HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


It's LA County Fair Time...

What do you gotta have when you go?

What do you avoid at all costs?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Deep fried Snicker bars, deep fried twinkies, Uh Anything deep fried LOL

    10 Replies
    1. re: Skunk2Racer

      Yes. Add to that deep fried artichoke hearts, deep fried oreos and a big scoop of Dr. Bob's.

      1. re: sku

        How are the oreos? I've always wanted to try these, as I imagine they get perfectly delectably melty on the inside...

        1. re: Emme

          I prefer the Snickers bars, but the Oreos are good too. They do get hot and melty inside.

          1. re: sku

            I had the oreos from teh OC fair and thought eating dirt would be better.

              1. re: Diana

                ah but if health were the only factor in all my edible decisions, i'd be taking wheatgrass shots much more frequently.

                1. re: Emme

                  Truly.. Especially in terms of the fair. This month I am being rather careful in anticipation of celebrating my first anniversary at the LACF. It was no holds barred at the reception-although I DID choose a healthier menu, the ladies who baked the 3-tiered cake did each tier a different flavor. Of course I had to taste them all. No use offending the bakers! I figure it will be the same for the anniversary!

                  Any good giant soft german pretzels at the fair? They were part of our beer bar hour (cocktail hour is for weenies and wimps-beer cheese and german pretzels rock!) and I want to celebrate one year with a pretzel!

                  I mean the yummy, soft, with they lye soaked skin big as your head pretzels.

      2. re: Skunk2Racer

        I went on the first day. I've been looking forward to the deep fried snickers (never had one before) but I didn't see a booth that sold some :-( I did see a vendor selling deep fried coke, twinkies, and oreos (but no snickers). For the first time ever, I tried a smoked turkey leg - YUM! I have to have some after the fair is over. Where else can I get a turkey leg??? I also had the pulled pork sandwich - so moist and delicious!

          1. re: cheesecustard

            FYI, deep fried snickers is available at the Texas Donut stands.

        1. Pink's Hot Dogs, Ten Pound Buns, Piggly Wiggly Fries.... A definite must for fair goers.

          1 Reply
          1. re: diaz

            I've always dreamed of trying the ten pound buns. My husband talks me out of it, telling me I'll get ten pound buns if I eat one.

          2. I don't get everything below on one visit, but through the years, I can say that often I get:

            -Kettle Corn (ALWAYS have Kettle corn)
            -Grilled Corn (a corn theme, I guess)
            -The slushy fake "shave Ice" with sugar free flavors from the booth outside between the vendor buildings
            -My Husband gets two corn dogs
            If I don't have the regualr stuff, I get
            -An Awful BAd For Me tostada salad with all the fixins
            -A GIANT artichoke
            -Mexican candy
            -Fudge (just a bit)
            -Caramel apple (apples are good for you, right?)

            We ALWAYS, ALWAYS go to the beer bar in the same building as the wine tasting and pay to sample the winning commercial beers. A good bargain. Sometimes we get a cheese plate from the booth behind to help us out. This year, we're volunteering to pour on the 30th to celebrate our anniversary by getting others to drink good beer. I'm bringing a small Leda's cake to finish off the shift. 11:00-3:00, come on by!

            The deep fried candy crap. It never seems as good as you thinnk. Eew.
            Any burger or non corn dog
            candy floss
            the awesome onions
            the fancy "restaraunt" near the horses
            The pie cook off area. Rotting pies make me lose my appetite.
            The margaritas. It's too dangerous when I'm going to taste beer.
            The cheap beer stalls.

            1. Gotta have the thick-skinned, NY-style egg rolls served at the nominally "Thai" food vendors, which also serve up perfectly decent (but not very Thai) skewers of beef, pork & chicken. The egg rolls, though...

              Freshly-made churros (not the pre-formed sticks they sell at movie theaters & theme parks)...

              funnel cake...

              something bbq'd...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jack Flash

                oooh, egg rolls...where usually?

