WINNER, WINNER! The Concessionaires Cup winner this year is the Chile Relleno Pretzel Burger from Grantsburger! And, as a serial chile relleno eater, I knew as soon as I heard the name that I would like it. And once I sunk my teeth into Grantburgers’ towering sandwich with a spicy chorizo patty, jalapeno jam, avocado, tomato, cheese, and a whole chile relleno in a soft pretzel bun, I knew it was definitely a contender for the Concessionaires Cup – the most coveted prize among the fair vendors.
Amid all things fried or on a stick, it was this spicy, loaded burger that won the Best of the Best award in the 2014 OC Fair Concessionaires’ Cup Contest. Grantburgers’ new Chile Relleno Pretzel Burger made it through four rounds of judging to be the top food item in the annual contest held July 18.
I was among a group of local food writers/bloggers who had the privilege of tasting the Chile Relleno Pretzel Burger and other new-this-year delicious and crazy fair food at a media preview a few days after the fair opened. It’s not summer without at least one day at the fair, and you just gotta let it all go and indulge in some crazy food that you’ll never see anywhere else… it’s only once a year…it’s all for fun…and, it is meant to be shared…
Dale Smith (Pink’s Hot Dogs) and Dominic Palmieri (Biggies Meat Market) having big fun.
Shown: Pink’s Emeril Bam Dog & Colonel Klink Dog and Biggie’s Garlic Herb Big Chic On A Stick
The 70 entries submitted by Fair food vendors for the Concessionaires Cup Contest were first judged on a set standard for Gold, Silver and Bronze rankings. All Gold-ranked items were then judged on creativity and originality for the Special Rosette round and these items were further judged based on value for menu price in the value round. Judges included The Bikini Chef Susan Irby, Foodie-A-GoGo Blogger Rich Manning, Chef Lindsey Smith Rosales of Laguna Beach’s Nirvana Grille and Master Food Preserver and OC Fair demonstrator Ernest Miller.
Tasti Chips with Jalapeño – another favorite with fairgoers
Oh, yeah! The Big Daddy Corn Dog at Biggie’s Meat Market – pecan-smoked sausage, not a hot dog.
Brand new at the fair this year is Pickle O’ Petes – Nate Janousek brought Little Pickle to present his Pickle Chips & Pickle Dog.
Eight food items in the value round were deemed an “Outstanding Fair Food” item which included Grantburgers’ Chile Relleno Pretzel Burger and Texas Donuts’ Chocolate Reese’s Donut, Chicken Charlie’s Rotisserie Chicken, Country Faire’s Cinnamon Roll with Glaze, JLQ Enterprises’ Chicken Quesadilla, Morton’s Concessions’ Jumbo Corn Dog, Tasti Chips’ Chipotle BBQ Dirty Chips and The Ranch’s The Wrangler Burger.
Some super-sized sweet selections at the fair can be found at Texas Donuts – pictured: Banana Chocolate Cream Donut and Chocolate Reese’s Donut, Bacon A-Fair’s Deep-Fried Jack Daniels Churro and Fried A-Fair Pecan Pie On A Stick.
But on a hot day, get yourself to Legendary Gelato! After a behind-the-scenes photo-op, these guys have the BEST, and coolest, job at the fair!
Mr. Biggie with the Bacon-Wrapped Deep-fried Turkey Leg – feed your inner cave man.
OC Fair Offers 23 Days of Fun, Food & All Things Fair – and you have three more weekends to get in on the fun, if you haven’t already! The 2014 OC Fair started Friday (July 11) and runs until Sunday, August 10 (Wednesday-Sunday). Visit ocfair.com for the full list of events.
- Seniors Day: $2 off Senior (60+) admission plus free Ferris wheel and merry-go-round rides all day
- $2 Taste of Fair Food: Enjoy Fair food samples for only $2 from Noon-4 p.m.
- $2 Rides & Games: Sold until 4 p.m.
Every Saturday & Sunday
- Rise & Shine: $3 general admission (10 a.m.-11 a.m.)
- Free Parking & Shuttle Service from the Experian parking structure located off Anton Blvd. off the Bristol St. exit of the northbound 405 freeway. Shuttle operates 10 a.m.-1 a.m.
- OC Fair Express: Receive a coupon for $3 general admission for that day when using special routes directly from 9 different OCTA transit locations ($2 for one-way and $4 for round-trip). Visitocta.net/ocfairexpress for transit locations and times. Plus, Metrolink riders can catch a free ride on the OC Fair Express from the Anaheim Canyon, Santa Ana or Irvine stations simply by showing their Metrolink ticket. Visit metrolinktrains.com/ocfair for transit times and locations.
Throughout the 2014 OC Fair (July 11-August 10), Fairgoers can also enjoy:
- Military Get in Free: Free admission everyday for active U.S. military and veterans with appropriate I.D.
- Read & Ride Program: Children (ages 5-11) who read at least two books and submit a completed OC Fair Read & Ride Book Report Form (available online at ocfair.com/readandride) will receive three free carnival rides.
- Free Exhibits and Events: Culinary displays in the OC Promenade, All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, Russell Brothers Family Fun Circus, educational exhibits and contests children in Explorium, garden exhibits in the Centennial Farm and more.
Visit ocfair.com/2014 for a full listing of each day’s offerings.
The Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Concert tickets, action sports reserved seats, single-day general admission and the popular Super Pass are available for purchase online at ocfair.com or from the on-site Box Office. Free parking and shuttle service are available on Saturdays and Sundays from the Experian parking structure located off the Bristol St. exit of the 405 freeway.
The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, please visit ocfair.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/OCFair, follow us at twitter.com/ocfair or call (714) 708-1500. Also, download the free OC Fair iPhone and Android apps available this summer.