Fried Pickles with Dipping Sauce @ Carnation Cafe

Price: $7.00

When: April 2, 2016, 11:45 AM

Reservations: Recommended

Verdict? Recommended

Our last visit to Carnation Cafe was a breakfast run in late 2015. Nearly 6 months later, it felt like high time to get back to Carnation, and check out their lunch/dinner menu.

We get seated, menus are delivered, and I’m sitting there, making note of my options, when I see “Fried Pickles with Dipping Sauce” under the “starters” section.

Wait. Fried pickles?

I’ve written before about my love of a good pickle, so the idea of taking a pickle, rolling it in parmesan and panko, and deep-frying the sucker sounds … intriguing. I’m genuinely curious.

Richard, sitting across the table, isn’t feeling the intrigue. “You can try that one on your own,” he says.

Don’t mind if I do.

The Fried Pickles arrive, and they’re just as advertised: sliced pickle quarters, roughly 3″ long, delivered in a wire basket and accompanied by a small container of “house sauce.” I select a pickle spear, dip it in the sauce, and take a bite.

It’s excellent.

This was one of those “wow!” moments. The pickle is good, briney, and strong in flavor, but the panko and parmesan add a lot of extra flavor and texture. The pickle is hot (not surprising, because: deep fried), and there’s this wonderful commingling of all the elements into something much, much more than the sum of its parts. The dipping sauce is very much a flavored mayonnaise (think: Thousand Island) with some parsley on top, and it works, too.

This is awesome. Just awesome. It’s one of the most unique, delightful, and tasty things I’ve had at the parks. It’s not just recommended: it’s a standout. Don’t miss it.