Red River Shootout- The Tuesday Before
The State Fair of Texas in early October...you can't beat it.
The Texas/ou rivalry has adorned the hallowed halls of the Cotton Bowl for over 80 years. Half of the crowd is in crimson and the other half is in burnt orange with nothing but the 50 yard line to separate them. This is the game where legends such as Earl Campbell, James Street and Ricky Williams willed the Longhorns to another victory as a smiling Big Tex oversaw the crowd of thousands. It is truly a day where dreams are realized and hopes are crushed.
But, the game is only a part of the experience. Fans who absolutely despite each other can enter the stadium as mortal enemies and have a beer together after the final cannon shot has been fired. Memories of childhood are recanted with total strangers as you wait in line to board the Texas Star. Even the most cosmopolitan Dallasite can enjoy watching a pie eating contest or potbelly pig race.
Though Horns and Sooners cannot agree on where to place their loyalties, there is one aspect that is unanimous: The food is second to none.
The State Fair of Texas is a fat kid's dream. If you are looking for California rolls or alfalfa sprouts, you will be kindly asked to leave. We all know about the generic funnel cakes and turkey legs of the world...so let's delve a bit deeper into the gastronomical journey. So, here it is readers, Scott's list of the best Fair Fare to clog your arteries.
10. Fried Twinkies- I admit, I bought these out of morbid curiosity two years ago. The idea of deep frying a cream filled sponge cake initially didn't sound very appealing. But, it is definitely worth the taste test. My preference is the raspberry fruit topping with whipped cream.
9. Fried Chicken and Waffles- A toasted 7" round waffle, brushed with melted butter and topped with three extra-crunchy honey-battered chicken breast tenders. Served with syrup or white cream gravy. Yes, it's sort of like eating ice cream and ketchup packets. But, two of the greatest creations for meals...at the same time?!? It feels SO naughty.
T-8. Fried Snickers and Fried Oreos- Both of these are equi-delicious so it's hard to label one better than the other. The Snickers are battered in a pancake batter, deep fried and have heaps of whipped cream and powdered sugar thrust upon them in artistic fashion. The Oreos share a similar fate before they meet their demise in a deep fryer. To maximize chocolate potential, these are best consumed at the same time. (Unless you have sensitive teeth or are giving these to your child in which case CPS should be informed.)
6. Fried Corn on the Cob- They changed the recipe a few years back, hence the drop in status. In my childhood, they used corn meal with a mix of jalapenos, pepper and grated cheese to batter the cob. These days, they have eliminated the spiciness of the product. While still very good, it's not the same kick it once was. It's been Bomared...if you will.
5. Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich- How can you argue with the King's favorite meal? Buttered bread smothered in peanut butter and fresh bananas deep fried until golden and dripped with honey. You can actually hear yourself getting fatter when you eat these.
4. Frozen Key Lime Pie on a Stick- A nice sized slice of Key Lime Pie, covered in chocolate and frozen. While one of my favorite desserts, these are best eaten BEFORE consuming alcohol. (Shout out to the 2001 Parks and Recreation clean up crew of Dallas)
3. Fried Okra- We Texans can find this at any old southern food chain. But, having Farmer's Market quality okra plopped in sizzling oil in front of your eyes and lightly salted is tastes awesome.
2. Jack's French Fries- This is a selection that has the aggie mentality: If you are on the outside you cannot understand it. The seasoning blend should be state mandatory.
Fletcher's Corny Dog- The birthplace of the Fair staple. You know how New Yorkers claim that the tap water is the secret ingredient to their pizza? The same theory applies to Dallas' original icon. There simply is no comparison anywhere in the world. Yes, it looks obscene as you wander through the fairgrounds chomping on a vulgar shaped stick dripping with yellow mustard. But, the payoff is well worth it. You simply cannot eat just one.
On the menu to try this year: Fried Coke (Coke battered donuts filled with coke syrup and topped with whipped cream, cinnamon and a cherry served in an antique shaped glass)
I've already pre-ordered some coupons and mapped out my routes to waste no time.