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Indiana State Fair 2019 Encore: 2 Fair 2 Food

deep-fried chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich!

My rich, creamy Dulcinea.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context…

We trudged back to the working world on Wednesday morning disappointed that we’d missed so many of the “Taste of the Fair” new dishes and annoyed that my primary objective, the deep-fried chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, was nowhere to be found. We chatted a bit and mulled over the possibility of a return engagement. Two unexpected developments sealed the deal:

1. Anne did some online digging, found the official Facebook page for the vendor allegedly carrying the deep-fried chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, and asked them point-blank where the heck they were at the fairgrounds. Where all the State Fair’s materials and resources had failed us, an exemplary moment of customer service on the vendor’s part got us the exact answer.

2. On Friday my employer announced a deal to get discount State Fair tickets, for cheaper than our first set of tickets.

Emboldened and empowered, Saturday we drove once more out to the east side and enjoyed a 4-hour whirlwind do-over. We split a deep-fried chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich between us. We tracked down a few other “Taste of the Fair” offerings that hadn’t made the cut on Tuesday. We photographed a few more exhibits we’d overlooked or skipped the first time around. And we ended up with enough material for three bonus chapters in this very special, unexpectedly extended miniseries.

And now, on to more food!

DFCCCICS inside!

The deep-fried chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich on the inside, an absolute 11/10 experience. On sale at the Expo Hall cafe. The cashier confirmed they’ve received multiple complaints of it being impossible to find.

Angry Pretzel Poppers!

The second-best Saturday dish was these Angry Pretzel Poppers, with embedded jalapenos and a buttery glaze, served with a side of “mad Ranch” sauce that definitely beats ordinarily sad Ranch dressing.

Hawaiian Haminator!

I’d had some expectations for the Hawaiian Haminator, a glazed-ham sandwich with pineapples, provolone, and a few skimpy bacon crumbles instead of the bacon strips I’d expected. An okay protein source amid a field of competitive sweets.

Hoosier Hometown Hash!

The Hoosier Hometown Hash is a simple concept I’m surprised no one’s tried sooner: four cheeses sandwiched between two hash browns. I’d’ve preferred my hash browns a bit crispier, as these were underdone and possibly fried in too-cool oil that couldn’t reheat quickly enough to keep up with demand.

caramel coffee milkshake!

Sold alongside the hash browns at the Dairy Bar was their new caramel coffee milkshake, a welcome relief for anyone tired of the old chocolate-vanilla-strawberry shake monopoly.

Dreamsicle inside!

My final “Taste of the Fair” sampling of the day doesn’t photograph distinctly. On top, the Trifecta Hero Dreamsicle resembles an average frozen drink…

Trifecta Hero Dreamsicle!

…but the insides of this tall drink were billed as a shake-up, slushy, and vanilla shake all in one. Freshly squeezed lemons, limes, and orange juice mingle with French vanilla cream and some kind of syrup to permeate the different texture levels.

brisket sandwich!

Meanwhile, Anne remains a fan of the classics and satisfied herself with a brisket sandwich. Nothing wrong with that.

We also found a selection of goodies that were follow-ups and addenda to our previous chapters. If you’ve already viewed those six galleries, you’ll know where these fit in. Enjoy some more!

giant veggie contest!

Tuesday’s selection of giant veggies were like peas compared to Saturday’s official giant-foods throwdown, when foodstuffs got real.

cheese sculpture!

The annual cheese sculpture, this time superhero-themed, was officially finished.

hero cake!

We found a few more cakes in the basement of the Indiana Arts Building, including another fancy superhero cake.

donut cake!

I’ve never cared for cake donuts, but I can totally get behind donut cake.

Day of the Dead cake!

Fans of the great Coco may also love this Day of the Dead cake.

More to come! Other chapters in this very special miniseries:

Part 1: Our Year in Food
Part 2: The Heroes Theme
Part 3: The Marvel/DC CAN-ematic Universe
Part 4: Cake Bosses
Part 5: The Art of the Fair
Part 6: Random Acts of State Fairing
Encore Part 2: Another Ace Art Assemblage
Encore Part 3: Last Day, Last Call

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