                1. re: Diana

                  They're sold at the "Thai" food carts, located at various places. I know there's always one on the "street" between Park Square and the race track (see map linked below).

                  There's a few others around, near other food vendors. Don't quote me on this, because I'm basically guessing from the map, but I think there's another one along Magnolia in the Palms Marketplace area, in a section where you'll also find plenty of BBQ, burgers, turkey legs, etc.


                  The churros (someone below inquired) can be found along Broadway, in the line of vendors that is back against the race track & grand stand (before you get to the carnival area).

                2. re: Jack Flash

                  yeah, and where are the churros? I can't wait!

                3. it's been a few years since i've been but some reason The Huge Smoked Turkey Legs Stand out in my mind.

                  1. I'm still kicking myself for not trying the deep fried avocado last year... my friend had the Krispy Kreme fried chicken sandwich (using doughnuts in place of bun) which sounds fascinating in a Roscoe's chicken and waffles kinda way.

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: thegingerbreadgirl

                      I tried the deep fried avocado at the Orange County fair and it was terrible. It was very muchy and tasteless. However, the deep fried tomatoes were superb! Definately try those!

                      1. re: Anita Drink

                        I can vouch for skipping the fried avocado at the LA County Fair. Like you, I thought, how could that be bad... well, the avocado wasn't ripe and luscious and melty as I'd anticipated -- and the heavy breading was inappropriate and tasteless. The tomatoes were better, but the breading didn't work, they need to consider a tempura batter or panko.. basically, something else.

                        I opt for an Old West Cinnamon Bun --don't be fooled by others, this is the real thing, gobs of butter between the layers of dough. Skip the frosting. There is only one Old West at the LA County Fair (from the map... enter thru the main entrance, take a left thru california heritage square to the front of Building 8, outside. --they've been there, same spot for over 10 years). Then take in the pig races, and discuss over fried rounds of sweet potato. Those are my 2 fair guilty pleasures.

                        1. re: debra

                          Ugh, thanks for the warnings. I'm an avocado fiend, so I was thinking, how bad could it be? Apparently, very.

                          I'll keep an eye out for the fried tomatoes, and also the cinnamon buns - they sound delectable. I'm a sucker for the pig races too - they're highly amusing, especially when the pig runs in the entirely wrong direction and there's nothing the humans can do about it.

                          1. re: thegingerbreadgirl

                            I agree with the above posters... For me, the Avocado was okay... but the breading just flavorless so it ruined the whole thing. If you are REALLY wanting a fried Avocado fix... then check out Terried Sake House, they have an Avocado Tempura which is out of this WORLD... :D


                            1. re: thegingerbreadgirl

                              I had to take one more chance to say, the cinnamon rolls are from the vendor called Old West. There's just the one stand, and you can see them folding in the cold butter. There are a bunch of other places selling cinnamon rolls, but none of them are the same as Old West (no frosting please). Enjoy!

                              1. re: debra

                                OK I went on Sunday and tried:
                                1. Carnitas taco from King Taco with Horchata - YUM
                                2. Deep fried artichoke hearts - ditched the ranch dressing, opted for malt vinegar and salt - double YUM - thank you sku and foodie!
                                3. Cinnamon Roll from Old West - no icing - OMG this was the best cinnamon roll I've ever had. And I have a salty tooth, not a sweeth tooth. - Debra thank you!!!
                                4. Brought home a smoked turkey leg for my dad who couldn't go and tried it - a little dry but pretty darn good.

                              1. re: Diana

                                I think they sell them around, but the place we always get them is the vendor the other end of the block that the pig races are on. They sell Fish and Chips, fried zucchini, and among a few other things, fried sweet potatoes rounds (and you can get as much ranch as you like from their condiment table). Enjoy!

                                1. re: debra

                                  Had a delicious day on Friday. I just wanted to clarify that the Fish and Chips vendor (for Fried Sweet Potatos --delish as ever), is two blocks/building lengths from the pig races, by the fountain.

