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State Fair MSP

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Ok, just back from a first trip to the fair. The best thing was a truly great cheeseburger with wild rice in it from the food building (other than the footlongs, pronto pups, strawberries, and Tom Thumb doughnuts, of course.) I had the tater tots from Axels. They were very greasy and pretty tasteless, although the sauce helped somewhat. We also had the chocolate mousse stuffed churros from French Meadow Bakery, which has taken over the Schuhmacher building--better than the tater tots, but not an even exchange for my usual cream puff.

Can't wait to hear from others--
Margi

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  1. Rundown

    Leprechaun Legs - O'Garas - This is really well executed. Great balance of bean and batter, not greasy or overcooked, and the sauce is nice and pungent.

    Bacon - Big fat bacon: The orange chipotle marmalade is still a great compliment to a high quality slice of bacon, but the bacon was a tad underdone.

    Pig Cheeks - Famous Daves: I thought the meat was nicely done and flavorful. I wanted the peach glaze to infiltrate the meat a bit more, and I wanted salt, which was not available.

    Porcupine Meatballs - Giggles: The belle of the ball this year. The elk (not porcupine) meatballs are cooked with gorgonzola, which contrasts nicely with the (real) mashed potatoes and gravy. Sweet onions tie everything together. The portion is substantial for the price.

    Risotto balls - French Meadow: A dud. Soupy, bland, risotto with mushroom cream sauce soggily breaded and served at about 65 degrees.

    Olives on a stick: An annual tradition we were about to shirk in favor of Holy Land's $1 deals... Until we realized HL's $1 deals are apocryphal. Tasty olives.

    Funnel Cake Fries - Apple Lil's: Wife had high hopes for the portable version of her favorite. Dish is largely a failure. The "fries" are cut too wide, and they are served with, literally, heated Hershey's syrup. Lame.

    Cheese Curds - The Mouth Trap: After one glorious year, Ole and Lena's has stopped serving their curds with Lingonberry sauce. Back to the salty old standby.

    Mini-donuts - Tom Thumb: They are mini donuts. Next.

    Tornado Potato - Sonny's Spiral Spuds: The name is a bit of hyperbole, considering the product is just spiral cut, fried potato slices on a stick. That said, they were nicely seasoned, and the sauce was killer.

    Chocolate/Raspberry Wine ice cream - Minnesota Wine Featurama: A decent scoop of chocolate ice cream from Izzy's with nary a hint of the promised raspberry wine infusion. Which, usually when you order a flavor from Izzy's, by God you are going to get that flavor up to your eye-sockets.

    Walking Taco - That One Church: Ironically, it's one of the least portable food items at the fair, but they do a nice job with this.

    Alligator Sausage - Bob's Bayou Gator Shack: I was all excited to try the advertised gator ribs, but alas the offerings are the same as last year. I usually pivot between the marinated bites and the sausage, and went with the sausage. For $3.50, this remains one of the tastiest bargains at the fair.

    1. We did the fair (sadly) as our last night in town. Luckily we brought a big crew and got to have tastes of many of our old favorites, as well as a couple new offerings.

      We opted for famous dave's choco bacon (pig lickers? whatever marketing they made up didnt stick with me probably because you can't go wrong with straight-forward description, especially when that description involves bacon and chocolate) over the big fat bacon on a stick, though if i had known there was chipotle marmalade involved it would have made the choice tougher. that said, from looking at people walking with them, the nice meaty thick slices at big fat bacon seemed pretty solid.

      What we ate:
      Dan Patch Cheese curds - it wasnt super busy on this opening day but our curds were fresh from the fryer and tasty as ever - i can never remember the names of the curd spots, but know that we like this one more than the food building's offerings.

      Turkey Sandwich - perhaps a bit smaller, and maybe wetter than previous years but delicious none the less.

