You can drive by the Fairplex in Pomona, or the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, or the Ventura County Fairgrounds all you like, but the truth of the matter is this: By the middle of October, the region's county fairs have fully wrapped up, calling it another year.
That means all of the decadent dishes bearing six or seven different foodstuffs in their names -- the Cheesy Fried Pickle Butter Chocolate Cookie and so on -- have been stowed in the proverbial pantry for now.
Or does it? Turns out there's a Pumpkin Spice Fried Chicken Doughnut Sandwich you can buy and try, right now, through October, and you won't need to devour it while adjacent to a Ferris wheel. Well, scratch that -- you probably could, if you wanted to, as this autumnal fair-fantastic edible is available in Santa Monica.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Not quite near the Santa Monica Pier, mind you, and its famous Ferris wheel, but rather at Chomp Eatery on Santa Monica Boulevard near 16th Street.
What's in it? It's what's in the name, which is a pretty beautiful thing. The doughnutty bun part has some cinnamon-y crispiness, the chicken brings the savory, and toppers like lettuce and tomato and pumpkin spice aioli lend it an alt-burger feel.
Wait. Pumpkin. Spice. Aioli. Is this the next big thing in condiments? (Eater, too, is an aioli aficionado.)
The price leans pretty county fair, too: It's $5.95, so a tenner'll nab you the oh-so-fall sandwich and a soda at the pier, if you decide to do take-away at the restaurant and head for the Ferris wheel. Of course, you could eat in, too, at Chomp Eatery, and spend the length of your sandwich marveling at how unusual food pairings can work outside of fair time, too.
If only more dishes appeared on menus with such clear and lengthy names. For sure, that's why ingredients are listed below the dish, but there's something charming about a Burger Fry Cheese Sauce Onion Boat, which tells you all you need to know. And also tells you the outer reaches of food pairings continue to be bravely explored.
So three cheers for the Pumpkin Spice Fried Chicken Doughnut Sandwich, a seasonal goodie that's brought a bit of the midway, with some restaurant style, to Santa Monica, at least for October.