It's good news for the Froot Loops. The 10 finalists have been named for the 13th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards food competition, aka the State Fair of Texas' fried food awards, and the fried Froot Loops — which we rooted for in our semifinalist story — made the cut. Is there a betting pool on this thing?
Other notable final entries include fried Texas sheet cake, and fried chicken noodle soup on a stick, reminiscent of the "fried Thanksgiving dinner" of 2013 — or wait, is it more like the "picnic on a stick" of 2012?
For the first time, three winners will receive awards, instead of two. Previously, it was "Best Taste" and "Most Creative." Now they've broken Best Taste into Sweet and Savory. They've also expanded the field of finalists from eight to 10. It's all designed to pump up the volume. Winners will be chosen, as usual, on Labor Day weekend.
Here are the finalists:
Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick, by Sherry and Chris Howard
Homestyle chicken noodle soup is deep fried and served on a stick. Each bite size ball will have an indention for a spoonful of savory broth sauce which is offered in a disposable plastic cup. Each dish is served with a side of crackers.
Deep Fried Froot Loops, by Gracie and Milton Whitley
Sweetened Froot Loops are folded into whipped marshmallow, dipped in batter, fried, then topped with glaze and powdered sugar. Just give them the award now and get it over with.
Fat Smooth, by Tami Nevins-Mayes
Three "Belgium" (surely they mean Belgian) mini cream puffs on a skewer are dipped in a Café Du Monde beignet batter, fried, powdered sugared, and drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce.
Fernie's Fried Texas Sheet Cake, by Winter Family Concessions
Fudgy chocolate brownie cake is coated in panko and ground cocoa puffs and fried, so that it has a crunchy outside and a molten center. The chocolate icing is infused with Dr. Pepper. Add chopped Texas pecans, whipped cream, and a strawberry, which they are saying will be carved to mimic a Lady Bird Johnson rose.
Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger, by Tom Grace and Edna Sutton
On this burger, buns are replaced with two funnel cakes that are fried to a golden crunch. There is also bacon and queso, and a dusting of powdered sugar, because apparently powdered sugar must be dusted on everything at the State Fair.
Gulf Coast Fish Bowl, by Clint Probst
This is a whimsical cocktail that seems to be served in a round plastic cup that's meant to look like an aquarium. Maybe that's just for the contest and they'll serve it in a more enviro-friendly package. It has Nerds candy "gravel" on the bottom, ice, blue alcoholic punch, Swedish Fish floating within, and a pineapple slice on top.
Pinot Noir Popcorn, by The Parish Family
Cheddar-cheese flavored kettle corn is dusted with a Pinot Noir burgundy wine powder. Unfortunately, it seems that it will be served in a large plastic goblet. Hopefully that is just for show, and at the Fair, the Parish Family will serve it in a paper box.
Surfin' Turfin' Tator Boat, by Melissa and David Harrison
This is a high-end stuffed baked potato filled with lobster and steak. Both are stuffed into the potato, which already has melted garlic butter, then topped with cheddar and romano cheeses. It comes with a side of lemon butter for dipping that seems a tad bit extraneous.
Texas Fajita Fries, by Nick Bert
These are meat "fries" made of breaded beef fajita strips, seasoned with a Sriracha spice mix and served in a bread cone. Which itself is presented on a bed of fried onions and jalapeños. With a side of pico de gallo and a sour cream guacamole hot sauce. That seems like a lot going on. Maybe that's why they say, "Texas fajita fries can be enjoyed as a sandwich or individually like french fries."
The Tamale Donut, by Justin Martinez
This takes the ingredients of a pork tamale and serves them in a doughnut shape. Pork carnitas are blended with authentic masa, hand-formed into the circular doughnut shape, fried until crispy on the outside and soft inside, then drizzled with creamy jalapeno salsa. Can you call something a doughnut (not "donut," OK?) just because it's tubular in shape? Apparently, yes.