Jay Fox's Dining Guide
Party 'til the cows come home
“Scientists tell us we are what we eat. Nuts must be more common in diets than we thought.” — Unknown
GET READY, ONE AND ALL, FOR THE 2010 COLORADO STATE FAIR! All you Denverites, Lakewoodonians, Arvadites, Wheat Ridgers, Golden Oldies, Evergreenies, Pagosanians, Fremontonians and all the rest of you Coloradans — even those from the Peoples Republic of Boulder — drive down/up/across to Pueblo and visit the funnest fair of ‘em all. I really do luv the state fair. In its 138th year, the state fair runs eleven days, from Friday, August 27 thru Monday, September 6 (Labor Day). G and I haven’t decided which of our six perfect grandchildren we’re taking this year, but rest assured we’ll be there, exhausted after about two hours. And staying about eight hours.
This ain’t just a fair, folks; this is An Event. One of the biggest and bestest in the country. There will be professional entertainment in the Events Center (additional charge) as well as loads of free entertainment in the amphitheater and other venues throughout the fairgrounds. Maps and schedules are available in the daily newspapers, at the fairgrounds box office, and online at www.coloradostatefair.com
How’s this for some heavy hitter entertainment? Charley Pride, Blake Shelton, Emerson Drive, Queensryche with Rock Sugar, America, and Smokey Robinson, all at the Events Center. Check the state fair website for dates and prices. www.coloradostatefair.com.
THE Carnival. That is one Big Sucka. More rides than Carter has liver pills. There are over 100 rides, games and attractions. Open ‘til 11 p.m. Monday thru Friday, and ‘til midnite on weekends. You can ride unlimited for $25 a day, or get the Mega Pass for $80 for the entire eleven days of the fair and that includes gate admission. You can buy the Mega Pass at Ticketmaster outlets or at the fairgrounds box office.
They got this Children’s Barnyard for you to meet some of your favorite four-legged and feathered friends. It’s fun for old farts, too. Wanna milk a cow? You can do it at the fair. There’s a parade, rodeos, livestock exhibits, demonstrations, hot tubs to dunk in, and everything dumb on earth to buy. Course I always buy something. There’s 4-H stuff, and more. And there’s food. This year there are more than 50 food booths for your stuffin’.
FOOD! My kinda place. Bring on them hot dogs, buggers and brats. There’s lotsa sausages: Italian sausage, German sausage, Polish sausage, Kielbasa sausage, Lakewood sausage, veal sausage, pork sausage, and chicken sausage. I want turkey legs, corn on the cob, chix on a stick, and pizza, by the slice and the whole darn thing. Maybe some bbq. You name it they got it. Sangies of every kind: ham, ham & cheese, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, pork, roast beef, and even sloppy joes. Dey got tacos, burritos, nachos and fajitas and shrimp thingies and chicken thingies. Chicken? That stuff comes fried, baked, boiled, broiled, barbecued and burnt. On a stick, on a plate, in a sangie or in a cup. Howsabout almonds, hazelnuts, cinnamon rolls or homemade pie? Ice cream, anyone? In a cup, on a stick, in a cone, or on the ground, and all 47,003 flavors. What’s a fair without spuds? They got french fries, curly fries, round fries, baked fries, and fried fries. Gimme a malt, shake, hot coffee, iced coffee, cappuccino, lemonade, iced tea, and muh all time fav, Diet Pepsi with lotsa fizz. There’s lotsa that disgustingly delicious traditional fare stuff that you can’t stay away from: fry bread, candied apples, caramel apples, caramel corn, corn on the cob, popcorn, cotton candy, pretzels and funnel cake. There’s fried cheese and fried veggies and fried egg rolls and hot wings and jalapeno poppers and jerky of all kinds, and candies and nuts and even a salad or two. And they got desserts.
