Fair Food Friday: Eating Competition

Yesterday we mentioned our Fair Food Frenzy, which happened this afternoon! 16 participants competed to see who could chow down a 1 1/2 pound Krispy Kreme cheeseburger the fastest (the equivalent of a sugar-loaded 4×4 from In n’ Out).

We had a wide variety of contestants but all of them had one thing in common: They could eat. And eat a lot. We have to give them kudos for not running away when they saw the size of these burgers.

It was fun to see everyone attacking these ginormous Chicken Charlie burgers. Our winners finished their dishes within minutes (maybe 3 minutes max) and it was crazy to see! Strategies included compressing the doughnuts flat, drinking a lot of water and even dousing the burgers with water for easier chewing and digestion. (Are you grossed out yet?)

We had first, second and third place winners, with 1st and 2nd place receiving a VIP Weekend at the Sheraton Fairplex hotel. A special big thank-you to the Sheraton Fairplex and McKinley’s Grille for generously donating these prizes!

I guess its just another day at the Fair… :)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Daily Giveaway #8: Chicken Charlie Fun Fact

We have a winner! Congratulations Shelley to for being Wednesday’s Daily Giveaway recipient! Chicken Charlie’s newest creation is deep-fried cereal, along with his deep-fried cookie dough :) We already can’t wait to see what he comes up with next year!

Friday is our LAST giveaway for these prize packs but check back later today for a chance to win. Thank you for participating!

We are on Day One of the last week of Fair! If you’re still feeling the need for some carnival speed or just haven’t gotten around to visiting us yet, the giveaway is a fun way to take a chance and see if you can score two free tickets, two ride passes, food bucks, blog tees and even free parking today!

There are plenty of things left to enjoy at the Fair and it’s no secret that Chicken Charlie is a well-known staple. For our eighth giveaway we are going to ask a little trivia question about the man and his inventions:

Chicken Charlie introduced two new deep-fried treats to us this year. One was deep-fried cookie dough. What was the second novelty?

Leave your answer in the comment box below. A winner will be selected at the end of the day and will be announced tomorrow morning.

Go, go, go!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

From the Mind of Chicken Charlie Pt. 1

charlieTo understand the ideas of Charlie Boghosian, you must first understand the man, his philosphy and his dreams. You probably know him as Chicken Charlie, the affable mastermind behind the deep-fried goodies you treat yourself to at the L.A. County Fair. You gotta love his way of living and creating. It isn’t anything complicated, there is no self-help-book-induced formula. It’s basically this: find inspiration everywhere and if it sounds good, fry it and try it!

Man! If someone had only told me that before I entered college and majored in journalism! Charlie has been living this way for 26 years and has found enjoyment and success. He truly is a man for all seasons, or is that seasonings?

Take a look at him frying up his latest creation – the Zucchini Weenie!

I can tell you from experience, it tastes pretty darn good! He did test the Zucchini Weenie at the San Diego County Fair, where he sold 11,000, and expects to sell 25,000 at the Orange County Fair. I’m sure he’ll double that at our Fair, where he expects it to be his Number One seller! “The response has been phenomenal,” he said. (Don’t worry – he’ll still have deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried avocados and the ever-popular deep-fried frog legs, of which he sold 1,000 lbs of at last year’s Fair.)

For this latest creation, Charlie went home – literally. While visiting his mother, he watched as she made a favorite dish of their Armenian clan – stuffed zucchini. “She hollows out the zucchini and stuffs it with rice, ground beef, onions, garlic. I thought I could put a hot dog in there. I tried it, put it on a stick, covered it with corn dog batter. Bam! Meat and vegetable all on a stick, Fair style!”

You can’t be that – protein plus vegetable, served with your favorite dipping sauce – ketchup, mustard or ranch dressing. Chicken Charlie has done it again! He really should be Oprah’s personal chef.

