So, I feel a little bad. In preparing to write this diary on my BF's and my second trip to the Texas State Fair, I looked over my Top Comments diary on our first trip, and I was a little blown away by the number and variety of pictures I took last year. There aren't as many this time, and there isn't much variety. Last year, we went to a dog show and a Chinese lantern festival, in addition to touring a number of different exhibits. This year, it was freaking hot outside. Unbearably hot. So we did what we came to do--eat, of course--and got out of there. But there are a few other pictures as well to hopefully balance out all the greasy fried foods.
But we did need quite a bit of grease this time around. We had a little too much fun the night and morning before, and (not gonna lie) we were both still a little under the influence. What better way to deal with that than by going to the Texas State Fair? I mean, aside from literally drinking a glass of frying oil.
We decided to take the train into Dallas from the suburbs, which was kind of fun. For me, anyway. My other half apparently wasn't quite as excited.
In almost no time, we arrived in Dallas.
Then we had to take the bus to the fair, which wasn't nearly as fun, as you can imagine. But then, we saw it in the distance...
Thankfully, we'd gotten our tickets at Kroger, so we just walked past the line and hopped, skipped, and jumped right on in.
Follow me below the fried Nutella (oh yes, there's fried Nutella) for pictures of the fat-filled adventures that followed...
But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:
|Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in
Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The
Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the doodle...
Unfortunately, you won't see the fried Nutella until the end. Now you know how I felt. I kept begging to go to the fried Nutella stand but was met with commands to be patient until we finished the non-dessert fried foods. Bah humbug!
One of our first destinations was the new Big Tex, the centerpiece of the fair. I snapped a distant picture of him and then a rather ominous close-up.
In my previous Texas State Fair diary, I gave a little Big Tex history, which I'll provide again:
In the free-wheeling years after the war, merchants in Kerens, Texas, had a problem. Residents of the tiny town were driving to nearby Corsicana or even 75 miles north to Dallas for pre-Christmas shopping sprees. Looking for a gimmick that might encourage people to spend money at local stores, the Kerens Chamber of Commerce built what they claimed was the world's largest Santa Claus, a 49-foot-tall figure constructed from iron-pipe drill casing and papier mache with 7-foot lengths of unraveled rope for a beard.If you didn't follow the news about Big Tex, he was destroyed in an electrical fire last year shortly after our visit to the fair. But as you can see, he's back, and he's as big and as Texas as ever. The Dallas Morning News aptly captures what Big Tex, seemingly just a large mechanical talking cowboy, means to Texans:
The promotion was a big success during the 1949 holidays, but the novelty wore off the following year, and community support waned. In 1951, State Fair president R. L. Thornton purchased Santa's components for $750 and hired Dallas artist Jack Bridges to create a giant cowboy out of the material.
Big Tex made his debut at the 1952 State Fair of Texas. Wearing size 70 boots and a 75-gallon hat, Tex towered 52' above wide-eyed visitors. His denim jeans and plaid shirt were donated by the H. D. Lee Company of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Cosmetic surgery the following year straightened his nose, corrected a lascivious wink and allowed him to talk.
Yes, bigness is an inherent part of the formula. But it’s the Tex-ness that really matters.After Big Tex, we headed to the car show to look at cars we couldn't afford.
Big Tex -- large, friendly, hospitable, self-assured and perhaps a little overbearing to the uninitiated -- is a not-so-subtle reminder of our Tex-ness. He pops up all across the state: on billboards, in ads, incorporated in public murals. The hat and the genial wave make him instantly recognizable even in silhouette.
We know him. His image is a kind of coded message for insiders.
The message is this: Yes, of course, if you insist on hearing it -- we know he’s a big mechanical statue. What do you want us to do, sign an affidavit?
Likewise, we know that we live in a place plagued by drought, heat, hurricanes, sprawl, venomous snakes, underfunded public services, overpaid football coaches and painfully embarrassing elected officials. We have a lot that needs fixing.
So how in the world, onlookers wonder, can we maintain such stubborn pride in the Lone Star State?
We just do. That pride is its own raison d’etre: You might love it and you might not, but no other place is Texas. No other place comes close.
I got to sit in my dream car (the Kia Soul) and pretend to own it for a while, and he got to go crazy with the big Toyota touch screen.
And we got cool pencils, so there's that.
Oh, and we saw this obnoxious sign that was for sale...
Then, we got to the important part...the food. There were so many awesome new fried foods that we didn't know what to choose. So we just ate it all. No, really, we basically ate it all.
