San Diego is a new adventure for us. We’ve only lived here for a few months so we’re enjoying discovering the area for the first time. I’ve been hearing for months how amazing the San Diego Fair is from locals who have gone every year since before they can remember. I grew up in D.C. where, as far as I know, there are no fairs (although they do have a killer Medieval Festival), so I have never been to a fair that was anywhere near the size of the San Diego Fair. My family and I set off to explore the fair with San Diego Bargain Mama Stacey Ross and I was amazed by all it has to offer.
Taste the Fun
Before going to the fair, the one thing I kept hearing over and over again was how amazing the food was. They weren’t kidding. The food was one of the most interesting parts of the fair. They have everything from the traditional corn dogs and pizza to the outrageous – chocolate covered bacon and deep fried Oreos. After hearing that there was deep fried mac and cheese I was in but sadly, after searching all over the fair for 2 days, was told that they didn’t do it this year. Bummer. Mac and cheese is one of my all time favorite foods.
The first day we went to the fair, we sampled way too much of everything. We started with desserts (hey, it’s a fair. Dessert first is fair game). We don’t normally eat much processed food but for some reason my 6 year old loves Pop Tarts so we had to try the deep fried Pop Tarts from Chicken Charlies (where nothing is beyond the reach of the deep fryer. I actually saw a YouTube video where he deep fried a pair of sunglasses). That was a hit with the kids as were the deep fried Oreos. I personally preferred the deep fried Klondike bar and the chocolate covered cheese cake on a stick (yea, I’m probably going to need to take up running or something to work of the calories now).
For the main course, the fair had a great selection of greek food and BBQ places – which between the two of them pretty much satisfies everyone in my family. We kept watching plates that people were carrying by and when something looked good we’d head in the direction that they came from. Smoked turkey legs are always tasty and they were a surprising hit with my 2 year old.
We made a huge food breakthrough with our kids while testing out the $2 Tuesday Taste of the Fair deals at each booth. My kids refuse to eat hamburgers. They will eat chicken sandwiches and fish sandwiches and hamburger meat plain – but they won’t touch burgers. One of the booths had sliders as their Taste of the Fair deal so we got a few to test out on the kids. They loved them. They loved them so much that they ate 3 a piece. When I told my almost 7 year old that he had just eaten a hamburger he said, “Really! They are really good”. So almost 7 years without eating a burger and now he can’t get enough of them. He was bummed to find out the same booth didn’t offer sliders on any other day of the week when we went back to the fair a second time.
Strangest San Diego Fair Food
The sheer variety of the food at the fair was insane. I’m pretty sure you could find just about anything you had a craving for, including some more, umm, interesting food choices. If you wanted a quick snack you could try some deep fried butter or chocolate covered bacon from the Heart Attack Cafe. I was actually less grossed out by those choices though than by booths that offered to dip a pickle in chocolate.
If you were looking for dinner fare, Chicken Charlie’s had some deep fried frog legs that thoroughly disgusted my kids. If you wanted to combine dinner and dessert you could always go for the chicken sandwich on a Krispy Kreme glazed donut. I can’t quite wrap my brain around that one. It made us laugh every time we went by the booth but apparently that one has been a big hit with people.
I could have been entertained for days simply wandering through the food booths. I’m actually embarrassed to admit how many different food items we tried over the course of 2 days at the fair. I’m sure my arteries thank me for it but the food really made the fair experience a celebration. I laughed a bit when I heard people planning out their food choices before the fair but I had no idea how many food items there were going to be to choose from. Next year, I’ll be prepared with a plan. That deep fried Klondike Bar is definitely going to be on my list.