Check back for part 2 of my interview with Charlie, when he spills the details on batters, experimentation and the Chicken Charlie Deep Fryer waiting to TKO the George Foreman Grill.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Ode to a Deep-Fried Wedding

deepfriedtwinkiesThe entire L.A. County Fair family would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to “Chicken” Charlie Boghosian and Dawn Clasen – who are getting married tomorrow, April 25. Chicken Charlie is  the Deep-Fry King at fairs throughout the region. He is the one who comes up with the deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried frog legs and last year’s deep-fried Pop Tarts. Basically, he’ll deep fry anything if you’ll eat it. So, as one more deep-fried bachelor bites the dusty powdered sugar, we take a look back at one of our favorite people in the whole wide oil-splattered world – Chicken Charlie:

There once was a man named Chicken Charliecharlie
Whose whole existence was frying up things gnarly

He trailered his deep-fried treats from Fair to Fair
Concocting unusual menu items from his lair

Deep-fried Snickers – always a treat
Let’s try something new - deep-fried Spam with pineapples can’t be beat

Deep-fried cookies, Coke, candy bars and Hostess snacks kept his eye
Until, one day, Dawn walked by

Chicken Charlie thought, “Now, there is something I can’t deep fry.”
But, wait, he thought, maybe I can try.

True love blossomed, with no canola oil involved
Two hearts together, this love cannot be dissolved

Not by frying or battering or chocolate sauce
Charlie and Dawn, a greater love is hard to come across

Chicken Charlie is loving life
He now has a Deep-Fried Wife!

Congratulations to our friend Charlie and his lovely bride Dawn! May you find many deep-fried blessings!

In case you haven’t seen it, here is Chicken Charlie in action at last year’s L.A. County Fair:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6jOVvlQqec

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

They Call Me Mister Chicken

If you’ve been to the L.A. County Fair, you know him.  Maybe not by sight or by his full name, but definitely from his amazing, deep fried concoctions.
Deep-fried Oreos.
Deep-fried avocados .
Delectable Krispy Kreme chicken sandwiches with Swiss cheese drizzled in honey.
He’s Charlie Boghosian, or Chicken Charlie as he is more commonly known, and he’s the stuff fair legends are made of.
Charlie is a fair food genius, always tinkering in the kitchen to develop new, unique tastes each year. Take, for example, the Elvis-inspired deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich,  drizzled with honey (which I heard via the Rock & Roll Heavens blog that the King said was a hunk-a hunk-a burning deee-lish).
What you may not know about him is that he wanted to be an FBI agent and now receives inspiration from seeing that look of gastronomic ecstasy that crosses your face when you bite into an incredibly decadent deep-fried Twinkie sprinkled with dots of chocolate sauce. Or the pursing of your lips as you enjoy that first crisp bouchée of the very French, very chic deep-fried frog legs.

“This is why I do it!” Charlie said recently as he witnessed my two kids’ eyes roll back into their heads like a great white shark feeding frenzy as they devoured Charlie’s newest invention – the deep-fried Pop Tart. 

Take a look at how Charlie makes these: 

