Here’s my review of some of the state fair foods I ate this year. Yes, I ate too much. Yes, I spent too much money. Yes, I am sunburned. Yes, I probably hit the beer harder than the food this year. Yes, I will be back next year! (I didn’t go into detail as much this year, since it’s towards the end of the fair and people just want a list to go on, not a story. This is all I had time to put together.)
15 foods and 24 beers/drinks partaken in - not a bad year at the fair!
Wild Bill’s Breakfast Bake at the Blue Barn – I need to figure out how to make this delicious breakfast concoction. Corn chips and eggs baked with cheese into a cube-format, then covered with scrambled eggs and salsa. It’s awesome. People say this is way too heavy to start the day off, but I don’t agree. I love it.
Tangerine Boozy Red Bull Slushy from LuLu's – It’s vodka, red bull, and tangerine juice in a freezy situation. It’s magic.
Also, I got a Schell’s Red Sangria beer, which was my favorite last year. It’s pretty incredible.
Nordic Waffle with berries – we waited in a massive line for this and I was bummed that it was small, but it did really have good flavor. I’m glad we got it and it was just about worth waiting in the longest line I’ve ever been in at the state fair.
Had to try the Two To Tango, Three to Mango mango sour beer from Starkeller (in the back corner of Lulu’s Public House). One of the best beers of the day.
Then off to try the Key Lime Pie beer from Lift Bridge. People told me to drink this very fast since it gets a little “off” when it warms up a bit. They’re right. Drink it fast or the chemically-lime taste grows quite a bit. It was fun while it was super cold, though!
I ate the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl from the Café Caribe. It was good, but with the avocado, mango, and tomatoes, it tasted like a tuna salsa. The rice was just filler, so I skipped about half of it, but it was slightly better than meh.
I had a bite of my sister’s Campfire S’mores Rice Kristie Treat (golden grahams, chocolate chips, and marshmallow). It was good, but I don’t care much about S’mores (insert all kinds of outrage from my friends here), so I probably wouldn’t get it again. She loved it, though.
Sweet Greek Cheese Puffs were next. I was a big fan of these, and people told me I would be. Lots of fun Greek cheese stuffed inside a flaky dough and then covered with honey and powdered sugar. Dino’s does some killer stuff at the fair.
We headed to the Hanger next for some Brisket Sliders and Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly – yes, multiple pig meats. The bacon-wrapped pork belly was pretty incredible (thanks for the tip, Motz), and Uncle DumDum loved it. The brisket sliders were much better than I expected from any sort of “fair brisket”. It had three different toppings – coleslaw, BBQ sauce and pickles, and crispy onions – and all of them were surprisingly good.
Since it was nearby, Uncle DumDum and I split a couple of beer flights.
- Mankato Brewing – Cake’d Up Celebration Beer – I actually liked this one a lot
- Tin Whiskers – Wheat Stone Bridge - not a fan
- Insight – Crazy Aunt – really an awful beer
- Summit – Skip Rock - decent beer, I'm ok with this one
- Insight – Sunken City - decent beer
- Mankato Brewing – Mad Butcher – I liked this one, since it wasn’t as hoppy, for an IPA
- Tin Whiskers – Flip Switch - it was fine
- Surly – Furious – Always good
- Castle Danger – Ode IPA – I liked this one a lot, as well
We headed over to Giggle's Campfire Grill for some weird beers. Tin Whiskers Dill Pickle Ale was a hit last year, and this year was no different. It’s a solid beer without being too overwhelming on the pickle flavor. I also got the Beaver Island Uffda Ale, which has a piece of Lefse and fresh lingonberries in it. I really didn’t like this one, especially when it warmed up.
Off to O’Gara’s for some Irish Tater Kegs, which are jumbo tots with corned beef sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and sour cream in them. I really liked these. The sauerkraut wasn’t too strong and they were really filling, and came with thousand island dressing. I liked these more than I expected to. I also got one of the new Surly Gaelic Dark and Stormy beers. I liked this one a lot – great ginger flavor to give it a good amount of tang without being too bitey.
Thought we’d check out the BBQ Split from Mama D’s. It was the worst thing we ate all day. It’s simply BBQ (beef or pork, whatever you choose), mac and cheese, and coleslaw in a sundae boat. If you’re going to do something that simple, you should make that BBQ meat something to talk about, rather than something to avoid. The best part of this was the coleslaw, which is sad. Avoid this one at all costs.
Since I was close, I tried a Helles Ya, You Betcha lager from Summit Brewing. It was just ok. I’ve had much better Helles-style beers, but I managed to drink this one, without TOO many problems.
I’ve heard some negative things about the Moroccan Sausage Bowl from Sausage by Cynthia but I was really happy with it. It was a smaller portion, but I was pleased with the portion size when I was done eating it all. Great seasoning, and great veggies in it. I liked it a lot, especially the chopped green olives they put on top!
I had a Honey Cream Soda Float on my list, so I managed to find one at the Minnesota Honey Producers Association. This was surprisingly good and I am glad I got it. Also, I was amused that the young high schoolers there were scared of the bees that were buzzing around the stand. Hahahaha
My annual stop at the Mouth Trap for cheese curds! I love these things so much.
I thought I’d split a Zesty PB&J Sausage from the Gass Station Grill with Uncle DumDum. I honestly couldn’t even taste a hint of peanut butter nor of cherry jelly, but that sausage was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was delicious.
Off to the Ball Park Café for some more beers – I got a Kirby Pucker #34 from Eastlake Brewing (which is still amazing and I love it), and a Passion Fruit Pils from Bent Paddle (this one I didn’t like as much, but still drank it).
I heard people talk about the Spumoni Tsunami beer from Bad Weather Brewing. This was the worst beer I had. Totally undrinkable and I pitched it after two drinks. Sorry, but it was bad.
I had a couple of Sweet Martha’s Cookies that I stole from my sister. They’re fine, but I truly don’t get the hype.
Headed to Coasters to try the Funnel Cake Cream Ale from Lakefront Brewery (which was just ok, but the powdered sugar helped) and the Margarita-Style Kettle Sour Ale from 612 Brew. This one wasn’t as tasty as the Funnel Cake beer.
I figured I’d better try the Pepperoni Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Queso from Lulu’s Public House. I’d heard bad things about this, especially about them being super salty. But, since I’m a salt-fiend, I tried them anyway. They’re fantastic and I think everyone should eat them. I am so glad I ignored the muggles that told me not to get it! I also tried the Slipstream Black Current Apple Cider from Social Cider Werks – which was amazing and exactly what I needed to stave off the heat and sunburn I was working on. This was really great.
Finally, as a cap off to the whole day, I split a Swedish Meatball Smörgås from the Blue Barn. It was really awesome. People got weirded out by the white gravy and pickles on top, but it was fantastic. Trust the Swedes, my friends – they know what they’re doing.
15 foods and 24 beers/drinks partaken in - not a bad year at the fair!
Top 5 foods to try:
1. Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly
2. Zesty PB&J Sausage
3. Sweet Greek Cheese Puffs
4. Brisket Sliders
5. Swedish Meatball Smorgas
Top 5 beers to try:
1. Two To Tango Three To Mango from Starkellar
2. Slipstream Black Current from Sociable Cider Werks
3. Kirby Pucker #34 from Eastlake Brewing
4. Schell’s Red Sangria Beer
5. Mankato Brewing Cake’d Up Birthday Cake Celebration Beer
Another Minnesota State Fair in the books!!! Thanks for coming to visit, sister and brother-in-law!!