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MN State Fair Style Cheese Curds?

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  • jtw Jun 14, 2007 04:40 PM
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I have a craving and can't wait until August. Is there anywhere with state fair style cheese curds that are available year-round?

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  1. I like the ones at Psycho Suzi's in NE Minneapolis.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jaycooke

      there are a few different styles @ the fair, but the best ones I've had...anywhere...are @ the Town Talk Diner.

    2. The Groveland Tap has them, along with mini-corn dogs. Can't vouch for either, though, because it's downhill from there to chocolate malts and a barrel-o-fries. Must. have. limits.

      1 Reply
      1. re: KTFoley

        The cheese curds at Culver's are pretty good.

      2. I haven't tried them yet and don't know if they're state fair style, but Quince mentions here that Conny's Creamy Cone in St. Paul has them. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/40306... It's just a little snack shack, so, you'll probably feel like you're at the State Fair, too, since you'd have to eat them outside. Sadly, this isn't a "year round" venure, just a spring/summer thing, but at least it's open longer than 2 weeks!

        ~TDQ

        1. My favorite at the State Fair are from The Mouse Trap...I suppose Town Talk has the closest to those, but to really get it right, you've got to make them yourself. Make a batter a little thicker and tempora batter, season it, snack heaven.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Foureyes137

            Yeah, the Mouse Trap is a must-visit for us at the State Fair every year, too! Thank goodness we only adopt the "State Fair" diet once a year. We also have to have the fries (from the place the cuts them right there from actual potatoes), and WhateverIsNewOnAStick.

            I also like the toasted chocolate sandwich.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              We cannot start talking about the Fair this early! It's making me anxious! And yeah, my body would never be able to take more than a day of curds, gator bites, deep fried mac & cheese, Sweet Martha's, apples, spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, and nitro iced cream.

              And this year, STRONG BEER!!!!!!

              http://wcco.com/local/local_story_160...

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I feel the need to interject that "The Mouse Trap" was allowed to displace the "original" cheese curd-making group (not that it's particularly difficult) by essentially promising the State Fair they could bring in more cash. I don't particularly like that idea, so I buy my curds from the stand on Dan Patch Ave, which is still run by the cheese curd pioneers. Given that those of the Chowish mind might be inclined to agree, I thought I'd share.

                -g

                1. re: gromit

                  When was that, gromit? Recently?

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    It must have ben more than 4 years ago as as long as I've been going to the fair, it's been the Mouse Trap...and considering the volume I see them do, I might guess they have fulfilled their half of the deal. Business is business I suppose.

                    1. re: Foureyes137

                      Part of what makes the mouse trap my favorite is those giant vats of oil they use for the cheese curds--I think somehow, they are able to get the oil to the perfect temperature and maintain it. I've never noticed the oil being stale, either, which is another problem you sometimes encounter.

                      ~TDQ

                  2. re: gromit

                    I, too, only do Dan Patch. Never knew why, just I was told that was THE PLACE for 'curds. Think I'll continue in my ways, I'm such a romanticist. :)

              2. The Nook in St Paul puts out some mean cheese curds. I can't say for sure how closely they resemble state fair curds, but that's only because I've had state fair curds once...

                5 Replies
                1. re: eleaticstranger

                  Humor me...I am from CT...and will be im Minneapolis is a few eeks and I like regional stuff but what the heck is a cheese curd?

                  1. re: sodagirl

                    IMO it's more of a Wiscompton delicacy, but I digress.

                    It is just what it sounds like, cheese curd before it has been pressed and aged. So, like, raw cheese if you will.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheese_c...

                    1. re: Foureyes137

                      but am I correct , when people on this board refer to them at the State Fair
                      and elsewhere, they mean BREADED AND DEEP-FRIED cheese curds.
                      Kind of a different animal from the raw naked variety.

                      1. re: faith

                        In this instance, it would appear so, however I wouldn't assume "cheese curd" means "deep fried cheese curd" in general on the midwest board.

                        I eat cheese curds everytime we go to Wisconsin...I only eat the fried ones, maybe, twice a year in MN.

                        1. re: Foureyes137

                          For the naked variety,make the road trip through Hudson WI,take the River Falls exit and keeeep drivin' over to Ellsworth.The creamery is nirvana-dairy fudge,a quartered lb. of butter for 1.75 and 4 varieties of curds.They sell so fast that they aren't refridgerated,which makes them extra squeaky.Its worth the trip.

