When the OC Fair comes to town, new and unusual food combinations always come with it.
And while Buffalo Chicken Chimichangas at Chicken Charlie’s and Fruity Pebbles Shrimp Po’ Boy at Get Fried are just a couple of the new items, there’s an assortment of fried, savory goodness for all taste buds. The new stand coming this year is Papi’s Puffy Tacos, and Tater Twister is bringing a whole bunch of toppings for tots.
New sweets this year include Cinnamon Maple Bacon Bombs at D&D Country Cinnamon Rolls, at right, a strawberries and cream Texas Donut, and Banana Cream Pie Funnel Cakes at Dutchman’s.
We hit the Fair on opening day, scattered about, and tried a handful of the new items, and all the kids wanted was dessert. They agreed to a quick “healthy” lunch of orange chicken and rice first, then it’s off to find the Dole Whips ($6.50 for a cup or cone). The newest variety, a pineapple and strawberry combination, wasn’t available at the stand we hit (go to the Green Gate for that!), but we were delighted with classic pineapple on its own—creamy and tropical and the perfect refreshment on a summer day.
We were curious about the new puffle cone sundaes at Fabe’s, but once we arrived, the handcrafted drinks drew us in. How to choose between options like Strawberry Shiso, Gooseberry Marigold, and Blackberry Charcoal—everyone is getting in on the charcoal flavors! We settled on the Gooseberry Marigold, which can be made with lemonade or sparkling water. Perfectly tart and ultra refreshing, the pretty drink comes in a souvenir plastic mug with sugar around the rim and marigold petals floating throughout. Half a dozen people stopped to ask what it was and where to find it. “That looks delicious! Does it have alcohol in it?” The answer is no, but it was worth its $9 cost just for the fun of talking to inquisitors about it. One Fair worker recounted her time picking gooseberries in Michigan. Fabe’s also offers a variety of churros—even Fruity Pebble flavor—if you want to go beyond classic cinnamon. And if you want to go all decadent—why not, it’s the Fair— try a gelato milkshake with the souvenir mug included ($12).
As for actual food, tacos from Papi’s Puffy Tacos look to be an early hit. About $11 for two big tacos with a choice of chicken, pork, or beef make this plate possibly the best deal on food at the fair.
For lovers of mac & cheese, a pork or brisket Mac ‘n’ Cheese Sandwich, above, from Chuckwagon on a bun with onion rings definitely hits the spot.
Here are more of the new foods for the 2019 OC fair, which runs July 12 through Aug. 11 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.
- Salvadoran Pupusas – An OC Fair twist on the national food of El Salvador: masa grilled with cheese, beans and bacon topped with cabbage and salsa (Bacon-A-Fair)
- Buffalo Chicken Chimichanga – Tortilla containing mac & cheese, bacon and buffalo chicken, fried and topped off with buffalo ranch and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (Chicken Charlie’s)
Fried Hummus – House-made hummus coated with flour and seasonings, at left, served in a pocket of pita bread and topped with with sliced tomatoes and a sauce made of plain whole yogurt with tahini sauce (Chicken Charlie’s)
- Pork or Brisket Mac ‘n’ Cheese Sandwich – Meats are smoked 8-10 hours (Chuckwagon)
- Tex Mex Rangeburger – With pepper jack cheese and fried onion strings (Chuckwagon)
- Tex Mex Tortilla Chips – With pork or brisket (Chuckwagon)
- Crunchy Hot Cheetos Caramel Apples (Candy Factory)
- Hot Cheetos Baked Potato, giant plain baked potato with broccoli florets (Corn Star)
- Cinnamon Maple Bacon Bombs – With cream cheese frosting (D&D Country Cinnamon Rolls)
- Dole Pineapple Whip swirled together with Dole Strawberry Whip
- Banana Cream Pie Funnel Cake (Dutchman’s Funnel Cake)
- Puffle Cone Sundae (Fabe’s)
- Chili Cheese Fry-Topped Blooming Onion, Cheese Fry-Topped Blooming Onion (Fresh Frys)
- Fruity Pebbles Shrimp Po’ Boy – Cajun-battered gulf shrimp topped with fruity pebbles and Srirachi ranch sauce on a French roll (Get Fried), at left
- Puffy Taco, Puffy Taquito (Papi’s Puffy Tacos – new stand)
- Tacos Vampiros – Grilled concave tortilla topped with melted cheese, protein of choice, guacamole and topped with a second tortilla (Papi’s Puffy Tacos)
- Waffle Pizza – Belgian waffle topped with marinara, cheese, pepperoni (Pignotti’s)
- Lasagna Egg Rolls – With a choice of dipping sauces (Pignotti’s)
- Pastrami Sandwich and Chili Cheese Fries (The Ranch)
- Green Acres Fire Burger – All-natural Harris Ranch beef, ghost-pepper cheese, lettuce, jalapeños, spicy mayo and avocado on a potato knot bun (Tasti Burger)
- Elote Dog – All-beef hot dog, at right, on a toasted bun topped with fresh-cut corn off the cob, pico de gallo, spices, shredded Oaxaca cheese and jalapeños drizzled with spicy mayo, a lime wedge and Mexican crema (Tater Twister)
- Smokehouse Tots – Tots with coleslaw, pulled pork, brisket, sour cream, cheese and BBQ sauce (Tater Twister)
- Truffle Parmesean Tots – Tots with garlic, parmesan, truffle oil, parsley (Tater Twister)
- Buffalo Bleu Tots – Tots with buffalo chicken breast, blue cheese crumbles and bacon (Tater Twister)
- Avocado Toast – Haas avocados, garlic, olive oil, lemon on a slice of signature 10 Pound Buns sourdough (Ten Pound Buns)
- S’mores Big Skillet Cookie (Totally Baked Cookie Joint)
- Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup in a Sadie Rose bread bowl; Mac ‘n’ Cheese in a Sadie Rose bread bowl; Shrimp Jalapeño Jammers (Who Fried the Cheese?)
- The Smokestack – Tots topped with pulled pork, elote, Oaxaca cheese, spices and topped with fresh made crunch slaw, grilled onions, jalapeños and sweet and tangy BBQ sauce (Tater Twister)