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Texas State Fair

  • L_W Sep 23, 2007 05:45 AM

As part of my first trip to Texas (Dallas), I will have one night at the state fair. I have checked out the web site (http://www.bigtex.com) and looked at the food vendors. Being that I am not from the area, I am not sure which of the vendors are local, and which are just your "typical fair food" (the places that travel from fair to fair). I will only have a few hours there, so I would like to plan out where I wanna hit, prior to showing up...since it looks like the fair is HUGE! If anyone if familiar with the places listed on the Fair's website and can give me one or two to seek out, it would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Get a Fletchers Corny Dog and a fried twinkie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ErinTulane

      There is fried cookie dough this year, should be interesting.

      Ditto on the corny dog with mustard. YUM!

    2. Fletcher's Corny Digs are a State Fair of Texas tradition!

      Yes, the SFOT is huge. Wear comfotable shoes! Attend a show of the Texas Lottery Game Show. It is HILARIOUS and you could win lottery tickets! Be sure and sit in a chair with a number on it, and get there at least 20 minutes early to get a seat!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChristieP

        Ok, I am definitely getting a Corny Dog :) I saw the fried cookie dough on the website and I am tempted....I have had fried twinkies and oreos and was moderately impressed with them (I have a nasty sweet tooth). Are any of the BBQ/tex-mex/cajun places locally based?

      2. I am from NY, but have visited the Fair 4 or 5 times in the past 10 years or so. I am not a corny dog person, but my Dallas cousins swear that the ones from Fletcher's are the ones to eat. I am not sure where on the fairgrounds they are located.

        My favorite over the years has been frito pie. For the uninitiated (and feel free to add if I leave something out), it's frito chips, chili, onion and melted cheese. Reminds me of the kind of concoction that people would come up with very late at night, while mind-altered, in college. Sounds sorta like the fried chili burrito they are hawking this year.

        I had key lime pie on a stick a few years ago. Not bad, but not a "wow, this is great" moment.

        I tried fried oreos at a fair here in NY. Since you have already gone that route, no need to repeat. So many other things to have instead of this. I am thinking about the guacamole bites, peach cobbler on a stick, fried sweet potato pie and fried banana pudding.

        FYI, Kroger (supermarket chain) discounts admission tickets either $1 or $1.50 if you buy there in advance. Also, if you are able to go with someone, that's good, so you can share and taste even more than you would by eating things alone...And definitely WEAR COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR.

        Please post what you try--I am going to be there on October 7 and am curious about soem of the "new" items.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Shayna Madel

          I will be there on Oct 9th, so I apologize in advance that I will not be able to share my experience til after then. And BTW, I am coming in from NY :)

          FYI, You can also seach on that site to find exactly where the booths are (here is the link for Fletchers:http://www.bigtex.com/foodlocator/foo...).

          Fried mac and cheese is a weakness, too, so I may seek that out. I usually eat healthly but all bets are off at a fair!

          1. re: L_W

            Thanks for the search hint. I am trying not to sound like I am junk-food obsessed, but printing out the map beforehand and marking where things are sounds like a great idea. Scarily enough, I thought about this when I first saw the article about all the "new" foods. It certainly makes more sense than my usual aimless wandering looking for yet another "gourmet" item. I will have to keep my eye open for the mac & cheese. Sounds tempting. I may not have computer access until late on the night of the 8th, but will post about what I try as soon as I can.

            1. re: Shayna Madel

              It looks like the moved the mac and cz. Here is the link to find it

              http://www.bigtex.com/foodlocator/foo...

              It is in a place called The Dock- and you can get chicken and waffles at the same place!

              1. re: Honey Bee

                I am now officially obsessed with doing my "food map." I vaguely remember The Dock and will look for it, as I intend to be in the Creative Arts building to look at the needlepoint exhibited there, as well as the giant butter sculpture. I will probably pass on the chicken and waffles. I tried them at Amy Ruth's, in Harlem. Liked them a lot, but am trying to save room for things I have not had before, except for a repeat of frito pie, which I HAVE to have, in any event.

                Okay, full disclosure, I won a blue ribbon for something I entered and a friend won a red ribbon for something that she entered.

