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Maryland State Fair food: We tried everything from crab cakes to deep-fried Reese’s. Here’s what we thought.

Baltimore Sun reporters Sameer Rao and Chris Kaltenbach taste test some of the food options available this year at the Maryland State Fair.

With so much food to eat, what’s a hungry person to do?

That’s a question sure to be raised continuously as the 138th Maryland State Fair runs through Labor Day at the state fairgrounds in Timonium. Sure, there’s tons of fun to be had roaming the grounds, checking out the livestock, riding a carousel or Ferris Wheel, trying your hand at the ring toss, even checking out a horse race or two.

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Inevitably, however, the time is going to come when your stomach demands attention. It’s time to eat.

So you head for the Maryland Foods Pavilion, home to some of the best eats the Free State has to offer. And while you’re far from disappointed by the offerings, you’re probably overwhelmed by the choices. That’s where we can help.

As a public service to hungry Marylanders converging on Timonium, Baltimore Sun reporters Chris Kaltenbach and Sameer Rao offer up their thoughts on how the food fare at the Maryland State Fair fares. Eat hearty!

The Maryland pulled pork sundae.
The Maryland pulled pork sundae. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)
Maryland pulled pork sundae (pulled pork topped with coleslaw and BBQ sauce, over a cornbread base)

CK: If you like pulled pork, then there’s no reason you wouldn’t like this, obviously. This is delicious. The slaw is great. The cornbread really adds a nice “oomph" to it.

SR: The cornbread breaks up really easily, so this is definitely a messy one. You’ll want to try and sit or stand at a table for this.

The crab patty.
The crab patty. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)
Crab patty (sandwich with crab cake, topped with a soft shell crab, on a bun with lettuce)

CK: I should add that neither Sameer nor I are fans of tomatoes, so we’ve taken the tomatoes off and and substituted onions for them. I hope this is not heresy for anybody, but hey, it’s what we like.

SR: Overwhelming taste of crab, but not in a bad way. I’m into it. I’m sure that the soft crab is great on its own, but in the sandwich, it’s not that distinguished from the patty. What do you think?

CK: I think it’s a nice confluence of taste. And quite frankly, you could probably put a slab of watermelon on top of the crab and it would taste just fine. But I think that the combination of the soft crab and the crab cake works for me. I’ll take either one separately. I’ll take them combined. I’ll take them home. Crab is fine by me.

A large turkey leg.
A large turkey leg. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)
Fried turkey leg

CK: Not being a huge turkey person, I should somewhat qualify my opinion. But this is very tasty. Surprisingly juicy. Very tasty, I think.

S.R.: The skin is very crispy, the meat is juicy. This is really very good. It’s not dry at all. Now, I need a quick nap.

A 'flat,' a squashed version of a taco.
A 'flat,' a squashed version of a taco. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)
Flat (tortilla smothered with shredded cheese and topped with chicken, sour cream, green onions and seasoning)

SR: How many ways can we combine cheese, meat and tortillas, or some kind of bread product, into one unified thing? This is probably one of the better presentations I’ve seen since the actual pizza, or the actual taco.

CK: It just looks impressive. You’re walking around with one of these, people are going to notice, no doubt. And you want to be noticed at the Maryland State Fair.

Deep fried Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
Deep fried Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)
Vanilla and mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Vanilla and mint chocolate chip ice cream. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

For dessert, the we decided to part company. Sameer went for deep-fried Reese’s peanut butter cups, while Chris opted for ice cream, a mix of vanilla and mint with chocolate chip, from the Maryland Farm Bureau Maryland Young Farmers Dairy Bar, across the walkway from the Maryland Foods Pavilion.

SR: I couldn’t even say words for a couple of seconds. This was very creamy. Pretty hot in the center. I’m glad I waited a little bit for the thing to cool off…This is pretty delicious. It’s like if a peanut butter cup was melted, but then you captured all of it within a casing.

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CK: If you mix the mint chocolate chip with the vanilla, it’s really good. Very creamy. Not the classic kind of soft ice cream, which I’m crazy about. But this is quite good. I have no complaints.

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