                                  One block/building length from the pig races is where I found the aforementioned (thanks Suebee) "Pork Butts" sign. We had the pulled pork sandwich, and it was really good --moist, on a really soft bun, with some good sauce (on the side --bbq, and a nice sweet & spicy mustard sauce).

                                  And next to the Sweet Potato place was parked a "Juanita's" truck, and they were giving samples of their (canned) menudo, pollo/pozole --both very decent (for a gringa like me), and powdered horchata (don't bother). And giving out coupons too.

                                  This year's new only at the fair finds... Fried Frogs Legs ($11 bucks worth), Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich, and Fried Coke (flour and coke, like a donut??). After last years fried Avocado fiasco, I passed.

                                  And on a 4H note. They had a goat out for milking --I milked a goat, and super cute newborn(ish) baby camels (no milking involved)

                                  1. re: debra

                                    OOOooo debra, you got to milk a goat?? I've always wanted to milk a cow, but this would probably be the closest I'll ever get -
                                    - Do you remember what time of day it was on Friday, that you saw the goat? I wonder if they'll have one out every day, I plan to go this Saturday - ?

                                    1. re: aurora50

                                      They don't let people milk the cows anymore, which is really too bad. As I was approaching the cow barn (on friday), I noticed a small crowd, and oddly enough, there was a goat in a contraption (to keep her still and calm), on a small platform, and a bunch of kids tugging at her. I barrelled through, grabbed on and milked. I know the goat can't be out all day, but there weren't any signs -- you should go over to the cow area --it was outside the barn, infront of the cow milking area, and ask what time they put the goat out. I squirted some on my finger to taste it. I was expecting gamey, but it just tasted warm --if that's a flavor. It's an experience, I'd make a b-line over when you enter and see if you can find out. Good luck. (don't forget to visit the adorable baby camels while you're over there)

                                      1. re: debra

                                        debra, just one more question, was it fairly early, during the day, do you remember? Or sometime in the morning?
                                        (I'm asking because we usually go in the late afternoon/early evening.)

                                        1. re: aurora50

                                          it was late afternoon/early evening when we happened by.

                                          1. re: debra

                                            Thanks, debra!! : )
                                            BTW, re: your post about getting sides at the Fair, that's kind of my philosophy, too.
                                            Take your pick of the best that's offered to fashion together a great meal.

                                    2. re: debra

                                      Debra - Are the fish n chips from that vendor any good?

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        You know, I've never had the fish and chips, or anything else from that vendor --just the sweet potatoes. But I have to say, everything looks good, a lot of people were getting the fish and fried zucchini combo.

                                        I look at the fair like a progressive dinner, my aunt (and partner in crime) stood in line for the pork butt, and ran down to get sweet potatos and a drink, then later, we got ribs a la cart from the cajun guy, and fresh potato chips from tastee chips, and met in the middle. My philosophy is that it would be a shame to order a whole meal from one place. Who needs mediocre side dishes from a main dish vendor, when there are so many star sides at the fair.

                                        1. re: debra

                                          Awesome thanks. I had a very disappointing show @the OC fair, so I'm hoping if I go to the LA fair things will be a bit better

                            2. re: thegingerbreadgirl

                              I love all the fried stuff, but the KK chicken sandwich was vile.

                              1. re: thegingerbreadgirl

                                GingerBreadGirl, you're perfectly Right-On!! I had the exact same experience. I RARELY throw food away but the Fried Avocade was beyond sickening and so I did.. Had I had some Sriracha on me, that might have made it edible. But BLAND, MUSHY and GREASY is not my idea of good food. However the Fried Tomatoes WERE wicked!

                              2. From their website: "this year, in honor of the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death, a deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich drizzled with honey."

                                Just in case the Snicker's Bar isn't enough?

                                1. Mr. Suebee and I had an exceptional and drippingly good pulled pork sandwich last year. I think the booth's banner read "Pork Butt" or something similar.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Suebee

                                    That pig on a spit is served. That's what they call Sliced Pork.. I get it every year and it's quite amazing,. I always ask for it without sauce... Who wants to taste Tomato and Sugar.. I don't. I want to taste the sweet meat of slow-cooked pork and darn it's good!!

