The San Diego County Fair is upon us once again, and while world-class entertainment, endless carnival rides, farm animal competitions and spectacular firework shows may be a draw for some, the overwhelmingly popular reason to return annually is the food.
For those new to carnival cuisine, the majority is battered, deep fried, served on a stick and probably based on a dare. But this year, the Fair introduces new sit-down experiences, healthy options and classic treats.
Heineken Red Star Café: For casual eats, the Heineken Red Star Café whips up fresh salads, sandwiches, Mexican food and appetizers every evening from 5-8:30pm. The café is located on the second floor outdoor patio on the west side of the Paddock.
U-T San Diego Paddock Lounge: This new indoor eatery hydrates Fair-goers with 20 taps of local and imported beers, plus a full bar. To pair, guests can grub on the authentic Mexican food menu that features sopes and tacos. The U-T San Diego Paddock Lounge offers a front-row view of the Paddock events with open-air rail bars.
Surfside Race Place: When you’re hunting for a place to cool off, the Surfside Race Place provides sit-down meals in air-conditioned comfort, Wednesdays through Sundays.
New, Healthy Options
The Lobster Shack in the Infield serves up Steamed Lobster Tails, fresh from Maine.
The Pineapple Express food stand offers some tropical treats, including Maui Chicken Sliders, Pineapple Shrimp Cocktail Bowl, Chicken and Mandarin Shrimp Salad and a Pineapple Fruit Bowl. Pineapple Express is located on the corner of the Concourse and Wyland Way.
Classic Fair Foods
Bacon-A-Fair is a bacon lovers paradise, featuring bold tastes of Porkabello Kabob (bacon-wrapped, Gouda-stuffed portabello on a stick); Caveman Turkey Club (one pound of bacon wrapped around an extra large turkey leg); Baconshrooms (deep-fired, bacon-wrapped mushrooms) or Porky Poppers (bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapenos). Bacon-A-Fair is located on the Concourse near the bridge to the Infield.
Chicken Charlie’s deep-fries with love. If you dare, test out the Deep-Fried Cereal, Deep-Fried Pork Chops and Deep-Friend Peanut Butter and Jelly. Chicken Charlie’s is on the Concourse near AgriFair.
Pignotti’s Pasta offers Fair-goers Italian eats like Bacon Pasta or a Bread Bowl filled with pasta or antipasto salad. Pignotti’s Pasta is located near O’Brien Hall and the Skyway.
Reno’s Fish ‘n’ Chips serves original eats like Beach Fries (French fries drizzled with fish taco sauce and topped with fresh salsa), Deep-Fried Green Beans and Sweet Potato Tater Tots. Reno’s Fish ‘n’ Chips is located on the corner of Skyway and the Avenue outside of O’Brien Hall.
Funnel Cake Express says it all in its name. Satiate your sweet tooth with this classic Fair concoction. This year, try the Red Velvet Funnel Cake. Funnel Cake Express is located near Bing Crosby Hall and the Skyway.
Rose’s Food represents traditional Mexican chow, cooking up Tostilocos, Potato Taquitos and Menudo. Rose’s Food is located on the Avenue.
Del Mar Diner spotlights all the classics. Dig into Buffalo Chicken Sliders (served on a Hawaiian bun) Chicken Fried Steak (with mashed potatoes and country-style sausage gravy), French Toast Sticks, Deep-Fried Chili Asteroid (award-winning homemade chili & cheese), Pie Fries (deep-fried pie crust strips with strawberry preserves) and more.
Fair-goers can also experience some of the highlights in food and drink at the San Diego International Beer Festival, Wine Festival and the Food Truck Festival. Learn more here.
The 2012 SD County Fair “Out of this World” is back June 8 - July 4. Learn more at sdfair.com.
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