Top 10 New Foods at the 2012 State Fairs

Well, in regards to ridiculous overloads of novelty foods, it’s all downhill from here—state fair season is over for the year. We’ll have to wait for months before a stream of deep-fried, chocolate-covered, bacon-wrapped indulgences can once again make their appearance in our diets. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the most shocking new creations that made their debut onto the state fair food scene in 2012. Steel your arteries…

10. BIG Beef Rib – California State Fair

You’d think that a normal beef rib would contain enough animal flesh, but you would be wrong, and the California State Fair is here to prove it. They’ve jammed a giant 24-oz. steak ONTO a 17-inch beef rib bone. Why?! Because they can. (Photo: Cavegrrl.com)

9. Deep Fried Cotton Candy – Texas State Fair

We saw deep fried Kool-Aid and deep fried salsa at last year’s state fairs, so we should have known that cotton candy couldn’t be that far off. Pretty crazy, because it seems like the spun sugar would melt in the deep fryer. Life is full of mysteries. Not enough sweets for you? Don’t worry, this treat is served by a frozen yogurt purveyor, so feel free to use these giant balls of fried sugar as a topping on your froyo. (Photo: Cassie’s Frozen Yogurt)

8. Outlaw Stacker – Eastern Idaho State Fair

We all know that french fries are a great base for all kinds of toppings, and the Eastern Idaho State Fair really took that idea and ran with it. The Outlaw Stacker is a huge pile of fries smothered in gravy, bacon, and a fried egg. The name rings true—health and nutrition are truly outlawed in this dish. And we’re okay with that. (Photo: Eastern Idaho State Fair)

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Super Bowl Grub: Kimchi and Apple Brats

I have never been one for slow cookers. I understand the appeal and do not deny the results but I typically take little satisfaction from putting all my ingredients  in a crock pot and letting it do all the work. That being said, the Super Bowl is the slow cooker’s — well — Super Bowl. When you have a bunch of friends coming over, nothing is easier than having a portion of the game day eats just simmering away without needing much attention.

And what better to have simmering than sausage? Recently the governors of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin made the typical Super Bowl bet of food/drink from each respective state. Included in Wisconsin’s bet is a selection of bratwurst, cheese and beer. Besides making me want to visit Wisconsin for the first time in my life, it also had me craving some brats. But instead of the typical sauerkraut and brats, I decided to top mine with Korean kimchi, the spicy, funky Korean cabbage dish that is basically what sauerkraut wants to be when it grows up.

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Top 10 Finds at the 2010 Food Fete

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The younger, hipper cousin to the Fancy Food Show, the annual Food Fete is a gathering place for foodie types; a showcase of the newest products across the world of cooking, dining and drinking; and an all-around schwagfest. Obviously, we bit. Here are the coolest new products we spotted at this year’s fete.

10. Sous Vide Supreme

sous vide

Remember last year when I got high on Top Chef and bought that Thomas Keller sous vide cookbook but then realized you need a couple grand worth of equipment to sous vide food at home? Well some clever market researcher must have realized there are a lot of d-bags like me out there, because SousVide Supreme now has an at-home sous vide machine designed for the average joe. OK, at $450 maybe it’s for the slightly above-average joe, but still, getting closer! Everyone must sous vide! UPDATE: Endless Simmer tries out and reviews the SousVide Supreme.

9. Glace de Veau

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Ya’ll know we don’t usually hype pre-packaged sauces and such here at ES, but when the supermarket starts carrying roasted veal stock reduction, I have to digress from the norm. Yes, yes, I can hear Anthony Bourdain carping on about how every cook should have their own homemade veal stock in the freezer and how it only takes 172 hours to prepare so what’s your goddamn problem? Well you know what? I’ve had your book on my shelf for two years and still never made any damn homemade demi-glace, so I’m going with this. In stores this fall.

8. Box ‘o EVOO

olive oil keg

I think Lucini was actually there to show off the taste of their olive oil, but I was more impressed by the packaging. I don’t know about you all, but I’ve always found those tiny 6-oz. jars of oil woefully inept at keeping up with my usage, and the large bottles too heavy to lug home from the grocery store. Solution: an ungodly amount of extra-virgin olive oil, packed into a plastic bag in a cardboard box. It even comes with a spiggot, just like boxed wine! All I need now is the self-control not to drink directly from the spout.

7. Green Garlic

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This is a tasty green product that I’ve never seen in stores before. California-based Christopher Ranch is expanding their garlic repertoire by harvesting the stuff while it’s still young and green, and selling it with the leafy, scallion-like stalks attached. The green part of the garlic offers a less intense garlick-y bite, and you can still use the bulb, or even fry up those little strands at the root and sprinkle them on top of a dish. Coming soon to a Fairway or Whole Foods near you. Downside: shipped across the country in plastic packaging — I’d rather see them at the far mar.

