Color Porn: The Farmers Markets

Farmers markets is a source of so many beautiful things all in one place. The color, the samples, the random conversations, the freshness of the products and all the fresh meals that will soon be in your pie hole.  Farmers markets are wonderful places to grab a few things and picnic right then and there.  I’ve found myself purchasing some fresh bread, tomatoes and cheeses and have a simple lunch eating my newly purchased wares.  (Lets be honest here…I couldn’t wait to get home so I had to wolf down all my purchases on the quick.)

Supermarkets are convenient and wonderful in their own right but farmers markets are a great place to purchase fresh ingredients and do something great for the farmers and merchants that are available right there in your community.  Plus….all the vivid colors from nature right there for your viewing pleasure!  Oh and also the samples.  Delicious fresh fresh samples.

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R: 187 G: 255 B: 125 X:42164 Y: 0 S: 0 Z: 21 F: 252

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Ideally I wish I could just grab my fruits and veggies straight from the source, like these cherries from my grandfather’s tree in Hungary.  But living in the bustling city this is simply not as easy.

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FOOD FIGHT FANTASY NIGHTMARE.

If you’ve ever seen the 1991 Robin Williams movie Hook you’ll fondly remember the famous food fight scene between the Lost Boys.  I used to be super jealous of the lifestyle those kids lived, fighting pirates, running around a fantasy land and eating colorful whipped cream for dinner.

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Photographer James Ostrer may not have created this collection with the movie Hook in mind but rather he referenced icons of contemporary sugar worship.  Though some may find these images rather disturbing I look at them in a whimsical light.  I see the humor in covering a seemingly normal human being and covering them in delicious treats.  I am even curious about how these people found a way to breathe through all the frosting.

There is a strange throwback to ancient primitive art styles only using modern fake sugary treats, its really a beautiful contradiction. Looking a little deeper into the hidden messages that lay in Ostrer’s images, maybe nutritional disillusionment, or our societal practices of ingestion (we ingest a lot of bad shit) or maybe all that is on the outside is really what’s inside.  He touches on fascinating issues just through what seemed like a fun and whimsical project.  Outside of the deep hidden meanings of these photographs, Ostrer creates beautiful silhouettes and eye popping colors out of found objects that we are surrounded by everyday.  These are modern day masks that we all wear, even if we can’t see them.

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If you haven’t seen the movie Hook I urge you to see it.  Bangarang.

http://jamesostrer.com/home.html

SUSHI, ANIME, CHERRY BLOSSOMS OH MY!

If I could have dinner anywhere in the world where would it be?

Without a question in my mind.  Japan.

Japan seems like a world of mind blowing stimuli.  All things adorable, kawaii, themed restaurants, Nintendo, bento boxes, shiba inu dogs, tea culture, hot springs, anime, robots, gardens, Samurais, and endless street food?  All the things I love in one place?  My brain can’t handle it.  I’m overwhelmed just fantasizing about it.

Tokyo tops Paris with the most Michelin star rated restaurants.  Not that this matter to me, it is a good indicator of what’s happening though.  Japanese food culture has a distinctive style, attention to detail and the freshest ingredients anywhere.  Small dining spots where you sit at the counter right in front of the chef makes dining a very intimate affair.  American dining has us trained to order meals through servers while the chefs are cooped up in the kitchen and rarely get a chance to interact with the people that is enjoying their food.

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The food in Japan is still a great mystery to me.  Yes, I’ve eaten at hundreds of sushi restaurants here in America, I regularly eat at “hole in the wall” ramen joints in Little Tokyo and can fry up a mean ‘tonkatsu’ on the solo.  But eating at the birthplace of it all seems like almost too good to be true.

Heres a quick guide on how to make your own Tonkatsu at home.
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Food:

Street food in Japan seems like a wonderful thing.  Anytime you see an open flame and some meat on skewers you cant help but get excited.

