Dining on a budget: L.A. County Fair food

By Amanda Newfield

We all know that there is no way to dine on a budget at the L.A. County Fair, but the experience and variety are worth paying for.

Deciding what to eat can take all day. And with the usual cotton candy, corn dogs and funnel cakes, the fair offers an overwhelming amount of choices. It’s the perfect place to ditch the diet and pig out.

Fish ‘n’ chips booths are scattered throughout the fairgrounds and the smell of the freshly fried seafood and veggies is alluring.  

On my recent visit, I went for the fish, fries and zucchini plate for $10.50.

The batter was light and not at all overwhelming, while the veggies were fresh and tasty. What surprised me was the large portion I was served. I was able to share the meal and still feel that sense of satisfaction. Those 10 bucks went a long way. 

Another place that offers the fried selections the Fair is famous for is Chicken Charlie’s Broasted Chicken.

Also, try the “Totally Fried Veggies,” featuring zucchini curls, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and onion strings, for $7.75. The appetizing chicken kabob is $9.75. If you want fries with it, the cost is $12.75.

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But those are just the usual menu items.

Last year, Charlie Boghosian, known as “Chicken Charlie,” debuted his Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich.

His creation this year is the “Meat Lover’s Ice Cream,” featuring soft serve ice cream with chocolate-covered bacon bits.

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Also new additions this year are the deep-fried frog legs and the deep-fried peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches. 

Which dessert to try at the Fair is also a difficult decision to make, especially since Colossal Gelato, a gelato ice cream in a 16-inch waffle cone, is new to the Fair this year.

I decided on the $3.75 Fried Twinkie with strawberry syrup drizzled on top from Chicken Charlie.

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This selection was definitely one for those who have a strong sweet tooth. I enjoyed the crispy texture on the outside with the warm, creamy filling on the inside.

No one can miss Juicy’s BBQ, which offers whole turkey legs, giant western sausage, burgers and chicken.

The Fair also has fun, reasonably priced meals for kids, and some come with a toy in a Fair collector’s box.

For those looking for an elegant air-conditioned dining venue, the Top of The Park restaurant located atop the horse racing grandstand offers a more upscale dining experience.

Enjoy your meal with a view of the Fair; indoor or outdoor seating is available. Top of The Park is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To view the menu or make a reservation call (909) 865-4120.

Any food selection made at the Fair will be a good one. But don’t get distracted or overwhelmed, and try as many different foods as possible.

For more information about food at the Fair, visit the Web site at www.lacountyfair.com/2009/attractionscompetitions/fairfood.

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