                1. re: Shayna Madel

                  Ok, so Corny Dog, is a go.....I think I will try anything that really has no business being fried and IS (mac n cheese, cookie dough....etc). This is my first trip to TX and having lived near NYC prior to moving to Buffalo, I need to stay focused on things I have never had before. So that means although chicken N waffles sound yummy, I have had them before. I am a sucker for ice cream at fairs, too, which I NEED to avoid cause it'll just fill me up! Glad you can use the map!

        2. Make sure the corndog you get is Fletcher's. There are other corn dog booths out there, but they are not nearly as good. There are booths through out the fiar grounds and some indoors. Last year, some of the best food I tried was in the dock of the creative arts building (fried Mac and Cz balls).
          Heads'up that October 6th will be the day of the TX OU game. The grounds will be filled with Longhorns and Sooners. The energy is electric, but if you don't like crowds stay away that day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Honey Bee

            And as bad as game day is, it is not so bad at all the following day, even though it's a Sunday. I tend to go that weekend as I can make it a long weekend due to the Columbus Day holiday.

          2. I just saw "Barbecued Frito Pie" on their website. ????? Intriguing.

            1. I frighten myself. I just took a look at the food locator. When you do the search, it comes up with a map and a list of all the places where the food you typed in is sold. The map is keyed by number to the list of vendors. Near the vendors' names appears a list of everything they sell at that location, which gives you all sorts of other ideas. I think I will be having a major medical event if I get through 1/2 my list, even sharing with others. I anticipate choosing among the following and would appreciate feedback (no pun intended) from anyone who tries any of these things before October 7.
              --Fried PB & J and banana sandwich
              --Fried guacamole bites (or) fried avocado
              --Fried pork chop on a stick
              --Fried green tomatoes
              --Fried nacho ravioli (or) fried mac & cheese
              --Fried queso bites
              --Fried cheese curds
              --Barbeque frito pie (or) frito pie (or) fried chili frito burrito
              --Fried cheesecake
              --Fried apple pie wrap (may skip this as it doesn't seem unusual enough)
              --Fried peach cobbler on a stick (may skip this for same reason as apple pie wrap)
              --Fried sweet potato pie
              --Fried banana pudding
              --Fried ice cream

              I know, no corny dogs. Do not pick on me. Tried once, not my thing. I figure I will be sick by 1 p.m. at the latest.

              1. Fletcher's Corny Dog is the main thing, as is by now abundantly clear.

                Some other favorites of mine, in order, are the BBQ baloney sandwiches (near the Cotton Bowl), the belgian waffles with whipped cream, strawberries, and powdered sugar (at the head of the fountain, just inside the main entrance), Jack's fries (on the other side of the Cotton Bowl, near the Midway), and Tornado Taters (just freshly made potato chips, but very tasty). The German beer hall and sausage tent (name escapes me just this second) is also good, but less canonically fair food.

                I'm jealous.

                1. I know this is heresy, and I'm a big hot dog lover, but I don't like Fletcher's Corny Dogs. The hot dog itself is of mediocre quality and the cornbread coating makes it extremely dry unless you douse the whole thing in mustard. And then the mustard flavor overwhelms everything. A much better choice to me are the wursts offerred at the Hans Mueller Tent including all of the fixins'.

                  Also, don't miss Jack's French Fries.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Scagnetti

                    My fair junk food.

                    Fried peach cobbler on a stick - I would pass this was small and not particularily good.

                    Fried cookie dough - this was tasty. Crispy on the outside and still doughy/raw cookie doughish on the inside.

                    1. re: majmaj4

                      Okay, so I obsess...I have to whittle down my list of things to try next Sunday. I imagine this as tasting sort of like one of those apple pies they sell at fast food restaurants, except peach-flavored. Am I right? What did you not like about it--too greasy, sweet, tart, mushy, something else?

                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                        To me it tasted too much like one fo the fast food pies and about 1/3 the side for 3x the price. It was a lot of dough with some very sweet filling. You have to admire the ability to continue to come up with new things to fry, but cobbler in a bowl would be better so you could have chunks of fruit.