                                    That and the Turkey Legs are the best things at the fair. I do also like the Pork Chop on a Stick.. That MUST be the best adult pop-sickle! With a tiny bit of Tabasco sprinkled on, it's the S*&*#(!!!!

                                  2. When you go into the yellow entrance and walk down the major aisle that has all the spas, boats, etc. for sale on your left, on your right -- at an intersection -- is a place where they are roasting a whole pig on a spit. Every year I want some of that pig, but as far as I can tell they never actually serve it. Is it only a prop, or if I wait around long enough can I actually get some of it? I must know!!!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: ozhead

                                      I've wondered the same thing, about that pig. I do think it's real, but my take on it is, the people working there serve us crappier 'Q, then they divy up and eat that whole hog late at night when the Fair closes.
                                      Just a guess.
                                      As to my must-haves:
                                      - A "cheese dog" (on a stick).
                                      - Hot gingerbread at the Gingerbread House.
                                      - FRESH milk at the livestock area. (I'm still going to try to find out if I can still get milk that fresh elsewhere than just at the Fair!)

                                      1. re: ozhead

                                        All You gotta do is ask. Maybe they'll break down if you ask with poor puppy dog eyes.

                                        1. re: ozhead

                                          I can personally vouch for the AMAZING Hot Gingerbread at the Gingerbread house and this from a person who's not crazy about normal store-bought gingerbread.. This has got to be one of the best, moistest cakes ever..

                                          And I can also vouch for the FRESH milk in a major way but shhhh... DON'T TELL ANYONE.... More often than not, when I finally get there, they're sold out.. IF they have some, TRUST ME, buy as many as you can afford. You won't taste freshest, more delicious milk unless you were raised on a farm. When I buy some over the course of the Fair, it's amazing how each batch tastes a little different, I guess based on the cows feed.. Sometimes, it's grassy. Sometimes, it's "hay-y", yeah I know it's not a word so? Sometimes it's very neutral but rich and naturally sweet. And PLEASE don't be a fool and DON'T ask for Low-Fat or Non-Fat milk. It don't come out that way from the cow. That milk is processed and I am not knocking people who drink it year-round. But this is the Fair and it's once a year... Live a little! Drink "real" milk....

                                          1. re: Krystyan

                                            I agree completely, Krystyan. The fresh milk is the bomb. My sister gets it in Chocolate, but I am a purist. Gotta have the whole, pure milk - otherwise, why bother???
                                            P.S. GREAT idea to get a few extra to "stock up" a little -

                                            1. re: aurora50

                                              Fresh chocolate milk...now that's one cow I'd like to dissect.

                                        2. Last year my favorite was battered and deep-fried Oreos from a vendor named Chicken Charlie ... the Oreos become molten. This year I hear CC is going to have deep fried s'mores. I'm going tomorrow for opening day.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Manny C

                                            Deep fried s'mores...brilliant!

                                          2. Going in a few hours! Must have deep-fried artichokes - avoid deep fried twinkies, snickers.

                                            1. Just went to the fair yesterday and I was a bit disappointed. Not really into the fried Snickers bar type of thing. Roasted Corn is really good but available at a lot of places these days. The highlight of my day was Dr. Bob's ice cream which I can only find at Gelson's.

                                              I've been to other fairs in other counties/states and it seems like LA has the same old things rather than interesting regional favorites. Shouldn't the LA County Fair have betther Mexican and Asian Food? How about some really good Armenian food? It was nice to see King Taco have a booth. I like their tacos

                                              . After the fair we stopped at the Boiling Crab in Alhambra and had a big pile of shrimp/crawdads. THAT was really good.

                                              1. I must have a piece of the gingerbread with real whipped cream.

                                                I wish they'd bring back Ricky's Root Beer. It's been mising for years. It was the smoothest rootbeer I've ever had. Just fabulous.

