The North Carolina State Fair is the sure fire sign that Fall has arrived in the Triangle. Farm animals, rides, pumpkin contests and fried food bring thousands of people to Raleigh every fall. My personal favorite part of the State Fair though, is the fried food. I was so excited when I found out I would be able to taste test new Fair food because everything is fair game at the Fair, and I’m down to try it all.
This year, local vendors are bringing a range of new foods from crazy fried items to delicious pastries and everything in between. Where do I even begin in telling you about all of the amazing treats that will be available? I guess I’ll start with some good old-fashioned fried foods. The first fried snack I tried, and my favorite actually, was Woody’s Wings Bacon Pimento Cheeseburger Eggroll. It was a pretty large eggroll filled with pimiento cheese, bacon, and ground beef. It was a little messy, but hey, all of the best food is.
Next, I moved on to Chef D’Lite’s Deep Fried Cuban Roll. This tasty treat had pulled pork, sliced ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard, all deep-fried together. I am a little picky about my pickles, but these ones were amazing and added such a good flavor to the snack. This was probably my second favorite food of the day. Another tasty addition was N&T concessions Deep Fried Shrimp Bites. These little bites tasted like shrimp hush puppies and went amazingly well with the slightly spicy sauce they provided.
Seafood also seemed to be a pretty big theme amongst the new, local vendors. Ragin’ Cajun provided a seriously impressive Low Country Shrimp Boil with shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes. They also had some Blue Crab Hushpuppies to satisfy that fried food craving. A local favorite restaurant, Neomonde Bakery and Deli, provided their take on fish & chips. I definitely wouldn’t expect fish & chips from Neomonde, but it was delicious. The fish was perfectly seasoned and the fries were thick and tasty. The media’s pick for Best New Food also happened to be seafood. Captain Neil’s brought their A-game with their Fresh Crab Dip. The dip was perfectly creamy and cheesy with just the right amount of fresh crab to add flavor without being overwhelming.
The final stops were dessert. Local bakery La Farm created a grown-up Whoopie Pie that made me feel super fancy, and like a kid at the same time. The chocolate Whoopie Pie was filled with raspberry jam and buttercream frosting. Another favorite every year at the Fair is NC State’s Howling Cow Ice Cream. This year they will be providing an Apple Crumble ice cream. This Fall inspired ice cream was really tasty with just enough apples and a hint of cinnamon, too. Finally, R&R’s Finest in Old Fashioned Ice Cream whipped up an amazing peanut butter banana ice cream. I’m not a huge banana fan but I loved this stuff. There was just enough fresh banana flavor and peanut butter to make it delicious without being an overwhelmingly strong flavor.
I really enjoyed everything I got to try at the media lunch, and I can’t wait to try even more delicious new foods this year at the State Fair. Look out for more fried goodness like bacon-wrapped grilled cheese from Bubba’s Bacon, Blueberry infused funnel cake from Gobblin’ Gourmet and Crème Brulee & Fudge Nut Brownie Apples from Miss Debbie’s Specialty Apples. Make sure to make it to the State Fair this month from October 13-23rd.
Melissa Guido is currently a dietetic intern in the Triangle area. She studied nutrition at NC State and Meredith College. Her favorite part about nutrition is showing people that healthy food can be exciting and delicious. Melissa loves traveling and learning about how food fits into different cultures. In her free time she loves trying new restaurants, cooking, and obsessing over her dogs. Follow her on Instagram @made2order and at www.madeorder.wordpress.com.