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Street food never looked more chaotic and colorful.  Just point to the ones that look tasty to you.
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My love of soft serve ice cream is undying.  I will go on a wild manhunt to find the place that sells all these soft serve ice cream flavors.  When I find it I will immediately get fifteen cavities and gain a ton of weight.  Its going to be glorious.  There’s really nothing better than soft serve ice cream.  Nothing.
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Wacky Vending Machines:

So, are you thirsty from all that ice cream?  How about an ice cold beer to quench your thirst?  BEER from a vending machine?  What?  So you mean they actually trust people? I’ll take four for the road please.
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Maybe after several vending machine beers the novelty of “hot” vending machine food would appeal to my drunken tastes.
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I couldn’t talk about Japanese vending machines without adding this picture of a giant Hello Kitty vending machine.
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Nature:

Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Japan fairy tale flower tunnel. The gardens are home to about 150 Wisteria flowering plants spanning 20 different species.  This place is truly a visual feast for the eyes.
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The cherry blossoms must be quite the site as well.  This is in Sakura.
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The intricacies and attention to detail in the beautiful tradition.
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Sometimes when I’m sitting in my cubicle at my mundane office job I wander off in my head and daydream about travel. I think about wandering the streets of an unknown place and trying food I know nothing about.  Travel is an exciting mystery you try and solve as you go.  Language barrier is an added challenge but we are lucky in this day and age to have translator technology on our phones.
I like to think I have a plan while traveling but usually its a simple rough draft.  Sometimes getting swept up in the momentum of what’s naturally happening is the true way to go.  Sometimes I like to do a little research on the internet before I leave and map things out a bit but sometimes I’ll find myself on sites that don’t use website translation software and are written in other languages and I quickly go to my iphone or web translators.

It’s nice to hope some people speak English (or Hungarian which is highly unlikely unless I’m in Hungary).  Best thing to do look at sign with pictures on them. Easy to understand food imagery helps.  Besides look at how cute this is!
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Just this amount of cuteness brings a tear to me eye, just like that little onion bear on the bottom row.
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Tokyo has unique architecture.  These apartments look like little doll houses!  So beautiful!
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Sleeper pods.  Efficient and semi creepy.
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Unique stores and restaurants.
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How about the creative genius that is Hayao Miyazaki.  There’s a museum in Mitaka dedicated to Studio Ghibli.
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So back to my original question….If I could eat dinner (or breakfast) anywhere in the world where would it be?

Sushi Dai 

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I stand by my dream to have a fine sushi-for-breakfast experience at Sushi Dai, located just steps from the Tsukiji fish market.  Some would ask me why wouldn’t I choose a Michelin rated sushi establishment?  Or why not at a fancy and sleek dinner in the stylish part of Tokyo so I can bust out my top hat and bow tie?  Me?  No.  I stand by my love of “hole in the walls” and street food.  Some of the finest food in the world are the places that are the most unassuming and modest.  Go where the fisherman go.  I respect a modest place with beautifully tasting food.  After all, Its whats inside that counts.  Fish that is cut with a Samurai-like precision and rice that is kissed by the gods themselves.  Omakase menu, which features 10 pieces hand picked by the talented chefs based on seasonality of the fish.  I like the idea of the chefs choosing what they think is the best for you.  The chefs are the composers of this beautiful symphony that is your meal, in this case my breakfast.  Also the best thing about breakfast is that you have two more meals waiting for you over the rainbow.  Fresh fish out of the ocean sure beats your regular breakfast of Cheerios eh?
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Hell yeah it is.  Just look at this sexy monster.

Helpful websites:
http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/%E5%AF%BF%E5%8F%B8%E5%A4%A7-%E4%B8%AD%E5%A4%AE%E5%8C%BA
https://hungryhungarianblog.com/2014/08/14/lets-bento/

Because I have not traveled to Japan (yet) I found all my photos on the web and I sited where I found them below.
photo credits to:
http://udivitelno.com/plants/item/155-tonnel-glicinij-v-japonskom-sadu-kavati-fudzi
http://inlovewithjapan.tumblr.com/
http://www.kawaiistudyjapan.com/
https://www.pinterest.com/

DISNEYLAND GLUTTON: PART 2.

Disneyland.  The Happiest Place on Earth.  Not just for little kids and families anymore.  If you’re an adult with no kids and with plenty of disposable income to spend on yourself, you can buy yourself an annual pass.  One would wonder why you’d expose yourself to disgusting screaming children, long lines and  hordes of zombie like Disney geeks.  Well besides having a mild dusting of Disney geek in me myself, I go for the food.

Just thinking about the food at Disneyland makes me feel famished.

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While I was in college I worked as a wise cracking Jungle Cruise skipper.  Getting to know the Disneyland underbelly only fueled my fascination with it even more.  I left right before the mouse turned me into a bitter mummy forever.  Fortunately I left with a deep love for it. Disneyland is no longer my childhood dream world or my former employer. In my adult life Disney is now a place where I can go with friends to eat delicious food and people watch.

