The San Diego State Fair is the largest county fair in the United States, and attracts over 1.6 million visitors each year with its show-stopping concerts, exhibits, rides, carnival games and of course, food. Each year the options seem to get slightly crazier and a little more adventurous, and with this year’s theme of ‘How Sweet It is’, dessert lovers are in for a real treat. Check out some of the unique sweet and savory options available below.
Cotton Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches
Chicken Charlie is known to create unique combinations each year at the fair that constantly peak tourist and visitors’ curiosity. Keeping in line with the theme this year, they have created the specialty item of Cotton Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches. There is not much to explain for this treat- it is exactly what it sounds like. Swabs of colorful cotton candy used as cookie substitutes to hold together a slab of vanilla ice-cream. If cotton candy isn’t your cup of tea, they also are offering chocolate pasta, served in a red waffle cone. Indulge in both treats- just be sure to book your dentist appointment ahead of time!
Bacon Infused Baklava
Baklava on its own is generally a heavy indulgence reserved for special occasions. The phyllo pastry comes wrapped in combinations of various nuts and honey, and has been a staple at the fair at the Mediterranean booth, sold by Ted Platis’ and his family for over 25 years. This year, however, the traditional pastry is getting a unicorn makeover. Baklava is frozen, wrapped in bacon, then fried and topped with sprinkles. The organizers of the fair had challenged each vendor to create a unicorn themed dish- and the creative take on unicorn baklava is a runaway hit with visitors.
Taking a break from the (extremely) sweet treats, Pignotti’s, a regular at the fair for its 54th year, is offering its savory take on a traditionally sweet treat. Shaped like a donut, their spaghetti donuts are also exactly as they sound- spaghetti in the shape of a donut. The ‘donuts’ are made with compressed spaghetti and come in different flavors and are topped with cheese, tomato sauce, and pesto, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and basil. To call them healthy might be a stretch but they are not deep fried, so compared to the other options available, your waist line may thank you!
Another inspired dish from Pignotti’s is their creative take on a cult favorite- the lasagna nachos. Pieces of pasta are deep fried to taste almost like nacho chips, and topped with ricotta cheese, marinara sauce, spinach and classic Italian seasonings. It really is the perfect combination of a favorite Mexican dish combined with Italian comfort food to create an easy to eat, on the go snack that is perfect for tasting while taking in the attractions of the fair. Compared to other items on the list, the lasagna nachos come in on the lighter side, so this may be a good appetizer to get started on your fair feast.
Whether you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, or dig into your cravings for deep fried goodies, the San Diego Fair has you covered. Some of the other treats not mentioned include deep fried filet mignon, Ramen burritos, deep fried cinnamon apple rings, and unicorn fries covered in onions, tomatoes, ranch sauce and hot sauce. Of course, you can always opt for the fried chicken donut sandwich with ice cream and fruity pebbles on top, if you really want something to brag about!
The Fair runs through July 4, and with over 500 shops, and stalls, it could take an entire weekend to make your way through all the sights, sounds and tastes. Just be sure to wear your stretchy pants!