Cloverdale Citrus Festival 2013
Alright, to be perfectly honest, we didn’t pay much attention to the citrus-based parts of the Cloverdale Citrus Festival. There were orange juice squeezing competitions and cooking demonstrations, but we were overwhelmed by the variety of different festival foods. Of course there were funnel cakes and corn dogs, but we sought – and found – lots of offbeat food items to share with you.
First stop was Stuffie’s Char-Broiler for a chicken breast sandwich served in a raspberry filled donut. That’s what the menu said; however, it was more of a raspberry sauce drizzle than a filled donut. We can thank Paula Dean for the concept of a donut as a bun, since Stuffie’s also offered a hamburger on a “Crispy Creme” (again, as per the menu) and both the hamburger and the chicken sandwich seemed like popular items. The chicken was your typical grilled chicken, and the total concept is great. The fresh tomato and lettuce added to the enjoyment of this entree/dessert fusion.
Bandon’s Best Kettle Korn is known for its namesake, plus a hoard of other sweet fair foods. At certain events, they told us, they also do entrees, like this Indian taco of fry bread piled with refried beans, seasoned ground beef, lettuce, cheese, tomato, sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, and onions (we asked for ours without onions just as a matter of preference). They didn’t overwork the scratch-made fry bread dough, which made it tender and crispy. Fresh vegetables, well seasoned beef, and scratch-made refried beans combined to make for a stellar plate.
Watching the Castle Mini Donuts’ mini donut maker was mesmerizing. They were so tiny and cute, and we got to try a sample before our sundae was done.
…And here’s Castle Mini Donuts’ mini donut sundae. You can get it with chocolate syrup or caramel sauce, but you can see we requested both, and boy, was it good! The donuts were amazing because they were so fresh, moist, slightly crispy, and lightly dusted in cinnamon and sugar. Zach says these were the best cake donuts he’s ever had since he’s never tried them fresh before, and fresh makes a huge difference. There were other mini donut related items like a smaller sundae and donuts on their own, but we recommend going all out.
Sheftalia, we learned, is essentially sausage without skin made of pork and/or lamb. We tried pork and lamb in a gyro from Ultimate Souvlaki. Served like traditional style with tzatziki sauce, tomato, and onions, the sheftalia was the strong flavor of the gyro, as it should have been. The meat is hand mixed and formed with herbs and spices, then wrapped in caul fat. Caul fat was listed on the menu but we didn’t know what it was – probably a good thing or else we might have been a little scared! Now we know since we do our research for writing our blog, and we’re proud to add it to the list of interesting foods we’ve tried.
Jalapeño poppers are one of Zach’s favorite fried food items, and Full of Flavor Catering delighted us. These loaded jalapeños were definitely loaded: cream cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, and bacon! The crust was lightly seasoned and the ranch dressing was home-made, not from a bottle. They were cooked perfectly, just like poppers should be – crispy outside, tender jalapeño inside that doesn’t slide out in one bite, the filling was creamy and cheesy, and no single component overpowered another.
August was getting thirsty but also wanted some caffeine for our drive home, so we tried Java 2 You’s “famous mocha freeze,” a “delicious blended mocha prepared with rich chocolate and creamy soft serve ice cream.” The soft serve put this over the top, making the drink so smooth and decadent. Zach noted that they used real coffee in the mix, adding a naturally acidic kick.
We walked by Starting From Scratch‘s stand when we entered the event and promised ourselves we would get some cupcakes on the way out. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as they were starting to run out by the time we came back! We wish we lived in their radius around Windsor since they deliver, and they have a lot more than the cupcakes we saw today at the festival. We picked out six to take home, ranging from champagne to Irish car bomb, chocolate peanut butter cup and their famous apple walnut caramel.
Our overall thoughts on the festival itself were that there weren’t enough citrus-related things to call it a Citrus Fair. It would have been nice if, say, for every five regular food items the sixth would be citrus-based, -infused, or -inspired. However, it’s one of the first fairs of the year and we had beautiful weather, so clearly everyone came out to enjoy the day. The crowds of people made it difficult to walk around at times, but who could fault them? We all wanted to try some amazing food today.