Be honest with yourself: You came for the spectacle.
No, not the Zipper or the Himalaya rides. The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair is a chance to free yourself of your South Beach Diet, of your perfectly portioned Paleo meals. And no place promises to blow your nutrition program so spectacularly as the Youth Fair.
If it’s not battered and deep fried, you don’t want it. Let Monday bring with it regret and refocus. Right now? It’s all about the food you can find only at the fair.
Thrill seekers, put down that turkey leg. Here are the five weirdest foods you can try before the fair closes on April 10.
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FUNNEL BACON ON A STICK
Blame it on YouTube. “Mama” Jane Harris, who raised six kids while inventing fair concoctions for the last 32 years, was browsing weird foods online when she saw someone deep frying bacon and got a sinister idea. What if she combined her funnel cakes with bacon?
First, she fries thick-cut bacon on a stick, because of course she does. Then she dips it in funnel cake batter, drowns it in roiling hot oil and covers the finished foot-long cruller with a maple butter-cream sauce. That first bite is like love’s first kiss, the sweet glaze and crisp funnel cake instantly mixing with the salty bacon for a flavor that floods your taste buds.
Guilt and regret never tasted so good.
GUAVA AND CREAM CHEESE ELEPHANT EAR
Pastelitos, look out. “Mama” Harris breaks her ironic rule of not eating her own deep-fried concoctions for only this one creation, specific to South Florida. While roaming Miami grocery store sweets aisles for inspiration (she’s from Pensacola), she noticed all of our guava. And she gave it to us.
Take the traditional Frisbee-sized elephant ear dough patty and slather the golden fried disk in guava marmalade and cream cheese icing. It’s breakfast in a bite, perfect for an early morning start to the fair.
COTTON CANDY BEER
If someone spilled a piña colada into your Heineken, you’d know what it’s like to drink cotton candy beer, one of three flavors Schnebly’s Miami Brewing Co. brewed specifically for the fair this year.
It’s like kissing your partner after she just slathered on Coppertone, thanks to coconut, caramel and mango flavors in this wheat ale. Craft beer aficionados will hate it. Fortunately, there are better offerings at a mammoth 60-tap mobile beer trailer that also features great local offerings from J. Wakefield Brewing, Wynwood Brewing and Tampa’s Coppertail Brewing.
Still feeling adventurous? Miami Brewing also brewed Kettle Corn Ale and Funnel Cake beer for the fair.
FIRE AND ICE SUNDAE
Let’s say you lost a bet with an 8-year-old in the lunchroom.
She might reach for the craziest ingredients she could immediately get her hands on and build this sundae: soft-serve vanilla ice cream topped with crumbled corn chips and sriracha hot sauce. (Maybe Miami-Dade County schools are serving Thai food?) She folds her hands gleefully as she watches you try to put it down.
It was kind of like that with the fire and ice sundae, which apparently was a hit with the Mexican community when the fair folks stopped in West Palm Beach and Minnesota. In Miami maybe not so much. It was weird.
FROSTED FLAKES CHICKEN ON A STICK
Your grandmother might have made a version of this, using corn flakes in the batter for her famous fried chicken. Trust Grandma.
The sweetness and crunch from the Frosted Flakes make this batter-dipped white meat chicken on a stick a tasty, guilty pleasure. But be warned: It comes fresh out of the fryer with hot oil running down the wax paper. Bite in too soon and, as comedian Jim Gaffigan observes about Hot Pockets, the roof of your mouth will be destroyed.
If You Go
What: Miami-Dade County Youth Fair
When: The fair runs through April 10
Where: 10901 SW 24th St., Miami
Info: www.thefair.me/ or 305-223-7060