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2013 State Fair

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  1. Love it! My first glance interests are

    Bourbon Wurst
    Deep fried bread pudding
    Porketta pig wings
    Pitchfork sausage (I'm thinking I'll be disappointed, but let's see)
    Pork belly sliders
    Northwoods BBQ taco

    Nice for Mancini's (which has been around almost as long as the Fair itself) to make its initial appearance. I wonder what got into them? Probably Target Field success.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Lincster

      According to WCCO last night, Mancini's has applied for 7 years. There is a waiting list of 476 would-be vendors. 2 got in last year, 6 this year (3 retirements).

      Keywords by appearance on list of "new" foods:

      Bacon - 8
      Pork - 8
      Pig - 2
      Cheese - 11
      Fried - 13

      18 out of 40 new dishes have pork in them.

    2. A friend of mine is part of Pitchfork Sausage. I'm pretty sure they were serving at the Back to the 50s Weekend at the fairgrounds last weekend.

      You aren't interested in the deep fried pickles with chocolate sauce?

      1. Looking forward to trying:

        Chop dog
        Deep fried olives
        Deep fried bread pudding
        Char grilled garlic toast
        3 Little Pigs Torta

        The big question is how to make room for these in my already massive list of State Fair must-haves!

        1. Hmm. I had an almost completely opposite reaction from the other posters. The Porketta Pig WIngs and the Chili Chocolate ice cream do look tempting.

          But so many of the other items looked like something I could get easily in the Twin Cities (yeah, I know not all Fair-goers have ready access to what us TC-area folks do). So why would I want to pay Fair prices for them? And will some of these items suffer for rushed prep?

          Some of the food looks interesting except for some (IMHO) unnecessary step. Deep-frying olives? Putting a donut on a grill? Do the Cajun Pork Rinds really need a creamy garlic sauce?

          I love the Fair and will be there to eat my favorites and sample some new food. But so much of this year's menu of new foods struck me as 'meh'.

          13 Replies
          1. re: steve_in_stpaul

            I agree. Most of them look either uninteresting (grilled doughnuts?), unpleasant (chocolate fried pickles), uncreative (bacon-wrapped shrimp), or all three! And then there are those that seem to have been inspired by the freezer aisle at the grocery store (breakfast sausage corn dog)!

            1. re: Jordan

              Give the people what they want. Based on the average waist size and mouth agape breathing habits of most Fair Goers, this is exactly it, a gimmicky fried / stuffed / bacon wrapped heap of indeterminable ingredients with a stick jammed through it.

              1. re: american_idle

                I do not understand all this Hype. Average at best, overpriced....and they call it food???????

                1. re: ibew292

                  Ah, but it's the fair! Would I wait in line for 10 minutes to buy GMO corn and roast it if it cost whatever the corn roast folks charge? Hell no! But, getting bumped in the shins by 12 strollers while corn roast smoke blows in my face as I wait in line to buy that corn, dripping with butter, served with 1 flimsy napkin that can't handle a gnat sneeze? You betcha!

                  I dunno. It's the fair, man.

                  1. re: MplsM ary

                    Sounds like a blast. Why not spend half that much and a fixed price somewhere. I go to the fair but NOT for the food.

                  2. re: ibew292

                    It's only a little about the food and a whole lot about the ritual.
                    Having grown up with the Fair (5+ decades attendance), it is a seasonal touchstone for me, marking the end of summer. I will go this year, snack on a few new items, revisit some old favorites and revel in the parade (which I view as the best piece of performance art west of NYC). I'll walk the entire grounds stopping often to sit on the grass and remember previous good times. I'll leave dirty, slightly queasy and very happy.

                    In the meantime, I'm exchanging emails with likeminded friends (some of whom I hear from only at this time of year) about the new food offerings and making plans to meet, sample and critique.

                    Either you're a Fair Fiend or you're not.

                    1. re: Pwmfan

                      I'm a fair friend but not for the food. It's NOT Chow Worthy......

                      1. re: ibew292

                        Ah, therein lies the difference! You are a Fair friend; I am a Fair Fiend.

                  3. re: american_idle

                    For someone who rarely eats fried food, I love sharing a little junk food! I can't imagine eating entire portions...I think the huge portions are for mobs of teenagers.

                2. re: steve_in_stpaul

                  I don't get the overpriced bit. Sausage by Cynthia is about $6-7, as much as you would pay for a quality sausage anywhere else. The cannolis are $4 or so.

                  Where is everyone going in the cities to get all this cheap food?

                  1. re: kevin47

                    Sausage by Cynthia is a bit of a Fair exclusive so I don't think it's the best example. But Kramarczuk's sausage at the Twins stadium goes for around $6.50 and nobody considers that a bargain there when you can buy the same sausage for much cheaper at their store.

                    I'll pay a little more for something I can't get elsewhere. But it's not like there's no place else in town to get Dippin' Dots or roasted corn or a gyro or a pork chop, all at much lower prices than at the Fair.

                    And I really wish places like the cheese curd and french fry booths would sell their products individually or something. A couple mouthfuls is enough. I don't want to spend what the smallest container costs and then still toss a good amount of it. That's overpriced, too. But I realize overhead probably drives them to the supersized portions.

                    1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                      You take issues with people not selling french fries individually? Seriously?

                      Buying a prepared for you product on the spot and picking some up to take home and make yourself is not the best example either. Just went to Silkey Gardens today to pick some strawberries, $1.80/lb, get them at the Wedge and they are about $4.50.

                      1. re: getgot211

                        I wouldn't call it "issues". *My* preference is to sample different foods. Filling up on whatever a booth deigns to sell as their smallest portion runs counter to that. Eating a few bites and then throwing away the rest is a disservice to whoever produced and prepared that food and only compounds the ecological impact of the Fair. Wasting food is not cool.

                        So, yeah, if the FF booth were to sell a dozen fries for a buck, I'd be fine with that. They're cooking them by the pound anyway.

                        Your point about comparing store-bought/home-prepared with Fair food ready-to-eat is valid. But my point is that many Fair food choices seem "meh" to Cities dwellers because the products offered at the Fair are little different (or no different) from the product they can buy 300 other days of the year.

                3. An English toffee fudge puppy? O.M.G. That is going to be SO much trouble.