                        I went by the fried peppermint place but they were nice enough to warn me not to buy them because they didn't work out.

                        1. re: majmaj4

                          I figured as much. And on that theory, I may just stick to frito pie rather than that fried chili frito burrito.

                          By the way, what's the giant butter sculpture this year?

                      2. re: majmaj4

                        Ok, you just confirmed my need for Fried cookie dough :)

                        1. re: majmaj4

                          re: fried peach cobbler:

                          small? miniscule. not particularly good? no peaches evident.

                          clearly not worth the 9 coupons! stay away!
                          how this became a "featured" item is beyond me. don't succumb!

                          the fried guacamole, on the other hand, was passable. nice size guac balls lightly fried in a tempura-like batter with a side of salsa.

                      3. The Fair begins today--what's everyone trying?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                          I'm planning to chow on some fried sweet potato pie tomorrow before The Lion King! If it has sweet potatoes, and is fried, it HAS to be good...

                        2. OMG!!!!! SMOKED TURKEY LEG IS A MUST!!!!!!!!!!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: xileas

                            Yes, and make sure you ask for one with extra tendons and stringy meat!

                          2. I lived in Dallas for several years and we went for 1) the once a year food pigout, 2) the atmosphere, and 3) the sights. Here's what my husband and I made a point to get each year:

                            1) Yes, the corn dogs - go great with mustard and a beer
                            2) The cinnamon roll (in the food court) is HUGE and DELICIOUS. It goes great with milk.
                            3) Jamaican beef patties (also in food court). Those are just good, but you can probably get them around here.

                            Go at twilight. Everything seems more magical then. And of course, ride the Texas Star (the 10-story ferris wheel).

                            Enjoy!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: weesa

                              Okay, I apologize in advance because it has been posted several times above but it cannot be stated enough. Everyone repeat after me--the State Fair Corn Dog MUST be a Fletcher's, the State Fair Corn...

                              1. re: bhoward

                                I hate to be a stickler, but it's "Fletcher's CORNY Dog". As long as we're being quasi-religious about this delicious treat (as is proper and fitting), let's call it by its full, traditional name, and not revert to these soulless, generic neologisms. What are we, Texans or californians?

                                (That was a lie. I didn't hate that one bit. That particular "-y" is one of my favorite things about which to stickle.)

                                1. re: ratatosk

                                  Yes, it IS a cornY dog and it is a MUST for me every year and of course, it must be a Fletcher's. Be sure to get one just coming out of the frying oil. Here's my beef about corny dogs and how some people eat them: with KETCHUP! Oh, that is just not right. Other taste treats: go to the food and fiber building (I think that's it - the one with the General Store in it that sells only Texas products, mostly food - buy some goodies for Christmas but do it last thing of the day so you aren't toting it around). There are always lots of tastings going on so you can have just a bite. Don't overdose on the fried stuff. Share with friends. The much hyped fried mac'n'cheese last year was a real disappointment. Most of mine went in the garbage. Hans Mueller's sausage on a stick - very tasty. Somewhere out there is a spicy sausage that I had last year and it was fab, but I can't remember where it was! Non-food tips: don't miss the livestock area for a real taste of rural Texas come to town and be sure to see Boris the hog and Peter the Great, a huge steer. Also the miniature train and butterfly garden in the Discovery Gardens. The State Fair of Texas rocks!

                                  1. re: pearlgoddess

                                    But, but, I LIKE ketchup! A little ketchup and a little mustard. Mmmm.

                                    1. re: dalaimama

                                      Agree w/ both condiments. I also like both on a hot dog. Eh, to each they're own.

                                    2. re: pearlgoddess

                                      Note: I'm not trying to start a war here, I'm just expressing my opinoin.

                                      I'm not ashamed of the fact that I love ketchup on my corny dogs.

                              2. Was at the fair this weekend with a group of friends (which allowed us to share many different dishes). Here are some of the things we ate:
                                1. Corn dog- no need to review. We all know about Fletcher's

                                2. Fried avocado, queso, and gucamole bites: I did not care for the fried queso balls at all. Tasted of fake cheese. The guacamole bites were filled with avocado, cheese, and salsa. Pretty good if a little mushy. The fried avocado had the best texture of the three.

