Fried Jambalaya: A Food Critic's Tasting Notes

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I hope you haven't packed your shorts for the summer yet. The weather for opening day at the State Fair of Texas is hot and muggy with a fine aerosol of crisp and clean frying oil.

I zipped over to Fair Park today to find the winner of this year's fried food competition. Abel Gonzales' deep fried Cajun stew was supposed to be "not fucking bad," according to Donovan Lewis, who judged the competition. I wanted to see if the small nard of deep-fried goo was worth the $4 price tag.

The glistening orb is slightly larger than a ping pong ball and encased in a thin veneer of golden brown crust that snaps a touch when you break it open with a fork. Inside you'll find a warm mixture of savory, creamy rice, and sausage the color of wet newspaper. The balls are supposed to have shrimp, but I think I got a bad scoop.

The spicy ranch tastes about as you'd expect, but when the whole bite comes together in a redneck-arancini sort of way, you realize it kind of works, and is indeed rather appealing. I'll one-up Mr. Donavan, and offer that they are pretty fucking good.

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