Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Great MN Get-Fat-Together Fair!

We usually don't attend the fair because it's expensive, hot, lots of people and crappy food. But, every year my DH's work holds a company picnic and gives away a bunch of prizes. And every year, we inevitably win tickets to the state fair. So, off we go. This year was no exception, so here's my recap!

Food #1 (pre-fair): Sweet Martha's Cookies
We cheated and bought these cookies in our local grocer's freezer section and ate them at home the night before the fair.

We had a lot of other foods that we wanted to eat at the fair, plus we got 2 dozen for the price we would've paid for about 7 cookies at the fair.

My Critique: These are amazingly delicious (and not good for you, of course)! You can not eat just one! I'm pretty sure I ate 1/2 dozen in one sitting! This is a favorite fair food for the locals in MN. Definitely worth eating every single year.

Food #1 (@ the fair): Pronto Pup
Pronto Pups are essentially corn dogs, but are not made with cornmeal or corn flour. Instead they are made with pancake batter based mix. You can read about their history here. They've also been featured on Food Network's Unwrapped show. You can find out how to make a Pronto Pup here.

My Critique: I like corn dogs as much as the next guy. And last year, the Pronto Pup I had was so tasty that I had to make sure and get one this year! Bad. Idea. Though the hot dog itself was seasoned well (and uniquely, I might add) the breading was soggy. Major disappointment this year. 

Food #2: Tom Thumb Mini Donuts
I was craving mini donuts for awhile leading up to the fair, so I was particularly excited about getting these! Tom Thumb Mini Donuts' slogan is, "Light As a Feather."

My Critique: These mini donuts live up to their slogan! They were so light and just melt in your mouth. Mmm... I didn't really want to share. These donuts will be added to my "must have" list the next time we return to the state fair. It was also fun to watch them make them! (see pictures below)


And then we had a little too much fun with the donuts! :) I highly recommend playing with your food.

I see you!

Food #3: Cheese Curds
Cheese curds are a regional delicacy also known as "squeaky cheese" because when bitten into, they should squeak against your teeth. They have a very mild flavor and are sometimes salty. Deep-fried cheese curds (like the ones at the fair) are covered with a batter and placed in a deep fryer.

My Critique: These cheese curds didn't even need the ketchup! They were soooo good by themselves. Again, I didn't want to share! The MN state fair has 3 different cheese curds company/stands. These were from The Mouth Trap Cheese Curds stand in the food building. Another must-have at the fair!

Food #4: Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (on a stick)
This is just exactly what it sounds like. Balls of chocolate chip cookie dough on a stick that are dipped in batter and deep fried and topped with powdered sugar. This was a brand new food item at the fair this year!

My Critique: This entire item was a complete disaster. The powdered sugar went everywhere. If the "ooey gooey" part meant falling off the stick before you could eat it, then they got it right. And the batter that the cookie dough was dipped in, wasn't fully cooked. It was like eating raw cookie dough dipped in raw batter. Yuck.

Food #5: Deep-Fried Pickles
Deep-Fried Pickles are made my slicing dill pickles, dipping them in batter and deep-frying. They are commonly served with Ranch dressing or Bleu Cheese dressing. This used to be located in the food building and called, "The Preferred Pickle" but it now has it's own building and is renamed, "The Perfect Pickle".

My Critique: This will forever be my go-to fair food. If I could pick only 1 food item to eat, this would be it. These have never disappointed me. Some year, I'm going to get the "take home batter" and make them at home!

Food #6: Chocolate Covered Bacon Pig Lickers
This was located at the Famous Dave's building. It's cooked bacon with a coating of chocolate and topped with sea salt.

My Critique: For some reason, I was expecting this bacon to be hot & crispy (but how would the chocolate solidify then, right?). Instead, it was soggy and cold. Chocolate is chocolate, but I didn't even taste the chocolate because the sea salt was so overpowering. Sea salt: Because apparently bacon isn't salty enough. I was hoping this food would perfect the salty/sweet combo that we all love, but fell a long shot! I took one bit of this and refused to eat anymore of it. This was by far the worst thing I ever ate at any fair. Steer clear!

Food #7: Chocolate Covered Cheesecake (on a stick)
A piece of cheesecake on a stick dipped in chocolate and frozen. Then covered with chocolate sauce.

My Critique: This wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good either. None of us thought it tasted like cheesecake and we weren't expecting it to be frozen, either. All I could taste was the chocolate sauce. This was a one-biter for and I was done.

Food #8: Minneapple Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream
Another brand new food at the MN state fair this year. According to their website: "A modern twist on an old favorite. Fresh and no preservatives. Apples inside a deep-fried flaky crust and topped with cinnamon and sugar."

My Critique: The cinnamon ice cream was amazing! In fact, my DD only wanted to eat the ice cream and, unfortunately, I can't say I blame her. This tasted like a glorified dessert "pie" like the ones you can buy in your local gas station. They did, however, have a pretty fun stand. (see pictures below)


Food #9: Chocolate Shake from the Moo Booth
The Moo Booth at the MN state fair is a really fun exhibit with all kinds of things from a milking parlor to butter carving contests! There is also a booth where you can get vanilla, chocolate or strawberry shakes.

My Critique: One year I got the chocolate shake and it was ah-mazing! Last year we got a strawberry shake and I wasn't impressed. So, this year I wasn't planning on getting another one. But, I was craving ice cream and it sounded good, so over to the Moo Booth we went. We got chocolate and again, it did not disappoint. Maybe I just don't like strawberry?

Winning Show Cow
That's A Lot of Milk!

Food #10: 1919 Root Beer Float
1919 Root Beer is "the creamiest, full-bodied, draft root beer available." Learn how to make your own perfect 1919 Root Beer Float here. It's made with real granulated sugar & real vanilla.

My Critique: There are tons of root beer stands around the fairgrounds, but I only settle for the best...1919 Root Beer. Top it with ice cream and caramel sauce and what could be better? A must-have!

MN State Fair Must-Have's: Sweet Martha's Cookies, Tom Thumb Mini Donuts, Mouth Trap Cheese Curds, Deep-Fried Pickles, Chocolate Shake (from the Moo Booth) and a 1919 Root Beer Float
MN State Fair Don't Have's: Pronto Pup, Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Covered Bacon, Chocolate Covered Cheesecake (on a stick) and Minneapple Pie

Note: I do not recommend eating this much processed sugar-laden and fried food when your body is not used to it. We were all very very sick afterward in unmentionable ways! Also, I didn't eat all this food by myself! We shared everything 3 ways and some things I took 1 bite of and decided it wasn't for me.