      Famous daves pig cheeks - good, with great porky flavor, definitely pretty fatty (as i expected from the cheeks) and a good value at 5 bucks for two decent sized hunks of meat. One was notably more charred than the other which was decidedly the preferable finish. The sweet peach was a good compliment, but not too sweet or overpowering.

      Famous daves chocolate bacon - this was a winner with our group with only one person unable to overcome the aversion to cold bacon (they served it out of a fridge). The slices of bacon were thinner than i would have expected, but i think given the fact that these bites were composed of an unthinkably high proportion of congealed pig fat, the thinness kept it from feeling like spooning crisco into your mouth. overall we wanted the bacon to be slightly crisper, but having cooked and cooled bacon before i dont know how they could have accomplished this, especially not en mass like the fair requires. 5 bucks seemed pretty steep, and we all decided we could do this at home just as well but for less, and without too much work. A good novelty item but not something we'd eat again if it became a fair regular (not because it isnt good, just too little room in stomachs/cash in wallets to justify it.

      honey sunflower sundae - a total home run, as usual. great honey flavor, nice crunch from the seeds, smooth texture that made us with we could get these year round (or summer-round as it were).

      deep fried oreos - not my first try but several people in our group hadnt had them. a bite is enough but i really like them, something about the heat and batter transforms the cookie, softening the chocolate wafers and almost liquefying the cream center.

      fresh french fries- by the midway - good but not as great as in past years these fries had awesome flavor and were well cooked but despite nice browning they were a tad limp, especially towards the bottom of the bucket when they had plenty of time to steam. also, can anyone explain why they are so short and stubby?

      Aligator sausage - like Kevin i really like these, solid, notably gator flavor in a moist, easily chompable package, whats not to like.

      Fried green tomatoes and fritters - fritters were awesome as ever, the tomatoes were super freshly fried but maybe spent a bit too long in the oil (or the oil was already dirty, but at the end of the first day???) because they had a bit too much color and overly fried flavor.

      Can anyone report on the $1 dollar shrimp cocktail on the south side of the fairgrounds, by the miracle of birth barn/raft ride? we were sure it couldn't be a good idea, but curious about what it could be despite that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tex.s.toast

        I tried that shrimp cocktail, though it was a few years back. You get what you pay for. Shrimp were tiny, not deveined, and mushy. Avoid, your instincts are correct.

      2. First, the hits. The absolute highlight were the Salty Tart macaroons from the Midtown Global Market stand. They couldn't be more perfect. The Honey Sunflower Seed ice cream from the Hort building, and the U of M Dairy Club milkshake were as good as ever.

        I thought Big Fat Bacon wasn't nearly as good as last year's version. Another dissapointment was my Gizmo - noticeably smaller than in previous years, but the price was up to $7. It was disappointing.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Danny

          My impression was that the bacon wasn't as good as last year. I wondered if it was just me. Guess not. Still love the sauce.

          1. re: kevin47

            Mine just wasn't well cooked, and had a bit of gristle. I also didn't notice the maple glaze nearly as much (if at all) Rather than being a meaty piece of bacon, this definately seemed like a lower quality piece of meat.

            1. re: Danny

              Per the City Pages, the bacon is no longer sourced through Fischer Farms. The difference in quality shows. A pity. They had a good thing going.

          2. re: Danny

            We are going later this week some evening. And I definitely want to check out the Midtown Global Market stand. Do you remember where it was? And was there a pretty good assortment of Salty Tart goods there?

            1. re: karykat

              It's near the Ag Hort building. If you search the Fair Finder for it's listed as the Produce Exchange booth. Just a few selected Salty Tart items at most.

              ~TDQ

              1. re: karykat

                Midtown global market has a booth in the international bazaar, which rotates every couple of days. Salty tart sells at the organic produce bin outside the ag center. Near as I could tell, they were just selling macaroons.

            2. Had the "pancake on a stick" - breakfast sausage dipped in pancake batter then fried, served with maple syrup - for the first time this year based on recommendations from friends. It earned a spot on the must-have list for us.

