Well, the Arkansas State Fair
is about half over now... and I've had time to digest the best and worst of it. So, what do I think?
Well, I think a lot of things. Like, why don't we publicize more that we're very much into Tropical Fruit Punch
? I am surprised by the many vendors that sell it at our fair — especially since it's not that widely available at other fairs. I believe it goes back to the Mexico Chiquito booth, maybe longer. You recall that? You could dip your chip right there at what's now the Big Show Diner — in fact, correct me if I'm wrong here but I believe that's why the place was built in the first place. Did you know the place is still serving up "original recipe" cheese dip and chips and all sorts of Ark-Mex fare? The influence is still out there — anywhere you see the fountain going bright red instead of lemonade yellow.
The Deep Fried Egg Roll
this year is one of those things that makes sense but makes no sense. Egg Rolls are already deep fried... but putting a batter around it changes its nature just enough so it seems... I don't know. The texture is completely different. I like it a lot. It's good with the sweet and sour sauce.
Still, I keep coming back to that rabbit sandwich
that the folks at Feed Trough are putting out. The Fowlers actually raise rabbits for PelFreeze, and what they're serving up is PelFreeze rabbits, so who can tell if it's one of theirs or not. It's all been USDA inspected. There's just something about this sandwich — it's moist, it's clean, it's flavorful — and it goes well with the barbecue sauce if you want the sauce on it. I've had three over the course of the fair — which is saying something, since there's been a whole lot of stuff I haven't cared to try a second time. I think I enjoyed the one I had without sauce about as much as the two I had with sauce.
I did a piece for Serious Eats about the top 20 items at the Fair. At some point this fall I'm going to make some MOBBLE balls — I'll make MOINK Balls with turkey bacon instead of pork bacon and see how that goes. Those have been getting the biggest raves. Seen folks eating the Chicken Doughnut Sandwich, too. And cheese. Egads, all the freakin' cheese I've seen people eating, mostly from Hot Wisconsin Cheese. And I've only met two other people outside my pod of regulars that travel with me, who have actually tried the Nuclear Wings. They both say they sweated.