Friday, August 17, 2012

Funnel Cakes at The Lazy Toucan - Costa Mesa

It took me this long to go to the OC Fair. Through apathy and a general aversion to large, sweaty crowds crammed together on a hot asphalt parking lot under the blazing sun of August, I’d never, ever gone before. But I finally did this year. And I barely made it under the wire. It was the very last night on the very last day that I made my pilgrimage, paying next to nothing to enter. And you know what? I’m kicking myself for not going sooner.

My eyes, nostrils and ears were overfed even before my mouth was. It was like the first time I went to Disneyland. There was simply too much to see, too much to smell, too much to hear. Over here, smoke billowed from mountains of ribs and roasting atop gigantic fire-breathing grills. Over there Chinese acrobats piled on top of each other into a pyramid of contorting bodies. And oh the billboards, those billboards--literally enormous enough to be seen a mile away, screaming in gaudy fonts so tacky it makes Times Square look classy. They advertised everything that’s either fried, pork-related, or both!

Thinking that I should eat something somewhat nutritious prior to coming, I consumed a huge dinner before I came. So I ate one thing at the OC Fair this year, and one thing only: a funnel cake.

There are what I estimate to be at least three funnel cake vendors there, and I’m sure whatever differences there were between them were nominal. The one we chose was this one, called The Lazy Toucan. It came out quick--a golden fried bird’s nest looking-thing dusted in a snow flurry of powdered sugar and piled up with an excessive amount of whipped cream. We stuffed our faces. What was salty and deep-fried-to-crispy-noodle-shapes counteracted the strawberry sweetness and the fluff pillow of cream. It was wonderful. Unlike other non-fair funnel cakes I’ve had, it was tender, not too over-fried, and ate almost like a breakfast pancake or freshly-made waffle.

I’m already looking forward to next year to eat it again and pig out on pig. So I’ll query the audience: what was your favorite OC Fair food?

OC Fair
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 708-1500

Juliette Kitchen & Bar - Newport Beach


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