A fun weekend enjoying the fair with friends! We sampled some original MN Fair Food favorites. These included O'Gara's Reuben sandwich, Mancini's Porketta pig wings, Dino's gyro's. New foods that we had the opportunity to try included chicken and waffle cone, blue cheese corn fritters, and walleye tacos.
We also had a fun sampling of many of the fruit/veggie options at the fair - including frozen grapes, Island Noodles with Vegetables, and the fresh produce available in the West End Market.
Finally, there was the corn dog/pronto pup sampling. Many folks assume the corn dog and the pronto pup are the same thing (and typically have a very strong opinion about which one is best). There is an important difference between the two that lend to each having a unique flavor and texture difference. The corn dog uses a cornmeal batter, while the pronto pup uses a pancake flour based batter. To test out which of the two was a fair favorite, I conducted a blind taste test. Although my personal favorite has always been the corn dog, the pronto pup came out on top with our group of samplers (and I might be swayed now too)!
Certainly the food at the Minnesota State Fair is a big hit. But, after 4 days of walking around the fair, I was reminded over and over again about what truly makes me so fond of the fair. For me, I love the enormous variety of activities, exhibits, demonstrations, live entertainment, (all included in the price of admission) that showcase so many people's interests and talents. For example, I'm amazed at how hard everyone works in the swine, cattle, horse and other barns. There's lots of education, too...about dairy farming, how animals are cared for and what life on the farm is about. We walked by Princess Kay of the Milky Way reading a children's story to a group of kiddos, while on the north side of the fair features one of my favorite log rolling shows. And, to top it off, I learned you never grow too old for the Giant Slide! There's so much more than I'm including here, so I encourage you to go find out what makes the fair truly "The Great Minnesota Get Together!"
Yesterday was day two at the Minnesota State Fair. And, it was such a great example of all the other things I love about the fair (friends and music). To begin with, it was moving day for my daughter back into college. So, I had a 4 1/2 hour car ride to Madison, WI, followed by moving all her stuff up a couple flights of stairs in 91 degree heat plus humidity. Perhaps some of you can relate? Anyway, after a few hours of moving in, I was in the car for my trek back to the Twin Cities.
Every year, I end "moving day" driving straight to the fair to meet my hubby for what always turns out to beautiful evening. We enjoy time hanging out listening to the awesome, free entertainment and chatting with friends and people we've never met. Last night, we hung out at the new West End listening to Chastity Brown at the Schilling Amphitheater. Then, we headed over to Famous Dave's (to get a new food - more on that in a bit) and heard some great Blue's. Finally, a nice stroll over to one of our favorite hangouts, Coasters, where Uncle Chunk was rockin' the stage. For me, it's such a great distraction, as I can get a bit melancholy when my girl goes off to school.
So, what about the food? I was able to try a couple more new fair foods last night.
First, was the Korean BBQ Collar with Kimchee pickles. These meaty pork chunks were coated in that special tangy Famous Dave's sauce that paired nicely with the spicy pickles.
Second, Coaster's Pork Chop (not on a stick). Great flavor and enjoyed having something without a lot of spice and sauce - for a change. I will say that my hubby and I really enjoy the pork chop on the stick located across from the Bandstand. This one has a nice marinade/seasoning and more char grilled flavor.
Also, from Coaster's - Bacon Mac and Cheese Bites. Kind of look like those dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, but actually deliver a nice, creamy texture (not gooey) with a bit of a kick.
A final note for a cool evening at the fair. Enjoy a great beer, such as Schell's Oktoberfest. A lovely pairing with pork!
I truly love the Minnesota State Fair! I love the entertainment, the animals, and of course the food. Today, a friend and myself were on a mission to try as many new fair foods as we could...and throughout the remaining 11 days of the fair. And not for the typical nutritional bashing from nutritionists and health experts, but rather to savor and appreciate the yummy concoctions only found once a year. You see, even though we are both registered dietitians, we actually enjoy food and practice eating all foods in moderation. So, with that, here's what we tried today:
1) Sno ribbons
2) pretzel curds
3) Walleye Mac and cheese
4) Prime rib tacos
5) Lobster on a stick
6) Minnesota meatloaf on a stick
8) Frozen Grain Belt BLU
THE WINNER: a tie between meatloaf on a stick and frozen BLU. With that said, all were very tasty, and shareable portions.
Stay tuned for more
Val Schonberg is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, disease