Three young fairgoers prepare to dive into the Frilly Chips from Sharky’s at the Sonoma County Fair. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin/BiteClubEats.com.
Lobster corn dogs. Fried avocados. The Krispy Kreme hamburger. The annual Sonoma County Fair has become a pilgrimage for culinary adventurers who can’t wait to challenge their palates (and gullets) with the good, the not so good, and the calorically questionable concoctions that grace the midways each year.
Sure, there are the tried-and-true standbys: planked salmon at Johnny Garlic’s, comforting polenta at the Pasta King’s Spaghetti Palace, pozole at Old Mexico, and of course, Pronto Pups, Willie Bird turkey legs, and Pennsylvania Dutch funnel cakes.
But are you adventurous enough to tackle a bacon cheeseburger nestled between two halves of a glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut? Longtime fair concessionaire Phil Delahoyde says this heart-stopping marriage of beef and yeasty goodness has long been a favorite at East Coast fairs, where Krispy Kreme doughnuts are a familiar sight. Inspired, his family has introduced it to Sonoma County at Stuffie’s Char-Broiler (on Magnolia) to moans of delight—or horror, depending on your nutritional perspective.
Pace yourself for Delahoyde’s other devilish creations, including the Lobster Dog (lobster salad dipped in corn dog batter and slathered with lemon aioli), the Frilly Chips (a foot-high pile of curly fried potato chips), and the fried avocado (an acquired taste) at Sharky’s Fish Fry (Shade Park).
But wait, there’s more. Just a day into the fair, Delahoyde said he’s still working on a few ideas, including a chocolate-dipped banana wrapped in bacon that is yet to debut. And the much-anticipated hot dog sundae advertised in fair flyers? It’s a no-go this year, but you can find it at Don Delahoyde’s (that would be Phil’s dad) concession stand at the Sacramento Fair. “Maybe I’ll do it next year,” said Phil.
Here are a few more new bites to search out at this year’s fair, which will be at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds until August 11th…
Bacon Macaroni and Cheese (Sliders Gastro Pub & Sports Bar): A hefty plate of penne pasta doused in white cheddar sauce, topped with bacon, potato chips, and green beans. My favorite dish of the year, by far.
Lagunitas Imperial Stout Brownie (Sliders Gastro Pub & Sports Bar): One of three brewery-inspired desserts, this one has fudgy cream cheese icing, berries, and whipped cream.
Make a Stand Lemonade (Grace Pavilion): More than a tasty bottle of lemonade spiked with yerba maté and ginger, Make a Stand “Kick” lemonade helps raise awareness about child slavery. Read about nine-year-old North Bay student Vivienne Harr’s journey to raise more than $100,000 to help enslaved children at Makeastand.com.
Tostilocos (Pepe’s Aguas Frescas near the Community Theater): Chips with cucumber, peanuts, pork skins, jicama, and bacon. Need something without the guilt? The stand also sells heaping fresh fruit cups you can top with lemon juice and chile salt.
Garlic Corn Dogs (Garlicky’s, Shade Park): Corn dogs, but with way more garlic.
Planning to go? The fairgrounds are at 1350 Bennett Valley Road (the fairground exit of eastbound Hwy 12), open Tue-Sun from 11am-11pm through August 11th. Directions online.
Forestville’s ~FARMHOUSE INN~ has been ranked one of the top 50 hotels in the world (and number 3 in the United States) by the readers of Travel + Leisure. Among the distinctions: Giving visitors an “insider” experience of Sonoma’s Wine Country with six concierges, a top-ranked restaurant, an in-house sommelier, and a spa. BiteClub heartily concurs.
In Napa news, former Angèle chef, Scott Ekstrom has been tapped to head the kitchens of nearby ~FISH STORY~, part of the Lark Creek Restaurant group.