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Hold on to your hotdog, Grandma!


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Today, Andrew and I went to the Minnesota State Fair. We got up early and took the nearest park and ride, which put us at the fair around 8:45. We returned home around 6.

What I'm saying is: it was a long day.

State fairs are a Big Deal in this part of the country. I've been to the Iowa State Fair a handful of times, but this was my first time at the Minnesota State Fair. I know this means I'm letting Iowa down, but I think I preferred the MN State Fair. The reason for this is the sheer quantity of food here in Minnesota. There is food EVERYWHERE. There is a food building, there are food stands up and down all the streets, and there is food in all of the areas-grandstand, midway, old west themed craft town, and my favorite, the international bazaar. Of course, most of it is fair fare. I wouldn't call it a foodie's dream or anything. However, I did eat some excellent things today. I also ate way too many fried things, much to my stomach's chagrin.

Andrew and I entered the fair armed with a coupon book. Here is our story.

MORNING:We didn't really eat breakfast before we left this morning since we were planning to eat at the fair.
Despite my love of things like pastries and cinnamon buns and eating cookies for breakfast, I actually don't handle sugar too well in the morning. Therefore we settled on crepes (from French Crepes), which had plenty of savory options. I seriously considered the bacon and cheese crepe, as well as the asparagus and cheese crepe. Ultimately I let Andrew choose, since we were going to share. Hence, we ended up with the cranberry and brie crepe. I also got a generous cup of coffee, which was surprisingly good. I had thought to pop across to French Meadow for coffee, but I'm glad that I didn't.
To my pleasure and surprise, the cranberry portion of the crepe was more like a cranberry jam, which had a nice tartness without too much astringency. This contrasted nicely with the crepe itself, which was just mildly sweet in addition to being light and chewy. The brie was clearly brie, and we were happy to discover that there was also a smattering of walnuts.
This was the best thing I ate today. I don't know if I feel that way because this was the first thing and it set the standard or what. What I do know is that this was fantastic and I want one for breakfast everyday for the rest of my life.
Andrew said: It's good! I still taste walnut in my mouth!
Then he tried to spout some hoity toity nonsense to make himself sound deeper and more articulate.

The crepe was not enough breakfast for Andrew, so we popped over to the Food Building and stopped at My Sausage Sister and Me, which is apparently a sausage company run primarily by women.
Andrew got the biscuits and gravy. I'm not a sausage person, but I had a tiny, non-sausaged bite, and I have to say these were pretty good.
Andrew said: Very good. The gravy's very creamy and peppery. The biscuits are fluffy and slightly buttery. The sausage is very good, there's no gristle. Excellent consistency. Slightly spicy. The sausage doesn't overpower the gravy, and it's slightly fennel-y.

After this stop, we walked around for awhile. We visited the goat building, and I had my hands licked and nibbled on by several goats. It was pretty great.

At mid-morning, we stopped for Deep Fried Fruit on a Stick. We had a coupon and Andrew likes fruit. Had I been by myself, this isn't something I would have gone for.
Andrew liked this more than I did. Our stick contained random fruit, though for a few dollars more you can customize it. The strawberry (pictured) was pretty good. It gave me the impression of a crumble or something similar. Really, it's like hot fruit encased in funnel cake. It made my stomach hurt. If I were to eat it again, I would get a custom one with nothing but strawberries and pears. This is not something I'd seek out, however.
Andrew said: Good variety. Sort of like pie on a stick or something.

Dying to eat something other than fruit, we made our way back to the food building. Andrew went off to find some lemonade, and I went towards The Mouth Trap, which I think might be something of an institution at the fair. The line was immense, but it went really quickly since all they sell are deep fried cheese curds.
They were really good cheese curds, too. They had a nice balance of cheesiness and greasiness. The salt content was just right. Something about the coating had a satisfying back-of-the-mouth flavor/feeling that read as really homey and fantastic. I ate these plain, but plenty of Mouth Trap patrons ate theirs with ketchup.
Andrew said: Cheesy, lightly battered...
Me: I just need a base reaction.
Andrew: ...Good.