Main Street USA is a great place to people watch and enjoy a delicious Corn Dog or Turkey Leg.  There’s something rather evil and hilariously entertaining watching stressed out moms and dads (parents that are younger than me) chase after their hyperactive kids.  Those poor saps cant enjoy Disneyland in a chill leisurely manner the way I do.  I sit looking at my ten dollar churro and laugh. Maybe I’m the fool.  Disney knows how to pull a Stromboli and puppeteer us all as he did Pinocchio (never mind he had no strings) well, you know what I mean. If you play Disneyland right you can make it your own Pleasure Island…well except for turning into jackasses.  Hmm well never mind.

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This is my second edition of my favorite Disney foods:

  • The Corn Dog from the Little Red Wagon on Main Street at Disneyland

The Corn dog is a magical deep fried tube meat.  Freshly dipped and made to order.  The corn batter is delightfully crispy and comforting.  They radiate a golden glow that lights up all of Disneyland and into further reaches of Anaheim.  With all of the money that the Disney company has I sometimes wonder whether or not they were actually dipped in solid gold. These puppies used to be a lot bigger and a lot more unmanageable.  The stick could not hold of the weight of the meat.  Now they are a little more Disney friendly.  Be careful while taking a photo with this big boy.  You might offend the faint of heart.
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  • The Lobster Nachos from Cove Bar in Disney’s California Adventure.

The lobster nachos is the Indiana Jones adventure for food.  Its like an archeological dig through the chip and cheese temple.  Now with nachos we all know the goods are up on top.  The cheese holds down the whole fort but once you penetrate the fortress of cheese the world is yours.  With this lovely stack you make your way to the bottom and begin the true difficult excavation process.  You still find warm pools of cheese and lone lobster stragglers.   One of my favorite things about this is the the view of the park, and the cocktails.  The Cove Bar has cocktails, so theres that.
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Things could get wild if you’re not careful in the world of this intense nacho experience.  Lots of chip loving to go around.

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  •  Beer and Pretzels from Disney’s California Adventure.

Combining a yummy Karl Strauss craft brewed beer with anything Disney is a magical event indeed.  The jalapeno cheese filled pretzel is delicious.  Warm gooey center, crispy outside layer.  Most pretzels I’ve eaten I’ve had to lather with mustard just to mask the bland taste of a dry pretzel.  This pretzel is so great the mustard is optional, hell, even the nacho cheese is optional.
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I thought the cream cheese pretzel would be more savory.  Its totally more on the sweet side.  The outside has a slight crisp while the inside remains very deliciously warm and gooey.  I still recommend the Jalapeno one over this one.  I suppose it just depends on your taste buds.

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  • Rice Crispy Treat from Candy Palace on Main Street or Pooh Corner in Critter Country in Disneyland.

The Rice crispy treat is a beautiful thing.  Always decorated to fit the season, always an adorable treat to put a big smile on your face.  This pretty blue sprinkled on made my mouth and teeth blue but I was proud to shine my pearly blues in the Magic Kingdom.  Tis the season.
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This one was covered with white chocolate to look like a mummy.  So I could say this mummy was yummy??
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https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/

VINTAGE ADS PART ONE: MEAT-CENTRIC.

I am fascinated by vintage advertisements from every era.  Its intriguing to look at ads throughout the ages and see how the style of clothing and even the style of thinking has changed over the decades.  With the popularity of the show Mad Men, we see the creation of advertisements and the motives that advertisers have hiding behind the surface, most of which involves money.  Besides the interesting theories one has about psychology and the hidden agenda ad-men have.  I like to look at the art of the photo or illustration.  Continuing on with my journey to find new (and old) art, I look to past advertisements for my viewing pleasure.

My new series of blog posts dedicated to vintage advertisements, this one is all meat-centric.  As I scoured the internet I noticed the mass amount of meat ads, granted most of them are TV Dinners, Spam and other various canned meats.  I love the illustrations (mostly because its food illustrations) but also because its like a time capsule into what people ate in another era.  Some of the foods look bizarre and unconventional some downright disgusting but thats why I love it.  My favorites ads are from the American Meat Institute.  I do apologize some of these images do not have dates, but by the style we can all kinda take a guess.