              Tried the new deep fried banana split from Ole and Lena's. Big thumbs up, though I would say I don't see any reason not to put the banana on a stick. Sure, you'd have to scoop and smear at the ice cream and berries and whipped cream, but maybe it would work? Who knows. We'd get it again.

              Tried the fried pickles, which were good, but small serving for the price.

              Repeat from the last couple years: Lingonberry float. Each time we get this thing it's better than we remembered it.

              The rest of our items have already been mentioned, but I'll give a shout-out to some: tom thumb donuts, roasted corn, dan patch (the original!) cheese curds, and, of course, pronto pups.

              -g

              11 Replies
              1. re: gromit

                Do you remember where you got the "pancake-on-a-stick?" I can't find it on the Fair Food Finder. Sounds really good!

                1. re: marybold

                  Pancake on a stick is at Epiphany Dining Hall. Personally, I'm not blown away by it, only by the idea of it.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    they used to serve us these in elementary school for breakfast. they're unbelievable.

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Wait--Epiphany Diner doesn't have pancake on a stick this year. I'm so sorry if I confused anyone. (The gal told me they changed their menu this year).

                      Gromit, where did you find pancake on a stick?

                      ~TDQ

                    2. re: marybold

                      William's Dinette, near the eco-experience building thing and machinery hill. I was very excited about the idea, and I have to say the one I had lived up to the idea. Seems like they run the stand like a short-order place, so the pancake-on-a-stick, and the ones my friends ordered just after it, were all cooked up fresh. That helped a lot I'd say.

                      -g

                      1. re: gromit

                        i find it surprising a lot of you see this as so novel an idea. i've seriously been eating these since i was in preschool. i think STATE FAIR (the sara lee brand) even sells a frozen version.

                        check it out:

                        http://saraleefoodservice.com/Product...

                        1. re: beelzebozo

                          Well, I've visited the Minnesota State Fair probably 25 years of my life, and I've come to appreciate that a well-made and FRESHLY-made corn dog (Pronto Pup, to be particular, and I AM particular) is a fine thing. Sure it's something that you can get pretty much anywhere at any time, even in the frozen section of a supermarket. But what's the fun in that?

                          So when a friend pointed out that he'd tried out the breakfastified version of something that's an annual tradition for me, available in the same venue where I'm typically eating a corn dog at 8 in the morning, I thought I'd give it a try. And I liked it. Yet I would never consider buying such a thing from Sara Lee. *shrug*

                          -g

                          1. re: gromit

                            yeah, i understand that. certainly a freshly made corn dog or breakfast dog is going to be better than the frozen. i was responding to those who were unfamiliar with it prior or viewed it as a novelty.

                            1. re: beelzebozo

                              Are you responding to me? I'm didn't grow up in Minnesota. Rest assured, pancakes on sticks are not a breakfast staple world-wide. I think the idea of it is fun, but the execution of it (at Epiphany, haven't been to Williams) was blah.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                no, to gromit. my apologies. er, i guess it depends on which post we're referring.

                                but yeah, they are ubiquitous in the kentucky-ohio-west virginia school systems for breakfast. i think they're pretty excellent, even when you get them frozen and warm them in the oven/deep fryer (say no to microwave)

                        2. re: gromit

                          Thanks, gromit! I'll put that on my list for next time around.

                          ~TDQ

                    3. Spamburger- Delightful as usual. It isn't pretty, but they offer lots of condiments and it has a nice crust and great taste. I love it, but an acquired taste.

                      Sunnies from Giggles- Good, but some where not properly cleaned leaving scales in my husband's mouth, which is gross. The sauce that comes with them does nothing for them

                      Blossom Onion- I don't know why we got this. It didn't taste good, had some raw parts, and was very expensive. Ranch dressing that came with it tasted weird.

