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Carnival Cuisine!

Thoughts of fair traffic leave you fried, but craving a taste of the midway? Look no further than the menus at some favorite S.D. hotspots!

The gingerbread ice cream sandwich stars at Gang Kitchen.

1. Simon Dolinky’s oft-imitated lobster corndogs helped put Saltbox, downtown at the Hotel Palomar, on the map. Served with a ginger remoulade, the tasty mouthfuls are plump with shellfish and so popular, they survived a recent round of menu tinkering. A star of the downstairs bar menu, affable Dolinky will happily serve them in the upstairs dining room as well. Pair the upmarket puppies with one of the restaurant’s signature “Wells Done Well”, like the renowned Paloma, a refreshing blend of tequila, lime and grapefruit soda. 1047 5th Ave., saltboxrestaurant.com

2. When craft cocktails and craft beers became defining trends, we all knew an artisan spotlight would soon shine on that favorite of all bar snacks, the pretzel. Ta-da! At Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge on Coronado, a soft and salty Bavarian pretzel comes with a beer-and-smoked-cheddar fondue for dipping. To round out your fair-like feast, indulge in a little bacon-infused vodka, starring in the island resto’s uberpopular Bacon Mary. 1015 Orange Ave., leroyskitchenandlounge.com

3. Craft & Commerce could write a book (and then quote it on its own walls) about comfort food and cocktails. Find fried pickles at the Little Italy mainstay that are an accomplished medley of texture and taste. A flaky cornmeal crust covers the juicy dills, which are accompanied by a sublime bleu cheese dip that cools off a hot bite. To drink? The jalapeño-infused tequila in a Mexican Fire Drill provides the perfect spicy accent, and a hint of pineapple and lime keeps the drink light and refreshing. If you’re looking for a little more to snack on, try the Devils on Horseback, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with pepper-jack and bacon-wrapped apples stuffed with bleu cheese. It’s fair food, revamped and perfected. 675 W Beech St., craft-commerce.com

4. Covered in sea salt and accompanied by a chili vinegar dipping sauce, the chicharrón de pollo at Alchemy is finger-licking fare fit for kings. The crispy chicken skin is a gluten-free delicacy with strong Spanish roots and a distinctively salty yet savory taste. Alchemy’s craft cocktails are one of the South Park restaurant’s claims to fame so don’t leave without trying The Alchemist’s Mule, a vodka-based libation with a sweetly bitter bite. 1503 30th St., alchemysandiego.com

5. Gang Kitchen’s Asian fusion menu runs to tasty bites like sweet potato guacamole spring rolls and pork belly pad thai. And for dessert? Save room for the gingerbread ice cream sandwich, a sweet treat not to be missed! Filled with smooth crème fraiche gelato and served with mango pineapple habanero salsa, it’s our fair favorite. 345 6th Ave., gangkitchen.com