If the State Fair of Texas is Fried Christmas, Abel Gonzales is Fried Jesus.
In 2005, Gonzales won Most Creative at the first Big Tex Choice Awards with his fried peanut butter and jelly and banana sandwich. In 2006, he took home a second Most Creative win with a little thing you might have heard of called fried Coke. In 2007 he won Best Taste with fried cookie dough. And in 2009, he earned another Most Creative title with fried butter.
Last year, he lost as a finalist with what he admits was a crappily-named product: fried chocolate. Fried chocolate? This thing was white chocolate and a cherry stuffed in a brownie, which he then dipped in chocolate cake batter, fried (FRIED!!) and topped with powdered sugar, cherry sauce and chocolate whipped cream. Fried chocolate bomb, fried chocolate palpitations, fried chocolateholycrapthisisgood -- any of these names would've been more like it.
Don't get too excited about it now, though. Gonzales says. "Yeah, that was just too labor intensive to bring back this year." Great. Now you can't get this delicious awesomeness because it was too much of a pain in Gonzales' ass to make perfection for you every damned day.
In addition to the fried pineapple thingy, "We'll also have the fried Coke, fried butter (in garlic, honey and cinnamon and cherry flavors), fried cookie dough, fried PBJ and banana-- that's my favorite-- and an underground success from last year: fried pizza."
Say what? "It's a whole slice of pepperoni pizza that we dip in an Italian-seasoned batter and fry. We serve it with pizza sauce and parmesan. Every time we sell one and people see it walking around, all of a sudden we immediately get orders for ten more."
As I drooled uncontrollably like an infant all over on my phone thinking about that fuh-ried pepp-uh-roni pizzuh, Gonzales continued, "It's funny -- the first year we were at the fair, we were begging people to come to our stand. Like, 'Hey, Man! Want some fries? You want some fries. Come get some fries!' Now, sometimes we've got lines 60 people deep. The Big Tex Choice Awards have really been good for us and all the vendors."
Gonzales, unlike most of the concessionaires, only works during the 24 days that the fair runs. He doesn't have another job. "Yeah, after the fair, it's pretty much just me, my dog and Divorce Court."
With food trucks being all the rage, it made sense to ask why the heck he's not driving a Fry Jesus truck around One Arts Plaza yet. If people will stand in line for hours to get a fried PBJB at the fair, they'll stand in line for it any day.
"You're so right. I'd love to do that. I keep thinking, 'Man, I should really get off my ass... but Judge Judy's next.'" Damn you, Judge Judy.