                      Pig Cheek- Very meaty tasty. Super tender. We got three of them. Peach sauce is good and not too sweet. For $5 it is a good deal

                      1. In some ways, the state fair fare seems to have become a kind of weird science competition requiring the use of a deep fryer. Gimme a pronto pub/corndog and maybe an elephant ear and I'm happy at the fair.

                        As I recall, the weirdness in food at the fair started with Gefilte Fish on a Schtick by Old City Cafe. And now we have chocolate covered cold bacon?

                        1. On my trips to the fair this year I found some delicious new beverages: ginger beer from Harry Singh's , and maple and chokecherry sodas from the Renewing the Countryside booth in front of the Eco Experience. All of them are a bit pricey, but delicious.

                          Honey lemonade is still a dollar a cup and as good as ever.

                          The wine ice cream this year (I tried apple cinnamon and ruby red raspberry) was very good, but very boozy, especially the raspberry.

                          I thought the French Meadow ruben pretzel was just okay.

                          1. Had an enjoyable trip to the fair today. I try to find food items that are good bang for the buck items - and I think I did pretty well this year. My list is pretty short, as I try to enjoy but also not go too overboard.

                            Andy's Grille - This was our first item of the day and I had eaten a breakfast sandwich here the year before. I remember seeing cinnamon and pecan rolls at the time and thinking they had looked really good (and huge). Sure enough, they were back again this year. They weren't prominantly displayed so you have to look for them. At $2.75 I picked out the cinnamon roll with frosting on top. It is a monster size roll, and was perfectly soft, chewy with delicious icing. This thing is a flat out bargain. There were other places selling these for twice the price and who knows if they tasted anywhere near as good. I bet the rolls are gone by lunch, but for the early crowd, give this a try (no idea if the pecan or other rolls are as good, but the iced ones are outstanding). Grade: A

                            Wild Rice Specialties: Decided to give the Blue Ribbon Book a try again this year. Haven't found much I liked in other years, but the wild rice cheeseburger looked interesting. Usually when I get to a booth that is in the coupon book, the actual food doesn't look very good - so I don't end up getting anything. In this case, however, it was the opposite. The cheeseburgers were very hearty looking and the line was pretty long - so I figured it was worth a go. Plus, they will add grilled onions or peppers if desired. In fact, they looked so good I tried to see if they would let me use my one coupon for 2 burgers, but no go. So I settled on one and split it with the wife. The burger had a great meaty taste and was pefectly grilled (as a burger should), but you could see the hints of wild rice throughout. The bun was soft, and with the grilled onions made for a very tasty meal. Next time I won't be splitting it. I thought this was well worth the price of the burger at $3.50 using the coupon. Grade A-

                            French Fry Booth: I have no idea what this place is called, but it is the one near the food building, not the one which has several locations. I have been to this one before, and liked them, but I suppose I should have tried the other place for comparison. I can't figure out which place gives you more fries for your money, so perhaps others have an opinion. In either case, it's not a small portion. We had the medium for $6. These are only good while they are hot, which they were. I LOVE french fries, however, with only 2 people it will test the limit of how many fries can you actually eat. I was able to finish them :) Only complaint are they are not all big fries, and certainly plenty of broken pieces towards the bottom. Grade: B

                            Ultimate Confections: This was in the lower lever of the grandstand, where we had not visited before. My 4 year old wanted ice cream for her dessert originally, but upon hearing that they had Cow Pops, we decided to walk over and check them out. I had no idea what a cow pop was, and was speculating that it was a frozen ice cream pop. Indeed, I was incorrect - It was a cute chocolate on a stick in the shape of a cow. For kids day (today) it was .50 instead of $1, or it was 3 for $1.25. Even a single one was a plenty big portion for a 4 year old, so that's all we got. As a side note, they had very delicious looking chocolate covered pretzels (3 for $1.25) and ice cream sundaes which were on special 2 for 1. The sundaes looked REALLY good, but couldn't talk my wife into one at that point, and there was no way I could eat two of them. But if you are in the area, this looks like a good place to check out. The cow pop looked like it was milk chocolate (no way the kiddo was giving me a taste) - but from how fast it disappeared, she obviously was not disappointed. I am going to give it an A-.