Prices getcha down? Not at the Colorado State Fair. Reasonable prices cuz the Fair folks OK the menus and the prices before a vendor is allowed to sell his wares. Here’s a sampling. Prices may vary slightly from vendor to vendor. An ice cream cone $3.00. A giant, 20 oz shake or malt $6.00. Nachos $4.00. A 1/3 lb bugger $3.75. All beef hot dog $3.00. Popcorn $2.25. French fries $3.00. 24 oz draft Budweiser $5.50. Tri tip BBQ sangie (muh fav): $8.00. Italian sausage sangie, $7.00. Turkey leg $7.75. Corn on the cob $3.00. Giant soft drink $2.75. Bottle of more-likely-than-not-tap water $2.00 - $2.50. Steak sangie $7.50. Chili fries $5.00. Fry bread $3.00 and up. Funnel cakes $5.50. Wow, here’s the menu from Western Dairy that sez they got an ice cream cone for $2.00 and shakes and malt’s only $4.00. They also have root beer floats for $4.00 and bottles of good ole wholesome milk for $2.00. Hear tell that they got a variety of ice cream flavors this year, but I’m gonna have me a strawberry malt.
Want unusual? There’s food from all over the world: Asian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Mexican, Native American and Thai. I’m sure I left someone out, but that’s the way the mop flops. This year I noted some yummy-sounding items. Howsabout deep-fried Twinkies or deep-fried moon pies? Get ‘em at Blondie’s Funnel Cakes, Booth 12.
A relatively new vendor, Your Just Desserts is serving cookies, cupcakes, éclairs, cheesecake, smoothies and other non-fattening goodies. You’ll find them at Booth 30.
There’s a bugger dude (Good Ol’ Burgers) cookin’ up half pounders, called a Monster Burger for $8.75, but you can get a pounder for $11.75 and just add $3.00 for another half pound. G won’t let me go for the two-pound Belly Buster. Besides, methinks they won’t cook ‘em rare. They even got a Monster pastrami sangie for $8.75. Check ‘em out at Booth 19.
Then there’s a nutty fella from Littleton in a trailer (Booth 39) called The Nuttery. All cinnamon roasted nuts: almonds, pecans, cashews and peanuts. And you don’t dare leave the Fair without Big Bubba’s BBQ, Booth 26.
There’s the deliteful folks who run the “Ninja Express” with a printed menu, so they get extra space. Ninja Style (I think that means it kicks you in the head) Teriyaki beef and chicken, cashew chicken, egg rolls, tempura dishes, and even some sushi. Find ‘em at Booth 28.
In the big tent in the entertainment area, again this year is Giodone’s Famous and Fabulous Italian Grub. If you ain’t had one of Anna Maria’s meataballs, you ain’t lived. The Giodones close their east Pueblo eatery for the entire run of the fair soes you get the very best. And don’t forget their killer sausage sangie. You’ll also find Giodone’s yummy Italian grub at Booths 16 and 25. Hear tell that their giant bugger won’t be back this year, but what’s a bugger but a meataball covered with red sauce?
New this year is Fun Yogurt, Southern Colorado’s first self-serve frozen yogurt parlor. Check it out at Booth 13. Get as much or as little as you care for, it goes by the ounce.
I see muh ole bud, Stony Humphries, will be heatin’ up his World Famous and Fabulous Cinnamon rolls along with sangies and buggers and other grub at his usual location in the Kitchen Craft Hall (the Ag building).
Of course, muh old (as opposed to ole) bud, Jumpin’ Jim Beatty is still serving all the grub at the Coors Grandstand, the Events Center, and the Amphitheater. He’s turning out the best chile rellenos this side of the other side as well as lotsa other fine grub. If you see Jim, tell him The Fox sentcha.
A FINAL WORD. Just cuz I ‘ain’t mentioned a specific cart or trailer, don’t take it as bad; I can’t possibly get ‘em all in. I tried to get the interesting ones as well as new or different vendors. If I get there and it’s bad, I’ll leave bloodstains on the northeast corner of the front of the trailer soes you’ll know it sucks. Seriously, most vendors are pros. This is their livelihood, traveling around the country doing state and county fairs. They offer first class stuff cuz they can’t afford for word to get around they got junk. And, the Pueblo Health Department dudes watch everyone and everything like hawks. They’re sticking their little temperature gizmos into every thing. Well, most everything. You owe ‘em big time cuz they make sure everything you eat and drink is 100 percent safe. So mosey on down. Less than two hours from Denver and the drive’s perty.
Jay Fox is our more than fair dining critic. You can pass on your tidbits to him at email@example.com.