2017 State Fair Eatvestigation Foodventure

*A HOLOGRAM OF ROB ZOMBIE MATERIALIZES*

*”SUPER-CHARGER HEAVEN” BY WHITE ZOMBIE STARTS TO FILL YOUR VEINS*
*THE ROB ZOMBIE HOLOGRAM DANCES AROUND LIKE THE REAL ROB ZOMBIE WOULD BUT THEN STARTS TO GNAW ON A TURKEY LEG INSTEAD OF SINGING LYRICS*

*EVERYONE SMIRKS AND SAYS “YES!” BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME*

*THEN WE ALL HAVE THE TASTE OF A DELICIOUS TURKEY LEG IN OUR MOUTHS AND IT’S AWESOME*

*SUDDENLY A HAND BURSTS THROUGH THE CHEST OF THE HOLOGRAM OF ROB ZOMBIE (ROB ZOMBIEGRAM)*

*THE HAND RUNS DOWN THE PRIME MERIDIAN OF THE ROB ZOMBIEGRAM SLICING IT IN HALF AND GIVING WAY TO ANOTHER CREATURE. IT’S LIKE A RUSSIAN NESTING DOLL ONLY A LOT MORE HARDCORE. LIKE A LOT MORE. SERIOUSLY. YOUR STOMACH MAY TRY TO EVACUATE ITS CONTENTS BECAUSE THIS VISUAL IS REALLY HELLA INTENSE. AND IT’S ALL SET TO THE BALLS-TO-THE-WALL TEMPO OF “SUPER CHARGER HEAVEN” AND SCENTED WITH TURKEY LEG. YEAH. IT’S VISCERAL.*

*FROM THE GAPING VOID OF THE ROB ZOMBIEGRAM EMERGES THE GATOR, BUT HE’S NOT COVERED IN THE GROSS AFTERBIRTH-LIKE MUCUS THAT YOU’D EXPECT. HE’S RATHER IMACULATE. IT’S BORDERLINE DISTURBING BUT MOSTLY INVIGORATING. IT’S SO INVIGORATING, YOU WILL WANT TO PUNCH YOUR BEST FRIEND. YOUR FRIENDSHIP WON’T EVEN SUFFER BECAUSE OF IT. RATHER, YOU’LL REACH A NEW LEVEL OF FRIENDSHIP THAT NOT EVEN PTOLEMY COULD TRY TO THEORIZE.*

*THE GATOR SPIKES A FRIED FILET OF FISH, DANCES LIKE RAY LEWIS, DROPKICKS A GIRAFFE SENDING ITS SPOTS INTO THE DARK SKY WHERE THEY STICK AND START TO MULTIPLY, FORMING WHAT WE NOW KNOW AS “STARS.” BLADDERS QUIVER, MOUTHS WATER, THE GATOR SPEAKS.*

Whoa! Look at the calendar! That intro took a long time. The chance to hit the Great State Fair of Texas is almost up. My apologies for the delay in my annual report, but I’m totally going to blame it on the newest member of The Gator Family, the 3 1/2-month old Baby Gator. That’s right, The Gator and Lady Gator done procreated, and there’s a new eating mouth under the deep-fried roof of our humble abode that was built by State Fair blogging money. And that little guy is totally cramping our social life and ability to schedule anything.

And while we have vaults full of money (both legit US currency and State Fair food coupons), extra money and time are tight right now nowhere to be found. As such, we made it our mission to focus this year’s State Fair Eatvestigation Foodventure as much as possible only on the Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists. These are the new food items that have been chosen by a panel of “experts” to be the best of the new food creations for this year’s Fair. While we usually go ape nuts and eat ALL the new creations (which border around 20ish dishes), we figured that at some point we’d want to send Baby Gator off to Deep-Fried University, so, we played it a bit conservative.

