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Best Eats at this year's OC Fair?

It's that time of year again.

I headed in today to enter my cheesecake in the fair, but due to an absurd lack of signage and a shuttle driver who hit an SUV and every bollard in OCC's Adams lot, I had only 15 minutes to go eat before the judging began and so I ended up at the Greek place near the OC Building (stunningly mediocre with laughably stupid workers -- I had to total up my own bill because the machine was wrong, and the kid didn't know that the "vegetarian combo" I ordered from the picture was the "veg combo" on his register. Fortunately for them, I'm scrupulous and paid my correct amount).

I'm going back in two weeks to enter a pie in the pie and pastry competition, and now I've got my bearings... so what are the best eats this year at the OC Fair? The only rule is that I must eat green vegetables at every meal. (They can, however, be fried.)

Normally I get a date shake when I go to the fair, but that will have to wait -- the nice thing about competitions in the OC Fair is that when the judging and awards are done, you can eat the competition.

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  1. Even though I am a huge fan of fried food, my favorite food combo at the fair is a big ass Smoked Turkey Leg and Roasted Corn on the Cob.

    1. The only thing I HAVE to have at the OC Fair is the Austrialian Battered Potatoes....something very addicting about them.

      We'll be going next week so I'll share then what good things were to be found.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Mommy2Bryce

        Went today. Beer was overpriced, the cupcakes miniscule and void of taste for $5, the cheese stuffed roasted peppers had maybe one or two cubes of jack cheese melted into them, but...

        those Australian Battered potatoes were the bomb! Best thing at the fair and a huge platter for $6 (a dollar extra for the toppings...we had the ranch and cheese) were a pretty good bargain. Plus you get the mini Ausie flag as a souvenir!

        1. re: Mommy2Bryce

          I went today and tried those potatoes... Man they are good!!!

        2. Here is what we tried on our trip this last Tuesday. Hopefully we get some more suggestions for round two.

          Australian potato's are a must of course. Sorry sorry no green.

          Fried combo from one of the giant fry shops. North/East of the wine tasting area. These were cold and soggy. Green but disgusting. It included Artichoke hearts, zucchini, mushrooms. We went to another fry shop near the main entrance. I asked if we could get a fried white castle burger(how can you not try that?) right out of the fryer... they refused. >.< Thankfully a nice beer washes away the anger.

          Next we tried corn at multiple stands. The best we found so far was the vendor that has 3 giant shoulders of beef on a spit smoking in front. Near where they have the animal competitions. Cheapest too with the best selection of toppings.

          Then we had a Turkey leg while we watched Lucha Libre. I always love the turkey leg and now I think I love Lucha Libre. Turkey leg is a ripoff at 9.75 each though. Even Disneyland sells them for $6.

          Near the friggin HUGE white steer that is well worth a dollar to look at were some Cinnamon rolls with Cream Cheese topping. My lady made me get them and I am glad I did. They were crunchy with caramel on the outside and soft/buttery inside. Fantastic.

          That is is for that trip. We plan to hit it up once more this year after we lose the weight we put on.

          1. I usually go for one of the fried zucchini or the potatoes. I like the freshly filled with whipped cream type of cream puffs in the past, but don't know if it's still there.

            I know one stand to avoid - the one that has the southern style pulled pork. We had it last year and it tasted like regugitated pork.

            1. "when the judging and awards are done, you can eat the competition."

              Wow. Brutal... lol

              3 Replies
              1. re: valleychowhound

                That reminds me - I am curious. How are the competition in those things???

                1. re: notmartha

                  There were maybe 20-30 cheesecakes there? They split them amongst plain, flavoured and topped. I'm entering a pie when I return from New York and I expect that will be "busier". You turn in your entry, they judge it (this part is really, really boring) and then they announce the winners in the various categories.

                  And yes, when you're done, you're allowed to go serve your cheesecake and eat the competition -- that way there's no evidence!!

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Thanks for the info. Being able to taste your competitors' entries sounds like a good idea. At least it will be more open/fair and it's always interesting to check out different flavor combos.

                    Good luck with the competition!

              2. Good luck! Let us all know the results (both competition and eating wise!)

                1. besides the turkey leg and corn (get the corn from the guys with the flat grill that do the peppers- I also had the lemonade at the booth near "Juicy's" and the sports arena.

                  I was SEVERLY disappointed that the gingerbread house wasn't there this year. My son and I are addicted to their strawberry shortcake and will eat no other. We went to the information booth and they admitted that it wasn't there this year, but they didn't know why.

                  1. Tried the potatoes, cool but not mind blowing. Relatively good bargain though.

                    Also had the smoked turkey leg, good.