Being good Texans, of course, we started with the Texas fried fireball. And what a mouth full of fire it was. But it was so worth it. The Texas State Fair website describes it:
Pimento cheese, pickles, cayenne pepper, and bacon are rolled into a ball, dipped in buttermilk, covered with a jalapeno-infused batter and deep fried.
Then, we moved on to the fried millionaire pie. Funny, I thought we were saving dessert for last! I GUESS THAT ONLY APPLIES TO THE FRIED NUTELLA!!! But anyway, it was pretty fantastic for a sugartooth like myself.
Sweetened, fluffy cream cheese filling is loaded with golden pineapple and Texas pecans then wrapped in a flaky pie crust and fried to a golden brown. Topped with whipped cream, toasted coconut, and candied pecans.
Next was what I would rank as the #2 best new fried food at the fair: the deep fried Cuban roll. It actually won the award for Best Taste this year, which I won't object to, even though I personally enjoyed the fried Nutella better.
A filling of slow cooked pork shoulder, chopped ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and secret sauce is spread onto a slice of Swiss cheese, rolled up in pastry dough, and deep fried. Roll is served with a side of majo sauce for dipping.
Then we had some southern-style chicken fried meatloaf. Oh God. Yes, it was as good as it sounds.
Homemade meatloaf slices are coated in an authentic Texas chicken-fried breading and deep fried golden brown. Served with garlic mashed potatoes, Texas cream gravy, and a ketchup/brown sugar glaze for dipping.
The next one is probably my third-favorite new fried food this year: Fernie's deep fried king ranch casserole, served up with a side of tortilla chips and queso. Hell yeah. Oh, and did I mention that it's Texas-shaped? Because of course!
This stick-to-your-ribs TEXAS SHAPED creation is melted cheese, salty, spicy, goodness that is dipped in a zesty southwestern egg wash and coated in panko bread crumbs. Deep fried golden brown and crunchy on the outside; steamy and creamy on the inside! Served with a side of red, white, and blue tortilla chips and your choice of our homemade “salsafied” sour cream or cheesy queso. Each one proudly flying the flag of the Lone Star State and deep fried in the Heart of Texas!
Next up were the tasty spinach dip bites. I kind of demolished the one on the left before I remembered to take a picture.
Creamy and delicious spinach artichoke dip bites are coated with crispy tortilla chips and flash-fried until golden brown. Bites are served with salsa for an additional kick.
Before we got to the fried Nutella, we had to try out the popular fried Thanksgiving dinner. I have to say, I was a little underwhelmed, and I don't get the hype. Yeah, it was good, and it definitely deserved the award it received for "Most Creative," but it wasn't even in the same league taste-wise as the deep fried Cuban roll or the fried Nutella. And the cranberry sauce it came with was watery--no doubt by design, but still kind of gross. But still, it wasn't bad, and I don't consider it a waste of money.
Mama’s homemade stuffing and diced roasted turkey are rolled in a ball. Next it’s dipped in southern cream corn and rolled in seasoned corn meal – all fried to a crispy golden brown. Served with old fashion giblet brown gravy. The zesty orange cranberry sauce fills your dipping needs and results in a complete thanksgiving dinner, FRIED!
Finally, it was time...time for the fried Nutella! I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. And then, when we found the stand, this is what we saw:
It wasn't even a line--it was a huge mass of people, all vying for a plate. It took us a good 30 to 40 minutes to finally get our fried Nutella. But oh God, was it worth it. Definitely my favorite new fried food.
Whipped Nutella wrapped around a extra crispy dough and deep fried. Topped with strawberries bananas MORE Nutella chocolate whipped cream and powdered sugar.
But we weren't done yet. We still had some tickets left, so we decided to spend them all before we left. We were already drenched in sweat, and it's not like we were watching what we were eating, so why the hell not? First, we went traditional and got a good ol' funnel cake.
And then some really freaking delicious fried mac and cheese.
We had just enough tickets left to buy some fried tamale balls. Big mistake. I get what they were trying to do, but they didn't do it well. They were just terrible. And I'm not even a picky eater. But we threw them into the garbage can on the way out. Which probably wasn't a bad idea anyway, considering how much we'd already eaten.
All in all, aside from the heat and the fried tamale balls, a pretty awesome experience this year at the Texas State Fair. I can't wait until next year to see what ridiculous fried foods they'll come up with next. If you're in Texas and don't have anything to do this weekend, it's worth the price of admission just for the fried Nutella!