                                                The weird fried combinations are never good because they all taste like the awful breading which is cooked in overused oil, \

                                                The fried Twinkies should be dipped in a batter first because just dropping them in the oil makes for a Twinkie sponge.

                                                Tri tip sandwiches and fried fish are good.

                                                I just love watching the Vitamix and KTec demos!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: mar52

                                                  What I like best about this thread so far is the mention of specific vendors who do specific things very well. Keep 'em coming if you have any more. Me, I just keep recalling undercooked hotdogs and flacid lemonade :(

                                                  1. re: broncosaurus

                                                    Anyone know what the best Pie at the fair is? I know there's that one place near the hill and rides that always has pie.

                                                2. The thing to get is the BBQ brisket (dry; add sauce sparingly) at the Texas BBQ place nestled between the animals and White Avenue. It's what I grew up on in Killeen TX back when the earth was shrouded in mist.

                                                  1. Good fish and great zucchini from the Sweet Potato guys near the market halls.

                                                    A decent snappin' dog with all the Chicago fixin's from the hot dog vendor with the vienna beef umbrellas a few booths down from the World's Largest Steer and the Worlds Smallest Horse near the market area.

                                                    Really great fresh-fried churros from the vendor at the racetrack entrance lobby. Don't get the straight churros in the display, ask for the fresh broken churros "in a bag."

                                                    Dr. Bob's ice cream is too rich and sticky for me, but my husband loves it.

                                                    1. I came across a good article that talks about the many fried foods at the fair and where to find them. I think that I will definately have to try the deep fried s'mores!

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Anita Drink

                                                        I tried the fried s'mores last weekend - sorry to say it was a mess! Just a greasy pile of batter with a slight taste of marshmallow and chocolate - I think the Twinkies are better......

                                                        1. re: shebop

                                                          Thanks for the update. Looks like the idea sounded better than the actual product. It's good to hear that there is fried food I won't like!

                                                      2. i haven't been to the Fair in 4 years ( when my daughter hit high school, it was no longer cool to hang with pops...it's ok to give my daugther $$$ for the fair !! ) Went last week with SO -

                                                        the lowlights -

                                                        Frogs legs w/ fries - $11 ..."tastes like chicken " took one bite of the fried twinkee ( i think it cost $5...is that possible ?!?!? ).... T E R R I B L E !!! had the roasted corn...did not taste roasted at all, fried mushrooms ( what the hell were we thinking !!! ) had dr. bobs rasberry sorbet....nice...i wanted to try a turkey leg but i just couldn't take it anymore !! oh yeah...also had paper thin beef jerky...3 pieces...$6. the fudge looked good and i've been to mackinaw island to try it there...but i just couldn't get myself to try it at the fair... the cheese plate did look good at the wine tasting room but i was finished !!

                                                        Enjoy !

                                                        1. First off, I'd avoid any "ordinary" fair foods that are more readily available (churros, corn dogs, popcorn, funnel cakes).

                                                          Things I had partook in with friends when I went last weekend--
                                                          1)Fried snickers
                                                          2)Fried twinkies
                                                          3)Fried Oreos
                                                          4)Fried PB&Banana Sandwich with honey
                                                          5)Awesome (Onion) Blossom
                                                          6)Cinnamon Apple Fries with Whipped Cream
                                                          7)Tri-tip & Pulled Pork Sandwiches
                                                          8)Gyro sandwich
                                                          9)Roasted Corn on the Cob
                                                          10)Fried Avocado
                                                          11)MacKinaw Island Fudge

                                                          Nothing I ate was really a letdown (my heart may argue otherwise ;) )


                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: AquaW

                                                            went last night...had great time..especially watching the animals...esp the newborns.
                                                            food wise, fried oreos, roasted corn on the cob, pork chop on a stick (sorry little pigglets) and the huge corn dogs were all very tasty...
                                                            chicken patty in a krispee kreme disgusting, as was the egg roll on a stick...
                                                            turkey legs were everywhere, but didn't get the chance..
                                                            funnel cakes looked good, but lines were too long...
                                                            overall, a really pleasant time..was impressed at how well things run there, and how cordial the masses of people actually were to one another...
                                                            one tip, always look down..those baby trams can be deadly...

