How big an upset was the Smoky Bacon Margarita (2015), or the Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll (2012)?
Back in 2009, where was Deep Fried Butter seeded?
Oklahoma plays a college football game against Texas every early October in the Cotton Bowl, but there’s something else to it: It drags any viewer and his or her palate through the State Fair of Texas, thus some of the damndest food stands ever, ushering those palates to unforeseen places.
Thus, on a cold Friday night beneath a Ferris wheel and the giant and famed Big Tex statue, I happened across a sign boasting of Fried Fritos Pie Bites. The kindly Ashley Head, behind the counter at Bert’s Fried Fritos Pie Bites, explained the nature of a Fried Fritos Pie Bite to me, a person who has not had a Frito in forever.
“Hot tamale, cheese and chili on the inside,” she said with utmost cheer, “ground-up Fritos all around it.” Next: “And we add sour cream.” Next: “It’s been here for years.” Using 14 coupons from what Head calls the state fair “cryptocurrency,” I purchased six in a little paper basket, planning to eat one and discard the others.
Even a person who seldom eats such ingredients can find the mirth in the grand combination and quickly ingest five Fried Fritos Pie Bites (with sour cream smeared across). I tossed the sixth only to save room and ruminated on a world that must be godless, for how — how? — could such an inspired confluence of flavors be unhealthy?
From there, the Red River Rivalry, as they call this game, and the State Fair of Texas brought me to the Chicken Hut stand and in front of the term “fried pickles,” and in front of a choice. The choice did not come down to the fried pickles and the Corn Dog Ale, a beer which reputedly tastes like a corn dog. It came down to fried pickles or the 2018 semifinalist, the Supra Stuffed Mini Sopaipillas, a stick of three sopaipillas with strawberry cream cheese filling, a dusting of cinnamon and sugar and a drizzling of honey.
Well, once you get going with the fried pickles for 18 cryptocurrency coupons, even if you avoid fried things, you can eat more than 20, easily, reveling in the simplicity of the matter.
A certain momentum can develop by this point, and the brain actually can send a message registering that it would be wrong to depart without having one of the staples of the occasion, the Fletcher’s Corny Dog.
So, given this kale-lover’s ingestion of five Fried Fritos Pie Bites (with sour cream smeared across), more than 20 fried pickles and a Corny Dog, with gastric anger in the forecast, a Fernie’s Funnel Cake would seem out of the question, especially given that funnel cake always look like something that could take up residence in the digestive tract, squatting there for disruptive decades.
It’s a good thing they had such a long, discouraging line at Fernie’s Funnel Cake.
Indoors to the food court then, where the 2019 Big Tex Choice Awards banners have gone up, lauding the fresh glory of Ruth’s Stuffed Fried Taco Cone (Best Taste, Savory), Big Red Chicken Bread (Best Taste, Sweet), and Fla’Mango Tango (Most Creative). They had to overcome finalists like Deep Fried Bayou Fruit Bites and the considerable Southern Fried Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Ball, and semifinalists like Deep Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Waffles, Pig in a Cannoli and Loaded Baked Potato Funnel Cake.
At the back of the room, well past all due respect-paying for the title banners of Fried Jell-O and Fried Beer, a sign reads “Heavenly Deep Fried Brownies,” separating those brownies from the deep-fried brownies that are merely earthly, or even hellish, and it seems that momentum can build and the time can come for knowledge of in the area of fried brownies.
A young man named Moe Shahbain had just secured some. He’s the son of Yemeni immigrants who raised him in Chicagoland, and on this Friday night he was at the State Fair of Texas while wearing a shirt that commemorated the “Friends” episode in which Chandler went to Yemen.
Shahbain has lived in Texas for five years, in Austin nowadays, after a Chicago youth devoid of fried brownies. “Had a brownie, not fried,” he said. “But a brownie.” He tried the fried brownies and the fried cheesecake here last year. “I think just frying it, it intensifies the taste, makes it a little better,” he said. “You know, a little guilty feeling.” He said, “To me it is [better than a regular brownie], but, it’s not like I would eat this 10 out of 10 times. I would eat the brownie nine out of 10 times, just because it’s a tad more healthy.”
Well, it seems the first-generation American got the last fried brownies at the stand — that’s fair. Yet they happened to have the reigning Most Creative winner, the Fla’Mango Tango, billed as a “creamy mango mixture twist inside a puff pastry, fried and drizzled with a kicky citrus glaze. Topped with whipped topping and served with a side of strawberry-pomegranate-mango sorbet.”
And when the strawberry-pomegranate-mango sorbet met with the creamy mango twist, the puff pastry and the kicky citrus glaze, my palate journeyed to a paradise it had never known while my stomach prepared to rebel.