TNT Diner Facebook follower Kim Ochs asked a great question about Puyallup Fair food: "Sue, several friends of mine have commented that the food vendors that are outside the fairgrounds seem much more fairly priced than inside the grounds, thoughts?"
I noticed the same thing and wondered if a better deal really was just that. Click "more" to read about a few vendors I sampled this week.
Just outside the fairgrounds are a few clusters of vendors. One is near the intersection where Ninth meets Meridian. The other is on the opposite end of that street, at Fairview Drive (near the roller coaster). I took a quick tour of eats, and this is what I found:
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The test: Hand-dipped corn dogsThe cost: $3.00Where: At the booth at the corner of Fairview (over by the roller coaster, outside the fairgrounds). The eats: A sign advertised $2 corndogs, which is half the cost of a Krusty Pup inside the fairgrounds. And then I saw they had hand-dipped for a buck more, $3. OK, I'll bite. .... And I regretted it immediately. The $3 hand-dipped corn dog coating was flaccid and the entire thing so utterly greasy, it left a coating on my face. Ewww. And the dog tasted like one of those super salty cheap-o hot dogs you can buy in bulk at your local discount grocer. The verdict: Corn dog fail. Stick with a Krusty Pup.
The test: CheeseburgerThe cost: $4.50Where: At the booth near the intersection with Fairview, same booth as the greasy corn dog. The eats: A cheeseburger with a spongy bun that held no sign of toasted or grilled crunchiness (it should be a cheeseburger sin to not grill the bun). The squishy bun soaked up the grease from the thin patty. The American cheese was cold. I could feel my resentment brewing before I even bit into the sauteed onions that were limp and colorless. About the most positive thing I can say about that burger is that the iceberg lettuce didn't taste bad. The results: Burger fail. Go inside for an onion burger for a few bucks more.
The test: A sconeThe cost: $1.25 Where: The scone booth advertising 12 scones for $12 just off Fairview by the roller coaster.The eats: A scone with a smear of raspberry jam. Unlike the scone I had under the Grandstand at the Fisher booth earlier in the week, this scone actually was cooked properly. It had just the lightest hint of golden brown on the surface. I liked the creamy texture of the scone, but a tiny dollop of jam didn't make it palatable, it needed more moisture. And I'm pretty sure they didn't put any butter on it, or at least not enough to notice.The verdict: Meh. Stick with the Fisher booths inside the fairgrounds. They're the same price and the lines are shorter.
A final thought on the outside food vendors. While the streets surrounding the fairgrounds once were brimming with vendors, those days are gone. If I were you, the only booth I'd hit is the Fleischkuechle truck, which I wrote about last week.