Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Minnesota State Fair 2015 – St. Paul, MN

Well, I tried talking myself into getting on the every-other-year state fair bandwagon, I caved and decided to go this year. I thought I’d document everything I ate, in case some friends wanted my thoughts on some of the new food items at this year’s fair.

I got there too late to get the breakfast that I wanted, so I switched up my order at the Blue Barn. I got the Cowboy Dave’s cluck & Moo. Smashed potatoes, roast beef, and grilled chicken covered with beef gravy, french fried onions, and béarnaise sauce. This was really quite good (and unfortunately more filing than I had hoped). But it was a good start to the day.

I also got the caramel apple beer they had. I’ll be honest, it was sickeningly sweet (and I generally LOVE sickeningly sweet drinks). I couldn’t even finish all of this beverage, so I was anxious to move on and get something else in my face hole.

I went to Sausage Sisters, as I general have had good luck with their menu items. I had my eye on the Sriracha Sausage Sliders. I was surprised that I had to sauce these myself, but I gave it a decent squirt of the sriracha cream sauce (after I took the photo – sorry). Then, I gave the other slider a generous squirt of the peanut sauce they had there. I took a few bites of the sriracha one and discarded the bun – it was just too much bun/filler. I did the same thing with the peanut sauced one. I ate a couple bites with the bun, and then I focused on the sausage. Great flavor, but you could probably pass on the buns to save yourself some filler.

Popped into the 1919 booth for a quick root beer. It’s my favorite drink at the fair and is always good.

I headed to the Ball Park Café for the battered and deep fried ribs. I was impressed with the batter flavor , since it was seasoned well and was really crispy. The ribs were decent, but not the best (I’m a bit of a rib snob, though). They weren’t fall-off-the-bone tender, but they were fine. The BBQ sauce that came with it helped the ribs out a lot. Decent, but not mind-blowing.

I washed it down with a nice Pineapple Wheat beer. For a fruity beer, it was pretty good. Not too sweet, but still nice and refreshing since it was getting really warm out at this point.

I went over to Minnesota Wine Country and grabbed some battered and deep fried (in wine) kale-ettes. This was clearly the healthiest thing I ate all day. And, thankfully, it was really good. The fry on it was nice and crispy without being heavy. The chili sauce dipping sauce was a great addition to the fried flavor, as well. This was one of the best things I had at the fair.

Then to the Agriculture building for a beer flight. I got the dark beer flight, but I honestly can’t remember which beers were included in this. I should have taken a photo of the board that listed the beers, but I forgot. Obviously, they were really dark beers. And delicious.

I dropped by LuLu’s Public house for a Mac & Cheese Cupcake. It’s pretty straight forward, but I didn’t realize until the end that the mac & cheese was sitting on a nice crust of corn bread at the bottom. If I had known that, I would have dug deeper into the cupcake earlier on. The squirt of easy cheese was a great topper to this thing. I’m guessing if these were fresh out of the oven, they would have been fantastic. As it was, it was a tad dry, but still had good flavor.

I washed the cupcake down with a Blueberry beer from Grainbelt. I had one of these last year and I was a fan. It’s got a fun little layer of blueberry ice on top that makes it even more refreshing in the million-degree heat.

I needed to relax, so I got to watch a fun African drum and dance troupe do their thing in the plaza. I think I burned off some calories watching these guys.

Then, I had to pet some dogs in the pet barn.

D.Rough told me I needed to try the BBQ pickle ice cream, so I headed over to the R&R ice cream shop – it’s the one that churns the ice cream using a John Deere motor. Lots of fun to watch, especially for those of us that bleed green (I used to work at Deere headquarters back in the day). 

Yes, I did say BBQ pickle ice cream. It’s as weird as it sounds. It’s got tiny chopped up pickles in it and also some really light swirls of bbq sauce. It’s pretty freak show, to be honest. I’m glad I tried it, but I don’t need it again.

My friend LooseChange wanted to try the Bacon Maple Funnel Cake, so I obliged her and picked one up. It’s a funnel cake covered in a maple sauce, powdered sugar, chopped up bacon, whipped cream, and some cherries. It’s really good, but it’s really heavy and funnel cake-y. My friend Coach is a funnel cake aficionado and would definitely have approved of this concoction.

I try not to eat “normal” foods at the fair that I can get anywhere else. But I always cave when it comes to cheese curds. Mouth Trap cheese curds are the best at the fair, but generally, you need to share them with someone. Thankfully, D.Rough helped me out with a few of these.

D.Rough and I headed over to the Dairy Barn (where they keep the blocks of butter carved into the shapes of the various Fair Queens that year). D.Rough had heard about this puff corn sundae and thought we’d both check it out. She was less than impressed with the amount of corn puffs, but I think the whole thing was redeemed by the flavor of the ice cream and caramel. IT was really quite good and I’m glad we tried it. The fact that D.Rough is lactose intolerant and still thinks sundaes from the Dairy Barn are worth the pain should tell you how good these shakes and sundaes are.

I like my dessert a little heavier, so I headed to the Blue Moon Diner and got a chilled Bread Pudding with vanilla sauce and sugar cookie topping. The only downside I see to the chilled bread pudding is there are too many options – pick your bread, pick your sauce, and pick your toppings. I say “Just tell me what’s good!”. But as good as this thing was, I feel like I chose correctly on the combination. I love me some bread pudding.

One of the best things (and last things I ate) was the Cowboy Bites from the Frontier Bar. They’re basically corn kernels and jalapenos rolled into a ball and deep fried – served with some nice ranch dip. I was really happy with these little fried balls as a finisher. No complaints on this one and I really enjoyed leaving the fair for the night with these in my belly.

Overall, I did some damage, but was a little disappointed in the flavors of new items this year. Not every year can be the most amazing in the world. I was happy with everything over all and glad I went, but there were a couple of other items I skipped, in favor of trying new items. Next year will be better, right?! I'm sure of it!

1 comment:

ureallyannoyme said...

I've been looking forward to this post all week! I love your fair recaps even if I get a sympathy stomach ache midway through.

The food does sound underwhelming and less inventive than past years, but you got your 1919 at least. Thanks for sucking it up and taking one for your readers!