THE DISH: All's Fair in this dining adventure

·3 min read

Sep. 23—With the Kern County Fair underway, it is only fitting that this column takes a look at some of the new fare.

First off, I did not try the lobster nachos, which are new at Sharkey's this year. Having had the lobster fries in the past, I was in no rush to drop $20 on these nachos topped with an Alfredo sauce. Not saying I won't be back just to satisfy my curiosity, but I really want to see what they look like first.

I dined first at Pacific Create Hawaiian Teriyaki, which is new this year. The best option for sharing with someone who doesn't like many vegetables is the stir fried noodles and chicken.

For $15, you get a generous plate of noodles and chopped chicken drizzled with teriyaki sauce. We split it between the two of us but if you're big into sharing, this would be a good family pick that's filling (and not fried).

Also need to shout out that the frozen POG ($10) was delicious. The frozen blend of passion fruit, orange and guava juices (POG — you get it?) was served in a plastic cup with a lid that can be refilled for $5. The juice is also available in a nonfrozen variety for $8.

After a recommendation from fellow TBC staffer Ishani Desai about the delicious horchata at Aguas Frescas, I headed over to the concession, which landed a primo spot where Martin's stood for decades.

Because I was still working on the POG, I opted for a potato taco ($4.50). It was a good size for a snack, packing soft potato, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cotija and sauce inside a fried shell. Added some salsa from the condiment area and I was set.

The menu also includes a chipotle tuna taco ($8) that might be interesting as well as a churro bowl ($12) on its specialties menu.

Nov's Soul Spot set up as a concession this year that has more than your usual soul food favorites. Inside Building 3, the local restaurant is serving an assortment of waffles with signature options including the Baconator, topped with bacon, syrup and ice cream; Elvis Presley, with bananas, peanut butter, chocolate and whipped cream; and peaches and cream.

Signature waffles are $13 or you can build your own (with up to five toppings) for $15. Toppings include assorted fruits, chocolate chips, sprinkles, Oreo and more. You can also add toppings to signature waffles for $3.

Note: These are substantial four-quadrant waffles, which can normally support a fried chicken breast, so you won't walk away hungry. This is also easily shareable by splitting it into quarters and distributing toppings across each.

(If sweets aren't your thing, Nov's owner and chef Leon Denweed is selling soul food at the Lions Club booth.)

Local concessions Kern County Basque Club, Kern County Fire Department, Bakersfield Fire Department and the National Order of the Trench Rats, all of which sat out last year's fair, are back.

I enjoyed my traditional cheeseburger along with an order of chili cheese fries from the Trench Rats, a veteran-operated booth. Not only are the volunteers friendly there but the booth's location makes it easy to people-watch.

Also back this year is the Willamette Valley Pie Co., which is a favorite stop for my parents. I picked up peach and Oregon berry — a mix of blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, marionberries and raspberries — cobblers ($8 each) for them and a slice of apple caramel ($8) with fresh whipped cream ($3 extra) for me as I was headed out for the night.

I'm already planning more visits during the fair's run, which continues through Oct. 2, to try other new concessions Mama Marines (Mexican food), Rogue Concessions (pastrami and Italian sandwiches) and Cabo Corner (fish and shrimp tacos) as well as Lemoine Creperie. A more recent addition that I have yet to try, the trailer sells a large variety of both sweet and savory crepes with some boozy options.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.