31 August 2010

MN State Fair: Feeding Frenzy

I went to the state fair for the first time in about 10 years. When people at the office heard that it had been so long since going, they said, “But Steve, you’re such a foodie. How can you not go to the state fair.”

Well first of all, I’m not sure that I really am a ‘foodie.’ Secondly, if I were a foodie, I’m not sure that the state fair qualifies as food nirvana.

Being a cheapskate, I got into the fair for free. (As a volunteer at the milk booth, see the next post below.) I also parked at the free ‘Park & Ride’ lot by the University of Minnesota football stadium.

I arrived at about 9 a.m. My shift at the milk booth didn’t start until 10, so I had time for breakfast. I wandered around, and thought about eating at one of the full service restaurants. I’ve never done that before. While I was walking, I passed a table where they were handing out samples of Motts applesauce. So that was my first state fair food – free.

Next I saw the booth for Axel’s Bonfire. They offered a breakfast wrap that sounded kinda good. It had eggs, cheese, sausage, and bacon. Of course, it was deep fried. It tasted ok, but it didn’t really have to be deep fried. It was reasonable, however: $4.

I wanted coffee with the wrap, but Axel’s didn’t have any. However, they directed me to French Meadow down the street. Actually, if I had known that French Meadow had a booth, I might have skipped the breakfast wrap. But I went there and got a $2 cup of organic coffee. Meh. I’ve had better.

I still had a little time to kill, so I had one of my favorite state fair treats – Tom Thumb donuts. I can’t help it. I love ‘em. $4.

After working for a while in the milk booth, I was told to go on break. So I wandered back to the French Meadow. I had their risotto fritters. They were good; probably the second best thing I ate at the fair. (Tom Thumb donuts are unbeatable.) They were lightly breaded and fried. They had a nice Swiss cheese and mushroom filling. I didn’t think there was much flavor from the risotto, however. There were three fritters – on a stick – served with a small container of marinara sauce; $5.

I also went across the street from French Meadow to Moon Beam Coffee where I had a double espresso - $2. It was a very enjoyable. A lot better than the coffee I’d had earlier at French Meadow. They’re on Facebook. But otherwise, there’s not much info on who they are.

I went back to the milk booth to finish my shift. After it was over, I had a corn dog - $3. I was glad I did it. It reminded me why I should never eat corn dogs. Yuck.

The last food item I had was a sample of Bongard’s cheese curds. They were being served at the Moo Booth (dairy barn). Free.

That was it. Oh, I did have a couple of beers. One after the fritters (and before the espresso). The other after the corn dog. The first was a Leinie Red, and the second was Blue Moon. Each were $4.

Oops. I forgot to have a milk. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Postscript: Total attendance at the fair that day was 113,637. I only talked to three people who I knew. I did see Rep. Keith Ellison. But he didn’t see me, and I don’t think he knows who I am anyway. Also, someone greeted me by name at the milk booth. Of course, I was wearing a name tag. But he referenced a retired co-worker, so I think he really did know me. I, on the other hand, didn’t have a clue who he was.

1 comment:

SPKrikava said...

Jim Emanuelson, a former co-worker, sent me this e-mail and agreed to let me post it as a comment --

I enjoy reading your food blog. With me being rather new to the Twin Cities, I have used your blog for a restaurant idea more than once. When I read the title to your latest Facebook post, I was intrigued. What can Steve find at the State Fair? Next year, you will have to wander over to the International Bazaar or Giggles. Maybe the wine flavored ice cream in the Agriculture building? (I enjoy that building.) I'd be interested in your thoughts next year. While not all gourmet delights, my wife and I do find more to the State Fair than corn dogs.