The Fair Food Fun Flog
|Aug 27 through Labor Day|
Forget about dieting for Thanksgiving. In Minnesota, you diet for the state fair. Every year, new vendors and foods are introduced to the hungry masses, who proceed to consume them in greater amounts than that turkey your relative (or maybe you) serve at Fatsgiving. I make it my mission to try to sample all the new foods, which I fail every year because there are so many, but never regret it because by the time I'm done, I'm not walking out, I'm rolling. This year was no different. DJ, spin that record, we're about to break it down up in this mo!
The Blue Barn
|6 fritters are perfect for sharing!|
New this year: The Cluck and Moo. Now, I did not try it this but it sounds delicious. Mashed potatoes with roasted beef and grilled chicken, smothered in beef gravy, crispy onions, and mustard BBQ sauce.
Next stop was Java Jive (located in front of the Grand Stand) for their new Espresso Float, just the pick-me-up we need for the long day ahead. Most definitely hit the spot.
|With a hint of hazelnut|
Now, if I was going to be honest, I did not expect the espresso to be anything to blog about, it is, after all, state fair coffee. How good can it REALLY be? Once I tried this, my doubts disappeared. This was GOOD coffee. And it made me think of Russia, where instead of creamer, we would put in ice cream to cool and flavor. It was gone in about 5 minutes.
After we were hopped up on caffeine, I bee-lined for the poutine. Heh, that rhymes. Another fairly recent addition to the fair that has become my favorite. For those of you who are not Canadian, and have never heard of poutine, you're missing out. It is fries, with cheese curds (not fried) on top, drowned in gravy. The one at the MN state fair uses pepper fries and pepper gravy (I'm salivating just thinking about it), though there are variations of beef/brown gravy that are more common. Even if you're a finicky eater, these are perfect. After all, it's just fries, gravy, and cheese. They are located right next to the all you can drink milk, and should definitely be on your radar the next time you're in town for the Great Minnesota Get Together.
|Couldn't find a picture of the sign, so here is some food instead. Plain and taco tatchos|
Because we didn't get enough of potatoes, the next stop on my list (oh yes, I make a list every year, with a corresponding map, of all the food places I wanna hit) was the Boulevard Grill, located on the west side in the Warner Coliseum, for some totchos. Another new food item this year, they are just what you would think they are. Tater tots with nacho toppings i.e. cheddar cheese sauce, seasoned sour cream, bacon bits, and green onion (with the option of adding chicken or taco meat). They were delicious! Reminded me of loaded baked potato. They went great with watching girls basically parallel park their horses in the actual coliseum (there was some sort of competition of precision riding).
Sara's Tipsy Pies
After we convalesced, walking around the agriculture/horticulture building (or rather, I walked around looking at the flowers and the boys decided to try beer), it was time for something sweet. I knew we were close to my next stop at the food building. I was really exited for this new vendor because my aunt used her for the desserts for her daughter's wedding.
|2 gingers next to a ginger... Get it? :D|
Special for the state fair, she made Rhubarb Blue Hunny Do Pie, hand pie with strawberry, rhubarb, blueberries, and Hunny Do Wheat Beer, which I HAD to try. We also got the 2 Gingers Irish pie, apple pie made with 2 Gingers Irish whiskey. The pies were great, a little tart and gooey, just the way pies should be. And ladies, she does weddings.
Hamline Church Dining Hall
With our bellies full, we were running out of steam so I figured it was time to head to the dining hall, north of The Garden (where I've never gotten anything before even though it's been around for forever) for some of their new Butter Queen Coffee ice cream. Wow was that good. Every bite I kept saying "Wow, this is delicious."
|Almost forgot to take a picture, it was that good|
They definitely got this one right. Chocolate espresso flakes in a browned butter and coffee ice cream. If my stomach could handle milk better, I would have gone for seconds, maybe even thirds.
The Track Out
There were a couple of stops that I had to make on the way out. Turkey to Go, located next to the all you can drink milk booth, was one of them. Every year, my boyfriend grabs one of their sandwiches when we get into the fair, and then one on the way out. Since work got in the way of fun, he couldn't make it this year so I wanted to get him his favorite bird to bring home.
It's moist, it's tender, it's to die for. Though they give you sauces and spices to put on it, the sandwich doesn't need any of that. I would have grabbed one for myself if I wasn't stuffed to my ears.
And, of course, what is the state fair without the obligatory Martha's cookies? We always get a bucket to bring home. They always load those suckers up sky high with those fresh baked chocolate chips, so you have to gorge on them just to get the lid on.
|This is after several passes at the bucket|
Though they have several locations, we usually go to the big one next to the Grand Stand and then grab the all you can drink milk to complete the combo.
There were several foods that I wanted to try but didn't end up doing so, which I'm a little bummed about (because, you know, there is only so much stomach to go around). But mark my words, I may be able to squeeze them in next year (probably not though, because they'll have yet another list of new foods for 2016).
Cannoli at Al Fresco: Several years ago, there was a cannoli booth in the Heritage Square called Holy Cannoli, which is no more, so I was excited to see that they brought them back.
Chilled Bread Pudding at the Blue Moon Dine-In: This sounded interesting, especially the Old Fashioned Challah. I love challah, so combining that with pudding was definitely something I was interested in.
Cowboy Bites at the Frontier Bar: One of my co-workers said they were excellent. And from the description, I wouldn't doubt it. Sweet corn kernels, bacon, jalapeños, cream cheese, all blended together, breaded and (in the usual state fair fashion) deep fried.
Limerick Stix at O'Gara's: On the way back, I briefly considered grabbing them, damn the consequences and my stomach's capacity. But the more rational part of my brain won out so I missed out on all their pimento-cheese-and-cayenne-pepper-coated-in-corn-meal-mix-and-deep-fried goodness.
Mac and Cheese Cupcake at Lulu's Public House: Now this one I had on the list purely for the oddity of the food and because my friends and I have an inside joke about mac and cheese. Mac and cheese and breadcrumbs in a cupcake form? Sure, why not.
All these foods and more can be found on the State Fair's website: