How Long Are Mac And Cheetoes Back For

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It’s a match made in finger-lickin’ heaven. For four weeks starting July 1, KFC and Cheetos will marry their signature fare in a new collaboration that sprinkles magical, orange Cheeto dust on. What's The Difference Between Donald Trump & a Bag of Cheetos? One is a cheesy sack of toxic crap that's pumped up with orange dye and hot air, and is sold to ignorant masses with no taste. The other is a corn-based snack food.

Updated 5:23 AM EST Dec 16, 2019

A funny thing happened at the Arizona State Fair this year.

For as long as I can remember, bacon has ruled the roost, and it’s no small wonder why. Even if internet-fueled bacon hysteria weren’t on the cusp of its third decade, you’d be hard-pressed to engineer a more perfect state fair food.

A smoky, salty symbol of American excess, it’s an easy way to add fat and flavor to things that are meaty and instantly meatify things that aren’t. Put simply, bacon is the king, baby.

Except maybe it isn’t.

RIDES, EVENTS, MUSIC AND MORE: Arizona State Fair Guide

A crunchy, younger interloper has emerged to challenge the crown. While it may be a passing fad, its sudden rise to prominence is impossible to ignore. I speak, of course, of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

The nearly 70-year-old cheesy, puffed, corn snack found new life once coated with neon red chile powder. Explosive flavor matched by explosive popularity has put the snack squarely in the crosshairs of state fair vendors who have added Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to just about everything.

Whether this constitutes a blip on the radar or the first salvo in another state fair food arms race remains to be seen. But I’ve sampled far more of these ignominious concoctions than I’m comfortable admitting.

So if you're visiting this year’s fair, I give you 15 food novelties to check out — or avoid.


True Love Crepe

Stand: Le Crepe.

Description: Did these guys take a wrong turn? Amid the corn dogs, turkey legs and mystery meat nuggets, a truck serving up honest-to-god crepes made fresh to order is an anomaly that borders on suspicious. The True Love crepe is pretty good: Eggy and tender, lacy on the edges and topped with butter, cinnamon, sugar and caramel applied in surprisingly restrained fashion.

Price: $8.

Deep-Fried Tamale on a Stick

Stand: Carne Cafe Taco Stand.

Description: With the caveat that “good” is a relative term, here’s an item that manages to combine two fairground food tropes into something that’s reasonably tasty. Little more than chile-laced tamale dough pressed around a stick and chucked into the deep fryer, this fellow puts a lightly crisped, caramelized shell on a tender tamale, a practice that — to be frank — I’d kind of like to see explored in a less makeshift kitchen.

Price: $7.

Navajo Taco

Stand: Original Navajo Taco Stand.

Description: 'Defensive' ordering means sticking to the basics. This isn’t one of the glorious specimens you might find at one of the city’s best fry bread shops. But this Navajo taco — smeared with beans and topped with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, Cheddar and onions — is one of the better items on offer. Plus, the base is a giant puck of deep-fried dough, so you can leave at the end of the day secure in the knowledge that you’ve done your state fair duty.

Price: $11.

Chile Relleno Dog

Stand: Big Bri’s.

Description: Chile relleno on a bun? Hot dog topped with cheese and charred poblanos? Nothing so exciting. It’s a corn dog with a little bit of cheese and green chile mixed into the batter. But if you’re down with corn dogs, this is a decent upgrade to the fairground classic once you get past the crushing disappointment.

Price: $6.

Fish Taco

Stand: Baja Lobster.

Description: Baja Lobster’s corn-batter encrusted “Lobster Dawg” wasn’t available, and while I’d like to classify that as an act of mercy, the truth is that they just weren’t quite set up yet. Still, this serendipitously led me to their surprisingly decent fish taco, a griddled corn tortilla wrapped around a freshly battered chunk of fried fish, topped with shredded cabbage and a drizzle of chipotle-spiked crema. I’m as surprised as you.

Price: $10.


Avocado Bites

Stand: Top Notch Concessions.

Description: Like many state fair disasters, this isn’t so much an issue of concept as it is of execution. Deep- fried avocado is hardly novel, and pretty darn tasty when done well. But razor-thin slivers of the stuff encased in a greasy, overcooked batter shell with a blend of ranch dressing and jarred salsa to dip is an even more egregious waste of a perfectly good avocado than topping a Chipotle bowl with guacamole. (Chipotle fans, send hate mail to

Price: $7.

