Our win­ners are ...

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Jen­nifer Shee­han

From a bub­ble waffle stuffed with ice cream and top­pings to a colos­sal ver­sion of chicken and waf­fles, we tasted more than a dozen foods at the Al­len­town Fair — all in search of the best.

We pushed the lim­its of “full” Wed­nes­day night.

From a bub­ble waffle stuffed with ice cream and top­pings to a colos­sal ver­sion of chicken and waf­fles, we tasted more than a dozen foods at the Al­len­town Fair — all in search of the best.

Yes, it’s a tough job. But some­one had to do it.

The Al­len­town Fair is un­der­way, run­ning through La­bor Day at the Al­len­town Fair­grounds. You’ll find Mid­way fun, en­ter­tain­ment, con­certs — and of course, food. The Morn­ing Call Taste Test Team as­sem­bled, and in the name of jour­nal­ism, we tried the 17 new foods on the Mid­way this year.

The team: Stephanie Si­gafoos, con­tent editor; Ja­cob W. Michaels, busi­ness editor; and in a twist this year, we in­vited a Morn­ing Call reader to join us, Charles DeLeva of Brod­headsville. We asked in the news­pa­per as well as on our Face­book page for read­ers to tell us why they should be picked to join The Morn­ing Call Taste Test Team. We picked DeLeva be­cause he has a deep love and appreciati­on for fair food, as well as pro­fes­sional culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence as the ex­ec­u­tive chef at St. Luke’s Hospi­tal-An­der­son Cam­pus.

“I en­joy fine din­ing of course, but I have no shame in ad­mit­ting that I am a junk food-aholic and fair food is one of my big­gest weakness. I con­sider my­self a fair food con­nois­seur and my wife and I are al­ways will­ing to try any­thing and ev­ery­thing in our quest for unique, tasty and fun food,” DeLeva wrote in his email.

This was a Face­book Live event, so I was on the mic as our Kayla Dwyer was be­hind the cam­era.

The taste test team as­sem­bled in the Agri-Plex on the Farm To Ta­ble stage, and went to work, look­ing at the foods to de­ter­mine our fa­vorite sa­vory and sweet dishes.

How we judged: We broke the foods into the two cat­e­gories, sweet and sa­vory. In gen­eral: The team looked for whether this was a food you’d rec­om­mend. Was it fla­vor­ful with good tex­ture? Foods that were por­ta­ble got extra points.

After much eat­ing, here’s what our Morn­ing Call Taste Test found:

Best sa­vory: Jimmy Vaughn-Ga

Let’s face it: Fair food should be over-the-top diet-busters.

The Jimmy Vaughn-Ga fits the bill. It’s a chimichang­a made with pork belly, chorizo sausage, red cab­bage slaw, pico de gallo, pick­led jalapenos and pep­per jack cheese, along with a red chimichurr­i sauce.

So what’s with the name? Cactus Blue Mex­i­can Restau­rant, which cre­ated the chimichang­a, named it after WFMZ an­chor Jim Vaughn.

So why is it spe­cial? First of all, the por­tion you get is enough to feed three peo­ple (or one re­ally hun­gry per­son).

Then there’s the fla­vor: It’s all the things you want in a fair food: Salty, crispy, spicy, stick-to-your-ribs. Ex­cep­tion­ally de­li­cious and a must-try for any­one com­ing out to the fair.

Honorable men­tion: Fried Ra­clette Cheese Bites — lit­tle cubes of cheese, deep-fried with a ranch dip­ping sauce. They are well-fried and sea­soned per­fectly. The only knock on this dish was that our team would have liked a dif­fer­ent dip­ping sauce. (Some­thing sour or spicy to pro­vide a fla­vor bal­ance. Ranch just adds more cream to a creamy dish).

Best Sweet: Bub­ble waffle

Of course, a sweet treat is in or­der when you’re at the fair.

And there’s a lot out there that can sat­isfy a sweet tooth. But why just sat­isfy it?

Again, over-the-top is what we ex­pect. The bub­ble waffle from the Ud­der Bar is just that.

“It’s a show-stop­per,” DeLeva said. Take a puffy but crispy waffle made fresh to or­der and fill it with your choice of ice cream and a sauce, and top with whipped cream. The waffle is the per­fect tex­ture — crispy and ten­der but strong enough to re­tain its struc­tural integrity once filled with ice cream.

It’s a gen­er­ous serv­ing too.

Judge for your­self:

Of course, you can conduct your own taste test of the foods at the fair.

