The Big E 2010

Yesterday was a big adventure for Swagger and I. We took a trip to The Big E, the Eastern States Exposition, in West Springfield to cover the food spread and see what we could find. So, without further ado, here is an official photo montage and review of the 2010 food at The Big E.

My commentary is in one part, and Swagger’s is in the next.The crowd at the entrance, near the food booths and state houses.

Foodette: Emu chili for breakfast…a healthy start to the day indeed. While the flavor was very tasty and aromatic, the emu was lost in the sea of beans, tomatoes, and onions, and when isolated, had a slightly grainy and muscular texture. Still flavorful, but it would have been better all by itself in a chili.

Swagger: The chili could have been a little thicker, which could be accomplished by adding more emu. The spice was just about right, could have had a little more heat but it had a good flavor. If I did not know it was not emu chili, I would not have guessed it was based on meat texture. Meat texture tasted like very small pieces of pork.

Golden, yellow, and red raspberries from Massachusetts made a delicious and mouth-watering composition. Regular raspberries are now complimented by their yellow hued cousins.

Maple syrup from Massachusetts is turned into…

Maple sugar cotton candy! It was very fluffy and sweet and had that quintessential maple syrup flavor. Delicious.

Pesto and tomato flatbread from American Flatbread. I think one of them also had an olive tapenade, but we didn’t try this.

Foodette: Swagger’s favorite treat of the day, maple bacon ice cream. Really delicious maple ice cream with sizeable chunks of bacon in it. Creamy, thick consistency, and a fantastic flavor.

Swagger: Perfect idea put into play. Taste of the maple was very strong and added a good maple taste to the bits of bacon in the ice cream. I could eat this all day every day for the rest of my life. Perfect addition of bacon to an already great thing.

Foodette: Maple cured beef jerky from Vermont. Maple was really a big theme of the exposition. This was really delicious, tough jerky with a good chew to it. In my opinion, this is the very epitome of jerky. We’re too soft on the processed stuff. This is where it’s at. It fell off in big chunks and we couldn’t stop eating it.

Swagger: Was great beef jerky! Tastes like what real gritty beef jerky should taste like and not a slim jim. Did have a nice flavour but did not have enough of the advertised maple flavour. With more maple flavour, could have been great instead of above average.

Foodette: Chocolate covered bacon from Connecticut. While the bacon was delicious, very crispy, and had a caramelized flavor, the overall taste and satisfaction was slightly lessened by the quality and type of chocolate used. It was a very sweet milk chocolate with a slightly waxy, melty flavor to it. A dark chocolate would have highlighted the meat and made the flavor more robust.

Swagger: Great idea and execution, the bacon was made perfectly, crisp yet chewy. The sweetness of milk chocolate contrasted with the salt of the bacon and made the milk chocolate taste too sweet. Would have been perfect with use of dark chocolate.

Another Connecticut treat. We didn’t try this, but I liked the bold colors of the packaging and the reference to Watch Hill, a childhood destination of mine.

These were pumpkin fritters, and they were pretty tasty. I was a little disappointed, because at a $5 price tag, I expected actual pumpkin, or at the very least, pumpkin pie filling. Instead, they were more of a pumpkin bread and carried less pumpkin flavor and more spices. Still, they were very autumnal and fried well, with no greasy texture or mouthfeel. Delicious alternative to funnel cake with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top!

It’s a little silly, but I think I was most excited to try cheese curds, despite them being a little prosaic. I’m not sure if it was the novelty of trying something cheese-like, but different, or the fact that everything is better fried, but a sample of these just hit the spot. I was glad I didn’t commit to an entire order, because they didn’t taste too different than actual fried mozzarella, but the sharpness of the cheddar was delicious on its own. Very poppable and very cute.

Foodette: Another fair food staple I was dead set on eating was a corn dog. God, I love corn dogs, and the best to be had are at state fairs, where they’re freshly fried and usually customizable with different kinds of sausages. I was surprised to see that none of the corn dogs were freshly fried on site, but this one offered cheese and jalapenos inside. It had a very mild heat and wasn’t filled with a lot of cheese, but damn it, it was greasy, delicious, and on a stick.

Swagger: I don’t care enough for the corn dog to have enough to say.

Foodette: The cream puff was arguably our favorite dessert of the day. It had a nice, chewy beignet dough base and a massive amount of fluffy vanilla cream inside. It was creamy and huge and delivered a fantastic flavor and texture.

Swagger: Only in ‘Merica and the engineers in fatassery can make such a usually small and dainty dessert into such a massive item. The puff is perfectly soft and chewy and the cream was perfectly light and not greasy and leaves you with that oily feeling that you just ate a stick of butter. Perfect dessert creation only in ‘Merica!

Hot dogs for your hot dog…we did not eat these.

Foodette: This was fried cheesecake with whipped cream and strawberries. The concept is delicious, but the actual product was mediocre. The batter was thick so as not to melt the cheesecake inside, but that made it chewy and not crisp, and more doughnut like. It was extremely difficult to eat this.

Swagger: The batter was too thick and it was just what it sounded like, a piece of fried cheesecake. Seemed like a better plan on paper but in application and execution, the idea turned out to not be as great. Fried Ice Cream was a much better idea.

Foodette: We saved the best for last, two burgers made of completely insane ingredients. This was an alligator burger. Having never consumed reptile prior to this experience, I can tell you that it’s a singularly unique experience. The flesh tasted similar to seafood or onions, chewy with a slight bounce. The burger was plain, but seasoned perfectly, with Cajun spices. For me, the least satisfying part of the burger was the bun. It was too thick and bready and took away from the gator’s flavor.

Swagger: The gator burger had a great spicy flavour to it and the taste of the gator meat was distinctively reptilian. Very exotic and was worth the price and wait. Not as insane as the other creations but very very good.

Foodette: Finally, the star of the show, the Craz-E burger. Where else but a state fair could you find a bacon cheeseburger in between grilled glazed doughnuts? This was perfect for people who like salty with their sweet. The yeast-raised doughnuts weren’t sticky or greasy and actually made a decent bun because of their breadiness. All the flavors melded perfectly. This was so good. Damn it.

Swagger: The idea of such a abominable creation can only be created in ‘Merica and could be blasphemous enough to warrant a jihad. Yet only in ‘Merica can the engineers in fatassery bring this creation to life and make it just about the most delicious thing ever. This item is truly a testament to what makes the land of the free and the home of the brave great, the ability to say fuck you to every non-christian religion in a godly delicious sandwich worthy of Jesus himself, By putting a quarter pound beef patty, multiple slices of bacon and cheese between a glazed donut. Fuck you Hinduism, fuck you Islam, and fuck you Jews too. God Bless the Red White and Blue! God Bless ‘Merica!

And that covers it. Foodette Reviews thanks Catherine Pappas for media help, and thanks to Swagger for all his hard work on the field! He will be regularly contributing to Foodette Reviews in the near future.

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