Neighborhood resident Abel Gonzales, famous for last year’s winning item, Fried Coca Cola, produced the aforementioned Fire and Ice, which was indubitably tasty and visually impressive to boot — the dish, served up in a cone, actually appeared to have steam rising from it (later, I learned the whipped cream was frozen in liquid nitrogen to create this effect).
The prize for “most creative” went to the Weiss family of East Dallas for the Fried Banana Split.
For those who don’t know, the Big Tex Choice Awards is a competition amongst scores of State Fair vendors to recognize the most inventive and delicious new midway fare. The contest has become something of a sensation, even showing up on Late Show with David Letterman last year. Only eight finalists actually make it to the media demonstration wherefrom I enjoy my experience.
One of the four judges was Hector’s on Henderson chef Blythe Beck (who happens to be featured in the September East Dallas Advocate cover story). She was lovin’ every minute of her task, it seemed (“this is the best job ever”, she exclaimed to a TV cameraman at one point). By my observations, her smile was brightest right after digging into the Fernie’s All American Deep Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich (which was my personal favorite from the inventor of the funnel cake), and she even did a little dance after biting into the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls.
Another dream dessert — Fried Chocolate Truffles —came from Nick Bert who hails from East Dallas but now lives in Anna, TX (much to the chagrin of his mom, who playfully bemoaned Nick Junior’s move out of the neighborhood). Nick’s grandfather was a vendor during the State Fair’s early days.
My final thoughts on the whole deal: though it was a contest and Chicken Fried Bacon won, this competition had no losers and everyone involved has something to gain (if only pounds) from the experience.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.