San Diego Fair 2011

While last year's food-themed county fair raised the bar for all things artery clogging yet tantalizingly irresistible, this year's San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds continued the American tradition of crowds, grease, and obesity with some classics like the deep fried Klondike bar, deep fried pickles, deep fried twinkies, and the much-anticipated deep fried Kool Aid! Personally, I don't find even the liquid version very appetizing, so despite heavy hype I passed in favor of some alternate fried goods:

My first instinct proved to be a fulfilling one: deep fried cheese curds! These squeaky delights are delightful fresh AND fried, and for $6 I was rewarded with a generous portion leaving me literally choking for more.


We indulged in a few standbys like fried pickles with ranch dipping sauce, funnel cake, but the one that took that cake was the Baby Ruth stuffed fried jalapeno served over a bed of sugared churros. Holy crap. Honestly, I really thought it had a fighting shot of being sinfully delicious based on the fact that I like jalapenos, sugar, churros, fried, and Baby Ruth bars, but although my jaw chewed and chewed, my brain just flat out refused to let that sloshy mass pass through my rapidly shrinking throat, and as you can see after one bite, my hand was shaking so much from the sugar I couldn't take a clear picture.

All in all the fair was a success as usual, and I'm anticipating another binge next year. Hail America!

Rings for Foodies

Today's Incredible Things email literally made my jaw drop and eyes goggle out in wonderment! (By the way, if you don't get this daily email, SIGN UP NOW.)

Photo from Incredible Things
Kawaii Handmade Food Rings are quite possibly the most perfect gift I can think of. Around $10 and with a variety of designs from pancakes to miso with a heavy emphasis on Japanese cuisine, it's a good thing I saw this late in the day at work because I'm sure I could not have resisted the urge to oogle all of the AMAZING and TOTALLY AWESOME and RIDICULOUSLY COOL designs, all of which I must own soon! Here are a few of my absolute faves:

Coffee & a Donut Ring

Coffee & a Croissant Ring

Beer & Takoyaki (Octopus dumplings!) Ring

Floating Ring- Pasta (I love the floating fork!!)

Green Tea & Sweet Potato Ring

Sushi with Chopsticks Pendant

Miso Soup with Crab Legs Ring!!!!!!!

MIHO Gastrotuck @ Ballast Point Home Brew Mart

I could make excuses as to my abysmal lack of updates, but I won't. I could tell you about the insanity of going live with a new system at work, plus planning a wedding on the opposite coast, along with inexcusable preoccupation, but it won't do any good. I'll just avoid the whole thing.

The perfect thing to take my mind off of my lack of foodshare was of course to eat and drink. Citybeat always alerts me to the choicest tidbits of activities around San Diego, and my eye was caught by the ad containing both the phrases "MIHO gastrotruck" and "Ballast Point & the Home Brew Mart". As regulars to the Home Brew Mart off Morena for Ashton's alcoholic adventures and as wannabe food truck groupies, we, along with about a hundred other people with the same idea, flocked to the quickly-overrun space to sample specially brewed editions of some of Ballast Point's finest paired with the culinary stylings of the celebrated gastrotruck.

The food menu was small (3 entree options, a salad, and fries were the only advertised items), but with hellish concoctions like Serrano Yellowtail Pale Ale and Dried Habanero Piper Down Scottish Ale to wash down the trashy-chic fusion, we were game. My selection was the Short Rib Sandwich, braised with the Chipotle-Cocoa New Black Marlin Porter, all natural Brandt beef short rib, local arugula, organic firehouse cheddar, and balsamic red onion. The meat was wonderfully tender and lent itself more to a savory, buttery mouthfeel than anything you'd expect from the back of a vehicle. I washed it down with the Chipotle Cocoa and Coriander Tongue Buckler Imperial Red Ale, which I found to be much too aggressive for anything beyond shock value and a mouthful to boot. Unless you like the smell and lingering taste of an overaddition of liquid smoke and an unrecognizable allusion to "hot cocoa beer", stay away. Second up was the Chipotle-Cocoa New Black Marlin Porter, which despite a danger of repetition actually revealed itself to move past the kitschy small batch collaboration of heat for heat rather than flavors' sake. Still very much a sipping beer, I found this of all the beers created for the evening to be the most creative and well balanced.

Ashton enjoyed the Burger of the night, made with grass fed beef, all natural cheddar, grilled balsamic, red onion (far superior to the limply half-cooked onion on the short rib sandwich), hand made French dressing, and local brioche. I felt that the brioche stood out as the simplest yet masterful ingredient of the entire plate (paper as it was), but all in all the burger could stand proudly next to any stationary restaurant's with pride. We split the side of Belgian-style fries with chipotle ketchup, which at the low price of $3.25 established itself as a crowd favorite. These certainly weren't bargains with the sandwich weighing in at $8.25 and the burger at $7.75, but the quality, experience, and fresh air appropriately complimented the cost.



The beers ultimately enjoyed with the burger were the Dried Habanero Piper Down Scottish Ale, which I found to be unexpectedly smooth for such an intensely flavored pepper. Ditto for his next beer, the Serrano Yelllowtail Pale Ale, in which the heat completely dominated the hop for a complete blindside upset. The beers would have paired better with a much higher Asian cuisine influence, but the Americana feel reminiscent of a Fourth of July cookout (despite being January) washed over the crowd and spun the night air into a raucous feeling of friendly camaraderie and most certainly a desire to judiciously follow the Gastrotruck's weekly revolving exploits and menu. I most certainly plan to stop more often at its normal service stop near the Whistle Stop on Friday evenings. Recommended for those who care about what they eat, and don't mind paying a bit more to eat curbside!