Saturday, November 5, 2016

The overdue North Carolina State Fair food report

Going to the North Carolina State Fair each year is a long-time family tradition.  For most of that time, a key goal of the trip has been to try as many of the new and unusual foods as possible.  The challenge was always that eating more than a couple of them was both a challenge and a way to gain a ton of weight in a hurry.  A few years back, I devised a strategy for tasting the weird foods and not gaining weight, too:  eating only one (or at most two) bites of each.  To make this plan work, you need either to be willing to throw out a lot of food or to have a group willing to join you in the quest for strange delights.

Fortunately, our State Fair group is willing to help me.

We always enter from the same gate, so I began with my traditional first food:  a pretzel dog.

Click an image to see a larger version.

It was as warm, greasy, and delicious as always.

Sarah begins her feasting with a butter-and-salt pretzel from the same vendor, and she is always willing to let me have a bite.

Umm, good.

Scott opted to start with a blooming onion, and he also let me try a piece.

Greasy and hot and tasty, oh yeah.

Another early dish was the fried cheese.

Hot and gooey and tasty, it was everything fried cheese should be.

Up to this point, we had been following tradition and eating dishes that, while definitely bad for you, were not really Fair food.

The fried Oreos, covered in powdered sugar, took us squarely into the land of unusual foods.

Though you're bound to wear the sugar if you try these, they are surprisingly good little rascals, with the strong Oreo flavor complemented by the dough and sugar.

Continuing in the vein of things you shouldn't eat more than once a year--and maybe not then--we went for the Krispy Kreme donut bacon cheese burger.

This fat and sugar bomb is tastier than you would expect--though I knew that before my first bite, because I've tried it before.

Next up was one of the few fails of the Fair foods:  the fried Klondike bar.

Now, I like fried things (as you can tell), and I like a good Klondike bar from time to time, but this one didn't work because the bar turned completely to liquid before you could take a bite.  Klondike bars are rarely frozen hard, but you might have to do just that to make this dish work.

This next one was just too sweet for me, but it worked for some:  a Reese's peanut butter cup and something else (I think; I can't recall for sure) deep-fried and covered with sugar.

To be fair, those who enjoy peanut butter with their sweets did seem to like it.

After all of that sweet, a salty ham biscuit from one of the Methodist food halls was just the ticket.

Hey, wait, is that a juggling Elvis on a unicycle?

Duh.  What else would it be?

Returning to food and sticking with savories, the sausage baguette was yummy and provided just the right amount of spice to warm your mouth without making you hurt.

Don't believe in artisanal baked whoopie pies?

Come to the Fair.  They exist, and they are amazingly delicious.

Is that a bear chilling in a huge tire swing?

Again, duh, of course it is, though for all his size he is hard to spot in this photo.  Watching him climb into the swing and steady it was a treat in itself.

Back on the midway, hot mini sugar donuts are a staple our group cannot resist.

Damn, that is a big watermelon!

That is also a freaky pumpkin.

I don't know what one would do with such a thing that it would be worth $900, but I'd love to know the story of anyone who bought it.

This cow, who was chilling while staring into a fan, his ears blown back and his eyes nearly shut, proved to be a surprise star of that part of the Fair.

Like a dog hanging his head out a car window, this cow was extremely cute.

We had to search high and low to find the deep-fried Cubano, but when we did,

it was delicious.

No trip to the State Fair can be complete without a simple cheese dog.

Sometime in the course of the night, we sampled some delicious N.C. State ice cream, but I forgot to take a photo of it.

In a final Fair tradition, Sarah, and now Ben and others, rode the swings.

My fear of heights, better in recent years but still present, made me happy to watch everyone's stuff from the ground.

We walked for four hours, and I ate almost nothing before the Fair, so the morning after tasting all of this, I weighed exactly what I had the previous day.  I thus declare victory for this year's State Fair trip!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hacksaw Ridge

is a powerful, moving film that I quite enjoyed.  It's also one of the most brutal war movies I've seen, with long stretches of action that give us a sense of how brutal the action on Okinawa must have been for the men there.  Don't go to this one if you are at all squeamish.

Director Mel Gibson does a generally strong job, though at times his obsessions take the movie over the top.  The ending scene, which I won't spoil, is the worst example of this behavior.  Even with the indulgences, though, Gibson remains a strong director (despite his many other flaws; we don't have to like an artist to appreciate their work).

Andrew Garfield does a fine job in the leading role, and all of the supporting actors are equally strong.

If you don't know the story, don't look into it; just go see the film if you at all like war movies.  Letting this one work on you is the best way to experience it.

This one deserves its strong critical and audience ratings.  Check it out.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Another PT person doing good in the world

Earlier this year, Jen took her sabbatical and helped feed local children.  Check out this video to see her story.

I am proud to be her colleague and to get to work with so many great, caring folks.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Don't take any election as being a done deal. Vote.

You can't go far on the Internet without running into someone's election predictions.  Many of those predictions disagree.  Even those that strongly favor one candidate or the other have to admit that it's possible the race could go either way.

So do your part:  vote.

I want you to vote for Hillary Clinton if for no other reason than to keep Trump out of office.  (I actually believe Clinton will be a solid President, but you don't need to share that opinion to vote for her.  All you have to do is agree that Trump would be a bad President.)  Even if you want Trump, though, I want you to vote.  I want every eligible voter to vote.  Voting is a privilege and a responsibility that we should take seriously.

Vote.  Please.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The movie I must see this weekend

is, of course, Doctor Strange.

He was never among the Marvel superstars, but I always enjoyed the comics about him.  I'm quite looking forward to it.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I voted. You should, too.

Today, because I will be on the road next Tuesday, I voted early.

I'm always happy and excited to vote, because I consider it to be one of the greatest gifts and privileges that I enjoy as a citizen of the U.S.

If you've already voted or intend to vote, thank you, and good on you.

If you're considering skipping the polls this year, please don't.  Please.  So many elections are critical this year, with the most critical of all being, of course, the contest for the presidency of our country.  If you read this blog regularly, you already know that I desperately want to keep Trump out of that office, which is one of the many reasons why I voted today for Hillary Clinton for President.

If you also want to keep Trump far, far away from control of our country, vote for Clinton.

If, like me, you want to get rid of our state's awful HB2 law, vote in a new governor and new legislators.

Even, though, if you oppose me on every issue, I want you to vote.  If I'm going to lose, I'd far rather it be to the will of the overwhelming majority of my fellow citizens than to the decisions of a minority of them.


Sunday, October 30, 2016


Columbus and the con were generally good, but after sleeping late and for a bunch of different reasons, we decided to head out.  A late lunch at North Market preceded a very long day of driving through rain, mountains, and a whole lot of night.

A key lesson from this trip is that when it comes to highway rest stops, the following is clearly true:

North Carolina >> Virginia >>> Ohio

Sorry, Ohio, but that's just how it is.


Blog Archive