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Fair Food Feasting At Home!


By Toni Woodard

When asked what my favorite type of food is, my standard answer is “carbs.”  An extremely close second is “Fair Food.”

Being a mostly healthy eater, I eagerly anticipate breaking all my food rules and indulging in Fair Food for 10 delicious days each August.  When I say indulge, I really mean inhale and gorge and consume with absolutely zero regard for fat grams, calories, or milligrams of sodium (mmmm, salt…).  After attending the Clark County Fair nearly every single day each year, I typically need about a week of salads and Greek yogurt and water to detox and get my entire being back on track.  But it is SO worth it.

 

When the Clark County Fair was lamentably cancelled for 2020, I had high hopes that we might still be able to enjoy some iconic Clark County Fair Food Favorites (milkshakes, elephant ears, Irish Potatoes, homemade pie…) via a drive-thru at the fairgrounds or curbside pickup near the grandstands.

 

Sadly, my dreams were dashed.  But not for lack of trying.  The organizers of the Clark County Fair reached out to some of the food vendors early on to see if they would be game for finding a way to provide a taste of the fair in August.  Understandably, with several months of uncertainty looming, none were confident they could safely, legally, and satisfactorily meet a demand they could not predict.  I can’t blame them. But still…BOO!

 

Determined to still celebrate one of the keystones of my annual Clark County Fair Experience, I have some concocted some ideas to hopefully capture some of the Fair Food spirit at home and in my car.

 

Support Local Restaurants  To get a taste of actual food offered at the Clark County Fair, there are two local restaurants that I plan to order take-out from.  Both Patrick’s Hawaiian Café in Cascade Park and Las Mesitas Mexican Restaurant in Battle Ground set up booths every year to bring their menus to Clark County Fairgoers.  Patrick’s Yakisoba Noodles with Teriyaki Chicken is always one of my favorites, as is their Kalua Pork.  I will probably order both this week from their brick-and-mortar location to enjoy on my patio.  I am also really hoping Las Mesitas will offer their traditional Elote (Mexican street corn) in their restaurant.  Their traditional corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise and Cotija cheese (and lime and spices) is not something I typically allow myself to eat.  But during the Fair, all food rules are broken!

 

Better Than No Milkshake at All  There is nothing like a milkshake from the Clark County Diary Women’s milkshake barn.  Their fresh peach milkshakes are the quintessential Fair Food favorite and must-have.  I love mixing flavors, so my annual Milkshake Barn go-tos are Cherry Chocolate and Strawberry Cookies and Cream. Mmmm!!  I know it won’t be the same…AT ALL…but I am planning on indulging in some substitute milkshakes over the next ten days.  Don & Joe’s Drive-in in Battle Ground, Sonic Burger in Columbia Tech Center, and Five Guys are all on my list of potential milkshake stand-ins.

 

Aloha Brain Freeze!  Hawaiian Shave Ice is a daily treat for me during the Clark County Fair.  I have so many of them, I actually carry a cheat-sheet of my favorite flavors and combinations (watermelon or pineapple shave ice sprinkled with a couple shakes of the Tajin Mexican seasoning bottle next to the napkin cup is ridiculously odd and wonderful).  To honor my Hawaiian Shave Ice habit, I plan to trek over to Portland to treat myself to a very different but equally delicious version of fruity ice in a cup.  Wailua Shave Ice on Burnside across from Powell’s uses fresh ingredients and Hawaiian heritage to produce some beautiful and refreshing shave ice.  For the purposes of Fair Week, I will overlook the fact their ingredients are healthy-ish.  If you go, splurge on an added dollop of haipua (coconut milk) foam. Trust me.

 

Deep Fry DIY  Deep fried weirdness is one of the very best parts of Fair Food.  A freshly made deep fried Oreo or deep fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is gooey, drippy heaven on a stick.  Deep fried Twix and deep fried butter balls (brilliantly served with raspberry sauce) are pretty amazing, too.

 

Taking deep fried goodness into my own hands this year – with a focus on not catching my house on fire – I purchased an adorable little 1 quart electric deep fryer online for less than $30, along with a new bottle of canola oil.  I have no idea what exactly I might deep fry, but I have my eye on Starbursts, 3 Musketeer bars, Hot Tamales candy, frozen bananas, and tequila (yep!  See next entry).

 

Recipe Hunt  A Google search of “fair food recipes” yields all sorts of strange, delicious-sounding, calorie-laden treats to make at home.  How better to Fair while quarantined?!?  I have assembled several pages of recipes for things like:

 

 “S’mores Nachos” ~ marshmallows, chocolate chips, and Reese’s Pieces melted in a pie tin and scooped with graham crackers.

 

“Pickle Dogs” ~ a hot dog with a large pickle sliced lengthwise as a bun, topped with a mixed spread of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chives.

 

“Oreo-Stuffed Crescent Rolls” ~ just what it sounds like, with added chocolate chips.  And probably chocolate syrup.

 

“Deep Fried Tequila Shots” ~ bite-sized cubes of angel food cake dipped (or soaked, depending how hard core you are) in tequila and then fried on a stick in your electric fryer.  I’m thinking rum and maybe Kahlua might also be interesting to try.

 

Do you have other ideas how to enjoy some Fair Food at home this year?  Have you found bizarre Fair Food recipes? Got a favorite local place to get a milkshake?  I want to know!  Send me an email at woodhavenblog@outlook.com.   I will also be writing about my Fair Food Feasting on my blog over the next couple of weeks.  Feel free to follow along on Woodhaven Ramblings (http://toniatwoodhaven.blogspot.com/).

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