The Unvegan

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Arizona State Fair 2017

Freedom in leg form.

There’s something about state fairs that brings out the best America has to offer in terms of food creativity. Screw molecular gastronomy, I want to know what the latest in fried, bacon-wrapped and Flaming Hot Cheetos is in the world. And while the Arizona State Fair isn’t known as well as some others, there was still room for some interesting bites. One thing I didn’t bite, by the way, was a turkey leg, because, well, booooring.

Indian Fry Bread with Garlic, Mozzarella and Bacon

Indian Fry Bread is not something that existed where I grew up in Michigan. In the Southwest, it has a complicated and sad history, but it is remarkably similar to Elephant Ears. And this fry bread was flakey and not overly oily. That is, of course, until I topped it with garlic, mozzarella and bacon (because they were out of the maple required for maple bacon fry bread). It has an intense oregano hit to it as well, and despite the call to eat it like a taco, I found the pizza route to be a whole lot easier.

Flaming Hot Cheetos and Cheese Fries

I don’t know if it’s just the beautiful fluorescent red color or the actual flavor, but Flaming Hot Cheetos have become a remarkable new coating trend. These fries, which are also covered in nacho cheese, may not be the best use of Flaming Hot Cheetos, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say they delivered on their promise. Plus, unlike some other Flaming Hot Cheetos dishes I’ve seen, they at least had the composure to crush them up first.

Fried Cheesecake

Fried Oreos and Twinkies are in the rear view mirror. A newcomer to the fried dessert world (at least to me) is the fried cheesecake. The batter was pretty typical, the powdered sugar entirely unnecessary and the stick a failure (the cheesecake came right off). And while the first few bites were delicious and gooey, the thickest part was actual still kind of cold. Being cheesecake, this meant it was still delicious, but it meant that there was still much to do to ensure that Fried Cheesecake becomes a fair staple.

I find it important to note here that these were literally the only things I was capable of eating and even with that said, I couldn’t finish any of them. This is not because I couldn’t. And also not because I didn’t want to. But this was because I didn’t want to die. I mean I recognize that this is an inevitable fact of life, yet, the Arizona State Fair is not how I want to go down. Maybe at the Minnesota State Fair next year, though…