Yesterday was Day 1 of the 2010 State Fair as well as Day 1 for myself. I’ll be attending again next Thursday. This isn’t because I have a undying love affair with travel to Falcon Heights, it’s because I’ve had/have inlaws in town who are fascinated with this unique slice of Americana.
I can’t fault them. It really is a place like no other. Where else can you find carneys, 1-ton families, U.S. Senators, marching bands, pro sports mascots, livestock of all types, and Boyz II Men for the low price of an 11 dollar admission?
At any rate, the people watching is second to none at the state fair but the best reason to go is the food. The fair’s website has improved every year with this year’s food finder being the best guide to gluttony on the face of the planet.
After exhaustive research, here’s my 2010 cheat sheet, with some comments on what I’ve tried so far. Hopefully I’ll hit the rest next week!
New for 2010: Deep-fried cheeseburger sliders (cheeseburger batter-dipped and deep fried).
Verdict: In a word: greasy. But that is to be expected when you batter and deep fry a bun. I think if you could make them to order with bacon or pickles inside it would spice them up a little. Not bad, but not great.
Giggles’ Campfire Grill (V-13)
New for 2010: Chicken Fried Bacon (thick-cut bacon battered and breaded, fried and served in a boat covered with gravy).
Verdict: I was hoping for more of the batter to stick to the bacon, but what was there was yummy. The description online isn’t quite accurate regarding the “covered with gravy”. You actually get a small cup of maple flavored dip (which you could call gravy), that’s quite good and compliments the bacon. I recommend getting yourself some chicken fried bacon!
Midtown Global Market (V-31)
New for 2010: Camel on-a-stick, mango on-a-stick, African coolers.
Moe and Joes Coffee (N-30)
New for 2010: Grilled marshmallow, chocolate and banana sandwich
Netterfield Food Court (V-20)
New for 2010: Deep fried bologna served on-a-stick or on a bun
Verdict: I should have known better when I finally found the Netterfield Food Court. A collection of the brightly neoned cars you find in the midway at most fairs. Far too much of a commercialized/franchized operation. I’ll give them this much, the bologna was larger than a hockey puck, but it’s still bologna. No batter, just dropped in the fryer. Tasted like… well, bologna. Not worth your time or your 5 bucks.
New for 2010: Sweet potato tots (tater tots made out of sweet potatoes), Danny Boy Burger (burger made with corned beef and covered with kraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island Dressing). Irish Soda bread served with cinnamon butter to enjoy here or a loaf to take home.
Verdict: I only tried the sweet potato tots. I really enjoy sweet potato fries dipped in blue cheese, so I was excited about these. However the tots seemed to be tossed in sugar and come with no dip of any sort. More along the lines of sweet potato pie than the savory snack I expected. Instead, try the blarney beans, and a pint of your favorite beer (16 or so on tap!)
Potato Man and Sweetie (J-27)
New for 2010: Deep-fried bacon cheddar mashed potatoes on-a-stick.
Sonnys Spiral Spuds (T-26)
New for 2010: Sloppy Joe served over a bed of spiral chips; Chocolate Tornado (tornado potato dipped in chocolate)
Also, for those of you who have picked up a Blue Ribbon Book, here’s some good deals that I found:
Ball Park Cafe (S-25)
Blue Ribbon Bargain Book: Get $2 off one order of garlic fries
Bridgeman’s Restaurants (J-28)
Blue Ribbon Bargain Book: Get $3 off your choice of a brownie or muffin sundae
French Creperie (Q-26)
Blue Ribbon Bargain Book: Get $2.25 off any $7 crepe
Luigi Fries (P-26)
Blue Ribbon Bargain Book: Get $1 off one Luigi Italian Ice or buy one Luigi Italian Ice and get one FREE or buy one of the following Luigi food item, Luigi fries, Luigi hot dago-on-a-stick or Luigi deep fried peppers and receive a Luigi Italian Ice FREE
Vegie Fries (T-23)
Blue Ribbon Bargain Book: Get $1.50 off one stick of vegie fries or potato onion fries or $1 off one vegie roll
Last but not least, a few favorites:
Pork Chop on a Stick – Carousel BBQ (K-25) OR Pork Chops & Chicken (U-31)
Milk – All The Milk You Can Drink (N-29) OR Dairy Town Diner (R-31)
Spam Burgers (W-21)
Buffalo Burgers (H-24)
Inside Heritage Square in the southeast quadrant – Buffalo burgers, elk burgers (Giggles also has some quality buffalo and elk burgers)
Tom Thumb Donuts