                    Finally, the mexican churro cart. Good, but greasier than last year. Still the best churro in recent memory.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: ns1

                      There were several churro vendors. Which one did you try, ns1?

                      I went to the rig that advertised "Mexican funnel cake" and "Mexican cream puffs (bunuelos)." Got the $10 Mexican funnel cake which is a behemoth pile of lightly cinnamon-sugared churros with whipped cream and canned strawberries. Ok, but extremely greasy. I wouldn't get it again.

                      For a good homemade churro, I'd hit Gabbi's in Orange

                      I didn't try the Australian battered potato. We gave it a shot last year, and didn't like it. Instead, we hit the Tasti Chips kitchen. Thin, freshly fried potato chips that you can season yourself with various salts, vinegar, hot sauces, etc. Potato chips aren't exactly earth shattering, but they are done well, and they're probably the least greasy fried food at the fairgrounds. I stop here every year.

                      Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
                      141 S Glassell St, Orange, CA 92866

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        That's the one I went to, same one I went to @LA Fair. I got the churro bag though; like I said, greasier than last year, but (imho), so good :)

                        1. re: Professor Salt

                          As usual, I agree with the Prof. I don't understand the appeal of the Aussie potatoes, they're too thick and heavy for me. Tasti-Chips (by Hercules the Giant Horse) are always a staple of mine too. I like the bar-b-que turkey sandwiches at the stand a few doors down as well. Lean, thin-cut turkey meat ona fresh bun with surprisingly tasty bbq sauce.

                          1. re: Honeyman

                            Sometimes when only the battered fried goodies will do, the aussie fries are a tad less greasy than the battered veggies. This year they had a new sweet chili and sour cream topping. The sweet chili turns out to be the sweet thai chili that they normally serve with the fried stuff like wontons. I am not sure that's an improvement over ranch dressing.

                            Anyway, good thing comes in small doses, and even for the small order (which was like $8.5 with sauce), first few slices were great, then after a while the grease overdose kinda kills me.

                            It's kind of funny though. Walking through the food section of the fair it just reminds me of the 'Supersize Me' film. The vendors don't describe how delicious their food was - but rather how large, like giant funnel cake, large sausages, colossal onion rings, etc.

                            Never did see the fried white castle that I thought I read about.

                            1. re: notmartha

                              The new Apple Fries at the "mexican" funnle cake booth are great...lightly fried served hot with cinnamon sugar and whipped cream.

                              Deep Fried Ravioli with marinara -- pretty good but heavy, good for sharing

                              Deep Fried Oreos -- really tasty but share! These are like little sugar bombs.

                              Deep fried pop tarts -- very sweet and pricey at $5.75 but tasty nonetheless. Strawberry pop tart FYI

                              For lighter fair fare try the shrimp ceviche served on a tostada for only $3.50 or so, near the meatball slider people.

                              For extremists, try the Fat Darrell sandwich at the FingerSteaks booth. Chicken or steak fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, lettuce, tomato and mayo ALL on a hoagie roll. Yowza! Same booth sells deep fried Winsconsin cheese curds. Tasty but heavy in the belly.

                              Juicys has a new Outlaw Grill Worlds Largest BBQ over by the CentennialFarm area. Same turkey legs and sausages, new booth.

                              1. re: honeylatte

                                I'm gonna have to disagree with you there. After tasting the deep fried oreos at last year's OC fair, I will never buy anything from that truck again.

                                Disgusting is putting it nicely.

                                1. re: honeylatte

                                  Cheese Curds? They've got Wisconsin cheese curds at the OC Fair? How did I miss them??? What dips do they offer with?

                                  1. re: torta basilica

                                    Now that I can get cheese curds- I can finally make poutine. Is there a booth that is doing fries that also sells gravy? Maybe I'll bring my own gravy in a thermos.

                                    1. re: meltedcheese

                                      But they said that the cheese curds are deep fried....maybe if you ask, they will sell some to you w/out deep frying???

                                      1. re: justagthing

                                        You can buy them at Trader Joe's, but there's something about them already being deep fried and...

                                        1. re: torta basilica

                                          but meltedcheese want to make poutine. You don't use fried cheese curds to make poutine...

                        2. Broasted Chicken. But stay away from any other item on their menu. Don't get the meal with the combo of fries or garlic fries. I can usually eat either and both were a waste of calories. Just get a few individual pieces and move on.

                          1. yes, i noticed that they had cheese curds this year too. *drool* i don't remember them at the OC fair in years previous. Another thing I noticed was that this year they have deep fried White Castle burgers. I've never seen those before. Tempted to try them, but i value my arteries too much...