Before we get into any of this I thought I should point out that Old Navy is having a sale on elastic pants right now. Maybe you should bookmark it. Bikini season isn't going to last forever, you know, and I can personally attest to the comfort and appeal of elastic, which fits snuggly, yet gives under pressure.
With that out of the way, know that the State Fair of Texas announced the finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards this week, and in Big Tex fashion the deep fryers are bubbling over again. Yet even while the field of contestants is consistently encased in a sizzling, golden-brown sheen, this year's finalists prove the amount of creativity that can be dropped in a vat of fat is truly limitless.
Here are your finalists:
Cowboy Corn Crunch by Isaac Rousso
If a cowboy and a Frenchman were trapped in a kitchen together, the resulting croquette might resemble this savory bite offered by the King of all Fried Things Isaac Rousso. Sweet corn, minced jalapeño, rich cream cheese and a hint of smoky bacon put the crunch at the front of the field for this sideline judge.
Pretzel-Crusted Pollo Queso by Allan Weiss
With cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, cilantro and Sriracha sauce, Allan Weiss' pollo queso will likely be duking it out with Rousso's creation directly. Weiss differentiates himself with shredded chicken and a crispy pretzel breading.
Lone Star Pork Handle by Justin Martinez
Hello, deep-fried bone-in pork chop. I haven't seen you before. You here alone? You don't have to be.
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Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy by Abel Gonzales
For the first time in Big Tex Choice Awards history, lobster has made its way on the menu. You can now have lobster. At the State Fair. In Texas.
Deep Fried Alligator’s Egg Nest by Cassy Jones
This is also the first year alligator meat will make an appearance at the Big Tex Choice awards. Cheese, meat, jalapeños, fried: have we been here before?
Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo by James Barrera
This one could almost be construed as healthy. That's lean buffalo meat inside that greasy meatball and no cheese is to be found in this dish. Use that chipotle cream sauce lightly and eat the lettuce padding out the carton like it's a salad and you might not need to hit Old Navy this fall.
Fernie’s Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly by Christi Erpillo
Save room for dessert? Make some even if you didn't. This dessert packs so much sugar you might have to come back to the fair another day to finish it. Get ready for it:
This carrot cake creation makes use of golden-baked, cinnamon-swirled bread flattened and filled with moist carrot cake, plump raisins and carrots. It's rolled with cream cheese and breaded in a mixture of panko, graham crackers, cinnamon and nutmeg. The results are drizzled with cream cheese frosting and dusted with powdered sugar, and because why the hell not, it's served with a caramel macchiato cream sauce. I had to recline in my seat just to finish typing that.
While you finish wiping your chin with that 17th, napkin I'll point out that the Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony raises money for the State Fair of Texas Youth Scholarship Program. If you're interested in watching these dishes battle it out for the coveted Big Tex trophy head to the Tower Building in Fair Park at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, August 30. Don't forget to pick up your ticket before you start shopping for those new pants.