The park allowed us to sample 11 of the items that will be featured at the third annual event, which kicks off this Saturday and runs through April 3 at the Buena Park, California theme park. In all, Knott's promised 70 special food and drink selections at the event, as well live entertainment throughout each day of the festival.
Every time sampled tonight included Knott's iconic boysenberries in some form, usually a boysenberry-infused barbecue sauce for the savory items. One of the new items this year will be Short Ribs, which are marinated for 24 hours, grilled, then finished with the boysenberry BBQ sauce. Knott's served them over rice. (Available at Spurs Patio Grill for $8.79. Note that serving sizes at the park may vary from what we picture here at the preview event.)
You'll find the same sauce covering skewered meatballs and chicken wings, as well. (Meatball $3.99 at Ghost Town Candy Stand Churro Factory. Wings at Sutters Grill Stand & Roaster for $8.99.)
My favorite of the barbecue dishes was the Pulled Pork Sandwich, served with cole slaw on a French roll baked with just a hint of boysenberry, too. (Available in a combo at Fireman’s BBQ for $15.99)
The Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich goes much easier on the BBQ sauce, which serves more as a condiment here than as an core component of the sandwich. The chicken is served with cole slaw, tomato and a whole wheat bun. ($8.99 at Spurs Patio Grill)
The most unique (for California, at least) savory item offered tonight was the deep-fried Alligator Bites, served with French fries and a boysenberry aioli. As the cliche says, it takes (sort of) "just like chicken." To me, though, it felt more like a deep-fried taste of Florida. ($9.99 at Calico Fry)
Leaving the savory entrees for the sweeter desserts, boysenberry steps forward to assume a starring role. The Boysenberry Flauta enrobes boysenberry filling in a deep-fried rolled tortilla, dusted with powdered sugar. (3 for $7.99 at Ghost Town Grub)
New desserts this year also include a Boysenberry Panna Cotta, served with granola and boysenberry topping, and what Knott's is calling a Boysenberry Trifle. That's a scoop of boysenberry ice cream atop a vanilla cake slice, crowned with whipped cream and more of that boysenberry topping. (Panna Cotta $3.99, Trifle $7.99 at Ghost Town Bakery)
But the undisputed king of the Boysenberry Festival is Knott's Fun Bun, a large cinnamon roll, dipped in funnel cake batter and fried, then topped with boysenberry cream cheese frosting. ($8.99 at Ghost Town Grub)
Undisputed until this year, that is. For this year's festival, Knott's is challenging the Fun Bun with the Fun Stick, a slice of boysenberry cheesecake, also dipped in that funnel cake batter and fried, then topped with the boysenberry cream cheese frosting. ($8.99 at Ghost Town Grub)
I enjoyed the Fun Stick more than the Fun Bun. Fried inside the batter, the boysenberry cheesecake becomes soft, almost gooey, creating a luscious mouthfeel for the dessert. And the stronger boysenberry presence gives the Fun Stick a most interesting and less bracingly sugary flavor than the Fun Bun. Many of us were betting than the Fun Stick will displace the Fun Bun as the hit of the festival.
In lieu of buying items a la carte, you can but a Food Tasting Card for $25 that includes one serving each of:
Knott's third annual Boysenberry Festival runs March 19-April 3.Tweet
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