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LA County Fair Food Preview and Four Pack of Fair Tickets–Giveaway Ends 09/08!

The LA County Fair officially started today at 3pm with rides, games, shows, concerts,  new animal exhibits and of course, a huge variety of food.  Every year, the food is a huge draw at the fair, and this year will not disappoint as they are more than prepared to appeal to every palette and appetite .  You will see the usual fried fare from longtime fair favorites such as Chicken Charlie, but the fair does have some Gluten-Free options, one of my personal favorites; Terri’s Berries and then there is the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Marketplace. The Fair will run through September 30th.  Fun events and concerts are planned throughout the entire month and are sure to thrill and wow us.  This past Tuesday I was invited out to a food preview, and oh boy, make sure to wear comfortable clothing to the fair so that you can fully enjoy all the food the fair has to offer.  I grew up going to this fair, and by the tastes of food and drink I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in, I am so excited to attend the fair again this year.

There was just a handful of vendors on hand, but nevertheless it was a FANTASTIC sampling of all things fair food, so without further ado, here are the much anticipated  photos of the fair food we got to sample (Which is why you’re here I’m sure is for the fair food photos, not to hear me ramble on and on endlessly… 😉 You can find these food vendors while out and about at the fair this year.

1) Ten Pound Buns

Ten Pound Buns makes wonderful  freshly made sourdough bread topped with all sorts of delicious toppings.  They have a variety of options including BBQ chicken, the ultimate with everything on it,  pepperoni, bacon Nutella, meat lovers, jalapeno and cheese, to just their original with cheese. They have 7 different varieties to choose from. I decided on the BBQ Chicken, it was absolute perfection. The sauce was not too sweet, not too smoky.

The BBQ Chicken

I also had a sample of Jamie’s Bacon Nutella (be sure to check out her blog post about the food preview for more mouth-watering pics. 🙂  I was hesitant to try this, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the sweet and salty mixed together.

2) Skinny Girl Bar and Food
Next stop was, “Skinny Bar,” as I needed something to wash down that amazing BBQ Chicken creation.  New to the fair this year, these fabulous and delicious cocktails are low-calorie, but still pleasantly flavorful.  These drinks are especially designed for women and come in margaritas, lemonades, and cosmos. My favorite was the margarita. Very refreshing on such a WARM summer’s night!!!

3) Tasti Chips

Tasti Chips with Bacon Cheddar Cheese

For all of you Gluten-Free fans out there, make sure to make a stop at Tasti Chips!! These crispy “Tasti Chips” are made in peanut oil and are completely gluten-free!  My advice to everyone out there is to ADD the Bacon Cheddar cheese to your order (NOTE TO SELF: the cheese isn’t gluten-free!) You can also get them topped with  numerous other toppings if you so desire.

4) Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Big Kona Huna Shaved Ice

Hawaiian Shaved Ice has always been a favorite, and this night was no different. The Shaved Ice was a big hit and  everyone loved their personal creations.  What makes it “Hawaiian” you may be asking yourself? Well, they take Sweet and Condensed Milk  and pour a very generous amount of it over your masterpiece of flavors for you.

One of the personal favorites of the evening ammong our group was their “Root Beer” Flavor. Here I tried their Bahama Mama and Pina Colada flavors. Very tropical and just want I wanted on such a WARM warm night!

5) Ice Cream and Funnel Cakes

Always a fair favorite, goodies abound of ice cream creations and funnel cakes that will be here for you to enjoy throughout the fair. You can never go wrong with a dipped cone or funnel cake with powdered sugar or a fruit topping!!

6) Monster Grill

Burgers, corn dogs, and fries, Oh my!! You can get your corn dog on a stick fix here as well as lots and lots of fries. Oh and did I mention you can get fries here?  😉

7) Harold & Belle’s to Geaux

Want to try something a little bit different from your typical fair food?  Love some good old Louisiana Creole food straight from New Orleans? Then you  need to stop by this booth.  They had samples of fried catfish, Crawfish Etouffe and for a  delicious dessert they were also dishing up some wonderful bread pudding. This booth was one of my favorites of the night. The Crawfish Etouffe and the bread pudding were both amazing and I will definitely be back for more of this exquisite yumminess!

