The Guilty Pleasure: You name it, deep-fried, bacon-crusted, and/or chocolate covered. Where to Get It: The Arizona State Fair, October 11 through November 3 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) Price: Fair admission plus a few bucks. What It Really Costs: Your waistline is already quaking with fear, isn't it?
Guilty pleasure food lovers, our peak season is almost upon us. The Arizona State Fair opens on Friday. We couldn't resist getting in touch with the folks at the Fair to see what the food vendors have up their sleeves this year.
It looks as though the fair forecast is sunny with a chance of bacon. Seriously, on the preview list I received, over half of the vendors will serve something that involves bacon. One of the more restrained bacon dishes is from the Corn Shack, offering a cup of corn topped with bacon and blue cheese. I may have to throw that together as a side dish at home some time.
Once you get past the Corn Shack's relatively tame bacon dish, all bets are off. Leading the bacon brigade this year is the cleverly named Bacon-A-Fair, which will offer bacon everything, from bacon-wrapped jalapeños to chocolate covered bacon and everything in between. Bacon-wrapped turkey legs? You got it. Bacon-wrapped corn dogs? Of course. Cheesy bacon bombs? I have no idea what they are, but I'll take two, please. Other outfits also are getting in on the bacon fun. There's pizza topped with bacon and jalapeño poppers. Another place has corn dogs with crumbled bacon in the batter. And this year, bacon is going where one wouldn't expect. A confectioner has figured out how to add bacony goodness to . . . cotton candy. The mind reels. You know darn well I'm trying that one.
Of course, there will be hot dogs and corn dogs aplenty. Connoisseurs will find an international selection of tube steak at Fhat Dawg. The Chicago dog is predictable, there's also a Mexican-style dog (which would be more of a novelty if it weren't for the Sonoran hot dog carts that pop up at night), but what intrigues me most is the Japanese dog. We'll see what that entails.
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Last year, I loved an unassuming sweet potato corn dog so much that I've been thinking about its return for weeks now. While I hope to see it, I'm bewitched at the thought of another concessionaire that has combined two of my favorite fried foods: Corn dogs and onion rings. I could see this combination working quite well.
For especially daring diners, the devious folks at Wayne's Concessions will serve up their infamous chocolate-covered bugs, including mealworms, crickets, and (eek) scorpions. After hearing our fearless food writer Laura Hahnefeld tell of the chocolate-covered scorpion she ate... You all have fun with that. Challenge your friends to eat one.