Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Minnesota State Fair

Lest you think this post is all about what we did at the State Fair, it's not. It's about the food! Of course one of the main things we do at the fair is eat, and although we still have to go back so I can get a malt at the Dairy Goodness Bar and a Pickle-on-a-Stick, we did try some interesting new foods along with our perennial favorites.

Mini donuts from Tiny Tim's.

 One of my first stops at the fair is always Tiny Tim's Miniature Donuts. There are a few different options for mini donuts at the fair, but I've always preferred Tiny Tim's. Not sure why...although it may have something to do with that perfect sugary coating...

Pineapple cone from Dole Whip.

I don't think this is new, but this year my husband happened to pick up a cone at the Dole Whip stand. The description for their cones says  "non-dairy fruit based desserts" so it's technically not ice cream. I guess I'm not really sure what to call it, but it tasted like pineapple and was absolutely delicious! We will be making another stop at their stand before the fair is done.

Bucket of chocolate chip cookies from Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar.

What's a trip to the fair without a stop at Sweet Martha's? Incomplete, that's what. Just wish the All the Milk You Can Drink barn was a little closer...

Yep, that's my son with a mini donut in one hand and a cookie in the other, chillaxing at the fair. 

Potato chips on-a-stick.

Ok, I can't remember the name of this one or where it came from, but it's basically thick cut potato chips that where fried and seasoned and served on a stick. One of the best things I've tried so far. (Update: Find it at the BBQ Baked Potato stand.)

As usual, we had to make a stop at the U of M building (my husband is an alumni and huge Gopher fan).We happened to get there when they had Floyd of Rosedale out of his glass "cage" for pictures (3:00-4:00 PM daily). 

It's been a few years since Floyd last came to the Minnesota State Fair - see the University of Minnesota vs. University of Iowa scores recorded on the base. Just ignore the 2008 score. That's a painful memory for any Gopher fan...

Walleye fries from Giggle's Campfire Grill.

This year we tried the Walleye Fries at Giggle's Campfire Grill. Giggle's usually has really good food (I really like their porcupine meatballs), but the walleye fries were just okay. 

Beer on a stick from Summit Brewing Co.

One of my favorite foods on-a-stick is actually a drink. Summit offers a flight of beers served on a special paddle made just for the fair. This year they were serving up their Extra Pale Ale, Oktoberfest, and Horizon Red Ale. The Red Ale was great (normally I'm more of a stout fan)...not sure if I even got a taste of the other two.

Cheese curds from the Mouth Trap.

Cheese curds are another one of those foods you can find anywhere on the fairgrounds, and although the lines are always long at The Mouth Trap, their cheese curds are definitely worth the wait! I'm not much of a fan of fried cheese curds in general - usually too much breading, not enough cheese - but they are one of my can't miss foods at the fair.

Jamacian Jerk Chicken Wings from Harry Singh's.

Probably one of the best food vendors at the fair, Harry Singh's Caribbean Restaurant never disappoints, especially if you're in the mood for something spicy.

Jamaican Jerk Fries from Harry Singh's Caribbean Restaurant.

New to the fair this year was their Jamaican Jerk Fries. The first day we went my husband brought these back with ketchup on the side. I avoided the ketchup and ate them plain. They were so good we got them again the next time we went to the fair. This time my husband brought them back with this mysterious orange sauce on the side. Umm...immediately addictive, but once I stopped eating them my mouth started burning in a way I have never before experienced. I've eaten a lot of spicy foods in my life. (In fact, when I was a kid, I once drank tabasco sauce out of what I thought was a teeny tiny ketchup bottle. Didn't eat ketchup again until I was in high school.) I'll probably go back for more Jerk fries with the insanely spicy orange sauce (I mentioned it was additctive, right?), but next time I'll fill my 32 oz. water bottle with milk before stopping at Harry Singh's.

Honey Weiss from Leinie's Lodge.

Technically Leinenkugel's is a Wisconsin beer, but when you spot Leinie's Lodge it's hard to pass up cold beer on matter which state it comes from.

Flight of wines from MN Wine Country.

A few years ago they opened the Minnesota Wine Country wing in the Agriculture building at the fair. It's nice having a place to get a glass of wine, and fun tasting all the great wines produced right here in Minnesota! The three I tasted this time were Prairie Smoke (a dry white from Northern Vineyards in Stillwater), Nova (a rosé from Morgan Creek Vineyards in New Ulm), and a Raspberry Wine (from WineHaven Winery in Chisago Lakes). I liked them all, but Prairie Smoke was my favorite - I love a good dry wine. 

Abe's only one. Are kids this young supposed to demand you stop at every toy cart you pass?! I'm pretty sure you don't need an inflatable Sponge Bob, babe. You don't even know who that is yet...

Chocolate Covered Jalepeño from Andre's Watermelon.

So we had to try the Chocolate Covered Jalepeños from Andre's Watermelon. Unfortunately we tried them after Harry Singh's Jerk Fries (and what I can only assume was a Habanero Pepper Sauce). The jalepeños reopened wounds that only had a sip of beer and a few small glasses of wine to heal. After one bite, we quickly headed to the milk barn. I managed to take one more bite and finish off two glasses of milk before packing the rest in a Ziploc bag to share with the rest of Noah's family. They're currently sitting in my fridge waiting for a brave soul to eat them...

Big Fat Bacon

"Offering one-third pound slice of bacon, fried and carmelized with maple syrup, served on-a-stick with dipping sauces." I tried this the first year they had it at the fair. Don't remember it being carmelized with maple syrup, or any dipping sauces, but it wasn't terrible. However, if you prefer your bacon crispy (as I do) this probably isn't the food for you.

Pronto Pup

If there's one food at the fair that I think everyone gets at one point or another, it's a corn dog. Pronto Pups are by far the most popular. (There are eight Pronto Pup carts on the fairgrounds!) My husband won't get one from anyone else.

Corn-on-the-cob from the Corn Roast.

The freshly roasted corn-on-the-cob they serve at Corn Roast is actually one of the reasons I go to the fair in the first place. Can't miss it!

Sweet Corn Ice Cream from Blue Moon Diner.

Another new and tasty addition to the fair this year was the Sweet Corn Ice Cream at the Blue Moon Diner. It was served with sweet corn brittle on top, but they also offer a cinnamon-blueberry or caramel bacon sauce. I hear the blueberry sauce is delicious...may have to go back for more.

Anyone have favorites I haven't mentioned? New foods we have try? I'll try to post a few more food reviews this weekend before the fair ends, and maybe even make a list of my don't miss foods at the fair! 

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