In the following letter-filled words, you’ll find the revelations of my findings as I reveal what I found by eating the new “best of the best” food units. It’s in the best interest of your money-filled bank account, food-holding stomach, food-tasting mouth, and time schedule of measured time to use the following recommendations as your official guide to improving your life. By following what I say, your Fair trip is scientifically proven to be the best it could ever be. Diverge from my plan and you could suffer death.

Let’s get to the deep-fried action!

Going into this year’s State Fair Eatvestigation Foodventure, I made a few cold predictions. I extensively pored over all the materials made available. I looked into my deep-fried crystal ball, saw some sights

  • BEST TASTE: Tie between Deep Fried Froot Loops and Fat Smooth
  • WORST TASTE: Chicken Fried Spam Fries
  • MOST OVERRATED: Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger
  • BIGGEST SURPRISE/MOST UNDERRATED: Deep Fried Root Beer Float with Dragon’s Breath
  • DUMBEST: Surfin’ Turfin’ Tator Boat

I deep-fried pooped the bed and forgot about the Deep-Fried Spam Fries. I really have no idea what happened. I only have myself to blame, really. I can fully blame the Fair vendors for us not being able to taste the Pinot Noir Popcorn, however. We wandered the Fair from stall to stall where they reportedly sold the PNP, only to be told at EVERY stand that they were sold out and that it would be several hours until it was back in stock. We really didn’t get that mad because we were in a hurry and to be honest, this was just such a weird fit for the Fair. Pinot Noir Popcorn isn’t something worthy of being a Big Tex Choice Award Finalist. It’s something that’s part of a gift basket your boss’ secretary drops off on your desk at Christmas. Maybe the Harry & David order hadn’t come in yet and that’s why they were out?

Funnel Cake Queso Bacon Burger – 24 tickets – I’ll cut right to the chase. This was the worst of the Big Tex Choice Awards finalists and the most overrated — just as Gatordamus predicted the day before the Fairventure. Winning “Best Taste: Savory” and “Most Creative” means that expectations are high and when it comes to the Fair you damn hell better deliver on those expectations dammit. The Funnel Cake Queso Bacon Burger does not. While using two funnel cakes as buns is creative, there are more creative offerings this year. And in terms of taste…it was bad. Basically, it’s a breakfast creation that essentially pancakes, bacon, and sausage. So, should be good in theory, right? So, why the hell is the queso sauce on there? The queso sauce has no business on there! Oh! Because we’re “creative” and trying to make it a cheeseburger. And don’t get it twisted. It’s not “queso.” It’s queso sauce. There’s nothing close to actual cheese in that yellow ectoplasm. Look, queso sauce belongs one place and one place only: on your lap after you fail to eat your ballpark nachos like a successful adult. It doesn’t belong on something that also has an 8 ball of powdered sugar sprinkled on top. You can’t pick it up and eat it like a burger and it’s too tough to cut using the flimsy-ass plastic knife and fork they give you. So, instead you just sit there trying to saw through this mess while your plastic knife bends to reflect how foolish you feel. It’s totally not worth your time, the frustration, the tickets, stomach space, or the Oxiclean you’ll need to try and get the queso sauce stain out of your britches. NUH-UH! DON’T EVEN.

 

Texas Fajita Fries – 26 tickets – What you have here is chicken fried steak served in a Pilsbury Crescent Roll Horn of Plenty — and it’s pretty good. Served on a bed of lettuce and tomato and with a side of friend onions, there’s nothing really worthy of your time here. Especially for 26 tickets. YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO.

 

Gulf Coast Fish Bowl – 24 tickets – Normally, if you tell me there’s a fish bowl involved, I’m there with car keys in my hand, a silk shirt on my torso, and tastefully doused in Jovan Musk. Unfortunately, this wasn’t one of those fish bowls. Rather, it’s a cute little plastic ball about the size of a Christmas ornament, the color of Sonic Ocean Water, adorned with a pineapple ring, and sprinkled with aquarium rocks (Nerds) and some Swedish Fish (that were too cold to bite through). It basically tastes like a piña colada. It’s not too bad, but just nothing special. And when you think you’ve sucked a seed or something up the straw, it’s kind of mind bending when you realize that it’s a Nerd. Not bad for quenching your thirst while walking around the Fair. But not as fun as a party centered around a bowl full of keys, my swinger friends. ONLY IF YOU SURE YOU’RE READY FOR THIS KIND OF THING.

