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Fried pickles--what's the dill? 

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I worked one day during the recent Mid-State Fair for Arizona Taters, but the taters weren’t nearly as popular as the other fried delicacies: Oreos, Twinkies, Reese’s, Snickers, Smucker’s Uncrustables PB&J sandwiches. People kept asking for one item, though, that we didn’t sell: fried pickles.

Confused doesn’t reflect how I felt. No, I was baffled, flummoxed, mystified as to why someone would desire a fried pickle. Who willingly wants a smelly pickle? Especially when there are options with chocolate and/or peanut butter?

I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and I’m not saying pickles, fried or not, are the worst thing in the world. I’ve just never been a pickle person. Yet the high demand for fried pickles caught me off guard. I figured that pickles, like everything else, must taste better fried, so I decided to give them a second chance. Thanks to the all-mighty Google, I found out that Gus’s Grocery in SLO sells the unusual food.

The cashier suggested I take a little cup of ranch as a dipping sauce. This made sense because, like with fried batter, everything tastes better with ranch. After a five-minute wait on the outside patio, a lady called out my order. She handed me a bag containing seven pickles trying to pass as potato wedges. My gumption died down as I observed the green showing through some areas of the crunchy, fried outer layer.

“It’s not too late to back out. You hate pickles,” my stomach said. I almost agreed until I remembered I paid $3.95 for these.

Besides a burnt tongue, the experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Bystanders probably saw me grimace when I took that first bite, but by the second slice I almost enjoyed the weird salty but tangy taste. I had hoped it would be crunchier, but the pickle was still a little squishy. The breading, which was delicious, toned down the pickle taste. The cashier was right; they taste even better with ranch. I may have eaten more than three if it weren’t for the delicious turkey sandwich I also ordered from Gus’s.

If fried pickles are your thing, check out Gus’s Grocery at 1638 Osos St., San Luis Obispo. As for me, I think I’ll stick with the fried Oreos.


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