Monday, August 31, 2015

Big Tex Best Taste Choice Award Goes To Fernie's Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly

Well, we were sure Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy or Deep Fried Alligator's Egg Nest, one or the other, would be the surefire winner of the State Fair of Texas Big Tex Choice Award for Best Taste.

Instead the coveted Best Taste Award went to Fernie's Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly by Christi Erpillo

One would have thought the Holy Moly Roly part of the name would have been enough to leave  a bad taste in the mouth of the taste testers.

You have to be 21 years old, or older, to sample the winner of the Big Tex Choice Most Creative Award because that award went to the Smoky Bacon Margarita created by Isaac Rousso who somehow was able to infuse a frozen lime-based Margarita with smoky bacon.

Seems a bit odd to give a State Fair Food Award to an alcohol concoction that fairgoing kids can not imbibe in.

You can read the descriptive details of all the Deep Fried Finalists, and the one non-Deep Fried Finalist, in our previous blog post about the 2015 Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Look At The Fort Worth Stockyards Before They Are Possibly Ruined By New Development

Lately the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District has had some Fort Worth locals, and others, worried that a proposed development in the Stockyards area would somehow compromise the Historic District's integrity.

From what we understand of the proposed development it seems like it would enhance and improve the Stockyards, not damage them.

We have long been fond of the Fort Worth Stockyards, it being Fort Worth's only unique tourist attraction.

We have also long thought Fort Worth does not devote sufficient resources to the Stockyards, of the improvement sort, that such a tourist attraction warrants.

So, let's take a look at this "Historic District" and see how historically well preserved it currently is.

Above we are walking on the sidewalk on the north side of the east end of Exchange Avenue, the Stockyards main drag. Last December, on a night visit to the Stockyards, I tripped when I came to this section of missing sidewalk. The lighting in the Stockyards is very bad, drastically needs improving.

The sign on the missing sidewalk is pointing you to the Stockyards Stables Petting Zoo.

The Petting Zoo is housed  in what looks like a circus tent. Is this one of the new developments threatening the historical integrity of the Historic District?

Next we are looking at the Cowtown Cattlepen Maze.

Is this an historically accurate maze? Does it add to or detract from the Stockyard's authenticity? Is the proposed  new development, which is seen by some as so threatening to the Stockyards historic integrity, of the same sort thing as this maze?

And then next to the maze we have the Mechanical Bull installation.

Again, is a Mechanical Bull an historically accurate thing to install in an Historic District? Or does it compromise the Historic District's integrity?

Next we come to a recent addition to the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Hyatt Place Hotel.

I do not remember much protesting happening when a developer proposed building a new hotel in the heart of the Stockyards. The hotel was built where a tacky carnival was located. We thought  it to be a big improvement on that piece of land, and the building aesthetically matches the look of other older Stockyard buildings.

And then we come to The Shoppes on Rodeo Plaza.

We have long thought the garish yellow did not look good. And that the use of the word "Shoppes" seemed out of place. Is the new proposed development of the quality level of The Shoppes on Rodeo Plaza?

And then there is the tackiest eyesore in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.

The New Isis Theater. This has been a boarded up mess since before the turn of the century. The billboard used to say "New New Isis Theater Opening Soon." Now the billboard says "Welcome to the Stoc Yards." Missing a 'k'.

Now, all those people upset about the proposed new Stockyards development, how do they rationalize being upset by that, while tolerating the boarded  up New Isis Eyesore?

There have been some attempts to improve the Stockyards in the past, such as that which you see below.

This is Saunders Park. A Venice-like scenic spot in the Stockyards which few people see. The water you see flowing under the Stockyards is Marine Creek. We believe if you have been in the White Elephant Saloon you have been above the water tunnel you see here.

Now, why have few people seen this scenic part of the Fort Worth Stockyards?  Below is your answer to that question.

Access to Saunders Park and Marine Creek is via  the alley you see above. This alley is a short distance east of the aforementioned White Elephant Saloon. There is no signage on Exchange Avenue pointing you to the park. If you venture down this alley you get  to walk past some fragrant garbage bins before you take a right turn to find yourself surprised by Saunders Park.

