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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Behold This Year’s Crazy Florida State Fair Food [Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger, Step Aside]

Posted Jan 6, 2014 by Jeff Houck

Updated Jan 6, 2014 at 03:27 PM

Just heard from Cheryl Reas at Carousel Foods. She and her husband Dennisspend winters thinking up new, delicious, gut-busting, fantastical food to unleash on our nation’s state fairs and festivals.

After digging out from snow in Indiana, they kick off their year at the Florida State Fair in our beloved city of Tampa. This is where the Krispy Kreme cheeseburger was birthed. This is where the Ice Cream Burger had its coming out party. This is where the French Toast Burger first set foot in the collective gullet of America.

So what will it be this year?

I’ll let Cheryl explain.

Hold on to your hats.


“Dear Jeff:

“Wanted to let you know our new burgers for the 2014 fair. Boy does time fly. Seems as if I was just doing this. Hope your year has been good. Ours has been very good business wise.

“Here goes with the burgers. We are having three new ones:”

Florida State Fair Burger



#1 The Ramen Noodle Burger: Our fresh burger on a Ramen Noodle bun topped with Asian Slaw and a special Oriental Sauce. The Asian Slaw is a vinegar base slaw with a hint of Sesame oil and Soy sauce. The Oriental Sauce has soy, hoisin, mayonnaise, ketchup, and a little sugar in it. The sauce makes this burger.”

Florida State Fair Burger



#2 The 3B’s Burger: Our fresh burger, bacon, and beef brisket all on garlic toast topped with provolone cheese and your favorite veggie toppings. We will have a special horseradish sauce, A-1, or Barbecue sauce to finish it off.

Florida State Fair Burger



#3 The Healthier Burger: We have had some people ask for a turkey burger or soy burger so we have bowed to there request. We do not want to deal with raw turkey burger so we have opted to use the soy burger option. This burger will be a soy burger topped with Provolone cheese (optional) a fried Parmesan crusted eggplant all on a 100% whole-wheat thin bagel and your favorite vegetable toppings. They can have any sauce they like on the burger. We did not have an overwhelming request for the healthier version but decided to accommodate those who are watching those calories. We will see how it goes. Still trying to find the most flavorful soy burger. Not exactly an easy task. Working on it!!!”

“Will see you in Tampa the good Lord willing and the weather does not freeze us in place. Florida is looking better then ever this week. It is zero here right now and still dropping. “

* * * *

For those who might be turning up their nose at the idea of a ramen burger and saying that it looks like a sandwich with a Jheri Curl, (Sing along with me: “Just let your SOULLLLLL GLOOOOOOO!”), I’d like to kindly point out that it was, along with the Cronut, one of the hot food items of 2013.

As the New York Post reported:

A Japanese-American mash-up, the fad food of the millisecond features a hamburger patty sandwiched between two discs of compressed ramen noodles in lieu of a traditional bun. To date, it’s only been available on three occasions — the past few Saturdays at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg food market — and each time, it’s sold out in just a few hours.

“It’s definitely crazy!” says Keizo Shimamoto, 35, the creator of the Ramen Burger and a former computer programmer who quit his day job in 2009 to devote himself to ramen and blog about it at GoRamen.com. “I didn’t expect it to be this popular.”


You have a few weeks to prepare your innards for these delicacies. Govern yourselves accordingly.


Reader Comments

Por (scruffy1) on January 07, 2014 (Suggest removal)

A fried tofu burger topped with provelone cheese and fried Parmesan crusted eggplant-the whole wheat bagel makes it healthy? Then again, in the good old bad days the Fair meant corn dogs fried in lard, french fries fried in lard, and breadburgers with just enough meat to color the bread also fried in lar. Healthy is just a question of chronology I suppose.

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Por (zooot) on January 08, 2014 (Suggest removal)

“Still trying to find the most flavorful soy burger.” 

I like Morningstar’s prime grillers.

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