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State Fair of Texas Announces This Year’s Line-Up of Fried Food Finalists

Plus, a New Orleans coffee shop expands in Dallas and more DFW dining intel

An order of deep-fried energy bites from the 2019 State Fair of Texas, garnished with chocolate and powdered sugar State Fair of Texas [Official Photo]

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Deep Fried I-35, Brisket Brittle top list of State Fair of Texas food finalists

The 10 final over-the-top dishes for the 17th annual Big Tex Choice Awards have officially been announced. The dishes, many of them deep fried in great State Fair of Texas tradition, were chosen by a panel of judges from a group of 32 savory and sweet creations. One winner in each category — plus a winner for “most creative”— will be crowned on Sunday, August 29. This year’s event will be closed to the public due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The savory finalists include:

  • Crispy Crazy Corn — Fried sweet corn nuggets topped with pulled pork, pineapple slaw, jalapeño crema and cilantro.
  • Deep Fried I-35 — A sweet-and-savory kolache filled with brisket, peaches and Dr Pepper glaze.
  • Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls — Fried bites loaded shrimp, chicken, blue crab meat, and andouille sausage and served with a side of dark roux sauce.
  • Lucky Duck Dumplin’ — A pastry filled with cream cheese, duck bacon and herbs
  • Pork Shots — Smoked sausage, wrapped in bacon, then stuffed with mac and cheese. The makers call it “a party in your mouth”.

Sweet finalists include:

  • Deep Fried Halloween — A large chewy pretzel bathed in candy corn syrup, covered in orange and white buttercream icing, then topped with marshmallow whip cream. The pretzel is then stacked with Halloween candy like Reese Piece, Mini-Twix, Orea crumbles, and candy corn.
  • The Armadillo — An ice cream sandwich made with two ‘dillo-shaped cookies made with a branding iron, then drizzled with cookie butter and dusted with sugar.
  • Brisket Brittle — Peanut brittle, but the peanuts have been replaced with smokey brisket.
  • Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake — Chunks of cake doughnut topped with English toffee, crunchy almonds and sweet custard, then dipped into an egg batter and deep fried
  • Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake — Pumpkin cake covered in vanilla glaze, caramel syrup, and whipped cream, and dusted with a secret spice blend.

President of Dallas-based Tex-Mex chain Uncle Julios has died

Harper Caron, president of the Dallas-based Uncle Julio’s Tex-Mex chain, died this weekend in a downtown Dallas hotel. He was 45. According to CultureMap, police where called to the Statler Hotel early Saturday morning, where they found Caron unresponsive. Caron, a New Orleans native, started working for the chain 25 years ago, working his way to through the ranks, and eventually being named president in 2019. A cause of death has not been announced.

New Orleans coffee shop PJs continues Dallas expansion

PJ’s Coffee, the cafe founded in New Orleans in 1978, will open a location in Euless on Monday, August 16. To celebrate its opening, the shop, at 900 North Industrial Boulevard, will offer free beignets while supplies last. It will be the fourth location in North Texas, joining spots in McKinney, Northlake, and North Dallas. Several more locations are planned for the area.