                                                          2. Went yesterday with mom and sis, and caused the following injuries to our digestive tracts:

                                                            Roast turkey legs
                                                            Roast corn (slathered in lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and chili powder. No mayo though...)
                                                            Deep fried veggies (Avoid if you can - totally not worth the $9.50)
                                                            Deep fried Coke! (this was Coca-Cola mixed with batter and fried - the result was a kind of fizzy funnel cake)
                                                            Deep fried peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich (this was good in theory, but just kind of gross in execution)
                                                            Deep fried Tootsie Roll (okay, but not spectacular. Dangerous once hardened.)
                                                            Deep fried S'mores (this was really good; I brought one home for my roommate.)

                                                            The stand that I got the deep fried s'mores and deep fried Tootsie Roll (they called it a "chocolate bar") also had deep fried cupcakes and deep fried sweet potatoes. That stand is the middle of all the hot tub vendors, but didn't have a name that I could see. The veggies, PB&B, and Coke are all at Charlies Chicken Roasters, which is also the place with the Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwiches.

                                                            I wish I'd also gotten the sweet potatoes, a blooming onion, and the 10 pound buns. I may have to go next weekend if I can't get this stuff off my mind... Maybe a giant western sausage and some churros while I'm at it, too...

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: stochasticgirl

                                                              Seriously you guys, the deep fried artichokes, seriously. I'm still dreaming about those.

                                                            2. Went yesterday with teh SO.

                                                              - smoked turkey leg as usual, awesome. Took one home too
                                                              - fried artichoke hearts, good but obscenely greasy. Were we supposed to get this at the king of fried food stands, ie the ones with the KK chicken sandwiches, or Jeanne's!?!?!
                                                              - fried sweet potato - good, but once again WAYYY too greasy. Have these people ever heard of a strainer?! Probably used 10+ napkins just getting the grease off. But very, VERY good
                                                              - 3 large lemonades from hot dog on a stick and a large orange/strawberry julius - WTF are in those orange julius!?
                                                              - mexican funnel cake - went based on the churro recommendation. Definitely the winner from this adventure. Absolutely perfect, better than FedCo! Note that we got the funnel cake vs the churro

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                "WTF are in those orange julius!?"

                                                                Is that a good WTF or a horrified WTF? ;-)

                                                                I think the secret to Orange Julius is vanilla powder...mmmmm.....Orange Julius....

                                                              2. Fair closed today. I went yesterday.

                                                                Among the new things I tried was the deep fried s'mores...okay but needed more marshmallow to batter ratio.

                                                                Giant Western Sausage which I tried for the first time was pretty solid sausage with peppers and onions.

                                                                Old standbys were all there: Deep fried Snickers, artichoke hearts, Dr. Bob's, King Taco, etc.

                                                                For a complete report: http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2007/0...

                                                                1. Has anyone found boiled corn on the cob (the kind that's soft and drenched in butter) or the mini cinnamon sugar donuts? Both are childhood favorites that I haven't been able to find in years.

                                                                  I'm going Saturday, and from last year I can't wait for the fried smores and the baked sweet potato with all the toppings. Also inside one of the halls look for the potatoe stand. Didn't try the food but the sign was memorable.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jlisa1

                                                                    I had the donuts this past weekend... but all the stands kinda blend together in my head into one huge smorgasbord of food. All I remember is it was just across from another vendor selling deep fried bacon cheeseburgers.

                                                                  2. Didn't know about this thread when I filed my report; if anyone has any more updates (like, are they not spit-roasting that pig anymore or did I just miss it?) I'd appreciate your posting them. This is a tool, you see, for better structuring next year's pigout, I mean expedition.


