Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
Krispy Kremes are the iconic, yeasty, sweet doughnuts beloved around the country. Sloppy Joes are the retro, no-frills ketchupy ground beef sandwiches that are invariably served on hamburger buns.
It was only a matter of time before someone decided to combine the two.
Sadly, you’ve missed your chance to sample the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe Sandwich, at least in the way that its creator - Chicken Charlie’s concession stand at the San Diego County Fair - intended it. The fair concluded on July 4. But you can dig into any number of other inspired dishes at other great state fairs around the country while you await Chicken Charlie's owner Charlie Boghosian's long-rumored cookbook.
The Big E: West Springfield, Massachusetts
At this point, a burger on a glazed doughnut sounds almost classic. One of the must-try dishes at this fair, which goes from September 13–29, is The Big E’s Original Craz-E, a bacon cheeseburger served between a halved glazed doughnut. The Big E is also celebrating the sandwich’s 250th birthday with 250 sandwich offerings, including Fried PB&Js, Alligator Cheeseburgers, Fried Bologna Sammies with Onions and Fried Fluffernutters.
Iowa State Fair: Des Moines
The Iowa State Fair knows how to provide for its million-plus visitors. Their website helpfully provides a list of the 57 foods-on-a-stick that were offered at the 2012 fair. That list includes fried butter (a slab of frozen butter enclosed in funnel cake batter), deep-fried cupcakes and double-bacon corn dogs (a hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, then dipped in bacon-bits batter and deep fried. Again.). The Healthy Food Choices list is admittedly shorter than the foods-on-a-stick list, but it does include Salad on a Stick, a mix of iceberg lettuce, carrots and tomatoes on a stick, served with dressing.
World's Largest Popcorn Ball
Indiana State Fair: Indianapolis
On August 3, the Indiana State Fair will unveil what it claims is the biggest popcorn ball anyone has ever seen. Weighing in at 5,200 pounds, the ginormous corn ball will be on display through August 18, when the festivities end. The State Fair team has declared 2013 to be the Year of Popcorn, in honor of Indiana's ranking as the country’s #2 popcorn producer. Look out for lots of popcorn snacks (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup popcorn was big last year) and a popcorn maze, too.
Picnic on a Stick
State Fair of Texas: Dallas
A Picnic on a Stick could be so many things. Here’s what it is to the folks in Texas: Pieces of spicy fried chicken, tater tots and slices of dill pickle are skewered on a stick, and then the whole thing is dipped in batter, rolled in bread crumbs and fried, served with choice of barbecue sauce, ranch dressing or honey mustard. It was a 2012 Big Tex Choice Award Finalist last year, and it’s back for this year’s fair, which runs from September 27–October 20.
New to the fair this year are Fried Sugar Cubes, which are double-dipped in chocolate or vanilla batter (or both!), then deep-fried and topped with chocolate, caramel or fruit sauce.
Fried Kool-Aid Balls
San Diego County Fair: Del Mar, California
Chicken Charlie's concession stand has already distinguished itself by serving the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe Sandwich. This being California, it also offers Fried Avocados, as well as less "healthy" options, like Fried Klondike bars, Fried Twinkies and Fried Kool-Aid balls, which consist of balls of batter mixed with Kool-Aid powder and bathed in hot oil.
More from Food & Wine:
Outrageous Hot Dogs
Wacky Fair Foods
Best Burgers in the U.S.
Ultimate BBQ Cities
Best Ice Cream Spots in the U.S.
Read - The deep-fried belly of the fair food beast
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Hello, I think your web site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, great site.
My arteries harden just by reading that list
Like all State Fairs....It only happens once each year. Why NOT be able to splurge on New Creations each year? Gosh I go to The Great State of Texas State Fair each year that I can for one reason.....A True Fletcher's Corny Dog. You can only find these at 3 Events each year.....Nascar TMS during the spring or fall races...or The Texas State Fair. It's a Picnic on a stick while looking at exhibits,or New cars,or Hot Texas Women. Besides,it's a Texas Tradition. Enjoy.
Living in Sacramento, where the fried food offerings are terrible ( I mean in terms of variety ). I am pretty skinny, like to splurge once in a while like the next guy, but there is nothing here.
I know one of the places had deep fried spaghetti and meatballs on a stick.....after reading that, I think I needed a towel for my keyboard to wipe off the drool.
When I go to the fair, all I want is chicken gyro meat. UHHHHHH YUM! :)
You can find a few good and reasonably healthy things to eat at the Big E, in Springfield MA. But you have to hunt them out. And you might also decide you have to waste half an item (because the weather is likely going to be too hot for you to save it for later), and the item is HUGE. A lot of the things are both unhealthy and un-appealing (deep fried Oreos??? I didn't like Oreos as just plain Oreos to begin with...) so you have to search things out, and realize the day is not going to be like most of your days. Hey, just don't do this every week. (Fortunately I really don't have a sweet or a greasy-breading tooth).
Basically, these over the top foods - they simply don't remotely appeal to me, and it has little to do with health issues. They just don't appeal. They sound as repulsive to me as eating worms fresh out of the garden. And, actually, I'd also turn down the salad on a stick (bland iceburg lettuce, carrots and hot house tomatoes) mentioned above.
I'd actually might want to try a fried avocado, depending on the batter. Once. If it is thick batter, forget about it...
I didn't know deep fried Oreos existed until we went to the fair a few days ago. Gross. Did not try.
No wonder we're all fat
You go to the fair for tofu and alfalfa sprouts?
In Obama's nanny state we may all soon have to!
Actually, I go to fairs for all the exhibits and the excitement. I don't eat much tofu or alfalfa sprouts, however. And I never eat those over the top concoctions, because, like eating worms, the idea is repulsive. I can find something. It's not an all-or-nothing life for me.
I guess for some folks you are better eating before you go to the fair, becuase you know you are not going to be eating healthy at the fair.
Everyone says these foods are unhealthy and packed with calories, but have you ever seen an overweight carny?
they may not be hug, but they 30 to 40 years younger than they appear
huge NOT hug
All the carnies I've met have missing teeth, skinny, and a few black eyes.
I have been to The Big E, so delicious. Big weakness for cheeseburgers.
I have the biggest weakness for funnel cake. That's why I try avoid the fair altogether. I'll be totally screwed when I have kid, because you can't deny them the fair.
Chicken Charlie moved up the freeway to the Orange County fair. Yay deep-fried-fair-food!
I feel unhealthier for just having read this article...
Couldn't agree more...think I need to go eat an apple.
A DEEP FRIED apple? Hehe! That actually sounds friggin deliciously bad too!
Those exist, too. Saw them the other day. In curly fry-shape
Everything at the fair yesterday was deep fried. I was lucky and found a Mexican Food cart and got me some quesodillas. I wanted the tamales but they weren't ready yet and I was too hungry to wait 20 minutes.
And how the heck are quesadillas and tamales more healthy than fried food? Most of the calories in a tamale come from lard. Just enjoy the occasional splurge.
I couldn't care less about caloric counts. Fried food is a lazy way to cook. It all tastes the same. What is this? Fried calamari or a fried hot dog? The only thing that should be fried are FRIES.
OK, sorry. I completely misunderstood you. And I agree, the plethora of fried foods do get annoying. But I guess at this point it's become a tradition.
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