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Deep-Fried Wood Fired Pastrami Pizza Knocks Out Judges, Takes Top Prize at Alameda County Fair's 2nd Annual SNACKDOWN

PLEASANTON, Calif., June 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "It's as if a Reuben sandwich made sweet, sweet love to a steamroller," said competition judge Jim Gladstone of the Fair's newly crowned SNACKDOWN Grand Champion. The toasty, tasty creation features deep-fried pizza crust, mozzarella cheese, lean pastrami, red onions, sauerkraut, and a special, homemade mustard sauce, all sizzled to perfection in a wood fire oven.

The winning combination was enough to earn Tony Cardinali of Cardinali Family Concessions his second Grand Champion title in two years, and the coveted Championship Belt. Last year, Cardinali's "Spaghetti Ice Cream" took the top prize. Deep-Fried Wood Fired Pizza can be found near the Fair's "C" Building at Cardinali's Wood Fire Pizza stand.

Cardinali also took the award for "Most Creative" entry for his "Deep-Fried, Caramelized Bananas Foster," a deep-fried, frozen banana on a stick, caramelized with brown sugar and topped with caramel rum sauce, marshmallow crème and a cherry. The treat can be found at Cardinali Grill, also located near the "C" Building.

The award for "Best Taste" went to "Cap'n Crunch Shrimp on a Stick with Sweet Sriracha Sauce."  Judges raved about the shrimp's crunchy texture and tangy sweetness of the homemade Sriracha Sauce. Don Delahoyde created the winning recipe, which can be purchased at Sharky's Fish Fry, located across from the Fairground's Grandstand entrance.

"Deep-Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake on a Stick with Bubble Gum Frosting" rocked the judges' palates enough to take the award for "Best Theme" ("Rock the Red, White & Blue"). The indulgent, crispy cheesecake treat is topped with light blue frosting and red gumballs for some patriotic pizazz. Jackie Bradbury of Sweet Cheeks, located in the Kids Carnival area, created the confection.

KCBS' "Foodie Chap," Liam Mayclem, hosted the live event on June 19 at the Fairgrounds' Grandstand Stage. The panel of judges included Univision Radio personality Chuy Gomez, Passport magazine food writer and contributing editor Jim Gladstone, Bay Area food, wine and travel blogger Deborah Grossman and the Fair's Facebook contest winner, Jerry Wang, an oral surgeon from Pleasanton.

The Fair's food vendors were all invited to enter the competition earlier this year. Contestants were allowed to enter as many items as they wished and a first-round judging panel chose 13 finalists from the submissions received. Entries were evaluated individually and some contestants had more than one item in the final competition. Judges at the live competition scored each entry on appearance, taste, creativity and theme.

2015 SNACKDOWN Champions & Finalists:

Grand Champion 
Deep-Fried Wood Fired Pastrami Pizza 
Cardinali Wood Fire Pizza 
Tony Cardinali

Best Taste 
Cap'n Crunch Shrimp on a Stick w/ Sweet Sriracha Sauce 
Sharky's Fish Fry
Don Delahoyde

Most Creative 
Deep-Fried Caramelized Bananas Foster  
Cardinali Grill 
Tony Cardinali

Best Theme ("Rock the Red, White & Blue") 
Deep Fried PB&J Cheesecake w/ Bubblegum Frosting 
Sweet Cheeks 
Jacqueline Bradbury 


Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly on a Stick 
The Light Bulb Grill – Located outside "B" Building 
John Campbell

Chipotle Shrimp Avocado Bites 
Pepe's Mariscos – Amphitheater area 
Erica Quintero

Frosted Flakes Chicken w/ Maple Syrup 
& "Koolickle" (Kool-Aid Pickle)  
Get Pickled – Action Zone 
Nate Janousek

Peanut Butter and Jelly Fries 
Stuffy's Char Broiler – Grandstand area 
Don Delahoyde

Pineapple Sriracha Chicken Wings 
Wings & Chips – Heritage House area 
Nate Janousek

The Red, White & Blue (Tri-flavor Kettle Corn) 
The Klassy Kernel Red Zone area 
James Gossett  

Red, White & Blue Baked Potato 
Spud Ranch – Action Zone 
Nate Janousek

World's Most Sour Ice Cream 
Cardinali Ice Cream – Garden area 
Tony Cardinali

To assist in locating specific concessionaires, the Fair is now providing food vendor maps at all information booths, in addition to the "SNACKDOWN Finalist / Champion" signs posted at food stands. For more information, visit


Look for these and dozens of other great food vendors at the 2015 Alameda County Fair:

Big Bubba's Bad BBQ 
BBQ Pork, Chicken & Beef, Tri Tip, Beans, Cole Slaw, Corn on the Cob

Cardinali's Pizza / Grill 
Wood Fire Pizza, Deli Sandwiches, Roasted Corn, Salads, Deep-fried Watermelon

Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls 
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls & Cinnamon Bread

