Tiki at the LA County Fair: Part Four


In this requisite annual post I present to you more of the myriad reasons why I love the LA County Fair. Among them are taking photographs of the ferris wheel at sunset, eating strange fried food and finding random tiki sightings.


Chicken Charlie is famous for serving up deep-fried delights, but this year he introduced a new stand called The Pineapple Express that offered some island-inspired options that were promoted as healthier than your typical fare fair.


One of these was the “Naked Shrimp” ($11.95) with white rice and pineapple chunks, served in half a pineapple shell. If you’re concerned this dish sounds too healthy, don’t worry, they also give you a side of melted butter! The shrimp looked like they might have some spice, but were pretty bland. I appreciated the novelty presentation, but we’ll skip this next year.


On the other hand, the deep-fried lobster on a stick ($12.87) was juicy inside and the crisp coating had great seasoning.


Of course, Chicken Charlie couldn’t stray too far from his roots so there was also deep-fried Spam and deep-fried pineapple rings with chocolate sauce (both $6.44) to continue the Hawaiian theme. Not surprisingly, the latter wasn’t very good. I guess the deep-fried Klondike Bar shall remain my all-time favorite.


Even though we went at the end of September, the weather was still hotter than it had any business being. We paused to cool off with some shave ice at The Big “Kone” Huna, which I think might have been a new food vendor at the LA County Fair this year.


Their stand had a thatch roof, some tiki masks and bamboo poles, but also hot rod flames, disco lights and dance music, so that was a bit odd. As was their logo with a surfin’ dude in a scary-looking tiki mask. Yikes.


We couldn’t decide what flavors to get so we went with their suggestion of strawberry and pina colada “Hawaiian style” with sweetened condensed milk on top ($5.06). It was pretty good, though I kept stealing spoonfuls from our friends’ order of lime and margarita.


Every year we make sure to visit the arts and crafts building. We speculate on the fierce rivalry among the jam and preserves makers, and examine the prize-winning baked goods slowly decaying in the glass displays. There was no tiki cake this year, but there was this impressive cake for “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”


We’re also slightly obsessed with the tablescaping contest where people decorate tables according to themes, complete with elaborate centerpieces and menus for an imaginary meal. (Part of our fascination has to do with the nitpicky critiques from the judges, like “Teaspoon near knife is a questionable decision.”)


Of course this table caught my eye! It was inspired by James Michener’s book Hawaii, and featured a thatch roof over the table, woven palm frond placemats, monkey pod wood dishes, mini tiki torches, fake tropical flowers and tiki salt and pepper shakers. The Hairpin has some great pictures of some of the other tablescaping entries (including one for Game of Thrones!).

Related posts:

LA County Fair 2011 – Lumberjacks & Tiki Cakes
LA County Fair 2010 – Chocolate Covered Oreos Wrapped in Bacon!
LA County Fair 2009 – A Horse Named Tiki


Tiki at the LA County Fair: Part Two

I’ve said it before (last year around this time, actually) and I’ll say it again: I love the fair! The LA County one, to be precise. There’s just something magical about the way the carnival rides look lit up at night.

And it’s one of the few times of year when it’s acceptable to eat things like chocolate covered Oreos wrapped in bacon.

Chicken Charlie usually concocts a few new diabolical desserts, and last year marked the debut of the deep-fried Klondike bar. It was ridiculous in the best way, so melty and gooey. I really hope it returns for 2011.

Then there’s also the random tiki sightings—I do believe this one takes the cake! (Oh yes, I went there.)

I guess many consider tikis as shorthand for “summertime,” so vendors prop them up to get people in the mood to buy jacuzzis and patio grills. These ones are clearly *ahem* inspired by Wayne Coombs.

And even Terry’s Palms & Tikis booth was back for another year, with skull and pirate-themed stuff and painted tiki masks like the kind imported from Indonesia.

The Shrimp Guys were serving up Hawaiian style garlic shrimp, which is kind of funny considering they used an Easter Island moai (complete with topknot) to adorn their booth.

And because I’m so far behind on my blog posts, the fair’s already sneaking up on us again! Why, we’re almost halfway there…