The most authentic part of the Fort Worth Stockyards is the actual stockyards, with its impressive boardwalk one can walk on to view the stock, such as the Fort Worth Herd, which you see below, taking a rest between their twice daily Cattle Drives down Exchange Avenue

We don't believe the actual stockyards, which you see above, are threatened by the proposed new development.

Is the proposed new Fort Worth Stockyards development developing the area we refer to as The Stockyard Ruins? That being the area of the long abandoned Swift Armor meat packing plants, which in the 21st century look like Berlin at the end of World War II.

The Stockyard Ruins were used by the FOX TV show, Prison Break, to simulate a Panama prison. We can see where some might think the Stockyard Ruins are an amazing eyesore. But we think of the Stockyard Ruins more like an historic relic, and thus fitting quite well being adjacent to a National Historic District.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2015 Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists With Deep Fried Alligator's Egg

Every year Texas eagerly awaits learning the State Fair of Texas Big Tex Choice Awards Finalists and what marvels of culinary amazement made the Top 8.

This year's Top 8 seems to be more varied than previous years, what with proteins like alligator, lobster and buffalo getting the deep fried treatment.

Of the Top 8, to my taste, the Deep Fried Alligator's Egg Nest is the least appealing. Followed closely be the Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy.

Champagne Gravy?

Well, let's start with that Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy and go through the 8 Finalists one by one.

Chicken Fried Lobster with Champagne Gravy by Abel Gonzales
A lobster tail is breaded, then deep fried, then covered with a sauce made with lemon butter and champagne gravy. I can find no explanation as to what champagne gravy is.

Cowboy Corn Crunch by Isaac Rousso
Jalapeno, sweet corn kernels, cream cheese and some bacon is deep fried to a crispy crunch, then stuck into something called a palm leaf cone for your consumption convenience.

Deep Fried Alligator’s Egg by Cassy Jones
That Cajun staple, alligator meat, is mixed with jalapenos, onions, garlic and Monterrey Jack cheese, then rolled in bread crumbs before being tossed in the deep fryer before being placed on a nest of shoestring French fries drizzled with chipotle sauce.

Fernie’s Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly by Christi Erpillo
That is one long name for this concoction's new take on carrot cake. Baked bread mixed with cinnamon gets flattened, then filled with carrot cake, raisins and shredded carrots. Then rolled in cream cheese before being breaded with a combo of panko and graham crackers, sprinkled with nutmeg and more cinnamon, then drizzled with more cream cheese and a dusting of powdered sugar, along with caramel on the side. Nothing appears to be deep fried with this Finalist.

Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo by James Barrera
Lean ground buffalo gets some Mesquite smoke flavor added before getting rolled in the Official Native Pepper of Texas, that being Pequin chili pepper. The buffalo is then covered with crushed corn nuts before being dipped in a batter made with Shiner Bock Beer before hitting the deep fryer and then being dusted with bacon bits. The Fried Beer-Battered Buffalo comes with a chipolte cream dipping sauce.

Lone Star Pork Handle by Justin Martinez
A pork chop, with the bone-in, for handle purposes, gets a pork rub marinate before getting dipped in batter made with Lone Star Beer, then a coating of toasted bread crumbs before getting deep fried and coated with a bourbon barbecue glaze.

Pretzel-Crusted Pollo Queso by Allan Weiss
Chicken is shredded, then mixed with cream cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, cilantro, Sriracha sauce and bacon, then rolled into a ball coated with pretzel breading before being deep fried. This is served with jalapeno ranch dipping sauce to provide some much needed extra heat.

Smoky Bacon Margarita by Isaac Rousso
You must prove to be 21 to sample this Finalist's concoction. Somehow the taste of bacon is infused into a frozen lime Margarita. Bacon crumbles garnish the top of the cocktail. As an added bonus the Smoky Bacon Margarita comes in a collectible souvenir cup that you will be sure to want to your collection of such things.

Well, that concludes our look at the 2015 Big Texas Choice Awards Finalists.

See you at the 2015 State Fair of Texas, opening September 25, closing October 18.