We admit, past fairs were usually spent wandering up and down aisles and ultimately getting lost trying to find some decent grub. Not anymore. Our saucy fair connection made us aware of this year's must try menu items (Porkabello!), as well as a few that garnered further inspection.
Like Philly cheesesteaks, there's heated debate among fair veterans among who serves a better cinnamon roll. And we thought it was all fun and games around here. So with our sweet tooth intact we proceed to the competitors.
For a fair fight (no pun intended), we opted for a straightforward version with icing. No crazy nuts 'round here. We consumed both within 24-hours of each other, so the sugar overload wasn't diluting our senses. And they were eaten at the end of our meals, so we weren't too hungry to appreciate either.
Taste number one is simply known as Cinnamon Rolls. Found along the main drag of Livestock lane, by one end of the Sky Ride, “Gold Medal Winner” boasts on their awning. Assume whatever truth in advertising you want, what you see pictured above is actually half a serving (our eyes were bigger than our stomach). The yum factor had everything to do with texture. These sticky pastries were baked a touch longer than your run-of-the-mill variety. What results is a trail of concentrated, granular bite otherwise known as caramelization. It was an unexpected contrast to our melty, chewy research.
In the opposite corner, found at the Main Mall's Carnival of Products, sits Old West Cinnamon Rolls. The moment those sliding doors whoosh open, you are hit with intoxicating aroma. If it isn't obvious from our pic, they love their icing. We were brought up to not drown our food, but gooey frosting is always an exception. Our roll was also slightly more dense, which made a single serving more than enough to share.
Both desserts had qualities we loved, but having to make a choice, the Old West did not win this round. Straightforward Cinnamon Rolls triumphed– taking its components and making the best possible treat with hot, oozing icing and crunchy bits of fun.
Have you been missing the luxe loncheras? They're here every Thursday. Check out ocfair.com for a current roundup.
Green thumbs shouldn't pass up a visit to the Garden & Floral Competition over at Centennial Farm. Competitions are weekly (like our mag). Contact the program coordinator at email@example.com for more info, or call (714) 708-1619.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.