I can’t believe I ate the whole thing…and then kept going!
First up, a stop at one of the three Chicken Charlie’s booths for a “Totally Fried” peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which is new this year.
(What…no zucchini weenies this year? For shame!)
The sandwich is not cheap…like many other items on Chicken Charlie’s menu, it’s $6.38, which comes out to an even $7 after taxes.
The sandwich arrived almost immediately and came covered with more jelly and some powdered sugar.
The taste was good. I never suspected that warm peanut butter could be so satisfying.
The main drawback?
It’s just…too much. The sandwich was probably pretty good before it was battered and fried. Mostly what the frying added was a nice, crunchy shell, but you could probably get a similar effect by simply toasting the bread.
The deep-frying was overkill, but I guess that’s sort of the point.
DUELING TACO TRUCKS
For the main course, I headed down the path to the food trucks that were parked near the Giant Slide.
I decided to taste the tacos from the two taco trucks.
First up was the Border Grill truck.
I’ve been to the Border Grill in both Santa Monica and Las Vegas, so I kind of knew what I was getting into.
I ordered a potato rajas taco and a cilantro chicken taco. Two tacos are $10, plus tax, which comes out to $10.98.
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich began to seem like a bargain.
A couple of minutes later I got my tacos, which were accompanied by refried black beans and rice. That made my wallet feel a little better.
The potato taco was problematic. It was described as having Mexican cheeses on it. Check out the photo and see if you can spot cheese of any nationality. And the tortilla split in half on the first bite. Grrr!
The taste? Not bad, but not the best potato taco I’ve ever had.
The cilantro chicken taco was much better. The tortilla stayed intact, for starters.
The filling was bursting with flavor. It was delicious!
The beans were good, the rice was so-so. However, the two of them mixed together was outstanding!
After wolfing down the last of the beans and rice, I headed over to the Calbi truck to order two more tacos.
While Border Grill serves traditional Mexican-style Mexican food (albeit a bit more gourmet), Calbi serves fusion Mexican food. Their fillings are Korean-inspired.
I ordered a tofu taco and a chicken taco. $6.99 for two tacos ($7.60 total), but no beans and rice.
After another couple of minutes wait, my tacos arrived. I didn’t even wait to sit down to begin picking at the tofu. Good flavor!
As good as the tofu taco was, the chicken taco was even better. I could eat Calbi’s chicken tacos all day long. Seriously.
I’m not too familiar with Korean food, but the chicken had a bit of a peanut sauce flavor to it, with a hint of spiciness. A perfect mixture.
The good news is that Calbi is scheduled to be at the fair the next two weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). I may have to go back.
If you want to try the Border Grill truck, you’ll have to hunt them down elsewhere.
I was beginning to slow down on that fourth taco, but I was determined to have some dessert.
I headed back to Chicken Charlie’s for a “Totally Fried” Klondike bar.
What would you do for a “Totally Fried” Klondike bar?
I paid $7.
The Klondike bar arrived quickly and I dove in.
Unfortunately, the Klondike bar suffered the same fate as the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
It’s just too much.
The interesting thing is that the chocolate doesn’t really melt. It stays solid, while a portion of the ice cream melts.
The problem is that there’s so much batter that it overpowers the ice cream. The balance is off. I found myself craving more ice cream to offset the surrounding dough.
It’s almost as if it would be better with more ice cream…or if there were two Klondike bars stacked, then battered and fried.
Chicken Charlie…that gives you an idea for next year!
On the way out, I knew I had to get a repeat from last year…chocolate-covered bacon, which I got, but was too full to even eat it there.
Update: I stumbled upon some animations from the artist (Bryce Garrison) who created the seizure-inducing, yet mesmerizing animations for Chicken Charlie’s LED sign (below). See the Klondike bar one above, and see more here.
Another update: Business reporter Rebecca U. Cho has written an article on the appearance of the food trucks at this year’s fair. Read her article here.