This morning I got up early to head on my way to Texas to visit Jen! She has planned a fun and busy weekend for us and we hit the ground running.
As soon as I landed, Jen picked me up from the airport and we headed straight to The State Fair of Texas. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, except that it was big and there would lots of ridiculous food. These were accurate expectations.
The fairgrounds surround the Cotton Bowl. Tomorrow is the big University of Texas vs. Oklahoma University game so there were lots of people walking around in gear supporting their respective teams and stands selling paraphernalia. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like at the fair tomorrow.
Aside from all the eating, there were also sites and events to see dispersed throughout the fair. We started by visiting the goats and stumbled upon a goat judging competition. We watched the final competition for the senior does and learned that the rear leg angle and width of the hips are important for an award winning goat. Such an educational trip!
After the goat competition we walked into a pig race! Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen pig racing. It’s hilarious because it’s pigs. Racing. Apparently an Oreo is all it takes to get the pigs to run around the little track. Our pig never won a race, but watching a potbellied pig trying to run around the track was hilarious.
When we started getting oppressively hot, we stopped in at the auto show. When you think of an auto show, you think of crazy concept cars, exotic new car models, or antique cars. Nope. Not here. This was literally a showroom of your standard Jeeps, Fords, and Chevys. You could sit in the latest version of the Camry! See a brand new Sonato! It was…underwhelming, yet amusing.
We stuck around long enough to head back to the racing track so we could see the ostrich races. Yes, ostrich races. I’m not sure what else to say about this except there were real live jockeys riding these ostriches. And they were racing. Ostriches.
Now, on to the food. We tried to pace ourselves throughout the day to maximize what options, but even doing that was hard to not get filled up too quickly. We based our options off The Big Tex Choice Awards and had fun trying to locate them throughout the fair. It was a fried-food treasure hunt.
The first food I tried was the Fried Gulf Shrimp Boil. The description from the site is:
Everything you would expect in a shrimp boil rolled into a ball, dusted with Fish Fry, and fried to a golden brown! Baby gulf shrimp, diced red potatoes, onion, lemon, and seasoning are formed around a cocktail shrimp, dusted and fried with the tail sticking out for a handle. Served with a remoulade sauce.
It was really good! It reminded me of a stuffed clam, with a shrimp in the middle and then fried. It was really tasty!
Jen started with the Twisted Texas Tacos:
What do you get when you combine the four major food groups of Texas? Chicken Fried, Barbecue, Tex-Mex, and Chili – Twisted Texas Tacos! This taco starts off with tender, juicy hickory smoked Texas beef brisket, double-dipped in a barbecue spiced buttermilk batter and deep fried until it is robust and beefy. It is served in a warm flour tortilla, generously layered with a Mexican cheese blend, crispy fried okra, and a sweet and crunchy tri-color slaw, accented with zesty poblano and sweet pepper corn. Served with a creamy country gravy, spicy Texas Chili and a miniature salute from the Lone Star flag.
It was definitely a generous serving and Jen said that the sauce was really good. They really packed a lot of stuff into that taco. Judging by how long the line was, I think it was a popular option.
Our third sample was The Deep Fried Texas Bluebonnet.
The Deep Fried Texas Bluebonnet is a blueberry muffin, scone-style batter that is stuffed with cream cheese, blueberries and sweet morsels of white chocolate. It is baked and deep fried to a perfect golden brown. This mountain of flavor is topped off with whipped cream, chopped white chocolate morsels, powdered sugar, blueberries, and a delicious blueberry glaze.
Man, this was so good. The blueberry scone was sweet, but not too sweet and the blueberries and blueberry glaze were such a good complement. This was definitely high on our list.
We had to do a little searching but we finally found dish number four, the Chicken Fried Loaded Baked Potato:
The creamy and moist insides of a baked potato, loaded with generous amounts of butter, bacon, and cheddar cheese, are coated and battered with a delectable blend of spices and flour that create a perfect combination of fried crispy crust and delicious, creamy loaded baked potato. Served with a ranch dipping sauce.
This was very underwhelming. The flavor was not that interesting and the texture was just kind of mushy. It came with three pieces and even though we split it, we couldn’t finish them. We tossed the third one.
Next it was back to dessert, Fried Sweet Texas:
Traveling across Texas to try the best and most popular desserts gave inspiration for this fried treat. Fried Sweet Texas starts with fresh pie dough filled with crunchy pecan pie, juicy peach cobbler, and creamy buttermilk pie. It is then deep fried until the crust is golden brown and flaky, and then served up with a side of Texas’ own Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream. A real tribute to Texans and their amazing sweet treats!
It was pretty good. The ice cream was a nice treat since it was so hot outside. I liked it, but not as much as the Bluebonnet. It was kind of a lot of different desserts smooshed together, but it was pretty well balanced. I liked the peach part the most.
We had to take a pretty long break before ticking off the final thing we wanted to try from our list. We found the Fried Sriracha Balls in the impressive food court and they were really good!
A lip-smacking combination of shredded chicken, corn, green chilies, tomatoes, and Sriracha hot sauce, formed into balls and coated with crispy tortilla chips. It is then flash-fried until golden brown. For those who like their food higher on the Scoville Scale, extra Sriracha Sauce is available.
Both of us really like these. I was worried they were going to be too spicy, but they were perfect. They were super flavorful and a good size. By this time I was getting super stuffed.
As we were walking out we each had a number of coupons still left to spend. Jen stopped and got an order of Deep Fried S’mores. It was exactly what it sounded like. A s’more, that was deep fried. The melty chocolate and marshmallow were awesome, but I thought the graham cracker dried it out a little bit. If they could have made the batter it was fried in out of graham crackers, I think it would have been supreme.
By the time we left the fair, we’d been there for about five hours and I was tapped out. I was hot, sweaty, and tired, but it was a really fun experience and I’m really glad we went. Jen is da bomb. By the time we got back to Jen’s house all we were prepared to do was sit on the couch and watch TV. We played with Roxy (her dog) for a little while before I got to get my fill of cable. Also, we realized that despite me being in Maryland and Jen being in Texas, we both managed to wake up this morning and put on the same pair of socks. How’s that for friends?
This trip has been awesome so far and we’re barely one day into it. Can’t wait for the rest of the weekend!