The fair is a veritable smorgasbord... Photos by C. Stiles
If there's one thing to be said about the traditional county fair, it's that they're perfect testing grounds for new foods; prime places to push the boundaries a bit, largely in pursuit of an answer to the question, "What doesn't taste better fried?" With this in mind, I ventured out to the Broward County Fair on Friday night with our photographer C. Stiles to determine just what was going down on the foodie front. The result: I ingested more smoked, sugar-dipped, and deep-fried food than should be legal. And Ms. Stiles even pushed her own boundaries a tad.
Check out the slideshow here, which plays like a "best of the fair." After the jump, I'll run down some of the highlights.
Soul Food 2 Go
I expected to a see a lot more smokers operating within the fair's boundaries - aside from those churning out the ubiquitous smoked turkey leg - but the only legitimate BBQ stand was Soul Food 2 Go. The BBQ, collard greens, mac 'n' cheese, and beans were formerly served out of a restaurant in Hollywood -- that is until owners Charles and Donna Holmes decided to scrap the brick-n-mortar shop and go the catering route. At the fair, the couple was serving up copious amounts of juicy chicken wings, chopped pork, and spare ribs plucked straight from the oak-filled smoker. If there's any question to how well the meat was smoked, take a look at the vibrant-pink ring that ran along the inside of the ribs.
Everything was tender, juicy, and cooked with loving care. The only bummer for me: the Holmeses make both a Kansas City-style sweet sauce, and a Georgia-style mustard sauce, but they didn't have the mustard sauce when I went. Oh well, now I'll have to go back for it. Soul Food 2 Go will be at the fair thru November 30. After that you can place your orders via the web.
Cinnamon Rolls - Literally
Now here was something different: A quaint little stand that served non-traditional cinnamon rolls of Transylvanian origin. The owner, Anna Laszlo Boros, explained the goods as a very traditional pastry, served usually at special occasions like weddings or birthdays. The cylindical shape is achieved by baking the dough on a spindle that rotates like a rotisserie. The ultra-crisp crust, coated in sprinkles or cinnamon-enriched sugar, is balanced out perfectly by a gooey-soft interior. Boros also suggests the rolls are excellent filled with ice cream or fruit. After the fair is over, Boros will be bringing her rolls on the road - contact her at 561-502-5688 for catering.
Hillbilly Bob's Soda
Barry Muse's recipe for homemade root beer has been in the family for generations. That explains why his small batch stuff is so smooth, sweet, and refreshing. He and his wife Lisa have run Hillbilly Bob's Sodas for two years, but they learned how to make their handcrafted brews from Barry's father, who's been fashioing carbonated drinks all his life. The best selling flavor is the root beer, made with sasafrass root, natural cane syrup, and no artificial ingredients. But Barry's favorite might be the creme soda, with infusions of vanilla and almond. A "can" of soda to call your own will run $4, while refills are just $2. Fans can keep tabs on Hillbilly Bob's whereabouts via e-mail.
What's the Best Fried?
The answer is, without a doubt, the deep-fried oreos. Coated in sweet funnel cake batter and dipped in powdered sugar, these cookies are melty-delicious. Not only does the Oreo's trademark creme melt away, but the normally crunchy chocolate turns gooey and cakey too. Amazing.
The fair will be in town through November 30. Get more info at www.browardcountyfair.com.
-- John Linn