Feb 14, 2024 - Food and Drink

We tried this year's weird Florida State Fair food

Three photos side-by-side. The right photo shows fried dough topped with whipped cream and strawberries. The second is two slices of pizza topped with pickles and Goldfish crackers. The third is a burger with a brown gravy-like substance using out onto white-and-red checkered paper.

The strawberry shortcake kebab, the cheddar pickle pizza and the poutine burger. Photos: Kathryn Varn and Yacob Reyes/Axios

We paid a visit yesterday to the Florida State Fair to check out this year's new wacky food items.

  • The visitor's guide (available at information kiosks) had a nifty map of where to find 23 new food items ranging from a bacon waffle cheeseburger to banana cream pie nachos.
  • We had such grand ambitions to make it to all the stops.

Yes, but: Our bodies began to revolt after stop 3. By stop 9, Kathryn was horizontal on a picnic bench, and we were certain we'd shaved years off our lives. We tapped out.

  • And so, we humbly present to you our not-even-halfway-finished 2024 food tour review:

🐊 Florida quesadilla

Kathryn, in utter betrayal of her alma mater, took the lead on this gator nugget quesadilla. It was cheesy, rich and, frankly, a little light on the alligator chunks. Probably not worth the $17 (!!!) price tag.

The verdict: 🦩🦩/5

  • Find it at Mexican Grill.

🍋 Lemonade funnel cake

It's exactly what you'd imagine the fair would taste like: fluffy, sweet funnel cake paired with the refreshing zing of lemonade. The tart lemon sauce cut through the sweetness of the fried dough.

  • Pro tip: You'll want to grab a cup of lemonade to round out that sweet-to-tart ratio.

The verdict: 🦩🦩🦩🦩/5

  • Find it at Topscan Funnel Cakes.

🌭 Campfire hotdog

This hotdog topped with baked beans and bacon was mediocre at best at the fair, but it would absolutely slap around a campfire, so there you go.

The verdict: 🦩/5

  • Find it at DeAnna's Donut Burger.

🍔 Poutine burger

If we were doing superlatives, this one would win Most Likely to Throw Up on the Starship 4000. It had the correct poutine-to-burger ratio, which is both a blessing and a curse.

The verdict: 🦩🦩🦩/5

  • Find it at DeAnna's Donut Burger.

🔥 Jalepeño lemonade

By this point, we were in desperate need of something to wash all of this down with, but that wasn't the only reason we loved this zesty lemonade.

  • It captured the essence of spice without any of the consequences.

The verdict: 🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩/5

  • Find it at Coastal Concessions.

🍓 Strawberry shortcake kebab

Could it be? Fresh fruit?! A sight for sore tastebuds. Plus, the donuts, whipped topping and honey were so yummy.

The verdict: 🦩🦩🦩🦩/5

  • Find it at DeAnna's Fried Banana Pudding.

🍕 Cheddar pickle crunch pizza

It's got all the makings of a pungent burp: cheese, ranch, and loads of pickles and goldfish crackers. But honestly, it's one you won't mind tasting again.

  • It had a thin crust and felt on the lighter side for fair food. With our resolve fading fast, that was exactly what we needed.

The verdict: 🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩/5

  • Find it at Pizza Emporium.

🌶️ Spicy Korean corndog

We spent much of our trip drooling over the picture of this buttermilk-dipped hotdog rolled in red, flaky Hot Cheetos.

Yes, but: It wasn't love at first bite.

The verdict: 🦩/5

  • Find it at Seivers Smokehouse Grill.

🥒 Pop Rocks pickle

We'll be thinking about this confection for a long time, maybe for the rest of our lives.

  • Biting into it was so awful it was almost overwhelming. But as we chewed, the deranged ingredients — which included chocolate and Fruit Roll-ups — started to make sense.
  • When the Pop Rocks went off, for a brief moment, we felt God at the Florida State Fair.

The verdict: 🦩🦩🦩/5

  • Find it at Shockley's Food Service.
A photo of a woman in sunglasses and a purple shirt and a man in a black long-sleeve shirt smiling on a swing ride at a fair.
Smiling through the pain. Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios
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