Fair Food Favorites #13 - Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn. Kettle Corn may not be specific to Fairs any more, but it is sure where I got my first taste of sweet, salty crunchy goodness. The giant copper kettles used to pop and mix Kettle Corn are so impressive.

A bag of Kettle Corn always seems pricey to me, then I look at the guy (or gal – Hi Anne!) slaving over that piping hot kettle all day long on what can be a very hot day and am thankful all I have to do is…enjoy!


Fair Food Favorites #12 - Ten Pound Buns

Ten Pound Buns. When Ten Pound Buns arrived on the scene during my first tour at the (then) Del Mar Fair, I thought I had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! A huge, thick slice of bread with whatever I wanted on top! I really like the cheese garlic bread with some tomato slices and basil on top.


Fair Food Favorites #11 - Pignotti's Pasta

Pignotti’s Pasta. Reno Pignotti and his wife Elaine started this and Reno’s Fish and Chips. Now their daughter, Cathy, and her husband Ken run them. If you like Italian food, Pignotti’s is a must at the Fair. Their ravioli are wonderful. I’ve had the lasagna, and now they have the ever popular meatball sliders. DiAnne and I had the tortellini dinner, it was delicious.

The only thing I wish they would do, in addition, is open a restaurant so I could enjoy their food year-round.

A side note – when I was in Encinitas, I would see Reno move his trailers into the property above my place during the off-season. I knew the fair season was done when Reno showed up in the fall.


Fair Food Favorites #10 - CB Cupcakes

I think THIS is my new favorite thing at the Fair! CB Cupcakes are an off-shoot (well, sort of ) of Hot Dog on a Stick. Connie Barham, who’s dad started Hot Dog on a Stick, and currently runs the business with her brother, has started CB Cupcakes.

CB Cupcakes has the cutest, most girly booth, it’s just darling! Connie has a variety of cupcakes, but the red velvet are to die for, oh my gosh! With all the deep fried wonders to tempt and try, I’ll go for the red velvet cupcake any day, definitely my new favorite Fair Food!


Hot Dog on a Stick Lessons 2010

Today was Hot Dog on a Stick lessons at the Holly’s Diner/San Diego County Fair. This year’s event was attended a record attendance! I was joined by DiAnne, JR, Tré and HH – it was HH’s first time for Hot Dog on a Stick lessons!

We got our Hot Dog’s, cheese sticks and various lemonades – well, most of us, DiAnne tried a cream cheese stick and HH had two Hot Dog’s. We discuss proper order of consumption, proper technique and desired condiment placement – not necessarily in that order.

Great fun was had by all, next year, join us, there will be lessons again!


Fair Food Favorites #9 - Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls

Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls. Eldon and Janice, Dane and Dara, and the other sisters do a wonderful job of making the best cinnamon rolls on the Fair circuit.

Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls always have the longest line first thing in the morning. When Daddy, Anna and I used to visit on Father’s Day, we would head to Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls first; have our cinnamon rolls and coffee and be ready to start our day.

Nowadays, I allow myself to have one during the 22 days of Fair – okay, maybe two but that’s it! I don’t need the cream cheese or nuts on top, I’m a purist when it comes to cinnamon rolls – but I do need a cup of coffee on the side.


Fair Food Favorites #8 - Charlie's Chicken

Charlie’s Chicken. How can you not smile when you see Charlie’s Chicken stand? The menu alone will make you smile – deep fried Oreos, deep fried avocados, deep fried White Castle burgers, Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich, broasted chicken, deep fried frog legs, and more!

Charlie spends time in the Fall with his family in the east part of San Diego County coming up with the next deep fried fascination. This year’s new item: Deep Fried Klondike Bar. Finding the balance between hot oil and ice cream that’s not in a puddle when served is tricky, but can be done!

As much as I am entertained by Charlie’s menu, I enjoy the chicken kabobs the most. Fresh grilled chicken with veggies and definitely an entire meal on a stick!


Fair Food Favorites #7 - Apple Tower

Note: Hot Dog on a Stick lesson for Wednesday, June 23 has been moved to Friday, June 25 at 2 PM - for those interested, please mark your calendar.

Apple Tower. Have you ever had a caramel apple at a fair? An apple on a stick (of course), with a thick layer of caramel or cinnamon caramel all around. A flat top when it’s handed to you because it is set stick side up when it’s still warm from it’s caramel “bath.” As you take the first bite, what happens? You get a sticky mess all over your face!