                                3. Fried mac and cheese balls: I had these last year and really liked them so I ordered them again. Perhaps, the novelty wore off but I did not like these as much. I found them a little too salty.

                                4. Chicken on a biscuit: For three coupons this was one of the better deals. Pretty good buttermilk biscuit and small fried chicken patty- served with a packet of honey.
                                Very good option for kids.

                                5. Nacho filled ravioli: Ick. Bad cheese sauce in a fried ravioli.

                                6. Fried cookie dough: If you love cookie dough, this is for you. Some of my party found it too rich and only ate a bite or two. Not me, I ate every last bit. Four balls of fried chocolate chip/oatmeal cookie dough, topped with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. Admittedly, I love super sweet things and this was perfect. I will absolutely get this again next year (and will probably find a way to throw some vanilla ice cream on it). To me, it was worth every calorie.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Honey Bee

                                  Missed you at the Fair. I was there on Sunday with a group of people.

                                  Fletcher's corny dog - My nephew loved it. My sister thought it was okay. I thought the hot dog tasted like bologna, rather than a hot dog, therefore wasn't nuts about it. It was the second time I have tried it, so I guess, I just do not like the type of hot dog used. I truly think it has something to do with being from New York and therefore being used to all-beef kosher or kosher-style dogs, so these just don't do it for me.

                                  Fried mac & cheese balls - Our consensus was a thumbs-up, but not way up. The breading is Italian-style and hence would have lent better to the marinara dipping sauce we asked for rather than the ranch that we were given.

                                  Fried peanut butter & jelly and banana sandwich - Taking the grease out of the equation, as this item is, after all, deep-fried, I liked this and would have it again, so long as I could share it with a group, as it is too rich for one person to eat the whole thing alone. Others with me also liked it, especially in comparison to the...

                                  Fried cookie dough - They give you a relatively modest amount of this product, given that it is 12 tickets/$6.00. They should lose the cardboard car it comes in and give more, or lower the price. I did not taste this. My 15-year old nephew loved this, my sister ate a bite and said it was far too rich and my cousin could not bring himself to swallow this.

                                  Sausage on a roll from Hans Meuller - My cousin and his friend both liked theirs. I did not have this.

                                  Cheese steak - My cousin and his friend both liked theirs. I did not have this.

                                  Tamales - Pretty good and a good thing to absorb some of the greasy things previously eaten.

                                  Smoked turkey leg - Brought this home to try later with my sister and we both really liked this. Far more worth the 14 tix/$7.00 than the fried cookie dough was worth 12 tix/$6.00.

                                  Grilled alligator - My sister wanted to try this, but they were out of it. Did anyone try it?

                                  If I remember anything else we had, will add on...

                                2. I thought the fried guacamole was passable, not that great. The following are my favorites:
                                  Fried green tomatoes - the breading makes it a winner
                                  Critter Fritters - A MUST! The stand is in front of the children's petting area - they are large peppers stuffed with taco meat, wrapped in a corn dog breading, and covered in melted cheese - they are beyond greatness - we always eat 2 or 3 and they are only 4 tickets - a bargain!
                                  We also go to the indoor food court, there is a corner booth by the restrooms with the cheapest beer - 6 tickets.

                                  1. Just wanna say THANKS for all the recs. I ended up with:
                                    Fletcher Dog-OMIGOD all I wanted was more of that breading!
                                    Fried PB&bannna-wasn't bad but I all I could taste was grease
                                    Fried Cookie dough---SOOO good but I am glad I split them 6 ways!
                                    Black Eyed Peas--very good and spicy. Never had them before

                                    I wanted to try the fried green tomatoes but the line was WAY too long. I just got back and need to sleep off my fried handover now!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: L_W

                                      We went to the fair today. Fletcher's corny dog was a disappointment (we went there straight from the gate!) I wonder if the quality varies from booth to booth. I often buy frozen corn dogs and they taste better.

                                      The fried cheesecake was the most decent, better than the fried cookie dough. Did anyone try the fried latte (right by the food pavillion)?

                                      BTW, the human cannonball is a must! Also, the African Acrobats was good.

