Three of my nieces, Lauren, Gillian and Keely, came for a little visit this summer. Among other adventures, we picnicked in Venice Beach, hiked and soaked in the sun at Zuma, and made the obligatory trip to the mall.
One of the highlights of our week was a day at the Orange County Fair! The OC Fair invited Average Betty to do a cooking demo on the Culinary Arts stage. OMG! A live cooking demonstration? Well, I guess there’s a first for everything.
After mulling over the options, we decided on a pizza demo. I knew I would be making pizza with my nieces while they were visiting, and how difficult would it be to translate a lesson on pizza making in my kitchen to the OC Fair Culinary Arts stage in front of an audience? Wait. What?
We planned on making three pizzas: A cheese and tomato sauce on a Whole Wheat Crust, the naughty and indulgent BBQ Chicken Mac n’ Cheese Pizza and the spicy and unexpected crowd favorite, the Jalapeno POP Pizza, both on Original pizza crust.
I made all of the dough in advance, and I had a few complete pizzas to pop in the oven as soon as we arrived to ensure we had samples ready for the audience. Turns out the most challenging part of the demo was packing up the “pizza kits” that each girl would need to demonstrate how to make her pizza.
Keely was up first with a simple cheese and tomato sauce on a Whole Wheat crust. While there was a good number of people in the audience who had made their own pizza dough before, it was surprising to see how few people had tried a whole wheat crust. Hopefully we inspired some in the audience to try this healthier alternative.
Lauren finished up the demo with the Jalapeno POP Pizza on Original pizza crust. A fairly new creation, this one literally had people calling out for more. YAY! Imagine that, pizza with bacon… a hit at the County Fair!
So how did the first Average Betty live cooking demonstration go? It went OK. The girls had fun and the audience loved the free pizza, but I may have been a little ambitious thinking I could manage three girls, three pizzas and entertain a hungry fair crowd all at the same time. Nevertheless, all ten of the pizzas were devoured by the audience (the Betties didn’t get a single slice) and we all got the new experience of performing on a culinary arts stage putting on a live cooking demo.
The OC Fair also provided Average Betty with a media escort after the cooking demo, so we hit the midway to meet and interview people indulging in the plethora of (mostly fried) food options; another new experience for Lauren, Gillian and Keely! Armed with their questions and the Average Betty microphone, well, they stole the show! Big thanks to everyone that took time to talk to us and show us their food! Watch the Fry Baby Fry! video now!
Chicken Charlie’s has an impressive list of deep fried foods, including Frog Legs and Klondike Bars; Avocados and Oreos; Fried Chicken and French Fries. Jerald has not only deep fried just about everything, but he’s tried it all as well. Chicken Charlie’s also serves up healthier grilled chicken or beef kabobs. Jerald was kind enough to treat Lauren, Gillian and Keely to their first Deep Fried Twinkies! Sadly, they were
devoured inhaled before the snap of a camera shutter so I submit to you the kabobs instead :)
The Heart Attack Cafe also has an impressive list of unimaginable foods to enjoy at the fair. They pull out all the stops this year with Deep Fried Butter and return of the coveted Chocolate Covered Bacon. Hayley has a good sense of humor about her family owned and operated business that dishes out specials such as The Coronary Combo.
Honestly, aside from the Zucchini Weenie and Garlic Bacon Fries, one of the more curious items available at the OC Fair is the gigantic $10 corn dog. It doesn’t look like just lunch or dinner, it actually looks like a lifetime supply of corn dog. As tempting as a lot of the deep fried fare looks and smells, I couldn’t fight the urge to indulge in my beloved fish tacos. There’s always next year to try my luck at the gigantic corn dog.
On Friday afternoons from noon – 4PM, the OC Fair has $1 food samples and most of the vendors participate. Other days there are specials on admission and rides, and every day boasts events, contests and activities in addition to the games and grub! The beat goes on through August 15, 2010. Check out the OC Fair website for more information.