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The Big Tex Choice Awards

As experienced by Mo’ka (of Mo’ka n Co’ka)

I ventured out to the Big Tex Choice Awards minus my counterpart, Co’ka. This is not usual of us to separate, but Co’ka had to cover the last day of The Black Women’s Expo. As I have a passion for the State Fair of Texas, well, I could not pass up the chance to get a first-hand experience in tasting the top ten finalist’s food entries!

Upon entering the historic Tower Building (aka—the food building) within Fair Park, I am immediately engulfed with smells reminiscent of the State Fair of Texas.

I also hear the excitement from people as they anxiously wait to sample the food entries of the top ten finalists for the Big Tex Choice Awards.

For an avid State Fair goer such as myself, this is a big deal to be a part of. Many of the people in attendance for the Big Tex Choice Awards are what I call “Fair Foodies.” Their mission every year is to try all of the award-winning foods, being more partial to the deep-fried foods of course.


Despite the cost per ticket, which was $125.00, the awards event was sold out! Many would say this is a small price to pay to get an advance taste of the new State Fair foods. Also, all of the proceeds go to the State Fair of Texas Scholarship Program which is a great plus.

From the many food entries, the best ten are chosen to move on to compete for the top three categories which consists of “The Best Taste Savory,” “The Best Taste Sweet” and “The Most Creative.”

The top three winners were chosen by a panel of judges, which consisted of local chefs, restaurant owners and radio and T.V. personalities.

I did have the chance to sample all ten of the finalist’s foods and I must say they were quite tasty. I tried everything from sugary to spicy and experienced many textures. One entry caught my attention from all the others and was my favorite in taste overall. The “Arroz con Leche” (Sweet Crispy Rice) by the Garza Family was my choice.

The Garza Family’s Arroz Con Leche

Members of the Garza Family, who have been a part of the State Fair for over 34 years and were first to introduce fajitas to the State Fair, were the creators of the this yummy treat.


I was taken back to my childhood as I remember eating arroz con leche that my Weta (the name I gave my grandmother—that is another story) would make.

The winner of the “The Best Taste Sweet” category, it was a warm, creamy, cinnamony (yes. I meant this) and sweet, rice concoction that was surrounded by a crispy outer shell and served with vanilla ice cream. Also, the contrast of warm and cold, is always good in my book. For the presentation, it was dusted with more cinnamon. I am not much on cinnamon but this dish was muy delicioso!!

The Winter Family Concessions’ Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce

The Winter Family Concessions won “The Best Taste Savory” for their Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce. This entry was a little spicy and hearty, consisting of black-eyed peas, rice, sausage and veggies. It was similar to a gumbo but fried. Topped with a bit of the fillings and accompanied by pickled okra, I think many will enjoy the bold flavors.

Justin and Rudy Martinez won “The Most Creative” for the Cotton Candy Taco. This entry was intensely sweet and the various textures were appealing, reminiscent of s’mores.  It was like eating a big fluffy taco! For someone who has quite a sweet tooth, I think this would suit their fancy.

Justin and Rudy Martinez’s Cotton Candy Taco

I look forward to visiting the Texas State Fair of Texas, as I always do, but this time to find out what new foods are most popular.


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