August 27, 2008

Foods of the 2008 New York State Fair

We're smack in the middle of Central New York's fried food fest -- the New York State Fair.

They'll dip anything in hot grease. You may remember two years ago when I sampled the interesting flavors and textures of a fried snickers. After a year away from the fair, I'm pleased to report that I visited last night and can bring you reviews of some properly fattening fair fare.

Loaded fries
4/5 sporks
French fries shine when you need a fork to eat them. Slather on obscene amounts of gooey cheese and cool sour cream, then top it off with crumbled bacon and a generous helping of jalapeno pepper slices, and you've got a real treat. They're a kind of successful cross between a baked potato and nachos. And while nothing at the fair is cheap, you'll get a reasonable amount of food for your $5.50.

Gator bites
3/5 sporks
Supposedly these deep fried bits of alligator taste like chicken, but the experience is more like biting into heavily seasoned breaded chicken that tastes like a scallop. Seafood lovers will be ecstatic at all the ocean-fresh flavor without the chewiness, but those who are more tentative will only want to try a bite for $1.00. Even if you don't like the taste, you'll be able to say you've eaten alligator.

Deep fried Oreos
4/5 sporks

These are a much more successful deep-fried dessert than the Snickers of two years ago. There's no need to freeze the cookies or put them on a stick, so biting into them is completely unhindered. It just tastes like you're downing some chocolate flavored fried dough. But at $4.00 for 6 cookies, it's an expensive "yum."

Wine slushie
3/5 sporks
It's not as bad as it sounds. I can't pretend to be in love with the things, but there's an interesting change in flavor that comes from slushifying wine. Each straw sip is exceedingly sweet when it first hits the tongue, but is quickly followed by a nearly-breathtaking red-wine flavor. It works out to a more complex and satisfying alternative to a regular slushie. Depending on the vinyard and size of your wine you'll pay various amounts, but there are 10 oz. cups for $3.00 if you look around. It's a pretty good drink deal at the fair.

3.5/5 sporks
I actually visited on "beef day," but this was the closest I came to eating any cow. The dog itself is thinner than a hot dog, but it's much longer too. That adds up to a lengthier eating experience, which is always good. Plus there's good old hot dog flavor for $3.00.

I wouldn't recommend eating all of these items in one night. Your wallet will hate you, and your stomach will be even more resentful the following morning. The next time you step on a scale, you'll despise yourself, too.

But go with the right attitude. It's okay to try a fattening food or two in the name of science -- and what says science like fried Oreos? Enjoy the fair! There are plenty of sporks to be had.

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