As we bid adieu to summer, we also said our goodbyes to this year’s Los Angeles County Fair at the Pomona Fairplex. Situated in the far east corner of LA County, quite a ways from our humble Westside home, the LA County Fair is definitely one of those things every Angeleno should check out at least once. Wander the huge fairgrounds in the sweltering heat, devour deep-fried foods with reckless abandon, win assorted plushie prizes of Despicable Me Minions or Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and Friends, and hop aboard a few (probably unsafe) carnival rides decked out in neon-colored panels. Los Angeles, especially the city as we know it, doesn’t seem like the County Fair having type of place. But we do have one, and it’s pretty fun indeed!
The Grand Wheel
Martin scored a pair of free tickets, so after our hour-long drive on the 10 fwy and forking over $15 for parking, we moved quickly through the security lines and, finally, stood on the fun side of the gates, marveling at the many attractions. First on our minds, as usual, is food. Right on cue, then we saw this…
Chuckwagon Wild Hog BBQ
We love BBQ and all but what really stood out to us was the Waffle Fries! I looooove waffle fries. We shared an order which was a tad pricey at $4, but that’s fair food pricing for ya.
The last waffle fry
We were too excited about the waffle fries and ended up polishing off all but one before I realized we needed a quick snapshot. Believe me, you get more than that for $4. It was actually a pleasantly hefty pile.
We didn’t eat any turkey legs but I just had to showcase a photo to show how monstrous they are. I don’t know what kind of turkey these legs belonged to, but I don’t think I want to rub one the wrong way. Sadly, every stall seemed to have plenty of turkey legs just lying on the grill, drying out in the heat. Texas Turkey Legs, the signs all proudly shout. Because everything’s bigger in Texas, right?
We strolled past an endless stream of stands selling tacos, corn dogs, cotton candy, candied apples, etc. before we spotted this sign from Street Kitchen. Lobster sliders?? Let’s go!
Okay… $6 a slider is pretty steep, even by street food / fair standards. I really wanted to like this slider, especially after our wait (the guys manning the kitchen seemed to still be finding their groove). The lobster was plentiful, juicy, and just a bit warmed. There was a slice of smoked bacon in there that gave the slider a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs sort of flavor which was awesome. The brioche bun, however, was quite dry (a magnificent feat considering how much butter goes into a typical brioche) and the spicy mayo, though delicious, was slathered excessively over the slaw, drenching the lobster and dripping everywhere like those Carl’s Jr. commercials in the 90’s. Judging from the mess, this really did belong in our faces. Overall it was OK but had so much potential!
Ridiculous Fried Food
We continued on our journey and came upon a very tall, very impressive signboard for Chicken Charlie’s (one of many stalls, we later discovered). They proudly vend deep fried anything — pickles, cookie dough, bacon-wrapped pickles, Oreos, Twinkies, avocados, even frog legs. They are also home to the Krispy Kreme Burger and the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe, with the namesake doughnuts as buns. Don’t get too excited, we did NOT order any…
We did, however, reach the main road just in time to catch the parade! We waved to Smokey the Bear and his friend Woodsy the Owl before seeking out more food.
Ever since we spotted them at 626 Night Market, I told Martin I wanted to get a spiral potato on a stick. Just for the heck of it. And then we saw Spud Ranch and their “Twisters”. So there.
Twister with Seasoned Salt
At $6, this towering Twister is a pretty decent deal. After all, you get a whole potato’s worth of indulgence, and I really enjoyed these because the slices were thin. The edges crisped up like a potato chip while the centers stayed just chewy enough to hold its shape. Awesome. They offer an assortment of salts and toppings, but we went relatively simple with a sprinkling of seasoned salt. The perfect snack to share.
In search of reprieve from the blistering heat, we went into the (air conditioned) exhibition hall that housed Culinary Styles, with wall to wall glass cases displaying contest winners and their prize ribbons. Some were truly impressive, and this steampunk cake decorated in hand-cut fondant gears was one of my favorites.
Table Setting Competition
Baked goods aside, we also admired the many themed table setting displays in the center of the room. This one received a perfect score with its tennis theme and clever decorations. I want to know where I can find those Wilson tennis ball glasses and tennis racket swizzle sticks!
And just to serve as a reminder that Whovians are everywhere, we spotted this TARDIS cake on our way out. Some of the fondant work looked a bit wonky, but I really appreciated the detailing on the sign and the door handle. I wonder what it would take to get one of these for my birthday…
And last but certainly not least, I splurged on a refreshingly slushy frozen lemonade for dessert. The texture of the ice was perfect, like a frozen margarita, and it really hit the spot on such a hot day. Brings back memories of going to theme parks as a child with my parents and sharing a frozen lemonade with my mom (she’s a big fan too!).
Another crazy ride!
So all in all, we had a fun time skipping along, hand-in-hand like teenagers on a date. The LA County fair is a great way to spend a day with the family (there were a LOT of kids and a LOT of kid-friendly attractions!) and I definitely think it’s worth visiting at least once. Nothing like spending a day in the sunshine, fried potato and frozen slushy in hand, to really revel in a Southern California summer. And maybe a beer, although they cost $9 here… bring lots of cash.
Till next year!
Check out the LA County Fair: lacountyfair.com
1101 W. Mckinley Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768
See their Yelp reviews here!