Crawfish Etouffe

Bread Pudding

8) Chicken Charlie

A long time fair favorite for many who love deep-fried foods.  With deep-fried cookie dough, deep-fried cereal,  deep-fried kool aid ( I STILL want to try this), deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried avocados and for the more adventurous– deep-fried frog legs can you really go wrong?  They even had deep-fried Dodger Dogs! I truly enjoyed the deep-fried cereal! I WILL be back to try the deep-fried Kool Aide as this was not available to sample that night.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough

Deep Fried Cinnamon Toast Crunch

This year they will also be having a “Pineapple Express” location where they will only be serving their  “Naked Pineapple Bowl.” As I have been trying to eat healthier lately, this was one of my  genuine favorites of the entire night. This delectable bowl comes with rice, pineapple, and eight pieces of shrimp. I love anything with pineapple in it and shrimp, so you can’t go wrong with this one.

Naked Pineapple Bowl

9) Fresh Frys

Fresh Frys is a two-time winner of the O.C. Fair’s Outstanding Fair Food award and serves freshly baked French Fries for your enjoyment. They are also well known for their famous Blooming Onions.  However, one thing I was told upon entering the food preview was that I just HAD to try these marshmallow yammies! Sweet potato fries with fluffy, gooey, marshmallow cream goodness drizzled all over them.  The sweet was just what I needed after having the saltier Tasti Chips. Here is a pic of their marshmallow yammies. YUM or should I say YAM?? 😉

10) Pink’s Hot Dogs

The oh so famous Pink’s Hot Dogs are back at the fair for another year. Home of the world’s best chili dog, among other favorites doused in ketchup, mustard, onions and relish. That evening they were sampling their Matt Kenseth hot dog with jalapenos, onions, guacamole, spicy mustard and ketchup.

11) C’est La Vie/Flavors of France

Last, but certainly not least, for the first time at the LA County Fair is “Flavors of France” from C’est La Vie.  These amazing artisans have some great restaurants right here in our own backyard in SoCal; as they are located in Laguna Beach and are here at the fair to bring Paris to us.  Their booth is all about delectable combinations like strawberries and Nutella swirled together into a freshly made crepe and other tasty french pastries, they have some spectacular talent with the endless creations they came up with. Admittedly, being the sweet tooth that I am, this was the first vendor I stopped at and I just had to have a piece of their cheesecake before having anything else. It did not disappoint, and I am pretty picky about my cheesecake! 😉 Chocolate Mousse, Fruit Tarts, Napoleons, Cheesecakes, and many more dazzling options await you from these fine folks.  You must make it one of your stops at the fair, I know I will.  You will not be disappointed. Shown below is the Chocolate Bomb, Fruit Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Above are their fruit tarts and Napoleons.

A beautiful sunset at the LA County Fair.

The Fair is here just in time for the long Labor Day weekend, at the Fairplex in Pomona, 1101 W. McKinley Avenue, and runs through Sept. 30. This is the earliest opening date ever for the fair, now going on its 90th year.

NOW, what you have ALL been waiting for!!! ONE lucky reader has a chance to win a 4 Pack of Tickets to the LA County Fair!

Retail Value: Max retail value $68 Dollars

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment letting me know what fair food item has your mouth watering and eager to try!

Optional Entries: Leave an additional comment for each entry you’ve done below.

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No purchase necessary, void where prohibited.  Must be a California Resident and be 18 years of age or older.  Winner will be chosen through the use of random.org and will be notified via email.  Giveaway ends at 9pm PST on 09/08/2012.  All other rules can be found here.

Disclosure: I was invited out to the Media Food Preview Night at the LA County Fair.  All food and drinks were provided to me for free, and I was provided with a 4 pack of tickets and a parking pass to the LA County Fair. All opinions stated above are my own.

Stay tuned for more Fair Fun!! 😉

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Got Strawberries?

Oh Strawberries! You are luscious, sweet, soft and juicy. There’s NOTHING that can keep us away from you! Not even an over heated car beeping for us to pull over…

This past Friday evening, Mary & I had the pleasure of attending an event put on by the California Strawberry Commission that was held in Newport Beach at TrueFood Kitchen, a restaurant I have long wanted to check out since I heard rave reviews about this place when it first opened from a friend. Mary and I both agreed, that we cannot WAIT to return to one of their locations (in Santa Monica, Newport, San Diego or in Arizona). There is something for everyone on the menu; whether you’re Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan or carnivore they are sure to have something that will tickle your fancy. BUT before we could enjoy all this strawberry and fresh amazing food fun, we had to get there first!!

