, Snickers and Twinkies are either end of the concourse, so should you find walking the length drains your strength, you can pick one up at either end. Near the Hambone Express pig racing ring are two points of interest — first the sausage stand, which should serve as some motivation to the racing pigs, and the mechanical bull, which you’ll want to avoid after eating, well, pretty much anything. Near the Kiddie Carnival are the twin evils of funnnel cakes and Castle Mini donuts, with the family fun pack of 36 tiny donuts in a tub. Wash it all down with some old timey Sarsaparilla from the nearby Chuckwagon…and possibly a Flintstone-sized Willie Bird turkey leg.
Want a little more upscale grub? The Farm to Table exhibit (near the pig racing track) features a handful of artisan purveyors (including BiteClub faves Gleason Ranch, Sonomic Vinegar, Straus Family Creamery, McEvoy Ranch, McClellands Dairy, Cowgirl Creamery, Alexander Valley Gourmet pickles, and a number of others). Check the sked, because the purveyors change up each day. There you’ll also find chef demos, including Chef John Ash (of recent grilled cheese fame) on Friday evening and Sheana Davis from the Epicurean Connection on Sunday.
Finally, make sure to check out the Wine Garden. Friday and Saturday evenings at 6pm, wine experts with discuss pairing wine with carnival food. Seriously. Corndogs and Cabernet? Funnel cakes and Riesling? You’ll find out.
Stroll next door for a gander at the prize-winning baked goods, jams and various jarred and bottled things. The most hilarious part is watching the sweet ladies inside try to keep 4-year-olds (and, uh, others) from eating the plated cookies and blue-ribbon veggies within arms’s reach.
Look forward to….
Sonoma County Fair
July 27 – Aug. 8, 2010: BiteClub will once again invite several lucky winners to sample the feast, including Willie Bird, Bubba’s BBQ, Stuffie’s Sausages and one of last year’s favorites: Old Mexico Eastside.
Best bet for wild fair food, however? The California State Fair. One their menu; Deep fried alligator, Chilled chocolate covered bacon, Shrimp or Vegetarian Paella (Gerard’s Paella), Deep fried Moon pie, Snickers, Twinkies and Tiramisu, Deep friend corn on the cob, Deep fried artichoke sandwich, Catfish on a stick. Previous year have also included the Krispy Creme donut chicken sandwich and Fried frog legs.