Thursday, October 15, 2009

State Fair tales, some NCSU football, and my own fair food!

So the State Fair is in town from now through next week. I don't always go, but Jason and I have been the past 2 years. The first year was just hanging out and looking around. We did ride the hanging swings that go round and round. That's about all I'll do at a fair anymore though - I just have this thing about rides that can be thrown together and taken down so quickly. But beyond that, I just think of all the "variety" of folks I see at the fair, haha... and how they're all in those rides at some point. Yeah, I'd rather put myself through that at a real theme park with real roller coasters, haha.

Anyway, we found a food stand at the fair that year that we LOVED. Most fair food stands offer generally the same kind of foods, but Jason had mentioned wanting a fried bologna sandwich, so we were keeping an eye out for one. Turns out they're very rare. But we stumbled on one - yay! They had some benches right by the stand where we could sit and talk to the super nice ladies inside, so we plopped down and dug into our food. I got a hot dog and french fries, and the best surprise of all for me was that the french fries were REAL! After talking to the ladies, we found out they actually cut the potatoes and fry them there - yum! For me, there is absolutely NO comparison between that and wimpy frozen potatoes (not bashing those, because I've had PLENTY of them in my day, and still love them). Anyway, the fries were awesome. The lady even caught us whispering about what the huge spicy brats under the warmer must be like, haha so she cut us off a huge bite each. Not something I'd pay for, but it was interesting, and free! So all in all, we just loved the great food, the wonderful ladies there who just sat back and chatted with us, and the relaxed little corner we'd found. We took note of the name - Granny Hester's - so we could remember it for the next year. We found out the stand is actually something that "Granny" purchased a while back solely to take to the fair - it sits in her backyard for the other 50 weeks of the year, haha. So, besides this great little find, and a funnel cake before we left the fair, that was about it for that year's visit.

So last year, we had we had tickets to the NC State football game and a great parking pass. It happened to be during the fair, so we got to the game about the time most tailgaters are setting up. And instead of tailgating, we walked across the street to the fair. The parking spot we had was actually better than one you'd get even just going only for the fair. Our sole mission this year - fill our bellies with Granny Hester's before the game. Accomplish two things at once - get our yummy fair food, and avoid the way overpriced football game food. We both got the exact same thing at the fair as before, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think NC State also won. :-) And I happened to have brought my camera for the evening as well...

Part of our 5 minute walk around the fairgrounds before we ate

Sheep in the barnyard area

Granny Hester's!  Seeing this again, I think the chili cheese fries were what attracted me. :-) See the stools and benches?  Nice, quiet little getaway from crazy fair foot traffic.

More NCSU fans at the fair, with the same idea as us.

The Wolfpack statue


Mr. and Mrs. Wuf with the band, getting everybody fired up 

Bringing out the Pack

A different look at the ESPN cameras

Card trick done with the fans - spells out WOLFPACK

 Flipped over, the cards showed the logo

Honoring Cullen Jones and his Olympic gold medal in swimming

Mrs. Wuf dances with the band to "Heeey, Hey Baby" every game

And one of my favorite parts of the fair - fireworks... visible from the football game!

Well, after that fun trip down memory lane... fast forward to this year. We don't have any football tickets. It's $7 per person to get into the fair. They used to let state employees (us) get into the fair the day before official opening just to eat, and alot of ones, especially that worked near the fairgrounds, used to take advantage of that - heck, I would too! But apparently they don't do that anymore. Jason and I have both mentioned our beloved Granny Hester's to each other multiple times over the past week. But sadly I don't think it's going to happen. It's been raining and cold, we'd have to park forever away and walk all the way in, after paying $14 just for admission, only to be able to have access to the place we want to eat at. We're both past the point of trying to be patient with all the rude and scary people that attend the fair, so other than the food, we really don't have a reason to go. So as much as we want to, I don't think we're going to make it this year.

So, in light of that, since I've been doing a menu plan for myself lately and liking it, I had planned in this week to have burgers and homemade fries, which would hopefully satisfy especially if we didn't get to go to the fair. I did the first meal of that tonight, and it turned out great! I made us both a beef burger, killer real french fries, and slow simmered green beans just like the ones I was raised cooking - sooo good. Add some semisweet tea to that - man! I added some onions and parsley in the burger (side note: since starting to cook a lot more, the wonderful invention that is the food processor has become my BEST friend!) and cheese on top, and the french fries were coated in a little safflower oil and chili, garlic, and onion powders. They taste great alone, and it's almost like ketchup brings out the tasty spice combo even more. So yeah, the food might not be just like fair food, but I like to think it had a much better taste while being SO much better for me. Sure, you'll probably never beat the greasy goodness that is deep fried french fries and fried bologna. But for only the 4 grams of fat that was in my entire meal (and all that was only from the lean ground beef), I'd say we got away extremely well. And saved about $50, easy - and no, I'm not kidding - fair food isn't cheap at all. And our hearts are probably thanking us too. So, TAKE THAT, you tempting fair food! :-)

Here's the yummy dinner (minus the ketchup, of course) - I think the fries were by far the best part. I could eat those ALL day. The beef was really good too though, after my usual food regimen consisting of mostly lean chicken and ground turkey breast, that always needs some major work in seasoning... the beef even smeeeeells good. :-)

I also got some junk room cleaning done tonight, which was a major feat. So all in all, good day. Tomorrow's Friday!!

1 comment:

Wolfpack79 said...

IN the words of Andy Griffith ... Mmmmmmmmmmmm, Good !!

It's been a long time since I sampled fried bologna ... used to be a Sunday evening regular growing up.

I do miss the annual State Fair eats that usually included the following (remember, only once a year):
- ham biscuit
- foot long w/ chili
- french fries (the real ones)
- funnel cake (shared)
- ice cream (from the NCSU Ag Dept - not shared)

Note: I had always wanted to try the grilled sausage, onions & green peppers but figured the 2 days its would take to recover were not likely worth it ... not to mention the "pain" I would've put y'all through.