                                      1. re: kuidaore

                                        I was at the fair later in the evening--tried a host of items, of which only Hans Mueller's sausages were, to me, worthwhile. I found the fried cookie dough disgusting and it went in the trash after 2 bites. My friend, however, loved it. I loved avoiding the diabetic coma. We bought corny dogs from the Fletcher's tent and, while the breading remained good, it seems the dog itself has gone way down in quality. My friend's summed up first experience with Fletcher's corny dog: "so what's the big fuss and hype all about?" I wanted to try the fried green tomatoes, but a single counter clerk was taking AND filling orders at, apparently, her own glacial pace, which allowed the line to move, I estimated, at about 4 feet per hour. Plus the price was outrageous--works out to be approx 85 cents per slice of tomato. We bolted from that line and the food court, as the Jamaican booth's food case items looked none too fresh. Jack's french fries were decent and tasted as though they'd never been frozen, although I would have liked them just a tad more crispy, but you have to salt them, heavily, yourself to keep them from tasting bland. WHITE vinegar was available for squirting on them. Who uses white vinegar for fries? EVER? Pathetic.

                                        I also tried the fried latte--nothing fancy. A piece of fried dough--texture reminding me of fast food Mexican frozen then poorly-fried, semi-puffy but still doughy chimichanga shell--with coffee ice cream, way-too-sweet yet runny caramel syrup (how you achieve this in a frozen concoction is beyond me), watery cool-whip, and instant coffee powder. it tasted about as good as my description makes it sound. I scraped whatever meager ice cream I could from the other ingredients and promptly deposited the rest in the trash, where it belongs. Lastly, we tried a funnel cake from the Grandma's Funnnel Cakes booth. My suggestion to, apprently, Grandma's grandsons (note my sarcasm here) who were manning the booth : lower the oil temp by 10-20 degrees at let the dough fry at least another minute, please. It's supposed to be somewhat crispy and golden outside and actually cooked inside, without taking on the burnt, mahogany shade the cake we got had. I've had better powdered doughnuts.

                                        As has been every year, fair food is a disappointment and way expensive. Most items were $5-$6. I think anyone who goes for the food is plain nuts, or has a palate far far different from mine, which, again, is plain nuts (note the sarcasm again).

                                        1. re: guttural

                                          You have to take the food for what it is, typically grease-laden, artery-clogging, indulgences that most people would not consider eating on a regular basis. Fair food is not gourmet food and is not meant to be for a sophisticated palate. That said, there is no excuse for something being under-cooked or over-cooked.

                                          As far as price is concerned, one cannot expect to get a bargain at this type of event. Obscene though they are, the food prices at the fair are no worse than at any major sporting or entertainment event.

                                          1. re: Shayna Madel

                                            I also do not see the appeal of the Fletcher corny dog. I tried one last week at the Fair, and was really disappointed. My first (and mavbe last?) corn dog was over 30 years ago at the Middletown raceway in NY State - - I did not like that one either. Maybe it is not in my blood...

                                    2. Tried the Fried Cookie Dough after a good 10-15 minute wait in line. Worth. Every. Calorie.

                                      1. Tried the Fletchers corny dog (with mustard) last night and thought it was just average. IMO, the corny dog it's NOT a must if you go to the fair. I also tried the pork chop sandwich, shrimp kabob, funnel cake, smoked turkey leg and pretzel and they were all better than the infamous corny dog.

                                        1. Fried cookie dough was 12 coupons ($6) for 4 small balls! I passed on that. But Fletchers and Jacks rule as does the root beer stands. BTW every Wednesday, you can get in for $1 for a donation of 3 cans of food for the food bank.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: randyjl

                                            We got only 3 balls with that stupid paper car!

                                            1. re: kuidaore

                                              Taste aside, couldn't they have just given this in the same kind of container that they gave the PBB & J in and shaved the cost down by a ticket or two?

                                          2. If you like olives, the fried olive bites with spicy ranch are pretty tasty. The portion size for 10 coupons is kind of small though. I also found one stand that sold Cajun FRIED turkey legs. I'm normally not a fan of turkey legs, but I tried a piece of my friend's and liked it.