I love the smell of fair food. One of my constant frustrations over the years has been not being able to find the food I smell, or buying something that looks great on the menu and being disappointed and left with wallet indigestion.

Enter the Eastern Idaho State Fair Food Competition. I’ve only been privileged to be a part of this competition as a judge twice and it feels like food heaven. Or maybe like I’m the Queen of Sheeba for a day with all the culinary artists bringing me the best dishes in the land. What can I say? Food fantasy come to life.

If I weren’t a member of the media, I probably wouldn’t be able to try all this fair food because it’s fairly pricy. No pun intended. So, I love sampling the food during the contest and going back to the fair for a grand portion of my favorite dishes. I feel like it saves me money and wandering around looking for that perfect portion of decadence. I wanted to share that advantage with others, So, here is a list of my personal favorites. Looking for the vendors boasting the “Best Of Champion” banners at the fair is also a pretty safe bet that you’ll find something you like.

Spicy Pork Paradise by La Casita was my personal favorite entree this year, and it also took Best New Entree of the Eastern Idaho State Fair. This vendor has a HUGE menu, so don’t get distracted away from this delectable dish and don’t forget to squeeze the lime to add the perfect tang and texture to the fried quesabirria taco. I wish I could go back to that moment…mmm.

On a side note, I didn’t find this dish particularly spicy, despite its name. So feel free to try it if you have a low to medium level of Taco Bell sauce tolerance. In my opinion, the Spicy Pork Paradise has a perfect low-level spice blended with beautiful flavors. Dip it in the sopa.

Anyway. Next is my favorite dessert.

The Pumpkin Spice Churro Donut by CR Fish N’ Things was by far my favorite dessert of the contest, though it didn’t win a prize. Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of this little beauty. It’s absolutely perfect–served with a drizzle of caramel, a dollop whipped cream, and topped off with pumpkin spice cream cheese–you won’t want to share the second one that comes in a regular order. I’m not a pumpkin spice nut, but I can’t imagine a more perfect way to convert me.

UPDATE: I bought this at the fair and the caramel was liquidy and seemed to be poured over the dessert. It ruined the texture of the churro, so I would recommend skipping the caramel for the best experience. I enjoyed it only half as much with the liquidy caramel.

This is getting a little food bloggy, so for the other dishes I loved, I’m going to just list the name of the dish and where you can purchase it at the Eastern Idaho State Fair, along with drool-worthy photos. Enjoy!

Garlic Truffle Tortato perfectly blends uncommon flavor with familiar comfort crisps. Get it at the Tortato stand.

Crescent City BBQ Shrimp by BJ’s Bayou. Booze, butter, spice and everything nice.

Warhawk Sandwich by Blackhawk BBQ Pit. Sausage over pulled pork. Yes please.

Cowboy Burger by Billman’s Catering. My fav bacon double cheeseburger of all time.

Mad Mac is a new invention by Blackhawk BBQ. You might say it’s a “hog podge” of meat, texture, and spice rounded and mellowed by American cheese on macaroni.

Pig Wings with Slaw by Pig Wings and Things. Great pork BBQ on a stick. The order comes with two pig wings and yummy slaw. Suggestion: skip the fried watermelon from this same vendor…or any other vendor who ventures there.

The Whole Damn Farm by Smokin B’s can be ordered without swearing, so don’t let that stop you. Pork, chicken and beef bbq over mac and fries feeds two adults for about $25.

Strawberry Colada by Camille’s Crepes. Light and fluffy strawberry coconut creme topped with strawberries, toasted coconut, fresh lime. Don’t forget to squeeze the lime over the whole thing to make the flavors pop. I’d eat this twice any day. Camille has a whole selection of sweet and savory crepes to try.

Strawberry Temptress by Sweet Temptations is great for those who love cinnamon rolls. Drizzled with caramel and creme, topped with strawberries and slivered almonds. Yum!

Hula Barbie by Big E’s Hawaiian Shave Ice combines bubblegum, blue razz and creme.