                            So there you have it. My short fair list for this year. Usually I end up regretting something that I tried that wasn't worth the money. This year, I was quite happy with the choices given our limited time we spent there.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: TDS1

                              I agree about the wild rice cheeseburger--paid full price for another one, since our coupon was gone. Seriously good!

                              CREAM PUFFS!!! Still only $3.00 and one of the best things possible!

                              Salty Tart's Macaroons were also truly fine.

                              Sausage Sisters Puff Daddy if you have someone to share it with is delicious.

                              I think I'm done with the fair now.
                              Margi

                            2. I am glad Harry Singh finally made the cut. His jerk chicken roti is one of my favorite things.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Doghouse Reilly

                                For real! I tried a jerk chicken roti at the fair this year, and it ended up being the best thing I ate there. Spicy, flavorful, utterly craveable. Can you get these things at the restaurant too? Anyway, if you're headed to the fair this weekend and you love spicy food, do yourself a favor and get one! Food building. Also the hot jamacian beef patty from West Indies soul in the bazaar was pretty good. I just took their bottle of jerk sauce and squeezed some on top of the patty right into the little bag it comes in. It made for messy, difficult eating, but I think the sauce really made it even better.

                                1. re: autmommy

                                  Yup, Harry Singh's has Jerk Chicken roti on their menu. They're great, aren't they? But the restaurant is closed while they're at the fair. (That's the sign of a small, family run place!)

                                  http://harrysinghs.com/

                                  Anne

                                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                                    when dh and i walked thru the food bldg, we recognized harry himself, manning the grill. that guy would want to make sure to put out the very best for all the fair-goers. yay :)

                              2. I finally got to the fair today, and I'm very grateful for the guidance in the reports above. Here's what I ate:

                                Lingonberry float. Wow! Wonderful. I expected vanilla ice cream, but it's lingonberry ice cream with lingonberry syrup and soda. It's kinda expensive at $5.50, but worth it. I'm at the fair for the next three days, and I think I'm going to get one of these every day. Thanks, gromit, for the tip!

                                Porcupine meatballs from Giggles. I didn't realize until I got my order that I'd had these last year, but had forgotten them - they were nothing special. But this year!!! Yum!!! I was very pleased by these elky, creamy, blue-cheesey bites. A generous serving, too. Thanks to kevin47 for the recommendation!

                                Fried sunnies from Giggles. Mine were completely scaled, and I liked them very much. Though I spurned their over-sweet dipping sauce in favor of good ol' ketchup.

                                Apple-Cinnamon wine ice cream from the MN Wine Experience. They let us taste each of the three flavors (slow night). I agree that the Chocolate-Raspberry doesn't have much of a raspberry taste. The Ruby Raspberry, on the other hand, is winey and raspberry-y, but I'd already had this one last week, so I went with Apple Cinnamon. I liked it a lot; Mr. Tastebud said he would like it better if it had apple pieces, much more cinnamon, and no wine. (He's so weird!)

                                Chocolate cone from the Dairy Building. This is my husband's favorite thing at the fair - it's the only reason he goes. The ritual is to slowly eat your cone while admiring the butter heads. That's the true fair experience!

                                Roasted corn. This is my must-have treat at the fair. I'll be eating at least one a day all week.

                                Super (foot-long) corn dog from the booth across the street from the Information building. It was good - hot, crispy, and completely cooked (some places have undercooked coating). Plus, they offer both mustard and ketchup, hooray. But it was expensive ($7) and it was too big for one person. I'm done with corn dogs for the year.

                                Peaches from the Midtown Global Market produce booth. We got 3 Michigan peaches for $1 on a "ripe peaches must go" special. We brought them home and are having them as our post-fair treat. They're OK but not very peachy - I've had much better from the Co-op.

