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DINING: A fair amount of pork

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Dining - A&E

This year, the Indiana State Fair is celebrating the Year of the Pig. And that means pork is the main attraction in five dishes that were selected as finalists in the Fair’s Signature Food contest.

First, it needs to be said that the selection process for this award is absurd—even by local contest standards. In short, submissions from vendors are commented on by judges, but those judges don’t pass judgment. Instead, Indianapolis Star readers look at the pictures, read the comments, then vote without having tasted the food.

Seriously.

To counter that, we hit the Fairgrounds on a (surprise) blisteringly hot afternoon and sampled all five. Here are our thoughts after actually eating them.


 

State Fair food: Pig in a pancake(IBJ Photos/Perry Reichanadter)

R.E. Smith Concessions’ Pig in a Pancake, top right. You’ve got to love an entrée that has its own cartoon character logo. Here, a squishy sausage link is given the corn-dog treatment, only with Aunt Jemima pancake batter. The warm dipping syrup helps bring out the pancake flavor, but our sausage should have been cooked longer. Look for it near the Cattle Barn. ($5)
 

State Fair food: Garbage Burger

Indiana Pork Producers’ Garbage Burger. Where the rest of the finalists were, at best, appetizers, this was a real meal. Our concern was that the shredded pork and the pork burger it topped would cancel each other out, flavor-wise—or would seem like just more of the same with different textures. But the combo proved a winning one—both for us and the non-tasting voters. Our only suggestion: something better than the out-of-the-bag bun. Find it at any of the Indiana Pork Producers’ tents. ($7)
 

State Fair food: Country Fried Bacon

Barto’s Catering’s Country-Fried Bacon. The peppercorn country gravy is a definite plus for these too-chewy, breaded bacon strips, but the dish was a bit heavy for the hot day. Warning: The south Barto’s location doesn’t carry the bacon. Find it on the north side in the vicinity of the Farm Bureau Building. ($2 for 3, $4 for 5)

 

State Fair food: Pulled Pork Taco

Delia’s Pulled Pork Taco. If we stop back again, we might ask for Delia’s delicious barbecue sauce to be added to this soft-tortilla, open-faced taco, in addition to the standard cheese, lettuce and salsa. As it stood, though, the tasty mini was gone in a few pleasant bites. Find it near the DNR Building. ($4)
 

State Fair food: Rootbeer Ribs

Delia’s Root Beer Ribs. So what if we had to try really hard to taste the subtle root beer marinade? These were still Delia’s ribs—smoked on site—in the purveyor’s signature barbecue sauce, which is a little spicy and a lot delicious. Find it near the DNR Building. ($5 for two bones)•

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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