                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                      I have been looking, on Chowhound and elsewhere, for a one-stop set of recommendations to "what to eat at the LA County Fair," and haven't found it. So this year I decided to compile my own, based on on this thread and recommendations elsewhere in the blogosphere, and a couple of days of my own research on the Fair's final weekend last year and opening weekend this year.

                                                                      You can see the photos that go with this text on a certain food blog (that for TOS' sake I shall not mention inline) including exterior shots of all the mentioned vendors so you can recognize 'em when you stumble upon them.

                                                                      Of course the County Fair is notorious primarily for various deep fried foods-on-a-stick. You can, it's true, have Deep fried Snickers Bars, Deep Fried Coca-Cola (to answer everyone's question of "How...?", it's frozen solid, then battered and fried), Deep Fried Oreos, Deep-fried Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwiches, or god knows what else Chicken Charlie's will come up with as a specialty item this year. And sure, you can get a pork chop on a stick.

                                                                      Take my advice: don't waste stomach space on that crap. It's as awful as it sounds. Instead, try some of this.

                                                                      If you're there early, and of a sweets-for-breakfast mindset, head straight to Old West Cinnamon Buns outside the Jurassic Planet exhibit hall. The bun served here, I guarantee, is the best you've ever had. Hot, sinfully buttery, cinnamony, not too sweet, and melt-in-the-mouth soft with just enough of a bake on the outside to remind you it's there. Order dry, without frosting, which would be truly gilding the lily.

                                                                      Midmorning snack, or second breakfast if you're a hobbit: a bit of roasted corn on the cob. This stuff is everywhere, all over the fair, and is pretty much the same everywhere. We ate ours here, just east of the Clocktower.

                                                                      Fire-roasted on the grill, husks pulled back but still attached, a few kernels slightly charred, tender and juicy and sweet inside. Most purveyors have a varied selection of condiments. I use 'em all. Why have corn with butter and salt when you can have it with butter, salt, pepper, lime juice, garlic powder, chili powder, and seasoned salt? It's delicious, California-grown, and healthy for your colon -- you're gonna need that.

                                                                      It wouldn't be a trip to the Fair without two things: visiting the animals and eating BBQ. I recommend doing them in succession. There's nothing like sharing a moment or two with some cute, snoozing pigs to ratchet up your appetite for pork.

                                                                      I'm not that great an authority on BBQ. I generally find it to be either too dry or too gloopy (yes, "gloopy"), too sweet even when it has a spicy kick, and generally a killer to the subtle flavor of the meat. Last year people I was with raved about the pulled pork (or sliced pork) sandwiches to be had from the stand that proudly trumpets "Pork Butts!"

                                                                      Personally, I wish the bun were of more interest, and the pork required too much added gloopy sauce to make it interesting.

                                                                      This year, I went with the suggestion of a post in this very thread, recommending this Texas style BBQ spot conveniently located near the entrance to the big animal barn at the Blue Gate.

                                                                      Sa's pork ribs were tasty and had a nice dry-on-the-outside, tender-on-the inside-texture.
                                                                      My Beef Brisket Dinner Plate at $12.95 was pretty awesome. I rarely eat all of an order at the Fair, preferring to share and split to make room for more tastes later on. But I made "all gone" with this stuff.

                                                                      Flavorful, the sauce tangy and not too sweet, and the meat cooked to falling-apart perfection. Slaw, good; Corn bread, eh; beans, canned and bland. Although they do sell a brisket sandwich, $7.95, I wish they sold the sliced brisket a la carte, as they do the ribs.

                                                                      Instead of the bland beans as a side order, I suggest sending someone to find an order of Tasti-Chips, available in various locations.

                                                                      These are amazing: freshly sliced potato chips cooked to order. They're like no potato chip you've ever had, and no two alike. They range from light and crispy to chewy and savory, like a basket of fresh-baked cookies that have come out of the oven at slightly different, but recent, times. Douse with salt, coarse ground black pepper, maybe some malt vinegar, and consume. Arguably the best single dish at the Fair.

                                                                      If chips aren't your style, and you want something a little heftier, you could opt for fried artichoke hearts, or better, some fried sweet potatoes from around the corner.

