I'm not sure I understand the competition to come up with the next best fried thing, and I'm not here to judge (I'm responsible for my extra poundage, no one else), but every year, when the State Fair of Texas announces its list of fried food finalists, my ears perk up. I am excited to know what's being tossed into the vat next.
They never disappoint, at least not in terms of generating a buzz. So in case you didn't get the memo, let me share the menu.
This year, you'll get ID'd if you order items like Deep-Fried Frozen Margarita or Fried Beer. Like the Fried Coke or Fried Butter before them, that just seems to defy some scientific law, but I'll admit I'm ready for the lines to open up for a frozen margarita. While waiting in line, I'll ponder the difference between "fried" and "deep-fried."
The Deep-Fried Frozen Margarita is born of the goodness of two things: margarita ingredients and funnel cake batter. They are mixed together, fried, dusted with a lemon-lime mixture and served in a salt-rimmed glass. While probably not as refreshing as the real thing, it sounds pretty good to me.
The Fried Beer is a beer-filled pretzel pocket. I'm not a fan of beer, so someone else will have to vouch for this later. I hear the beer really does pour out when you take a bite.
Again, don't forget your ID. You will get carded for these, even though I'm pretty sure the alcohol disappears somewhere in the frying process.
As a bona fide lemon addict, I'll need to order the Fried Lemonade, a baked lemon-flavored pastry that is then fried and glazed with a mix of lemonade, powdered sugar and lemon zest. I'll probably seek out fresh lemonade to wash this down with, and be in citrus heaven.
For chocolate lovers, there is, of course, Fried Chocolate, a white chocolate candy bar and a cherry are stuffed inside a brownie, dipped in chocolate cake batter, deep fried and topped off with powdered sugar, a cherry sauce and chocolate whipped cream. I might have called it Fried Cherry Cordial, but alas, once again they did not call for my opinion. *insert audible gasp here* Just kidding. :) Well see, though, if that shows up on the menu next year. Remember, you heard it here first! Oh boy, do I have all kinds of GREAT ideas for next year!
There also is the Deep-Fried S'mores Pop Tart, which is pretty self-explanatory. A s'mores flavored Pop Tart is battered, fried and then topped with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. I'd like to put this to the test with my friend Kate who lights up her fire pit at home as often as she can to feed her s'mores cravings.
For something more savory, traditional and Texan, they're promising Texas Fried Frito Pie. Not sure how, but they are apparently able to hold together the chili, cheese and Fritos long enough to fry it. It's a mystery to me, but the item made it as a finalist, so it can be done. Amazing what a little human will and ingenuity can achieve. Speaking of: Look for Texas Fried Caviar: fried and seasoned black-eyed peas. Whodathunkit? Someone thought of it.
And finally, for you health nuts, oh, wait, nevermind. This salad is fried, too. Fernie's Fried Club Salad is a spinach wrap stuffed with the goodness of diced ham, chicken, shredded lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cheese and bacon. Sounds good, but wait, I'm not finished. It's fried, topped with deep-fried sour dough croutons on a stick and then served on a bed of lettuce. Well, at least you can still say you had the "salad," if anyone asks.
So there you have it. Don't try them all in one sitting, or it'll be "groan" appétit instead of bon appétit. Pace yourself. You'll have 20-something days to get it all in. The State Fair of Texas runs from Sept. 24-Oct. 17.