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The Badger State Strikes Again

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Back in college, I had the distinct pleasure of spending four years of my life in Wisconsin, a place so American it makes the rest of America look like a Soviet gulag. Nowhere is this more evident than in Wisconsin’s grand culinary traditions, which have only three basic rules:

1) It must be fried

2) It must contain cheese

3) It must contain beer

While these rules have resulted in some questionable practices (cheese-filled beer brats – no thanks), every once in a while they coalesce into a new gastronomic invention so perfect that attention must be paid.

An old college friend recently posted the above photo on facebook and I nearly screamed out loud.

A deviled egg, dipped in cheese-y beer batter and deep fried. As she writes, “this should be on the Wisconsin stage flag.” Amen. Wrap that baby in bacon and it’ll be the new stars and stripes.

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March Madness: America’s Top 10 Drunk College Foods

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With the NCAA basketball tournament tipping off this afternoon, America’s brightest young minds are poised to spend the next month doing what they do best: getting drunk and yelling at television screens. When all the blood, sweat, tears – and beer – are swept off the court, the nation’s 18 million college students will be left in search of one thing: some grease to soak it all up.

While you were finalizing your bracket picks, Endless Simmer carefully evaluated the tournament field to compile this list of the tournament’s Top 10 Colleges – ranked by the drunk food they have to offer their hungry, hungry students. Eat that, U.S. News and World Report.

10. University of Wisconsin – Mac ‘n Cheese Pizza
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Photo: J&J Blog

Oh maaaan, I need some pizza. Cheesy pizza. Mmmm, cheese. No, wait, I want mac and cheese. Oooh! Pizza with mac and cheese on top! That’s what I want.

If you have ever said or heard a statement like this, you are almost certainly a drunk college student. Also, you probably live in Wisconsin.

The Badgers may have been dissed by the selection committee (29-4 can’t get you a no #2 seed??) but Wisconsin never was as good at sports as they are at creative use of cheese. Madison drunks flock to Ian’s Pizza for this gooey, magnificent creation that just couldn’t come from any other state.

9. Rutgers – Fat Darell
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Photo: AP

Don Imus’ not-so-favorite team is back in the women’s tourney as a Number 2 seed, while the Rutgers men were sent packing after a miserable season at the bottom of the Big East.

But don’t feel too bad for the Scarlet Knights – they can always console themselves back on campus with a Jersey summer full of Fat Darrells, a behemoth of a sandwich that solves the drunk’s eternal dilemma of “Do I want chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, or French fries?”

The answer: a resounding “all three,” piled high on a sub role and topped off with marinara sauce. I’d tell you more about it but I’m a little short of breath and I feel a painful shooting sensation in my arm.

8. Purdue – The Duane Purvis All-American
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Photo: Flick User Horsepj

You can be forgiven if you didn’t know the name of Purdue’s All-American half-back/full-back from their undefeated 1932 football team. But you should damn well know the burger that bears his name.

The Triple XXX Family Restaurant in West Lafayette, Indiana serves up this decidedly unwholesome Boilermaker classic: 100% sirloin patty with lettuce, tomato, pickle, Spanish onions, and….wait for it…peanut butter. Only a drunk or Elvis – perhaps only a drunk Elvis – could fully appreciate this brilliance.

7. University of San Diego – Filiberto’s Carne Asada Burrito
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Photo: Flickr user buckofive

The San Diego Toreros may not be a household name – in fact, if you google the phrase University of San Diego team, the first hit is the school’s mock trial club. Scroll down to the bottom of the results page to find the bball squad, who shocked favorites Gonzaga and St. Mary’s to steal the WCC title and a berth in the big dance this year.

But that’s not what has these young fellows so excited; they’re just pumped up about this steak-filled beauty. USD students have shown the dirt cheap, gigantic burritos from Filiberto’s so much love that the chain has expanded to towns throughout Cali and Arizona, but U Study Drunk loyalists still swear by the original.

6. University of Pittsburgh – The South Side Slope
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Photo: Roadfood.com

For some reason, Polish cuisine has never quite caught on in the United States. And that reason is the simple fact that it doesn’t come between two slices of bread.

Pitt saloon Fatheads has a solution to this problem, and its name is the South Side Slope. A giant kielbasa topped with fried pierogies, grilled onions, American cheese and something called horsey sauce. Don’t ask, just eat.

Next: Top 5 America’s Top Drunk College Foods

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