Had a great time at the Puyallup Fair on closing day—the weather was perfect, blue skies and sunny—but the food we ate was terrible.
The classic Fisher fair scone that I eagerly purchased had a congealed raspberry jam that didn’t –or wouldn’t—melt into the warm biscuit. The butter tasted inferior, and the biscuit itself was broken into pieces inside its nostalgic little waxy bag.
A couple people I was with wanted lunch, and I had heard Ed Murrieta of SouthSoundEats.com rave about the smoked Turkey Legs at the Young Life booth. So three of us tried them. Mine was very hot but awkward to eat—with no real tables nearby. The leg was gristly with all those annoying little bones to deal with, and most disappointingly—it did not even come close to tasting like turkey. It was very salty and not really smoky at all, in fact it tasted like it had been brined which would account for the interior color of the meat being as pink as ham with a similar consistency. After walking through one of the crafts buildings still struggling to eat it (and it really just tasting like salty ham on a stick) I threw it away…
After a few rides we decided to detour into the Beer & Wine Garden to rehydrate after eating the salt bomb posing as a turkey leg. A small beer was $6 and the medium size (20 oz) was $8. Kinda steep we thought…
I tried a $10 glass of the delicious Pepper Bridge Red blend from Hightower Cellars~the grapes come from Red Mountain. Next was a stunning 2007 Cabernet from Saviah Cellars, Walla Walla. This wine received 93 points from Wine Spectator–it had luscious brambleberry fruit with French oak vanilla, a nice undertone of espresso, and a loooong finish. Perfect.
After a few more rides (the Zipper never fails to terrify me) and the obligatory ride up Extreme Scream at sunset, I was ready to end my day with the justly famous onion fair burger. (Last year I got duped into trying the Earthquake Burger and regretted it—huge yes, but not satisfying, in that elemental best-burger-in-memory kind of way, like the Frisco Freeze of your childhood, or insert your own childhood burger memory here. So off we went in search of the perfect fair burger, which can be a little confusing as so many of the burger places tout themselves as having the best burger at the fair.
A couple of friends opted for a “healthy” dinner (from a booth the name of which escapes me) of rice and veggies and pork or chicken on top (at the Fair?? Are you kidding?).
And then in the distance, there it was–Hamburger Myers “The Burger That Made the Fair Famous (since 1922)”. I was so excited. The woman at the counter asked if I wanted cheese and onions. (Of course I want cheese and onions). The intoxicating smell of griddled onions wafting through the air as you walk the fairgrounds says “fair” to me as much as the smell of cotton candy and warm raspberry scones.
I watched the young teenager assemble my burger. The buns were disappointingly not being griddled, the cheese was put on the meat un-melted, and then a huge glob of cooked onions mounded and smooshed on top of the cheese (I guess they feel the heat of the onions will do the melt-job on the cheese, so why bother actually melting it on the meat?) The lady handed me my burger and explained that I could add mustard and ketchup, which I did.
I took my first bite and I cannot adequately convey my disappointment.
A couple others in the group went for the venerable Sales Family Krusty Pup (since 1923).
My group of 8 friends and I spent around $800.
After settling in and bundling up and borrowing the extra pair of gloves from Dad, we set out to find something to eat. Should it be something good– along the lines of stir-fry or sushi I wondered…or maybe Ivar’s fish-n-chips (their French fries look seriously good)….What about some garlic fries my brother suggested? No way–I said– I hate those! I barely can stand the smell from 40 paces away!
No…I think for tradition’s sake I needed to have a huge hot dog with mustard and relish [$6], and a draft beer [$6]. Steve did the same. Dad went for a bowl of Ivar’s chowder (looked a little pasty to me, but Dad said it was dee-lish ). Jeanne went for a Salmon Caesar.
So with pageantry unfolding all around, fireworks and dignitaries, a young child cancer survivor ran the bases making us all tear up, to the introduction of this year’s line up, the golden glove presentation to Ichiro, and a beautiful opera singer’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and so on, it was an exciting and emotional opening day. Like it should be.
In the 6th inning everything turned around and we went ahead, and with the lead firmly in place we decided to leave after the 7th inning stretch. Mariners eventually winning 5-2.
Thanks Dad & Jeanne for the great time and for hanging in there!