Bottoms Up

Are you one of those people who loves beer?  Did you know that LACF offers beer tasting classes?

Because they do!

You can find the class in the Beer, Wine, and Spirits Marketplace, attached to the Flower and Garden Pavilion.  Classes take place at noon, and are $15 per person.  Jason Torres leads the beer tasting classes, explaining the difference between craft and micro brewed beer, and the flavorful distinctions of IPA, Pale, and Porter brews (among others).  He also introduces students to some market lingo (Such at ‘Tap takeover’), and the correct way to drink the beverage.

Paired with these tasty brews are different food catered by local companies.  Today’s delicious sliders were courtesy of Brew & Meatball Company.  One of their tasty mini burgers was made with Wagu beef, which they also serve at their restaurant.

Just remember, you must be 21 or older to take part in these amazing (and shockingly educational) classes.

Have a favorite beer or beer and food pairing?  Tell me in the comments below!

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Cupcake Crazy

Sooo good!

September 12th was the annual fair Cupcake Contest, and wow, did all the entries look delicious.  Contestants submitted their recipes in July, all of which were homemade with ingredients you can find at your local stores (Them’s the rules!).  On the big day, each contestant brought six delectable offerings for this year’s judges.

Regina Young, Marissa Ceja, Carlos Velesqez, and Laurie Brandler were our four distinguished experts for today’s event.  All four were beyond pleased to take part, and were full of smiles throughout the event.

Participants were graded on four different aspects, of varying importance:

  • Overall Taste                        40%
  • Originality/Creativity             30%
  • Appearance/Presentation     20%
  • Ease of preparation              10%

After sampling from each of the 11 contestants, the judges picked three outstanding examples of this culinary delight.

In 3rd place, with her light and fluffy Lemon Blueberry with Lemon Buttercream cupcake, is April Burton!

2nd place goes to Pepper Parker, with her scrumptious Banana Pudding cupcakes.

The coveted 1st place is awarded to Monine Zerby, for her Boozy Caramel Apple cupcake.  Need I say more?  All participants then began a cupcake trading bonanza, and who could blame them, with all of the entries looking so mouth watering?

If you think you have what it takes to be top baker here at the fair, check in online for next year’s entry forms.  Who knows, it could be you taking home that colorful Rosette with your cupcake supreme~!


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You Know You Want a Blue Ribbon

Sure, the Fair is still six months away but it’s not too early to be thinking of entering your best cookie or salsa recipe or your best photograph into one of our fun & exciting contests and competitions. Entries are open for all categories in Culinary Styles, Tapestry and America’s Kids. You look great in blue (ribbon, that is), so what are you waiting for?

Culinary Styles features preserved foods, baked goods and several specialty categories like cheesecake recipe, all-American pie, BBQ, cupcakes and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Every year the judges have a blast tasting all the goodies, and Fairguests love seeing who runs away with a first place. Deadlines for entry are:

  • Preserved foods – June 25
  • Baked goods and other featured contests - Aug. 2
  • Tablescaping – July 19 (hurry, this one fills up fast!)

Tapestry, which includes jewelry, arts & crafts, needle art and photography, has a June 25 deadline.

America’s Kids is themed A Living Library of Fun (part 2) – a continuation of last year’s fun adventure where books came to life. Competitions include magic shoes (turn an ordinary pair of shoes into something spectacular), build a model hot air balloon, creative cakes, build a scarecrow, crafts, writing and so much more. Deadline for America’s Kids competitions is June 27.

Details, including rules & regulations and entry forms, for all the contests and competitions can be found at

Ok, ready, set – cook and create!


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Enter Your Creations in the Fair – Win a Blue Ribbon!

Hey howdy hey my L.A. County Fair peeps – been awhile, I know! The good thing about that is I now have a few new words to add to my lexicon of Fair exclamations like “winning!” and “tigerblood!”, although I may change that to “Thummerblood!” OK, maybe not. Anyway, we are getting ready for the 2011 Fair (Sept. 3 – Oct. 2)and first up that means our contests and competitions are open and ready to accept your amazing entries! Winning! (Dang, can’t stop saying that!).

Whether you are a cook, crafter, quilter, collector, artist or ceramicist – we have a contest for you. There are different entry deadlines for each department, so make sure you check out the rules and regulations on

America’s Kids, for our younger participants and families, is themed Surrounded by Science and features a number of contests encompassing science. Some of the competitions include Build a Molecule and Design an Insect. Don’t miss the culinary contests and agriculture and harvest fun. Family contests include family portrait painting and talent show. One year two sisters sang “Popular” from Wicked and it was truly…wicked! There’s the silly sock amoeba sewing contest and even a video production contest for all those future Spielbergs and Apatows.

In Culinary Styles we have all your faves – best pie, best chocolate chip cookie, cupcakes – so be sure to check out the website for a list of all the cooking/baking/preserves categories.

In Tapestry, enter a decorated Christmas tree or a scrapbook page. Tapestry also hosts the photography contest, so get your Annie Liebovitz on and start snapping.