Of all the times for a radiator hose to decide to pop off & cause Mary’s car to overheat & throw poor Mary into a huge scare, it HAD to be on our way to the strawberry fun?! Apparently, it did! But, we kept our cool and tried to make light of the situation and hope for the best that we would make it (since we had a scare that the radiator had either blown or the hose was leaking, which meant we would have had to been towed somewhere!) Luckily all it took was some coolant, water and a hose to be put back on and then we were on our way again an hour later! Thank goodness for social media, I was able to notify through my iPhone on Facebook, e-mail and twitter to a few who were attending and in charge of the event our whereabouts and dilemma. Everyone was so welcoming & gracious to us despite our major delay.

As we arrived we were greeted with food & drinks galore, opting for the Strawberry Mojito as it WAS a strawberry event!! It was delicious. I love any fruity drink, so this one was right up my alley. The appetizers were all amazing as well, with many strawberry goodies. Besides strawberries galore, there were several items from the TrueFood starter menu we got to enjoy including the; Shitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups (very light, crisp and refreshing with a zangy sauce that I loved), Thai Spicy Shrimp Dumplings (which we could have eaten all day given the chance), a Kale Salad that was marinated in lemon juice and wasn’t overcooked and soggy nor was it too hard and chewy. It was just right! There was also pizza that was fresh right out of the oven that really hit the spot. My favorite though has to be the steak tacos! Freshly baked tortillas with tender steak and topped with a generous amount of avocado (another favorite of mine!), tomato, cabbage, with spices and sauce. They were breath-taking. I loved every morsel of those things!

While we were munching & mingling, we had the pleasure to listen to a great lecture on the health benefits of strawberries from Illinois-based Nutrition Expert & Author, Mr. David Grotto. He explained the many benefits of a healthy diet in a fun and humorous way as he mentioned the 2 most important staples: Alcohol & Dessert! (In moderation of course). He then went on to explain the true meaning of “WTF?” for us: Where’s The Fiber? With year-round availability, California strawberries are a healthy and versatile fruit to enjoy every day that are PACKED with fiber.

Being a total book nerd I was excited that in our “swag bags” we were all given copies of his book, 101 Optimal Life Foods, which covers many of the ailments we deal with day in & day out; many of which can be reversed by simple changes in your diet and/or lifestyle. Diets that can help us treat each of these troubles as well as recipes to go with them are discussed in great detail. Here is a picture of me with David Grotto, the author of this life-changing book.

Here are some fun facts I learned about Strawberries!!

*A serving of strawberries is equal to about eight whole strawberries.

* A serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange and is packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients including potassium, folate and fiber.

*Are naturally low in sugar- one serving has only eight grams

*Strwaberries may help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight some types of cancer and lower blood pressure!

That’s one powerful super fruit if you ask me!! 😉

;

What about DESSERT?? You may be thinking? Of COURSE! What kind of strawberry event would that be without some strawberry desserts? 😉 They had strawberry cupcakes, strawberry rhubarb a la mode (my favorite!), and a choclate pudding with strawberries.

So to put it lightly, Strawberries have it going on! Along with David’s book, we were also treated to a yummy recipe book with beautiful photos of each dish. I never knew that there were so many amazing things you could make with the strawberry, but this book will give you countless ideas that will make your mouth water just looking at the pictures. What are some of your favorite recipes that call for strawberries as one of the main ingredients? I’d love for you to share them here! 🙂

Even my cat MOE approves of strawberries!! He gives them 2 paws up!!! 😉

*Disclosure: I was invited to be a guest at this event hosted by CA Strawberries. All food & drink I had the pleasure of sampling was complimentary, as well as the gift bag provided to me. All opinions are my own & I had a wonderful time!

The Suite Life at Dodger Stadium #DodgerDigitalSeries

Growing up in Southern California, I have gotten to go to many ball games since I was a young girl. The food, the sounds, the excitement. I love it all. The moving battle of nerves. When it comes down to three balls and two strikes, the guy at bat has the world on his shoulders. If he takes another strike, his head hangs low. If he knocks it out of the park, he stands among the gods. The rules are simple in baseball and any confusion is easily cleared up with more beer.

