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Wednesday Night at the OC Fair '22

Updated: Sep 25, 2022


Wandering the streets of the world, you will invariably be pulled by the lights, sounds and smoke of the county fair. A product of the late 1800s, the county (or sometimes agricultural) fair defined its region by celebrating the very best of their prosperity and the victory of their harvest. Such festivities grew and evolved in the modern age - typically including nods to livestock, agriculture, local products and live acts. Today, such nods are border of superficial, but we wink and nod and hope that we remember the days when our relationship with the land was much closer than it is in a post-technological age.


Today, as I look out upon the Orange County Fair, our attraction tends toward socializing, food, drink and the occasional attraction to break the script. We share a commonality at the Fair - we're here to break from the norm, get out among the crowds and hopefully delight in something sweet, fatty or surprising.


From a food experience perspective, you must go in knowing that you are going to get the extreme and populist - and this is great. It's been a year since I've had a deep fried snack, or [meat] wrapped in bacon and impaled for easy consumption. "It's ok," under my breath, I steel my resolve.

And it doesn't disappoint. This year I had the deep fried butter, which I've been *ahem dying to have for a few years and hadn't had the *heart. (Doctor E-, look away in dispair.) I got to watch them make it - taking a half stick of butter from a chiller, dip it for a few seconds in corn batter, then drop it in the fryer. They have to keep it an eye on it the entire time. They come out containing the bright yellow goodness, dusted with a heap of confectioner's sugar and some sort of honey like syrup.


[See https://www.instagram.com/allstreetsgourmand/ for shots of what was et.]

It is what you expect, and, as per those pesky expectations, delicious.


Next was a Cap'N Crunch (Colorized Version) Chicken Sandwich. This was on a brioche bun, but the patty was actually chicken strips, coated in cereal, then loaded with a bowl-full of the Cap'N. It was topped with a colorful berry sauce. This was as expected, but it would have been preferred as a full piece of chicken then strips. Also the Cap'N was a'rocking and a'rolling - so it definitely did not stay in place.


They had 'The Swanson' in all its glory - bacon wrapped turkey leg. Although the turkey was slow roasted over hickory for hours - the taste penetrated down to the bone.


Last, had 'Bacon Bombs' which tasted like cheese or a hush-puppy wrapped with bacon on a large wooden pick (toothpick doesn't do it justice). All told, the garlic-oiled fries that surrounded it was what I enjoyed the most.


All in all, how else would you have this much fun for $12 a person? Crazy food, drinks up the wazoo, attractions and carnie games - it's all part of the experience in a ultra-clean and safe location. If you can't be on Main Street, the Fair Street is just as good.

PRO TIPS:

- Know before you go: read up on anything new and special before going - so you know what you're getting yourself into.

- Fair food is pricey - like no joke pricey. Consider that before plunging into it.

- Use the 'sky way' to get an overview of all the food options that are literally under you - this is a good way to get your bearings. Do this at the start of the day.

- But a few tickets for rides or games early, so you don't have to break the day to do something impromptu.


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Resources:


The OC Fair is a yearly event at 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa CA 92626 (right off the 55 South freeway) - the season has varied, especially with Covid, so check an evolving schedule each year. https://ocfair.com/events-calendar-view/


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