Andrew wanted a more substantial lunch, so we swung over to Dino's, which serves fast Greek food. Andrew loves gyros. Andrew might even love gyros more than chicken tenders.
I didn't taste the gyro, but Andrew gave it a pretty good review.
Andrew said: Good. Messy. The tzatziki needs more cucumber. Good, fast food gyro.
Because he's a pretty nice guy, and because he knows the quickest way to my heart is through my sweet tooth, Andrew bought me some baklava at Dino's as well. It was pretty decent baklava-flaky and syrupy sweet. On an awesome baklava scale of 1-5, I'd give it a 3.5.
After more walking around, we decided it was Fudge Puppy time. Fudge Puppies, from Granny's Kitchen, are something I'd never heard of until Andrew started talking about the Minnesota State Fair. They are essentially a Belgian waffle on a stick, dipped in chocolate and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. Or, as I phrased it in my notes, a waffle with sundae toppings.
We shared this. I don't know. I'm very much a sweets person, but this didn't knock my socks off or anything. The waffle was really good. It was sweet and fluffy and basically anything you could want from a waffle. I thought the chocolate was kind of grainy, though. The Puppy was too warm for the whipped cream, which kept melting and sliding off.
Andrew said: The chocolate was very good. I thought the flavor was right. Warm. Waffley. Chocolately.

Eventually I decided it was beer time. Summit Brewery, which is a local brewery that's been around for about as long as I have, has Summit On A Stick. These are three Summit beers in little 7 oz. glasses on a wooden paddle. I wish I had the beer reviewing skills of my friend Kim of Will Write for Beer. Alas, I do not.
Normally I am a dark beer person, but my favorite of these was actually the Extra Pale Ale, which was nice and smooth with a lightly bitter background. Andrew liked the Oktoberfest. The Horizon Red was bitter and piney/citrusy.

Immediately after our beers, Andrew took me over to the Horticulture Building and bought me something I'd been really excited to try: Wine Ice Cream.
The ice cream was made by Saint Paul ice cream company, Izzy's, using regional wines. There were three flavors, and the other two were raspberry based, so I steered clear. This one was Apple Cinnamon, made from a white wine called Johnny Appleseed.
This is my favorite dessert thing I ate all day. The ice cream was good-light, icy, and creamy with a mild spicy apple flavor and a distinct wine tang. It also didn't leave that sickly sweet aftertaste I usually get from ice cream. Plus: wine. You had to be at least 21 to order this. Awesome.
Andrew said: I liked it.

After much walking around, and much sitting down, and much complaining (on my part) of aching shoulders and hips, we set off for our final fair goals. We had a coupon for onion rings from Danielson's and Daughters Onion Rings. I had also just read about this company in Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine, so I was curious to try them out.
I squirted a bit of Frank's Hot Sauce in one corner with the intention of dipping, but I really ought to have drizzled it all over the rings. I thought they were a bit bland, and I also should have taken advantage of the salt sitting out at Danielson's and Daughters' booth. The batter was quite crunchy, and the onion was sweet. The ones that did end up soaked in Frank's were particularly good. If I ever get these again, salt and Frank's is definitely the way to go.
Andrew said: I liked them. They're better than most onion rings. A light distribution of Frank's would have been good.

And so, having eaten a lot of fried food and walked a lot, we made our way back to the bus and headed home.

I had a pretty excellent time today. I'm sure it was tedious for Andrew having me whip out my camera and notepad every time we bought food, but it was much more fun for me that way.

The title of this post is something we overheard at the fair today, and we could not stop giggling about it. The full quote is: "Hold on to your hotdog, Grandma! There's a bump!"


All that food looks soooo good! Fried cheese curds are one of the world's perfect foods - those look AMAZING. And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who whips out a notebook at the slightest provocation - I'm no longer capable of going to a bar without a notebook.
(and thanks for the shoutout!)

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