Remember: different contests/competitions have different deadlines. So, hurry up! Enter already! Betcha’ my blue ribbon’s bigger than yours!

Keep checking back for more news on the 2011 L.A. County Fair.

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Let the chips fall where they may – they’ll come up winners if they’re chocolate!

Marina Castle, First Place, Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

These certainly weren’t your grandmother’s Hershey-variety chocolate chip cookies. Competitors in the Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookie & Brownie competition held Sept. 18 used plenty of exotic ingredients in their winning recipes.

Take for example, First-Place winner Marina Castle’s Decadence Chocolate Chip Cookies. The North Hollywood resident and Culinary Styles competitor since 1985 added mocha cappuccino mix, instant chocolate pudding mix, chopped malted milk balls to up the decadence quotient 10-fold.

Second-Place winner Monine Zerby of West Covina added dried pineapple and chopped roasted, salted macadamia nuts to her aptly named Tropical Chip Cookies.

Cathy Hagerty-Clemens of Fullerton placed Third with Mouth-Warming Chocolate Chip Cookies that got their heat from a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Instant coffee granules and bittersweet chocolate chips added distinct flavors.

Cathy Hagerty-Clemens, First Place, Brownies

Hagerty-Clemens added another win – First Place for her Dark Chocolate Caramel Cashew Brownie – a recipe that included 40 caramels and chopped cashews for the topping.

Castle won another ribbon, Second Place, for her Raspberry-Almond Brownie Cups that were served a la cupcakes in wrappers.

Caramel starred again in Kelly Hagerty-Clemens’ Sweet Chloe’s Favorite Ooie Gooie Caramel Pecan Brownies that earned the Lake Havasu City, Ariz., resident Third Place.

Winners of the Brownie competition at the 2010 L.A. County Fair were, from left, Cathy Hagerty-Clemens of Fullerton, first place; Marina Castle of North Hollywood, second place, and Kelly Hagerty-Clemens of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., third place.

Winners of the Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookie competition at the 2010 L.A. County Fair were, from left, Marina Castle of North Hollywood, first place; Monine Zerby of West Covina, second place, and Cathy Hagerty-Clemens of Fullerton, third place.

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BBQ and Chili Contests Just Perfect for Labor Day Weekend Fun

Culinary Styles kicks off the 2010 contest season Sunday with the much-anticipated Best BBQ, BBQ Sauce and Chili contests. Just follow your nose to the Big BBQ Ranch at Wilderness Ridge by noon to see all the action.

The Best BBQ Sauce Contest with eight contestants starts at noon with judges rating sauces on taste, appearance, overall appeal and texture to award the 1st place Rosette and $25 and Rosettes for 2nd and 3rd places.

Next up is the Chili Cook-Off at 1 p.m. when seven competitors vie with recipes for bold, Tex-Mex, meaty, veggie and others for the 1st place Rosette and $25 and Rosettes for 2nd and 3rd.

The Best BBQ Contest wraps up the day at 2 p.m. when judges will evaluate recipes for fish, pork, beef and poultry submitted by 16 competitors. They’ll be looking for flavor, tenderness and juiciness, the use of side dishes cooked on the grill to complement the main entrée, and the overall table theme. They’ll also ask contestants about the preparation of the entrée, side dishes and general knowledge of equipment. Prizes are 1st Place – $100 and Rosette, 2nd Place – $75 and Rosette, and 3rd Place, $50 and Rosette for all meat classs, and the Best in Show winner will take home a Rosette and $300.

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Calling All Cooks, Crafters and Kids

blueribbonAll right all you competitive souls of all ages – time to break out the recipes, sharpen those knitting needles and get your crayons and water paints ready. It’s contest time at the L.A. County Fair! There are blue ribbons to be won (and in some cases, cash!) That’s right – we are putting the call out for your best chocolate chip cookies, your best scrapbook page and for you youngsters, your best art work.

Culinary, home arts and kids contests and competitions are the heart of tradition here at the Fair. They’re fun and exciting, and our crew tries to keep them current by adding new additions each year.

OK, no shoving or hair pulling, no name calling. Everyone walks away with at least a participants ribbon and the knowledge that they tried their best! Here is a link to our competitions page. Make sure you read the rules and note that there are different deadlines for the competitions! So, what are you going to enter into the L.A. County Fair? Here are a few contests to think about:

Tablescaping – categories this year include Under the Sea, Motion Picture Perfect, Return of Romance.

In Culinary, there is the amazing perfect pasta sauce, best chocolate chip cookie, the always-fun BBQ contest, run for the fair (where contestants have to find ingredients for their masterpiece from food vendors at the Fair), newkidspam this year is the live cupcake decorating and, everyone’s favorite, SPAM!

America’s Kids has a ton of fun contests for kids, including art, sewing, cooking and events for families to enter.

Come on – enter! Next year it could be your picture up here holding the coveted blue ribbon!

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