Fair-ly Good Food

With hundreds of food stands, the State Fair of Texas and unhealthy food go hand in hand. Although I love the time-tested classics, like funnel cakes and turkey legs, I walked into the State Fair last Friday determined to try some of the more inventive culinary surprises.

As I strolled between the food booths, a sign advertising fried Oreos caught my eye. After begrudgingly handing over six tickets to a fair employee in exchange for the treats, I sat down to try the fried morsels. The Oreos were fried to a golden brown crisp and dusted with powdered sugar; although their appearance deserved an award, the taste certainly did not. The overly-salty batter masked the subtle sweetness of the Oreos and left me licking my lips and reaching for a water bottle. After the Oreo disappointment, I walked from stand to stand, both to burn calories and to figure out what to try next.

After noticing a young couple sharing a fried blueberry muffin, or “Texas bluebonnet,” I was intrigued. With a sign that described the Texas bluebonnet as “a blueberry muffin scone-style batter stuffed with cream cheese, blueberries, and chocolate topped off with whipped cream, white chocolate morsels, powdered sugar, blueberries and a delicious blueberry glaze,” I decided that it couldn’t be half bad. Albeit rich, the Texas bluebonnet was everything I could have hoped for: a sweet, rich and delicious pastry that struck a high note with its blueberry and white chocolate flavors.

My next stop was a stand that sold fried sriracha balls, a 2014 Big Tex Choice Award Finalist. The fried sriracha balls looked a little suspicious, almost like red, alien-like orbs of dough with a side of sriracha. As I bit into one, one word popped into my mind: falafel. I was expecting a spicy kick to the fried balls, but they failed to deliver that piquant taste. Eating just one fritter left me with a greasy, slightly nauseous feeling (or perhaps I got this feeling after eating three fried foods back to back?)

Although I was done for the day, my sister had set her heart on a strawberry ice cream shake from Highland Park Soda Fountain. Having heard only positive things about their famous grilled cheese and shakes, I was sure that the ice cream shake would be deliciously creamy. However, the artificial taste of the strawberry syrup in the shake ruined the entire experience. Instead of a wondrously velvety taste, I was left with a cloyingly sweet aftertaste in my mouth and an unconsumed cup of pink soup and whipped cream.

The newer State Fair foods left little to be desired, but the lively fair atmosphere and rides made for an enjoyable visit. Be sure to visit the State Fair before it closes on Sunday, Oct. 19 for great food, great rides and a great time.

– Eshani Kishore