Earlier this week I was invited to Dodger Stadium for the Dodgers’ Digital Series for a night tailored to Los Angeles’ bloggers and influencers. We received a behind-the-scenes and VIP United Club Suites experience at Dodger Stadium that was like no other. The Dodgers’ Digital series is a social media experience that aims to engage fans online, in-stadium and at home. Fans can apply for the Dodgers’ Digital Series by visiting http://bitly.com/dodgerds. In this series they take the time to create a social media experience that will not be soon forgotten as they connect you with like-minded individuals in the social media world. You are taken right to where all the action is; right behind home plate where you can watch batting practice, get your picture taken with a team member of the Dodgers if you so desire or at least chat with them, see who’s singing the national anthem, who’s throwing the opening pitch as well as other guests/professional teams in the Southern California area that are being featured that night, and talk with local fox sports newscasters.  You may even get taken into the Vin Scully press box if you’re lucky like we were. 😉

Here’s the Play by Play of our night:

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

Upon first entering the walkway to our seats there was a ton of Dodger’s memorabilia to look at and admire. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

How cute is this LA Dodgers Baseball cart? Later, Mary from Along Comes Mary & I took a picture in this cart!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking past the Dodger’s Locker Room…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our tickets to get on the field and in the suite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final destination until game time was to a little section behind home plate in which we could stand and watch the batting practice happen around us.  That evening they were playing against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Shown below is Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The classic LA logo.  🙂 We also were able to get pics with this famous icon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie, from Minnesota Girl in LA, Myself, & Mary.

LA Dodger “Andre Ethier” came over to talk with all of us LA Bloggers.  We talked a bit with him about the time he ran his own food blog, and that one of his favorite places to eat at in LA is Mozza. When  one of the other bloggers, Mona, asked if he ever cooked for his wife, he joking replied ;”No, that’s why I got married!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening happened to be the inaugural LA Galaxy Night at Dodger Stadium celebrating the reigning MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy.   13 of the players were there with their championship trophy including: Sean Franklin, A.J. De La Garza, Bryan Jordan, Hector Jimenez, David Junior Lopes, Rafael Garcia, Dan Keat, Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Mike Stephens and Kenny Walker.  We even got a picture surrounding the trophy and one lucky LA Blogger got to hold it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Here we are holding the LA Galaxy MLS Championship Cup. 

Photo Credit: Ben Platt

 

 

 

 

Jim Hill then came over and gave us some sound advice about work: “Go to bed late, get up early, and work like H-E-double L.”  Work hard, it will be noticed.  It is your reputation  that is the most important.

Nickelodeon star Max Schneider sang the national anthem and “God Bless America.” Here he is practicing before the game. They did an amazing job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curt Menefee was throwing the first pitch that night. He took this job very seriously and was practicing to get ready for his big pitch to get the game started.

Sadly, it was time to leave the field and head toward our suite, but not without getting a close up view of the Dodger’s dugout first. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To our great surprise though, we had a detour on the way to our suite to the Vin Scully Press Box!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And look who was there…. of course, none other than Vin Scully himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, NOW we were taken up to our suite…. 😉

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

Their suites are pretty incredible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our view for the game.  A pretty nice upgrade from the usual nose bleed seats, I’d have to say! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course then you have the food! I was sooo excited about the game, I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of my crazy nachos or dodger dog! Oh well… I’m sure you all know what baseball stadium food looks like for the most part… .but what you might not know about are the DESSERT CARTS that go by the United Club Suites. They offer delights from caramel apples to amazing cakes to candy filled popcorn; you have a lot of options.  You’d NEVER guess who we met out by the dessert cart since we missed it when it right by our suite, so we had to go next door to the next suite…. it was Reese Witherspoon! She is just as beautiful and sweet in person as she is on TV.

Photo Credit: Jamie Gall

 

 

 

 

 

Mary and I got this HUGE Carmel M&M Candied Apple to share for dessert. Kerry, who was manning the dessert cart said our apple “was a little brown inside” when she cut it up for us and Mary had mentioned that this was her first game. So she offered to just give us the apple! How nice of her! Thanks Kerry, it tasted just fine! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reese Witherspoon with her friends and family in the next suite over from us! She’s the one in the lower left with the blue shirt & blonde hair…

A heartfelt THANK YOU goes to the Los Angeles Dodgers and their Social Media guy Josh Tucker that showed us around, for a wonderful evening of baseball.  It was great to see all the hard work that goes on behind the game from the social media aspect of it, to planning out the evening’s entertainment to the press room.  Thanks to one and all for everything that you do, to make these games and opportunites happen for fans like myself. If any fans out there are thinking of going to a game, it is well worth it! Especially if you get an opportunity like this, GO FOR IT!! Don’t be afraid to apply. You just never know what might happen. 😉

Ummmm wait a minute you must be asking yourself?? So WHO won the game? Well my friends, that was the only bummer of the night. The Arizona Diamondbacks won that evening a big 7 to 2 with a 3 run homer and a grand slam. >:-/ 

Disclosure: The LA Dodgers provided me with a VIP experience at the Dodgers Game from behind home plate to meeting a few of the players to a ticket in a suite.  This story is my view of this experience.