This illustration of the Universal Food Chopper is from 1890.  Hmm I wonder what all of this would taste like all ground up together…I’m sure chopped up lobster shell and animal bones would taste delicious!
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1964 was the time to get a great deal on a steak dinner, and a time to say    “man alive“.
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 I want an America where the bacon is nourishing! (breathing heavily)

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1950 was a fine time for bacon illustrations.  Appetizing and adorable.
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These illustrations are beautiful.  Without all the text (although it is interesting) I would frame this and put it on my wall.

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In 1957 cold cuts were in fashion.  In my opinion always in fashion.
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 1870’s had some beautiful cross hatch illustrations.

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 For several decades Spam and was heavily advertised to housewives to whip up a quick meal.  This ad is from the 1940’s.

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 Hamburger patties straight out of a can?  They gave it a shot in 1950.  Looks like it never caught on…I could kinda guess why.

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 Ribs in a can sound disgusting, I wonder what people in the 1960’s thought.

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1951 was a time to say meat is the yardstick of protein.  Fill in the dirty joke here _________.
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This TV dinner is from the 1960’s.  Maybe its the little compartments…but I really think old TV dinners look adorable.  Although I do know they taste pretty gnarly.
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I can’t imagine what this 1950’s salisbury steak tastes like…cat food perhaps…not that I ever tasted cat food (sidenote: yes I have).
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Here’s my favorite sausage ad.  Crude, disturbing and somehow super cute.
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I found all of these photos on various websites online.  Though I could not find the artists names, I do salute them and appreciate all the creativity and money hungry sensibilities that went into it.  Cheers.

DISNEYLAND GLUTTON: PART ONE.

Disneyland.  The Happiest Place on Earth.  Not just for little kids and families anymore.  If you’re an adult with no kids and with plenty of disposable income to spend on yourself, you can buy yourself an annual pass.  One would wonder why you’d expose yourself to disgusting screaming children, long lines and  hordes of zombie like Disney geeks.  Well besides having a mild dusting of Disney geek in me myself, I go for the food.

Just thinking about the food at Disneyland makes me feel famished.
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While I was in college I worked as a wise cracking Jungle Cruise skipper.  Getting to know the Disneyland underbelly only fueled my fascination with it even more.  I left right before the mouse turned me into a bitter mummy forever.  Fortunately I left with a deep love for it. Disneyland is no longer my childhood dream world or my former employer. In my adult life Disney is now a place where I can go with friends to eat delicious food and people watch.

Main Street USA is a great place to people watch and enjoy a delicious Corn Dog or Turkey Leg.  There’s something rather evil and hilariously entertaining watching stressed out moms and dads (parents that are younger than me) chase after their hyperactive kids.  Those poor saps cant enjoy Disneyland in a chill leisurely manner the way I do.  I sit looking at my ten dollar churro and laugh. Maybe I’m the fool.  Disney knows how to pull a Stromboli and puppeteer us all as he did Pinocchio (never mind he had no strings) well, you know what I mean. If you play Disneyland right you can make it your own Pleasure Island…well except for turning into jackasses.  Hmm well never mind.
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I compiled a very large list that I’m going to cut down in to a few blog posts. This is my first edition of my favorite Disney foods:

  • The Fried Chicken at The Plaza Inn on Main Street at Disneyland.

This fried chicken is some of the crispiest and juiciest pieces of fried chicken ever!  I like to dip my pieces of chicken in honey or in Tabasco, which are both provided at the condiment bar at the Plaza Inn.  I only wished they served waffles and maple syrup..
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  • Bengal BBQ in Adventureland at Disneyland.

A chieftan chicken skewer in a polyneasian sauce and a banyan beef skewer in a hot and spicy peppery sauce. This is when they still served it with a whole stalk of green onions.  They recently stopped serving the onion which was rather sad for me, but then again I was probably the only fool that would eat the whole thing and stink up all of the Magic Kingdom.
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The Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is also very delicious because , bacon.
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Heres one more to wet your beak.  The vegetable skewer, which I like to dip into the Banyan sauce.  I recommend tasting this sauce if you are a fancy of anything peppery and spicy.
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  • Dole Whip and Dole Float at the Tiki Juice Bar in Adventureland at Disneyland.