                2. If you really want a hole in the wall type experience, try the fried cheese curds at Santana Foods at the corner of 6th (I think) and University in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood. I know it's on University... might be at 5th or 6th. It's a convenience store with mostly college traffic run by a Mediterranean family it seems. I enjoy watching fraternity brothers fork over cash to buy cheese curds from an old Greek guy (or whatever) at 2 a.m. It's a riot.

                  The curds have some kind of seasoning on them, so they aren't exactly like the ones at the state fair, but they have been very good in my experience (I actually like the seasoning better than the plain ones at the fair) and always fried to order. You could ask for no seasoning if you like, but I recommend trying it. I ate these for the first time a few years ago on a post-bar food mission. I've gone back several times since and they've been just as good! Let us know if you try this place.

                  By the way, I like the Town Talk Diner very much, but I really don't care for their cheese curds. The batter is made with capers and I think scallions, but I couldn't taste those things when I had their curds last week. And the homemade ketchup served alongside is also mediocre. And, my vegetarian friend couldn't eat the ketchup because our server informed us that it contained bacon (which I definitely could not taste, so the point was lost on me). If you want fried things at the Town Talk, stick with the frickles (fried pickles).

                  1. For some reason, I was thinking The Mouse Trap was called The Mouth Trap. Freudian Slip? I remember the original cheese curd place. I may have to do a side by side taste test this year and report back.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: autmommy

                      You are actually correct.... the cheese curd stand in the Food Building *is* called "The Mouth Trap".

                      And to clarify - the displacement of the original cheese curd stand (in operation since the 70s) was not an issue of sales volume, but more about the cut given to the Fair itself. I suppose cheese curds seem like a bit of a commodity, but to me it just seems wrong to allow a new vendor in to replace another group at making the exact same product when the State Fair is otherwise so restrictive about even entertaining applications for new vendors.

                      But maybe I'm just too sentimental.

                      -g

                      1. re: gromit

                        HA! You're right--it is called the Mouth Trap. Nevertheless, going on the basis of delciousness, rather than sentimentality, I find the Mouth Trap to be the best. I'm afraid the giant vats of oil give them an edge over the little booths. Nevertheless, just to be certain, I'll try the ones on Dan Patch Ave this year, too. I was looking at the State Fair Food Finder list compiled by AnneInMpls last year and there is a vendor called, "Cheese Curds" on the SW Corner of Dan Patch Ave and Underwood St. According to Anne's list, all they sell are cheese curds and pop. Is this the place, gromit?

                        http://www.visi.com/~anne/misc/MnStat...

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          That's the one. "Since 1975." I don't remember the fryers at the "Mouth Trap" being any larger than the others - but I'll have to look this year. If there's a difference between "the original" curds and the "mouth trap" curds, it's not due to oil temperature. The fryers at the original stand in the food building each held somewhere around 10 gallons. I'm sure the smaller "me-too" stands placed randomly about the place have much smaller fryers, though. Any differences probably aren't related to the cheese, either. Given the volume of cheese needed to feed the State Fair hordes, you can't get anything but pretty generic/standard curds in sufficient quantities. I won't give away any trade secrets, but I'll leave it to you to figure out what's most important in the magical cheese curd formula.

                          -g

                          1. re: gromit

                            By all means, if you think there's a reason that the "Cheese Curds" on the SW Corner of Dan Patch Avenue are better than others, please share it with us.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I've tried responding at least 4 times, but the powers that be have apparently found my most direct answer offensive or inapporpriate for some reason. If I knew what it was that i'm not supposed to say about cheese curds at the state fair, I would avoid saying that particular thing. Being that I have to simply guess, I'll try to be as informative as I can to add to the"diversity of opinion" in this "bastion of pure consumer discussion".

                              Cheese curds would seem deceptively simple - How many ingredients can really be in there? TDQ and I agree that a huge vat of oil at the proper temperature seems to be key, and I've suggested that there can't be anything too special about the cheese, so what exactly does that leave us? I'd say there's only one more ingredient/factor to consider...

