My two days at the Minnesota State Fair could not be more different. When I visited on Tuesday, it was hot, humid, and sticky. Shorts and tank tops were in order and by the end of the day, I was eager to get on the bus for a cold blast of air conditioning. I looked forward to Friday’s visit when the temps would be much cooler, but I never thought it would be as cold as it was. With a high of 63 degrees, most fair-goers were in long pants and sweatshirts and gloves were looked upon with envy.
Due to high winds, the beloved Sky Glider was closed for the day and drops of rain closed down the Giant Slide for a few hours. Crowds were quite sparse in the morning, giving an eerie feeling to the fair, but by late afternoon, lines became longer and the streets were filled with a sea of people, rejuvenating the energy at the fair.
Of course, I came for the food, so here are my thoughts on what I ate:
Cheese Curds ($5.50) – Mouse Hole/Original Cheese Curds (R-24)
Yay!: Crispy batter on the outside and melted squeaky Ellsworth cheese curds on the inside, these were an excellent way to start my day at the fair. Plus, I hit the booth at 8:03a.m.; no lines!
Meh: I heard that an order of cheese curds pack in 81 grams of fat, so I was glad to be sharing.
Scotch Egg ($6) – Scotch Egg vendor (J-28)
Yay!: I was NOT yelling, “yay!” to these.
Meh: Perhaps I just do not see the appeal of a big hunk of flavorless sausage wrapped around a hard-boiled egg. It was too large, uncomfortable to eat, and even sauces like horseradish, honey mustard and ranch could not make up for the lack of flavor.
Soft Pretzel with Cheese ($6) – Der Pretzel Haus (J-28)
Yay!: I love soft pretzels, so much so, that I crave them on a regular basis, but avoid the butter laden ones at the mall. Der Pretzel Haus does not pre-butter their fresh-made pretzels, so this was perfect! Hot, soft and doughy, it hit the spot.
Meh: Six dollars is pretty pricy for a soft pretzel.
Red Bull Freeze Pop ($3) – Axel’s (U-26)
Yay!: Before being introduced to Peace Coffee, I drank Red Bull for energy, so the frozen version sounded intriguing. Axel’s packages the freeze pops themselves and it does taste just like Red Bull.
Meh: The freeze pop was frozen rock solid and could not be eaten immediately. After almost thirty minutes of sitting in the cool temperatures, it had softened enough to bite, but it was not incredibly impressive. I wished I had bought a can of Red Bull instead.
Ruby Red Wine Ice Cream ($3) – Minnesota Wine Country (Horticulture Building, T-28)
Yay!: This ice cream was amazing! Rich and creamy with a unique flavor made this one a hit. Izzy’s raspberry ice cream was infused with Ruby Minnesota wine from Northern Vineyards and was not overly sweet or harsh. Apple-cinnamon and chocolate-raspberry are also options.
Meh: I should have ordered two scoops, it was that good.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Malt – Dairy Goodness Bar (Dairy Building, R-31)
Yay!: I received a free malt coupon from Princess Kay and while malts were not on my list, that did not stop me from trying one. Many malt flavors are available, but only two use Minnesota grown strawberries, so I went for strawberry-rhubarb. It was creamy, delicious, and packed with fruit. The long lines move fast, so do not let that discourage you.
Meh: It melted quickly, even with the chilly weather.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my two days at the fair and perhaps even got some food ideas of your own from the blog posts. I missed three things on my original list (the Haloumi cheese kebabs are non-existent at Holy Land), but made up for it by adding a few more. While the fair is wrapping up, I will be working out at the gym and making healthier meals in an effort to counteract the fair’s gluttony.
Crystal Grobe writes the Bite of Minnesota blog as well as Cafe Cyan.