Get a feel for a taste of Aloha.  Smooth creamy pineapple soft serve ice cream.  Beware! The Tiki Juice bar always has a long line, but well worth it!
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The ultimate vitamin C fix. Pineapple soft serve ice cream served on top of Dole pineapple juice. Its a tropical version of a root beer float. Refreshing, sweet and insanely delightful.
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All photos are taken by me. I hope you get a chance to go and taste some of these delights. I will compile another list of delicious favorites soon. If you need more information about eating at Disneyland, here’s a link.

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/

THE FAIR IS A VERITABLE SMORGASBORD.

One of my favorite cartoons growing up in the 80’s was the movie Charlotte’s Web. There was a scene where Templeton the rat ravaged the empty fairgrounds at night looking for leftover garbage to eat.  Even as a child I loved animated food, so that scene was super entertaining to me.  Plus, I respected a proper gluttonous rat.
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Going to a County Fair is an American Tradition, like a band of Gypsies the County Fairs roll through each American city leaving behind a trail of grease.  Nothing is more Americana than crazy (questionably safe) rides, crazy (questionably safe) fried food, barn animals and feeling like a barn animal yourself after consuming thousands of calories.  Just take a look at these ridiculous food stands, I love the fact they are giant overwhelming fake food facades.  Only in America.
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Now once you enter the fairgrounds you smell all the delicious BBQ smoke and all the other foods just cooking away.  Then you begin to come to the realization.  I’m going to eat like a pig.  Like a PIG.
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Naturally you’ll start off with a few craft beers with your buddies.  Now remember, the fair is crucial for the buddy system if you want to come out of this food tour alive.  The key is delegating the expensive snack/meal purchases so you don’t overeat and don’t overspend.  I’m a fan of “tapas” style food, I like getting little bites of things.  I’ve never been a big fan of dedicating to just one meal.
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Along your journey you will encounter many temptations.  Now, feel free to indulge your cravings, but keep in mind you have a long way to go.  If you see any sort of “bacon wrapped” or “bacon battered” item, STOP!  The Nike brand would encourage you to ‘Just Do It’.  Besides you’ll  walk a lot, burning tons on calories, yada, yada, yada.
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The bacon wrapped pickles are worth a try.  The bacon is delightfully crunchy (because its deep fried) and the pickles have a crisp wet feel at the end of your bite.  Sounds kinda strange.  Because it is.  But still rather good.
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Now bacon wrapped shrimp?!  Oh my dear swine.  The bacon wrapped shrimp.  It was heavenly.  Super crispy.
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Grilled corn on the cob may be the healthiest option at the fair….well that’s before you lather mayo, Parmesan, chili and other condiments all over it.  It’s totally Mexican street Paleta style.
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(Don’t forget the garlic salt and the Tapatio…an absolute must!)
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The LA County Fair now has various food trucks serving new trendy food options.  A teriyaki ramen burger is all the rage right now.  Not bad, but I’m still not sure what all the fuss is about.
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Now, let me discuss the heavyweight class.  The quintessential ‘MERICA’ FUCK YEA’ food.  The Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger.  This is one you must share with several of your friends.  If this is something you polish off solo…well I’m sure there are ambulances nearby to help resuscitate your poor heart.  But I would recommend at least tasting this once in your life, the sweet and savory go surprisingly well together.  But really, lets call a spade a spade, this beast is a disgusting sticky mess.
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The county fair is nothing without a bunch of sweets to get all the kids hopped up on way too much sugar.  Like these cinnamon and sugar donuts. Mmmm do-nuts.
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If deep fried dough is not your thing.  How about pure unadulterated liquid RED?  Pure sugar straight tapped to the veins.  This snow cone will leave you looking a mess.  Make sure you choose your color wisely because that will be your new tongue and lipstick color for the next few hours.
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Now my favorite dessert.  I’m usually not a big fan of sweets AT ALL.  Well, except for macaroons and soft serve ice cream.  Not regular ice cream.  Soft serve ice cream!  Soft serve is like the down comforter of the desserts.  Soft, smooth and creamy enough to melt into.

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Luckily this event is only once a year because my heart can only handle this insanity but once a year.   This is not the way to live, eating this way will certainly clog your arteries.  Riding the scary makeshift rides that are folded up and built by carnies is probably not the safest thing to do everyday of your life.  But once a year?  Hell yea, I’ll eat like shit and get on the sketchy Ferris wheel to marvel at this stunning view.
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