 

Deep Fried Froot Loops – 16 tickers – This shared half the title for my prediction for Best Taste of all of the new Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists. Everything about it just sounded right up my alley. Froot Loops and melty cereal marshmallows deep fried together. It tasted great, but just as good as I wanted it to. It was too tough to cut, the order I received was under-filled, and it was just overall kind of underwhelming. The meltiness of the cereal marshmallow was really good. Really good. But when all put together, it just seemed like it didn’t fully reach its potential. It was still good, but it just could have been better. TOUCAN SAM, BUT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO?

 

Fat Smooth – 14 tickets – The one with the name that everyone loved, “Fat Smooth.” And the other half of my predicted Best Taste bestowment, The Fat Smooth is essentially a few deep fried cream puffs on a stick. They dip the cream puffs in Café Du Monde batter and fry them up. I think by attaching the Café Du Monde name to their product, they gave a little extra marketing oomph to an offering that otherwise underdelivered. It was good, but it could have and should have been so much better. Cream puffs are one of my most favorite foods ever. Not just dessert, but food. These were overcooked, the grease seemed old, and the whole offering just seemed like it was lazily constructed. That said…cream puffs. EAT THE DEEP FRIED CANNOLI BITES FROM LAST YEAR INSTEAD (NOT THE LITERAL ONES FROM LAST YEAR…ASK FOR FRESH ONES.)

 

Surfin’ Turfin’ Tater Boat – 60 tickets – Let me start by saying that the most amazing people run this stand, which is called The Shrimp Doc. The SHRIMP DOC – a “Shrimpologist At Work.” Damn. I don’t know about their medical acumen, but the sure are friendly and enthusiastic about everything. One lady demanded that we take a photo of the STTB right then and there AND that she be in it. It made our day. Now, the Surfin’ Turfin’ Tater Boat — which coast 60 tickets. I had predicted this as the dumbest of all the new creations, which really is the lowest ranking I could have given. I mean, we’re talking lobster at the fair and we’re talking 60 tickets. Let’s look at the game on the field. Steak and lobster stuffed into a baked potato with cheddar and Romano cheese, and topped with a lobster claw. Opulence. The Shrimp Doc has it. I don’t want to go too much into my own surf-n-turf feud of last 2015 where I had beef with the Chicken Fried Lobster. That was infuriating and stupid. This however? This is a damn hell damn deal. Let’s just start with the portion size. A full, big-ass baked potato, probably half a pound of chopped lobster meat, and probably the same amount of fajita beef strips. All of it seasoned really well and sprinkled with cheese. And then, that beautiful lobster claw rising from the meat-filled tuber like something out of a George Romero story. Damn. The only epicurean complaint I have is that the beef was kind of grainy. That was weird, but as weird as us enjoying it? I mean, while it’s expensive they definitely chock it full of stuff. Is it worth 60 tickets? I don’t know. I still get weirded out eating lobster at the Fair. Something about it goes against the natural order of things. But hey this is 2017. Perhaps it’s time to embrace it. I think in a couple of years, we’ll look back on the Surfin’ Turfin’ Tater Boat as a game-changing trailblazer. I was wrong to name this DUMBEST. This is definitely the Biggest Surprise. IF YOU GOT THAT LOBSTER-COVERED POTATO MONEY, GO FOR IT.

 

The Tamale Donut – 12 tickets -This was really good. I think this offering was perhaps taken for granted by everyone. It’s pork tamale filling cooked into a donut. It tastes wonderful. The outside is nice and crispy, the inside is hot, flavorful, and moist. The creamy jalapeño drizzle on top is a nice touch. I think this was a super solid offering, but just lacked that certain je ne se quais that is required of Fair offerings to make it really stand out. Tamale donuts need to start appearing at Tex-Mex brunches ASAP. EAT TODAY AND TAMALE.

