July 21, 2013
Just the facts about night shifts and State Fair food

By Benjamin Mullin

There's a certain sort of person that enjoys eating food next to screaming children and the thunderous smell of animal dung. I'm not one of them.

So you can imagine my apprehension Sunday night when I threaded my way past a livestock pen and through a vortex of swirling lights to sample the food at the California State Fair. I was on break while working a night news shift, so what I wanted was comfort food I could order and eat in the space of five minutes.

Fortunately, the state fair has no shortage of comfort food, and finding it is like covering crime: All you have to do is look for smoke and trust your gut.

This particular night, I passed up on offerings such as Krispy Kreme burgers and catfish on a stick to try out an American standard: Philly cheesesteak. The server whipped it up within five minutes of my order and gave an impressive yell over the ruckus of the fair to let me know it was ready.

Taste-wise, the state fair did a good job acquitting itself with one of the most-loved dishes in the American canon. The cheese and meat was plentiful, the fries were abundant, the service was speedy and the staff was friendly. It was a good, if somewhat pricey, sandwich.

As I rushed back to the office, I realized I may have been a little uncharitable to the hasty majesty of fair food. Sure, the environment's a little chaotic, but, like news writing, the food's never boring and deeply satisfying.

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