                                Tornado potato. Ick. The demo models look like a spiral potato chip, but ours was limp and under-cooked. A waste of money. (I just had a taste - it was not my choice.)

                                More food tomorrow....

                                Anne

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                  I had some really good food today--they were handing out peach samples at Midtown Global, they gave me a Colorado slice which was great, and I asked if they had any organic peaches, and they pointed to one called Sweet Dream or something like that, I asked for a sample, it was delicious, and I happily paid....$3! for one huge delicious peach.

                                  That and a Greek salad offset the many fried and high fat things...such as..

                                  A strawberry and whipped cream crepe at the Creperie....heavenly, my idea of a perfect dessert, lots of whipped cream, fresh fruit, not real sugary...

                                  A zeppole with cannoli filling (ricotta!) at the deep fried twinkie/zeppole booth...very good, nice contrast of crunchy frybread type dough with the creamy ricotta filling.

                                  Risotto poppers from French meadow, very tasty with a mushroom/risotto/cheese filling and nicely crunchy fried exterior.

                                  Sunnies in a boat from Giggles. Very good, I agree with Anne that the sauce was a bit much. I asked for extra lemon and ate them that way, with a tiny bit of the lingonberry sauce.

                                  Baklava from the Lamb stand in the Food Bldg. They said it was made locally for them--it was great, tasted really fresh.

                                  On my way out after 10, realized I hadn't had any fried green tomatoes, didn't want to spend $5.50 on a whole order as I was pretty stuffed, asked the guy plaintively if I could get a half order, and he said 'No....(then took pity on me), but, do you want a sample?"
                                  Yes! So he gave me one fried tomato slice and quietly informed me that there was ranch or hot sauce available at the counter. Sweet!

                                  A good day!

                                2. I went last night and got most of my standards:

                                  1) About a foot long - The way I start every fair experience. Great as usual.
                                  2) Cheese curds (street booth, not food building) - Last year's batch was super salty, these weren't. Much improved.
                                  3) Gator sausage - My first foray into gator was a good one. Thumbs up.
                                  4) Fries - Outstanding...maybe the best batch I've ever had.
                                  5) Strawberry shake (U of M booth) - Excellent.
                                  6) Lamb on a stick (Holy Land) - Very good, if not a little dry.
                                  7) Mini Donuts/Milk to end the night.

                                  Painfully full as I got back on the bus...oh well, another year in the books.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: BigE

                                    Did you notice the French Fry booth has those little banners up saying Named America's Best Fries by Gourmet Magazine (or something like that.) Is that new? I thought that was pretty neat, although, I'd like to know the whole story. If I understand my facts correctly, the guy who runs the fry booths isn't even a restaurateur in "real life". Freaky, eh?

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: BigE

                                      Does Holy Land have gyro-type sandwiches?

                                    2. Today's treats: Roasted corn (of course), Alligator sausage (good, but I liked my sister's pork-and-rice boudin MUCH better), half a pork chop on-a-stick (overcooked but still very tasty), and another lingonberry float (still wow).

                                      Two more days of overeating to go. Oh, I love Love LOVE the fair!

                                      Anne

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: AnneInMpls

                                        On my Thursday trip, I tried three more new foods:

                                        - Chokecherry soda. Expensive but really, really nice. Tart and refreshing; the essence of chokecherries, which I love. I need to find some chokecherry syrup so I can make my own at home.

                                        - Jerk chicken roti from Harry Singh's (food building). Tasty stuff, made my nose run (that's a good thing). I probably won't go back for more tomorrow, but that's only because I can zip down to the Nicollet Ave restaurant for more.

                                        - Famous Dave's Pig Cheeks. Ehhhhh... not a fan. The first bite or two was good, but the peach-chipotle glaze is WAY too sweet for me. I couldn't finish my serving, even though I was hungry when I started. There's a consistency issue, too - my serving was five thinnish, slightly caramelized slices; my friend's serving was two thick lumps. He REALLY didn't like them - he eats anything and everything meat-related, and he left half of his cheeks uneated. NOT a repeat.