The fair is host­ing its an­nual New Food at the Fair con­test. Look for the red di­a­mond sign in­di­cat­ing that the ven­dor is par­tic­i­pat­ing and has one of the new foods. Give it a taste and cast your vote. You can get a map at InFAIR­ma­tion booths and in­side the Agri-Plex build­ing to find the con­tes­tants. Then cast your bal­lot.

Here’s the full list of foods:

Cheese Cake Bites (Bissinger’s Cater­ing & Con­ces­sions): Cheese­cake topped with sweet fresh peaches and whipped cream.

Choose Your Top­ping Fun­nel Cake (Wuchter’s Fun­nel Cake Stand): A fair clas­sic, you can choose to top your fun­nel with more than 30 dif­fer­ent top­pings.

Rice Pud­ding in a Cone (Wuchter’s Fun­nel Cake Stand): Home­made rice pud­ding in a waffle cone, topped with whipped cream and a cherry, as well as fruit if you want. (A por­ta­ble treat!)

Tur­key Kiel­basa over Sauteed Cab­bage Sand­wich (Vince’s Steaks): Tur­key kiel­basa served on an Ital­ian steak roll with sauteed cab­bage and veg­gies, topped with greens. (Vince’s is a peren­nial win­ner, so this is sure to please your taste buds.)

Key Lime Dip­pin Dots Sun­dae (Dip­pin Dots): Vanilla and lime dip­pin dots, lime sauce, gra­ham cracker and whipped cream.

Fire­man Brad’s Spe­cial (Waffle Mama’s): Corn­flake-crusted fried chicken breast dipped in honey but­ter sauce, topped with four-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese, be­tween two sweet po­tato bis­cuit waf­fles. (Drool­ing) Jumbo Ger­man Bratwurst (Schatzi’s Jumbo Brats): Ger­man bratwurst sand­wich served with kraut and Ger­man mus­tard on a fresh bun.

Giant Schnitzel sand­wich (Schatzi’s Jumbo Brats): This “big boy” is a chicken schnitzel sand­wich served with a mouth-wa­ter­ing sauce and let­tuce.

Steak Ton­chos (Rose’s Con­ces­sions): Cheese, tater tots, chili, salsa, sour cream and steak make up this pop­u­lar fa­vorite.

Cal­i­for­nia Chicken Cheese Steak (Brass Rail Restau­rant).

Bub­ble Waffle (The Ud­der Bar): An egg-based waffle is made fresh on the spot, stuffed with your choice of ice cream and a sauce and topped with whipped cream, a cherry, and a pirou­ette wafer.

Jimmy Vaughn-Ga (Cactus Blue Mex­i­can Restau­rant): A chimichang­a named after WFMZ an­chor Jim Vaughn, made with pork belly, chorizo sausage, red cab­bage slaw, pico de gallo, pick­led jalapenos, pep­per jack cheese and smoth­ered with a red chimichurr­i sauce.

Ar­ti­san Truf­fle Bars (Choco­late Moon­shine): Bars that are hand­painted with French co­coa but­ter and made with cold-processed choco­late, and fla­vored with fresh-pressed fruits and/or nuts. Made with no preser­va­tives or ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers.

Mex­i­can Red Hot Corn (Lit­tle Mike’s Fine Foods): Take a cob of corn and in­fuse it with Mex­i­can chili pep­per.

Stuffed Bread­sticks (Ul­ti­mate Strom­boli Com­pany): Three stuffed bread­sticks filled with moz­zarella cheese and pep­per­oni, coated in gar­lic but­ter spread with oregano and served with a side of pizza sauce.

Fried Ra­clette Cheese Bites (El­lie En­ter­prises): Su­per melty on the in­side and crispy crunchy on the out­side, th­ese deep-fried cheese cubes are made from im­ported cheese, served with a side of but­ter­milk ranch dress­ing.

Flammkuche­n / Tarte Flambé (El­lie En­ter­prises): A hy­brid be­tween flat­bread and pizza, this Ger­man-French pizza has a thin, crispy crust that goes won­der­fully with clas­sic top­pings of creme fraiche, ba­con/ham and onion.

PHO­TOS BY APRIL GAMIZ/THE MORN­ING CALL

The Morn­ing Call holds a taste test of fair foods with judges Stephanie Si­gafoos, Ja­cob W. Michaels and guest reader judge Char­lie DeLeva at The Great Al­len­town Fair on Wed­nes­day. The host was Jen­nifer Shee­han.

Bub­ble Waffle by The Ud­der bar. The Morn­ing Call held a taste test of fair foods with judges Stephanie Si­gafoos, Ja­cob Michaels, and guest reader judge Char­lie Deleva. The host was Jen­nifer Shee­han.

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