Their mission was simple. Boise Weekly staff writers Harrison Berry and Jessica Murri were given $40 and sent to the Western Idaho Fair, open now through Sunday, Aug. 30. They walked past booths offering airbrush tattoos, rhinestone encrusted cowboy hats and Rastafarian inspired accessories, and headed down "food row." Here's what they found (and ate):
Corn on the Cob
Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue, $3
If you're going to the fair intending to eat healthy... good luck. There is one option that's pretty close, though: good, ol' fashioned corn on the cob. The Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue sells nearly 14,000 ears of corn during the course of the fair. The $3 per ear price helps fund the nonprofit organization's efforts and, in return, gets you some of the most tender, juicy, buttery corn on the cob in Boise. It's also one of the few fair foods not deep fried or cooked in grease.
- Jessica Murri
- Big Bubba's bacon-draped hot dog was a highlight of eating at the fair.
Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog
Big Bubba's Bad BBQ, $11.75
The cost is steep but at nearly a foot long, this dog is one of the best deals at the fair. This meaty wonder is generously draped in bacon and loaded with grilled onions and peppers—if you have a taste for spice, ask for a grilled jalapeno on the side. You'll have to unhinge your jaw to get this monster in your mouth but, unlike a lot of fair food, it won't leave you feeling weighed down after.
Bacon on a Stick
Bacon on a Stick, $6
It's the fair food to end all fair foods: a quarter-pound of bacon breaded, deep fried, smothered in a sweet glaze and served on a stick by a guy whose T-shirt read, "That's too much bacon,' said no one ever." It looked like a big, lumpy, ugly corndog, but it tasted like a donut with bacon filling. Murri found it equal parts terrifying and intriguing but ultimately, she wasn't a fan.
- Jessica Murri
- Apple pie—exactly what you should eat at a county fair.
Blue Feather Bakery, $8
Among the various food vendors at the fair, only Blue Feather Bakery had the cutesy charm and delight of Portlandia. The miniature apple, peach and rocky road pies stacked on robin-egg blue shelves were only the size of a salad dish but had the same flaky crust and crystallized sugar as a larger version. The apple pie tasted exactly as an apple pie should, especially warmed up and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Taste of Texas BBQ, $4.50
A refreshing dessert is a must at the fair. If you're resisting the temptation to sink your teeth into the assortment of fried treats, which can leave you feeling oppressed and greasy, look no further than the banana pudding at Taste of Texas BBQ. While not a chilled dessert, the pudding, piled on vanilla cookies and topped with fresh-sliced bananas and whipped cream, refreshes to the core. Plus, you can feel like you've done your good deed for the day: Proceeds benefit the Treasure Valley NAACP scholarship fund.
Somewhere near the rides, $6
Berry and Murri knew this purchase was a mistake from the moment the vendor pulled the batter bucket out of the fridge and scooped canned peaches into the gurgling deep fryer. Topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, these piping-hot, sickly sweet mush balls tasted nothing like delicious fruit but everything like a hangover. The peaches were caustic on the palate and after three bites, our intrepid reviewers discarded the steaming remnants.
- Harrison Berry
- Tasted more like a bad hangover.