Deep-Fried FTW: Scenes from the Sonoma Square Farmers Market

Always mustard, never ketchup: The Cajun Corn Dog @ Uncle Bill's Gourmet Corn Dogs, Sonoma Square Farmers Market.

The best things in life are fried: I learned this simple mantra very early on, when I used to work the fryer station at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans. We fried lots of delicious foods at K-Paul’s, including oysters, shrimp, soft-shelled crab, green tomatoes, duck skins, and of course, plenty of potatoes (K-Paul’s didn’t serve french fries, however. Instead, our potatoes were baked, halved, and then scooped. Once prepped, the skins and the “meat” were fried separately, with the little nuggets of fried potato “meat” being tossed into a rich cheese sauce, then spooned back into the fried skins. And in case you didn’t think it could get any better, this enemy of the arteries was the standard side item for the cheese-stuffed pork chop, which was blackened to perfection). Okay, where was I again?

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Today, a couple deep-fried items highlighted another perfect summer afternoon at the Sonoma Square Farmers Market. On the savory side, there was the Cajun-style corn dog, pictured above, from Uncle Bill’s Gourmet Corn Dogs. In this era of turkey dogs and, even worse, tofu dogs, someone’s got to fight the good fight on the corn dog front, and Uncle Bill’s offers up a substantial, top-heavy corn dog, fried to order, with a batter that’s remarkably light and fluffy. Highly recommended.

Dogs dipped in grease.

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Cinnamon and Sugar Donuts @ Harvey's Gourmet Donuts, Sonoma Square Farmers Market.

The first time I ever had a fresh donut, I was in high school. My best friend worked at a mom-and-pop donut shop in Lodi, which I would frequent quite a bit for some free donuts. One day, I happened to stop by when the baker was working, and I was blown away by the character of a truly fresh-from-the-grease donut. For me, the difference between and fresh donut and an hours-old donut is analogous to the difference between a garden-fresh tomato and a supermarket tomato (in fact, I’d probably rather eat an hours-old donut than a supermarket tomato). Freshness, of course, is the key selling point at the Harvey’s Gourmet Donuts booth, where mini donuts are offered by the dozen and topped with anything from powdered sugar to maple glaze with bacon bits. I actually prefer these donuts in a more simplified format, with cinnamon and sugar, pictured above.

Harvey: Master of Donuts.

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At the turn.

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