                                        And, of course, more roasted corn. Did you know you can ask for a "well done" ear of corn? I love that charred flavor!
                                        Anne

                                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                                          For my last day at the fair, I didn't manage to eat much at all. I think I'm actually a bit burned out! I had my usual cone from the dairy building, and I returned for some boudin at the Alligator booth. But I ran out of tummy room for my beloved roasted corn.

                                          But early on, I braved the crowds in the International Bazaar to get to some mint lemonade from the Holy Land booth. Wow, wow, wow, is this stuff good! If you think the stuff from the standard lemonade booths is too wimpy, give it a try. It's very, very tart and very, very lemony. The mint is dried mint, I think - my mom said it "tasted like catnip" (say, how does she know?). Me, I loved it. And I had some kofte on a stick, which tasted like it had been freshly grilled over real charcoal. Yummy stuff.

                                          And I had a new-to-me food from last year's New Foods list: a Walking Taco from the Epiphany Diner. Given that I eschew junk food, I'm ashamed to say that I LOVED it! It was very, very tasty. And there's a surprisingly a large amount of food for just $4. (I got it with everything: canned black olives, mild salsa, jalapenos (very spicy), and a hefty scoop each of guacamole and sour cream.) There was so much that I couldn't finish it. Mom got the last third. She loved it, too.

                                          After a lovely beer for me (did you know they sell Fat Tire at the Grandstand?), we finished our day with some cream puffs. Mom didn't think they were anything special - they don't say "fair food" to her - but I thought they were great.

                                          I don't think I can eat any more fair food this year, sob. I want to, but I just can't! So, if you're going to the fair this weekend, please pig out for me and report back so I can enjoy it vicariously.

                                          Anne

                                      2. OK,

                                        Maple Minne-soda from the booth outside the Eco Experience - YUM. . . the highlight of today's visit. Not too sweet, a little creamy, mmmm.

                                        Lingonberry float - just OK - I liked the presence of real lingonberries in the ice cream, but the soda was a bit on the watery side and the soda to ice cream ratio a bit too high, so everything ended up tasting a bit watered down.

                                        Cheese curds from the Dan Patch booth - good as always.

                                        Wine flight from MN Winemakers - Stuck with the sweet varieties because I think MN does a better job with these. Tried the rhubarb, raspberry, and apple wines. Liked the rhubarb the best - it was the least sweet, with the most interesting flavor. The apple was a lot like cider but alcoholic. I could deal with that! The raspberry was my least favorite, a bit overly sweet, but it would probably pair well with some desserts.

                                        Porcupine Meatballs - Nice. Good soft but not mushy texture, nice flavor. Pretty filling with the mashed potatoes and gravy it's served with.

                                        About A. . . foot long hot dog - Pleasing, not amazing. The other places don't seem to get their onions caramelized the way these guys do. It does a lot for the dog.

                                        Fresh French Fries - Not as good as I remember. They don't seem to have as much skin on them anymore maybe? I think the serving we got was undersalted too (there may have been salt that you could add - I didn't notice).

                                        Chocolate cream puff - I LOVE the eggy puff with the light, fluffy whipped cream. So good, every year. Got the chocolate this year, think I prefer the vanilla.

                                        Iced mocha from Farmer's Union - A bit on the watery side but perfectly acceptable. J&S usually does a better job.

                                        That's all for this visit. I think I'll get back on Monday and I'll report back if I do. Over and out.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: diesel

                                          OK, went again today.

                                          Zeppole from Spaghetti Eddie's on faith's rec - Yum! I will definitely get these again. The dough was so crispy crunchy and the ricotta filling had an almondy flavor to it. Yum.