Funnel Cakes West
Homemade Funnel Cake with Cream & Fruit, Breakfast Funnel Cake

Gastro Pub
17 different Sierra Nevada beers on tap & Farm-to-Table Menu

Get Pickled  
Pickle Dog, Drunken Pickle Poppers, Fried Pickle-on-a-Stick

Juicy's Grill 
Burgers, Grilled Cheese, Chicken Sandwich, Sausage-on-a-Stick

Monster Dog 
18" Corn Dog (12" & 16" dogs, too), Hot Dogs & Burgers

Mrs. J's Chocolate Pot  
Chocolate-dipped Bananas, Ice Cream Bars & Cheesecake

Pepe's Mariscos 
Mexican Food, Fresh Seafood, Fish Tacos, Fresh Fruit

Planet Popcorn / Planet Crepes 
Fresh Popped Flavored Popcorn, Homemade Crepes

Spud Ranch 
Baked Potatoes with every imaginable topping

Sharky's Fish Fry 
Fish & Chips, Lobster-on-a-Stick, Fried Veggies, Lobster Fries

The Sleek Greek 
Greek Cuisine – Gyros, Salad, Baklava, Spanokopita

Stuffy's Char Broiler 
Burgers, Hot Dogs, Salads, Macaroni & Cheese Stuffed Bacon Burger

Sweet Cheeks 
Deep-fried Sweet Treats: Oreos, Twinkies, Cheesecake, Snickers & More



Alameda County Fair concessionaires offer plenty of healthy options, too! The following vendors are a sampling of those who offer selections that meet the Kaiser Permanente "Healthy Picks" criteria. For more information, visit

Back Yard Village BBQ 
Veggie Burrito

Café Renee Crepes / Planet Popcorn 
Fruit Spreads 
Plain Popcorn

Cardinali Pizza / Grill 
Veggie Pizza

Cardinali Ice Cream 
Frozen Bananas

Veggie Pizza

The Sleek Greek 
Vegetarian Gyros

Outlaw Burger 
Grilled Chicken

Pepe's Mariscos 
Veggie Burrito 
Grilled Chicken, Fish or Veggie Taco 
Fresh Fruit

Sweet Cheeks 
Bread Sticks

Juicy's Greek 
Greek Salad


2015 Alameda County Fair Information

Dates: June 17July 5 (Open Tuesday – Sunday)

Hours: 11 a.m.11 p.m. daily

Carnival Hours: Tues -Thurs, 12 p.m. to closing, Fri-Sun, 11 a.m. to closing

Horse Racing: Thursday through Sunday, June 18 -- 21, June 25 -- 28, and July 2 --5

Big O Tires FREE Concerts: 8 p.m.9:15 p.m., nightly. Special effects show with video tribute to local heroes, immediately following concerts.

July 4th: Blues Festival, 1-9 p.m., Fireworks Spectacular featuring a live performance by Members of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, 9:30 p.m., Budweiser Grandstand

Gate Admission:

  • Adults (13-61) -- $12
  • Seniors (62+) -- $8
  • Kids (6-12) -- $8
  • Children under 6 – FREE


  • Military Appreciation, FREE Fair admission with valid Military ID – ALL DAY, EVERYDAY
  • $2 Tuesdays: June 23 & 30 -- $2 admission, UNTIL 5 P.M.
  • Seniors FREE Thursdays (62+) – June 25, & July 2, UNTIL 5 P.M.
  • Kids FREE Fridays (12 and under) – June 26, & July 3, UNTIL 5 P.M
  • Feed the Need Food Drive & $1 Rides, benefitting Alameda County Food Bank. (Bring 4 non-perishable food items and receive FREE admission & $1 Rides) – June 24, UNTIL 5 P.M.
  • Treats for Troops: July 1 (Bring 4 items from donation list and receive FREE admission & $1 Rides) – UNTIL 5 P.M.
  • Father's Day: Sunday, June 21 -- Dads with kids get in FREE for the first hour – 11 a.m. UNTIL 12 noon.

Big O Tires Presents - Concert Series Preview:

6/20 – Kutless 
6/21 – Tierra 
6/23 – The Boys of Summer (Eagles tribute) 
6/24 – The Beach Boys  
6/25 – Rodney Atkins 
6/26 – Tower of Power 
6/27 – Con Funk Shun 
6/28 – Tanya Tucker 
6/30 – Steelin' Dan (Steely Dan tribute) 
7/1 – Foghat 
7/2 – Kansas 
7/3 – Morris Day & The Time 
7/4 – Red, White & Blues Festival (1 p.m.9 p.m.
7/5 – Berlin featuring Terri Nunn

The Alameda County Fair is operated by the non-profit Fair Association without any tax funding from the government. It is ranked one of the Top 50 North American Fairs and the 7th largest Fair in California. The Fairgrounds is home to the Oldest One-Mile Race Track in America.


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SOURCE Alameda County Fair

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