                                                                      And if you're the type who likes to have dessert after lunch, just down the road in the Fair View Farms area, is Dr. Bob's Ice Cream.

                                                                      This stuff is usually delicious, the perfect antidote to a hot day.

                                                                      But I'm officially warning you off their sorbets. My friend had one on Sunday, and, well-- I'm pretty sure this glutenous strap-like stuff is not the consistency they were shooting for.

                                                                      By this time, you've probably laid down a good base and couldn't eat another bite for awhile. Time to head to the wine pavilion, where you can sample one or several of the (hundred or so) gold medal winning wines from the wine and spirits competition. $11 gets you a tasting of five wines of your choice, and it's a great opportunity to try wines from locales and countries that you might not otherwise. My favorite this year was an '05 Adelaida (Central Coast) Syrah, rich with intense berry flavors and a chewy mouth feel. After ordering a glass of Bordeaux (a dozen or so wind=es are available for reasonable prices by the glass) and sitting out on the wine pavilion's verandah and watching bungee jumpers for a bit, I was ready for a snack.

                                                                      My favorite, available at any of the supposedly "Thai" food vendors, is this New York style eggroll, with a thick, chewy wonton skin, and a simple cabbage and carrot filling, and a delightfully old skool sweet and sour dipping sauce. And don't forget to eat those innocent looking cucumbers with your roll... they're spicy and delicious.

                                                                      Really, that egg roll just warmed up my appetite, kinda got me ready for -- well, another egg roll. But THEN I was ready for the big guns. I was tempted to visit one of the Pink's outlets -- an opportunity to get a Pink's dog without waiting in line for a freekin' hour! But instead I opted for King Taco, the truly great chain distant East LA -- a great opportunity to get me some. There's one in Park Square, right around the corner from the Grandstand, and another at the Yellow Gate entrance. Maybe more besides.

                                                                      Tacos ordered: two asada, two al pastor, and one chicken. At $1.49 each, and washed down with an horchata from the stand or a Dos Equis from nearby, there's no better way to end the day. The carne asada is a 9 out of 10, with a light char on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The al pastor is, perhaps, a little dryer than some might like it, but right in my wheelhouse of toothsomeness. Pardon the messy plate; it was late, and I failed to dress the set.

                                                                      One warning: that red salsa that come "with everything" is wickedly spicy. L.A. Food Crazy loves it, but then, he's, you know, crazy! Saner foodies might wish to order it on the side.

                                                                      Finally, the chicken, the best of the three, a wonderment, pieces of tender, stewed chicken with juicy onions and mild chiles and cilantro in a green sauce. If you haven't had a memorable chicken taco in a long time (I hadn't) this one will remind you what the bird is all about.

                                                                      Next time, I shall surely have a torta if I have room; it comes with sour cream, lettuce, onion, and guacamole (which I've never had at the King).

                                                                      Oh, and if you have room for another dessert after all this, three words: "hot gingerbread." Okay five words, with whipped cream. From the Gingerbread House right around the corner from the Grandstand on Birch, and across from King Taco. You can't miss it.

                                                                      I'll go back next week and bring back some more ideas and updates. Recommendations, most welcome!

                                                                      <a href="http://lafoodcrazy.blogspot.com" target="_blank">http://lafoodcrazy.blogspot.com&lt;/a>

                                                                      1. re: jesstifer

                                                                        The churros in front of the racetrack entrance are freshly made and delicious. Ask for the "bag" and you will get a bunch of short churro chunks.

                                                                        1. re: NeNePie

                                                                          Ah yes, the bag o' churros. Way better than factory-extruded, preformed and frozen sticks usually passed off as a churro. At the OC fair this year, there was a vendor doing the best fresh churros I've ever had. They were BIG, and even tastier than the one in the bag.

                                                                          1. re: Jack Flash

                                                                            Don't forget some fresh milk outside the milking barn. It would go great with the warm gingerbread, which is exactly what we've done. Heaven.