I went into the Minnesota State Fair with an ambitious list of new foods and drafted my line-up of three other people willing to help; Noelle, Lisa & Tom…as you probably already guessed, we did not make it all the way through the list haha. The hard part about new fair foods is that it doesn’t take into account all of your Minnesota State Fair food staples OR the copious amount of beer you’re going to be drinking.
I think we made a valiant effort and secretly am thankful of the rain that swept in around 5pm so that we had a legitimate reason to leave with our mission incomplete.
6 hours. 11 foods. 6-ish beers. Minnesota State Fair ✓
Swine & Spuds: Deep Fried Dilly Dog
Eating a hallowed out pickle with a brat inside was a little uncomfortable for some reason, but I love pickles and this new take on a classic corndog was everything I needed in my life. This was by far my favorite new fair food this year.
Nashville Hot Chicken On-A-Stick
Ultra-crispy fried chicken with sweet-heat butter glaze. This had a bit of a kick to it, but was not what I’d consider Nashville hot. Still good, but a patron walking by as we were discussing it said it best – “It’s more like “Minnesota Hot.” My wife is from here and thinks even ketchup is too hot.” hahaha
Brim Grilled Sota Sandwich
Made with Cinnamon nut butter, Minnesota blueberry marmalade and Irish soda bread. This sandwich is gluten free and dairy free. It was on Lisa’s list and the first food item we got at the fair. I’ve never had a grilled PB & J, but I liked their take on it!
O’Gara’s Irish Whiskey Boneless Wings
O’Gara’s is without fail always a new food I want in my mouth. These white chicken boneless wings (or as Tom calls them “chicken nuggets”) are deep fried and tossed in Irish whiskey BBQ sauce. Definitely delicious. A little spicy for me, but I’m a spice baby (please see above for “Minnesota Hot” definition). I was told by everyone else that they had minimal kick haha.
Swine & Spuds: Pork Belly On-A-Stick
Bacon wrapped pork belly in three varieties served with fries. Ok, this food was not “new” this year, but it was definitely new to us. Tom was off buying us beers while we were waiting in line for the Swine & Spuds Deep Fried Dilly Dog (see above) so I was SO excited to be able to surprise him with a new food I knew he would love. Pork Belly, while too fatty for me, is his absolute favorite thing. He gives this 5 stars and claims it was the best thing he had all day. Girlfriend win!
Ollie’s Crab Fritters
Here is another “new to me” food that I tried this year (thanks for sharing, Noelle). I was worried I wouldn’t like it since I’m not a huge fan of crab cakes, but the crab wasn’t as pronounced. Glad I tried it out and it was pretty good, but it likely won’t be a staple for me.
Fair Food Essentials:
This is the best food in the entire world. This year I only managed to get one due to our State Fairgrounds route and I’m physically upset about it.
*Mom – Christmas List Item: cheese on a stick maker
Kropp’s Titletown Cheese Curds
I will likely never get over that the best cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair are made from Wisconsin cheese haha, but these are the literal best ones. Not Mouse Trap. Not the Cheese Curd stand that has been closed down, these ones.
Not Pictured Foods:
Chicago Dog from Chicago Dogs: I stole a bite of Tom’s and it was delicious, but I’m glad I didn’t get my own.
Deep Fried Candy Bar: Noelle was on her own on this one…not my thing, but I felt it was important for other Minnesota State Fair enthusiasts to know that we did not forget one of the ultimate fair foods!
Sweet Martha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies: We were all more than willing to help eat them so Noelle could get the top closed. #Teamwork
Blue Barn Frosé
Not new this year, but this was leftover from Lisa’s list last year. Refreshing and fruity, but not too fruity. A fan!
Brewed In Minnesota : Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild
This is a super fun way to try out new Minnesota brews every year. Normally I’m all about the “Dark & Roasty,” but this year I went for the “Crisp & Clean”
I’m a sucker for anything “on-a-stick,” so I was excited to try out the Minne-Sotan IPA, the Classic Oktoberfest, and the third beer I just don’t recall. #SorryNotSorry
Cowbell Cream Ale
When I asked if this was a good beer to try, the beer-tender assured me that it was her favorite and is her habitual pick as a post-shift beer. It was definitely smooth and I was a fan.
Lift Bridge Mango Ale
My last beer of the day (NOT Tom’s last, although it should have been clearly haha). I liked the Mango of this one. It wasn’t too fruity, but pronounced enough to taste it!
Loved the photo ops near the entrance! Nothing says “Welcome To Minnesota” like Paul and Babe!
Fair photo-opps are an absolute MUST. Lisa and I have been going strong for 5 years. TRADITION!
Overall I think this pic sums it all up – friendship, food, drinks, and fair merch (KFAN).
We did miss out on the San Felipe Carnitas Taco Cone, because the line was around the corner, and we didn’t make it to Giggles to try out the Dill beer or the Duck Wings, but the real bummer for me was that when we went to see the baby goats the barn was closed for some reason. Overall, a great day with great people, though!
BONUS: AUNT BRAG
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there to cheer her on because of work, but my niece placed third in her horse show at the Minnesota State Fair in her first year of riding and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Love you, Rory! (Photo credit to my sister)
Minnesota State Fair
August 22nd – September 2nd