                                          Corn dog from the Netterfield Food Court - Another Yum! Probably the best corn dog I've had. I wished the dog itself had a bit more snap to it, but the breading was fluffy, crisp, nutty, and had a hint of sweetness. Their italian sausages looked and smelled fabulous too.

                                          Boatload of sunnies from Giggles - I just had a few bites - my husband ate most of 'em. They were tasty but had a few scales left on the fillets, which made for a few fishy tasting bites.

                                          Beef and wild rice cheeseburger in food building - I meant to get the Elk and wild rice burger but I didn't see it and I thought maybe I was just remembering it wrong and it was beef after all. Anyway, it was just OK.

                                          Dan Patch cheese curds (again) - only had a few, husband and kids ate most of these. They were same as ever, maybe even a little greasier than ever.

                                          Malt from cattle barn (vanilla) - just so-so. I think these are overrated.

                                          That's all. Gotta sleep off all that eating now.

                                        2. went today:

                                          MN wine: Frontenac Gris, Rose and Rhubarb. Rhubarb was good I guess.

                                          Honey/Sunflower Seed ice cream Sundae: I liked it, the honey on top definitely makes it better.

                                          Beignets: dud.

                                          Mouth Trap Cheese Curds: good. same as always I guess.

                                          Pork Cheek: this was very good.

                                          Strawberry Shake from Gopher Dairy Club: was ok.

                                          Summit on a Stick: awesome.

                                          Maple Soda: pretty good, a little watery maybe not worth $4.

                                          Elk Burger: meh, didn't notice a distinctive 'elkiness'. just an average burger.

                                          Walleye Cakes: awesome.

                                          Orginal Cheese Curds: MT were saltier, these were greasier. push.

                                          Alligator sausage: very good.

                                          Lingon Berry Float: greatness. the berries in the ice cream were a bit icy but overall very nice, the soda was excellent.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: getgot211

                                            Funny, I thought the Mouth Trap curds were a lot less salty than Original cheese curds, but yes, Original more greasy.

                                            1. re: getgot211

                                              Summit on a stick???? You mean the beer? How could I have missed this?

                                              Anne

                                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                yup. 6oz each of EPA, Oktoberfest and Horizon Red Ale. for 7.50 not a bad deal either.

                                                 
                                            2. Just popped in for a couple of hours last weekend, mostly to see a friend's subversive seed art entry and some other friends' knitting, so this year's visit didn't allow much time for food.

                                              But! I did have, for the very first time ever and based on all the kudos here, a Honey Sunflower Seed ice cream cone. It was better than I even imagined it might be. Really, really, really good. Thanks, chowhounders!

                                              Also an order of one of my usual faves, fried green tomatoes, which were just not up to snuff this year. Greasy and an off flavor. And a terrible corn dog, no doubt because instead of going to my usual Pronto Pup stand, I made do with a nearby Corn Dog stand. The dog was mush, the corn was gritty and mush somehow at the same time, and the whole thing, minus my two bites--one initial and one just because I couldn't believe how bad it was--ended up in the trash can.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: clepro

                                                Man oh man, I'm in a major funk because I didn't get any honey sunflower-seed ice cream this year. I can't believe that I have to wait another whole year to get some. (I might have to hit the U of M Dairy for an emergency stop-gap supply.)

                                                And speaking of seeds, I loved loved loved the subversive seed art! I was very pleased that there was so much of it. The juxtaposition of the naive/traditional form and the radical sentiments really floated my boat. Please tell your friend to keep up the great work!

                                                Anne

                                              2. Did I miss something? Did no one have the Pot Roast Sundae?! This was a first time for me, and it was so very, very delicious. Omigod-worthy delicious. At first it didn't seem like proper "Fair Food," or something just in a church dining hall. It's seriously good in a home-cooked way. Making myself hungry now...

                                                N.B. corn dog fans: the Hansen Family booths by the south Horse Barn entrance? Best Corn dogs. Ever.

                                                Ever.

                                                Cay