That may be okay for kids, but for adults, the Apple Tower is a dream come true. A sliced green apple in a bowl or tall cup with warm caramel drizzled over the top and oozing deep into the cup to cover all the apple slices. With a fork or toothpick, you can access each slice of crunchy, tart, gooey sweetness and not have the caramel all over your face.


Fair Food Favorites #6 - Funnel Cakes

Funnel Cakes. Funnel Cakes are a staple at Fairs. Heat up the deep fryer, stream the batter into the fryer in any pattern you’d like – just make sure it will fit on the appointed plate – and violá! Funnel Cake! Top the Funnel Cake with fruits, chocolate, caramel, whipped cream or just simply with powdered sugar and you have many fairgoers favor fair feast.

Funnel Cakes have never been my favorite, I would still rather spend the calories on a second helping of Hot Dog on a Stick, but DiAnne loves them!


Hot Dog on a Stick Notice!

There will be Hot Dog on a Stick eating lessons next week on Wednesday, June 23 at the Hot Dog on a Stick booth on the Concourse just west of the AgriFair at the San Diego County Fair. Please be at the booth by 2 PM to purchase and commence with lessons.

If you get there early and want to make your purchase, please be sure to get a hot dog and cheese stick, and lemonade if you like.

See you there!


Fair Food Favorites #5 - Mini Donuts

Mini Donuts. You can find Mini Donuts in Exhibit Hall on the south side, west end when visiting the San Diego County Fair. These ladies have been there forever. The Mini Donuts are produced constantly throughout the day and are so easy to snack on (a bit of a problem.)

Mini Donuts are lightly sprinkled with sugar and served in half dozen and dozen increments. Mmmm….


Fair Food Favorites #4 - Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House. When I was a kid, this was my favorite. Whether it was a warm square of gingerbread with a generous scoop of whipped cream on top, or a soft gingerbread cookie with a little flour on the bottom the Gingerbread House was a must.

I would always make sure that this was my last food purchase of a long and wonderful Fair day just before we headed out the front gate and to the car for that cozy ride home.


Fair Food Favorites #3 - Hot Dog on a Stick

There is no question what my favorite Fair Food is – Hot Dog on a Stick. This is NOT to be confused with a corn dog. Hot Dog on a Stick is a brand, hand dipped and fried to order, so be patient.

The perfect pairing for the Hot Dog on a Stick is the Cheese Stick that is served at the same stand, it’s like a grilled cheese sandwich to go. And to wash it all down, a lemonade, or my new favorite, a berry lemonade.
One year when I was working at the California State Fair I wanted to see how many of the 18 days I could enjoy the Hot Dog on a Stick trilogy in a row. I went 11 days. I had my favorite Fair Food combination two more times before the end of Fair, but 11 days straight was my limit.

This year at the San Diego County Fair, we also have Fair Food Behind the Scenes each day at 1 PM, yesterday was…Hot Dog on a Stick! What fun!!


Fair Food Favorites #2 - Grant's Burgers

Grant’s Burgers. If there ever was a hamburger at the Fair to enjoy, it’s from Grant’s. There are other burgers, but nothing like Grant’s. They are juicy and delicious and so filling. My only problem with a Grant’s burger during the Fair is that I just want to take a nap afterwards – which I can’t afford to do! Maybe I can split one with HH this year.


Fair Food Favorites #1 - Rose's

Rose’s Chorizo Burrito. Once a week, or so, during the San Diego Co. Fair, DiAnne and I enjoy a deliciously warm, lightly spicy and the-perfect-way-to-start-the-day chorizo burrito from Rose’s. Although the Fair starts tomorrow, we just could not wait and had one for brunch.

DiAnne and I always share so we can have another later in the week if we want. These burritos are just to-die-for on an overcast morning on the coast of San Diego County when you know the day ahead will last at least ten hours. Warm, toasted flour tortilla, chorizo, egg, potatoes, cheese, a little salsa…mmmmm.


It's That Time

Well, it’s that time of year – good, home cookin’ at the Diner turns into a summer feast for the taste buds. It’s Fair time!

Friday, the San Diego County Fair opens and Holly’s Diner officially moves locations and changes menus. Last year I had a hard time keeping up with the Diner, but this year it will be a different approach. This year it will be all about the Fair food, so get ready for multiple editions of Fairs, Festivals and Food Frivolity!

I’m ready, I hope you are too! The tantalizing tour of tastes begins Friday…