His explanation of how he came up with the idea is hilarious! For breakfast one day he felt like having pancakes and a Pop Tart, so he took a shortcut – dipping a Pop Tart in pancake batter, and then deep-frying it. Add a bit of jam and powdered sugar and voila! Sounds like something my husband would do.
All of Charlie’s masterpieces are inspired by things he loves or suggestions from family, friends or fair guests.
He attends five fairs a year throughout California, a circuit he’s traveled as Chicken Charlie for 15 years now (he’s been working in Fair food service for more than 25 years). He started with his broasted chicken, using his own recipe. The menu swelled to include all the deep-fried specialties he now offers.
 Besides Pop Tarts, new this year are the deep-fried White Castle sliders. Back for a second year are deep-fried s’mores. My husband sampled the White Castles and can’t say enough about them.
So far, Charlie’s surprise sensation has been the frog legs, which he gets from Louisiana and Florida. He sold about 2,000 pounds of these in Orange County and expects to dish up 10,000 pounds in all.
“I love to cook!” he says.
That’s evident.
 But what people don’t know is that Charlie is a serious cook, not just the deep-fried food king. At home he cooks elaborate meals for his family, using Armenian recipes handed down for generations. At the Fair he will share a couple of those with us – chicken kabobs, hummus and tabbouleh. The kabobs are loaded with big, juicy chunks of marinated chicken and vegetables.
Charlie makes the eight-ingredient hummus and 11-ingredient tabbouleh fresh each day. “I start at 6:30 every morning. I do my own chicken rub, too.” And don’t get him started on batters! “Making batters is an art!”
Ever the giver, Charlie wants to share all this fun treat-making with the rest of us. He is  working on a fair food cookbook tentatively titled “Chicken Charlie at the Fair: 101 Ways to Blow Your Diet.”  It’s already on my Amazon.com wish list.
Charlie will have his usual booth on Broadway across from the grandstand and his new one, which will sell the White Castles, the kabobs, and the hummus and tabbouleh, near the Flower & Garden Pavilion. Stop by, treat yourself, say hello to Charlie. And who knows? If you have a great idea, you might see it here deep-fried next year. So c’mon, submit your ideas!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Deep-fried, BBQ and Chocolate, oh my!

One of the things my family and friends always ask me before the Fair gets here is what unusual food will you guys have this year? Guests have said in a survey that food is the number one reason for coming to the Fair. Gooey food, frozen food, food on a stick, ginormous food, food covered in batter and fried, food covered in chocolate. FOOD! It’s a phenomenon all its own here at the L.A. County Fair. Perennial favorites are Hot Dog on a Stick (there I go again!), giant turkey legs, BBQ, 10-lb buns (oh yeah!). Then there are those of the sweet variety – deep-fried Oreos, Twinkies and Snickers, frozen chocolate-covered cheesecake with crushed Oreos on a stick (to diiiiiie for! But, really, you can only have one in an 18-day period, two max, ok – three but that’s pushing diabetic coma) and Texas-sized doughnuts. There truly is something for every palate, even for the health-conscious.

New this year is the world’s largest waffle cone filled with gelato – the Colossal Gelato. A 16-inch cone is filled with two pints of gelato – enough for an entire family to share (or not). Also new is CBS Cupcakes which will offer muffin-sized cupcakes – Red Velvet, chocolate and vanilla flavored – that will be frosted per order with a choice of three frostings and eight different toppings.

Fair food king Chicken Charlie Boghos is cookin’ up some fun things for 2008. He started the Krispy Kreme Chicken Sandwich craze and last year had the deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich in honor of the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death. This year he is serving Deep-Fried Spam with pineapples and bringing back the popular Deep-Fried Frog Legs and Deep-Fried Avocados. Charlie will also have a new food stand serving chicken and waffles, perfected with Charlie’s own rotisserie chicken and homemade, family recipe waffles. It is here that he’ll serve Deep-Fried White Castles (you know, those little hamburgers), which he thinks will be the next big hit.

 

How ‘bout BBQ at its most extreme? Juicys Food’s Outlaw Grill, one of the largest grills in the world, debuts as the L.A. County Fair this year. Built on the back of a Peterbuilt 379 with an oven/smoker that holds 700 turkey legs, 100 briskets and pork butts, a hydraulically powered 38-foot grill that can cook 1,500 turkey legs and gas burners for pots of beans and side dishes – you have to see this to believe it!

 

Last year we sold: 25,000 funnel cakes; 700 lbs of popcorn; 33,000 lbs of potatoes; 500 lbs of rattlesnake bites (Eastern Diamondback variety); 27,000 lbs of lemons; and 103,000 Hot Dogs on a Stick (see I’m not the only one who likes ‘em!). Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

 

So, for one day, let your love of classic American fair food take flight! Ninety-nine days until the Fair – see you at the Hot Dog on a Stick stand, Chicken Charlie’s stand, 10-lb. Buns stand, Frozen Cheesecake stand…

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather