Looking to channel your inner Anthony Bourdain? The California State Fair has you covered this year. And no, we're not talking about cooking something straight from the petting zoo. How about deep fried scorpions covered in chocolate, or grilled python kabobs?
I got a chance to preview some of the new State Fair foods, but unfortunately the scorpions and other insects that Jungle George's stand will be cooking up hadn't arrived yet. And yes, I was ready to try these for educational purposes. But here are some other goodies and curiosities I chowed on:
Python kabobs, frog and alligator from Jungle George (pictured above): That's right, python tastes like chicken - make that very, very chewy chicken. But the seasoning was good enough, with a mix of lemon pepper, Worchestire Sauce, liquid smoke, and Old Bay seasoning mix. The alligator's texture was less chewy than the python, but that 'gator had a slightly swampy aftertaste. The fishy flavor on the frog was just a little too strong for these taste buds, but walking around the midway with that grilled amphibian on a stick will certainly garner some looks.
Chocolate covered bacon from Fire and Ice: Order this item and you'll get five pieces of chocolate covered bacon in a Chinese to-go box. Mmmm, just like grandma used to make. OK, maybe not, but this sweet and salty snack was pretty good. You're getting more chunky chocolate than pig meat in each bite, though the bacon flavor gets more pronounced as you swallow. This mix of sweet, savory and salty flavors will still do you right. Just apologize to your arteries in advance.
"Giant" Deep-fried Twinkie and deep-fried Moon Pie from Sweet Cheeks: Speaking of stuff that's just bad for you - but tastes oh so good - the "giant" deep-fried Twinkie is three fried Twinkies garnished with powdered sugar and chocolate. My inner eight-year-old jumped in a sugar high joy, but my current day self knows I need to spend some extra time at the gym tonight as penance. Same went for the deep-fried Moon Pie, a first at the State Fair. This item felt a little oily around the edges but all that marshmallow filling and chocolate will keep your sweet tooth satisfied for a week. Just don't ride the Tilt-A-Whirl after eating one.
Check Wednesday's Bee for more news about the State Fair's opening day and the move to discount food by 25 percent this year.