Deep-Fried Philly Cheese Steak

Stand: Sunset Grill.

Description: Already a gut bomb of legendary proportions, it would be tough to come up with a food less in need of further greasification than a Philly cheese steak. But by golly, that isn’t going to stop the state fair from trying. I might even be able to look past the absurdity of this cheese steak in chimichanga form if the filling were something tasty rather than a mess of industrial slivered beef, mystery cheese and mushy onions. I’ll let you guess which version I got.

Price: $11.

Tater Dog

Stand: Spud Ranch.

Description: Deep-fried potatoes are awesome. Deep-fried hot dogs are pretty good, too. Coil the former around the latter, skewer it on a stick and you should have yourself a license to print money. Unless, of course, your spud spindle is flabby and grease-logged without the slightest hint of crispness. That would sure be a shame.

Price: $10.

Pasta with Meatballs

Stand: Sunset Grill.

Description: This is a school cafeteria flashback of the worst kind. Even setting aside the fact that I’m pretty sure garlic took out a restraining order on the garlic bread, overcooked spaghetti, candy sweet sauce and freezer-grade meatballs beg the question: Who on earth eats spaghetti and meatballs at the state fair? Answer: Me, apparently.

Price: $8.

Pineapple Drink

Stand: Drink A Fruit From The Fruit.

Description: What should have been a total slam dunk on a hot Arizona day — a simple blended fruit drink served in its husk of origin — was torpedoed by the lack of fruit in it. I don’t know who got my pineapple’s innards, but the frothy, watery concoction that barely tasted of pineapple would suggest it wasn’t me.

Price: $10.


Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Corn Dog

Stand: Biggy’s.

Description: One of the least egregious Flamin’ Hot Cheeto (hereafter referred to as FHC) concoctions I sampled, the FHC corn dog was fairly decent by fairground standards, brushed with cheese sauce and dusted with crushed FHC. Moreover, I’m rather enjoying the fact that I can now refer to fairground cheese as glue and nobody can accuse me of being hyperbolic.

Price: $13.

Flamin’ Cheeto Corn in a Cup

Stand: The Corn Shack.

Description: At first, I thought the Corn Shack had given me a big cupful o’ Cheeto dust and forgotten the corn. But a little digging revealed a deep layer of buttered corn kernels that, honestly, paired pretty well with spicy, crunchy Cheeto dust. Pro tip: If you think the Cheetos are hot, beware the corn lurking below, like buttery liquid hot magma.

Price: $8.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac Burger

Stand: Hog Daddy’s Mac Shack.

Description: Set aside the immolated beef patty. Set aside the “some assembly required” plastic bag of lettuce, tomato and onion. Set aside the fact that a handful of FHC are unceremoniously plunked down on top. When the phrase “mac shack” is in your name, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that the mac and cheese on your burger won’t have the consistency of dry, pasty hummus.

Price: $9.50.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Pizza

Stand: Enzo’s Pizzeria.

Description: OK, state fair, now you’re not even trying. It’s a slice of fairground pizza — with all that entails — buried under a pile of FHC, thereby sparing you the effort of opening the bag yourself. In addition to being impossible to eat, it’s a totally pointless combination. C’mon, have a little pride in your Flamin’ Hot Cheetos cookery, huh?

Price: $7 per slice.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Caramel Apple

Stand: Candy Factory.

Description: There is a part of me that wants to admire the pure chutzpah of finding a way to integrate FHC into dessert. It’s not unprecedented. Mixing spicy, salty and sweet has made for many an outstanding treat, but something about the FHC caramel apple feels downright unholy. It’s less like the apple has been seasoned and more like it’s been afflicted with FHC dust, creating a flavor combination that seems like it just might work. Right up until it doesn’t, that is. Somebody call an exorcist.

Price: $5.

Arizona State Fair

When: Noon-9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Through Sunday, Oct. 29.

Where: 1826 W. McDowell Road, Phoenix.

Admission: $10; seniors 55 and older and children ages 5 to 13, $7; free for ages 4 and younger.

Details: 602-252-6771,


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Updated 5:23 AM EST Dec 16, 2019