                              But here we've got someone looking for curds just like at the state fair. It's easy to make a deep-fried cheese curd, but quite difficult to make it exactly the same as someone else who has their product honed through years of work. Is one "better" than the other? I guess that's where we all chime in with our opinions. I frequent a particular producer at the fair for reasons more sentimental than objective: I respect the risk they took in establishing a business presence at the fair that made them one of the top 3 concessions year after year. Unfortunately, business is business, and the State Fair isn't exactly a free market - my cheese curd fryer of choice was booted out of one of their locations to make space for someone else who makes essentially the same thing. Yeah, they're probably pretty similar, and 10 people would certainly disagree about whose was better, but I have a hard time looking past what I would call shoddy treatment towards "the original" deep-fried cheese curd booth.

                              -g

                    2. I second the Psycho Suzi's rec. They're beer-battered and awesome! I also like the curds at Town Talk and the C.C. Club. You can get cheese curds at about any bar in town, but none are exactly like the ones at the fair.

                      1. I tried the Town Talk fried cheese curds Friday night. The curds were ok, but steer clear of that hideous sweet dipping sauce. What is that, ketchup with sugar? Ick.

                        There's a cheese vendor at the Farmer's Market in Minne (the big one under Lyndale) who prides himself on the freshest, squeakiest curds. It would never occur to me to get fresh curds, a bottle of Grain Belt, and a frybaby and make my own.

                        Also, cheese curds of the unfried persuasion are huge in upstate NY. One twist: you can get them plain or soaking in hot pepper oil. Yummmmy.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Loren3

                          It says Psycho Suzi's address is invalid, so it won't add it to the list. Here are the rest of the places mentioned:

                          -----
                          Connys Creamy Cone
                          1197 Dale St N, Saint Paul, MN 55117

                          Town Talk Diner
                          2707 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                          The Nook
                          492 Hamline Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

                          Groveland Tap
                          1834 Saint Clair Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                          Santana Foods
                          601 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                          Culver's
                          2065 Old Hudson Rd, Saint Paul, MN 55119

                          C C Club
                          2600 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                          Minnesota State Fair
                          1265 Snelling Ave N, Falcon Heights, MN 55108

                        2. I had family in town this weekend and we tried cheese curds at a few places.

                          I can confirm the Conny's Cones cheese curds are similiar to the ones from Mouth Trap at the State Fair (at least - similar to my several months old memory of the State Fair). They weren't quite as piping hot (not sure why), but the batter to cheese ratio was good and both batter and cheese were tasty.

                          And for anyone who was considering it, don't get the cheese curds at Culvers (mom's restaurant choice). Too much batter, very hard on the outside.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Uisge

                            Did you get a cone at Conny's? Which flavor? Was it good? I never branch out from the peach or the berry... Start a new thread if you don't want to go too off-topic from cheese curds.

                            ~TDQ

                          2. I had some surprisingly good ones at the A&W on Rice Street today.

                            1. I would concur with jaycooke, Psycho Suzi's in NE has some great fried cheese curds. Suzi's serves theirs with a homemade marinara sauce and ranch by request on the side. Any rules or preference as to whether cheese curds are made with cheddar or mozerella cheese?

                              Not sure why the address didn't take as noted in some of the earlier posts.

                              Psycho Suzi's Motor Lodge
                              2519 Marshall Streeet NE
                              Minneapolis, MN 55418

                               
                              1 Reply
                              1. re: perfectcurds

                                I have to say that after trying many different places and after bringing a fair number of people to taste test we have found the closest to fair curds to be at Sgt Peppers in Oakdale MN. They are tucked in the SE corner of 694 and 10th. The staff says that they have heard from numerous people that they feel the same a sI do but thats just my 2 cents worth.

                              2. Well...since this ancient thread got revived...I'll add that the Blue Door Pub has State Fair style cheese curds. So far, those and the Surly were easily the best things I've had there. Not that I've had that much.

                                1. The best place is The Mouth Trap Cheese Curds in the food building. I never miss it!

                                  1. I started boycotting Psycho Suzies years ago. They still have great pizza, but they changed the cheesecurds about five years ago. They are now half as big and not as good. I also got sick of their "poor man's paradise" advertising yet charging $3 per can for cheap beers. Suzi found a nice niche, but I'll get my deep fried cheesecurds and cheap beers elsewhere.

                                    1. Had some really good ones at the Red Stag recently. Loved the batter--kind of sweet; reminded me of a pronto pup!