 

Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup On A Stick – 18 tickets – This is such simple genius. They opened a can of chicken noodle soup and deep fried it. It’s damn good. Plus, it’s served with oyster crackers?! Hell yeah, oyster crackers! It’s served with with a savory broth, that’s essential for each little bite (otherwise, you might find it too dry.) Regardless, the taste is on point — with or without the broth. IT’S MMM, MMM GOOD.

 

Fernie’s Fried Texas Sheet Cake – 14 tickets – I don’t think nearly enough people gave this incredible item the attention it needed. Perhaps it’s because it’s deep-fried chocolate cake? Have we reached the point where anything chocolate and deep fried just flies by our collective radar? Are we so desensitized by the fried lobsters, unnecessary uses of queso, and misappropriations of other foods that we’ve lost sight of a really good chocolate cake (brownie, actually) that’s been breaded, deep fried, and topped with Dr. Pepper glaze and pecans? What the hell is wrong with us? This offering is bad ass. It tastes like your mom’s chocolate cake…at least MY mom’s chocolate cake…only leveled up because they fried it. A definite dish to seek out and try. It’s chocolatey, rich, sweet, unctuous, mostly gooey, and yet crunchy in just the right places. HAVE YOUR CAKE AND FRY IT, TOO. 

Disgustingly out of focus.

I would say Fernie’s Fried Texas Sheet Cake is the most underrated offering of 2017. However, there’s…

Deep Fried Root Beer Float With Dragons Breath – 18 tickets – Whoever was in charge of deciding the finalists should be fired. Fire the entire panel of panelists. They’re all dumb. How was this not included amongst the finalists? I sought out this item based on the name alone. The Fair should be all about clever naming conventions: “Injectable Great Balls of BBQ”, “Crunchy Fried Oinkers”, “Picnic On A Stick”, “Cup Of Trash”. All intriguingly named and yummy-as-hell foods. So, what about”Deep Fried Root Beer Float with Dragon’s Breath“? What?!?! That’s intriguing as hell! But what the hell is it? I’m glad you asked. They took deep-fried root beer ice cream and topped it with root beer syrup. As far as Fair food goes, that’s pretty par-for-the-course, right? Well, then they bring in the showmanship, baby. Next to that delicious fried ice cream is a cup filled with a steaming, flash-frozen Rice Krispy Treat. That’s the flash. When you have the perfect blend of flash, substance, and marketing…how could you NOT be a Big Tex Choice Awards Finalist? This is WAY better, WAY more creative, and WAY more appropriate for the Fair than “Pinot Noir Popcorn.”  Seriously. Fire all the judges. I’ll do it by myself. This was my favorite of the new offerings and by far the most underrated of everything. F*** Dippin’ Dots. THIS is the ice cream of the future, bitch. So, take your special someone with you to the Fair. Order up a Deep Fried Root Beer Float With Dragon’s Breath. Grab you a couple of spoons. And then stare into each other’s eyes, play a little footsie, and indulge in this brilliant concoction in the failing light…magic hour. And if any of you disagree with me on the awesomeness of this…I will sneak deep-fried chocolate Ex-Lax into your mouth, Saran Wrap your toilet, and hide all of your toilet paper. Then, we will see who’s underrated. (I love you.) EAT THIS LIKE IT WAS VAN ZAN AND YOU ARE THE DRAGON.

 

Root Beer – 8 tickets – The best root beer you will ever have. Period. Disagree? See above. DUH.

 

Fletcher’s Corny Dog – 12 tickets – The legend. THE reason why everyone in the world should seek out a way to visit the State Fair of Texas. Do I need to explain why? If I do, see above. (I love you.) IF YOU QUESTION THIS…

So, there you go. Another submission to the court of the world to serve as evidence of my sanity. Go and have fun. Make good decisions. And remember to love yourself.

Check out what you’ve missed from previous State Fair of Texas Eatvestigation Foodventures:

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