Minnesota State Fair

Dined on Friday September 2nd.

State fair sign

A little bit of history on the Minnesota State Fair before I begin. The first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 near what became downtown Minneapolis. This was a year after Minnesota was granted statehood. Today, often referred as the “Great Minnesota Get Together”, the annual Minnesota State Fair is one of the most popular tourist destination in the region. The fair attracts nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. The fair is always held 12 days leading up to and through Labor Day. The 2016 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug 25 – Sept 5. There are many reasons why I love the Minnesota State Fair, but for me it’s simply all about the food. Each year, I look forward to the State Fair new foods list to find out what new creations have been concocted. I often attempt to try one or two items from that list along with my usual favorites. And this year, was no different.

Eats:

Pork Chop

If you end up at the fair, you definitely have to order something on a stick and for me it is the Pork Chop. I just can’t leave the fair without it. Cooked and seasoned perfectly, the pork chop is juicy and full of flavors. Located South side of Judson Ave. between Nelson and Underwood Streets.

Gizmo Sandwich

The Gizmo Sandwich is not new to the fair but was new to us. The Gizmo is an Italian-style loose meat sandwich, made of ground beef and Italian sausage covered in red sauce and seasonings, topped with real melted mozzarella cheese and served on a hoagie bun. It’s a very tasty sandwich, spicier than we expected, heavy and messy at times. Nonetheless, it is winner. Located west side of Cooper St. between Murphy and Lee avenues. 

Spicy Pork Bowl

New this year to the Minnesota State Fair, the Spicy Pork bowl was of interest to me. The bowl consisted of adobo pulled pork, rice, black beans, spinach, charred salsa, and fried onion rings. The first bites were not spicy, but the bowl was still delicious. Then I found the charred salsa hidden in the corner at the bottom of the bowl. Once I mixed in the salsa with the other ingredients, the dish came alive bringing a hint of smokiness and spiciness. Located at the West End Market, south of the History and Heritage Center. 

Chicken Tikka

Quickly becoming a favorite of mine, the chicken tikka on-a-stikka, is a spice and yogurt marinated chicken skewered and char-grilled with tikka sauce. If you love Indian food, then this dish should be on your list. That tikka sauce is so creamy and flavorful, it is pure goodness. Located at the International Bazaarr, east wall. 

Bacon

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon! I am not sure there is anything else I need to say here. Bacon on-a-stick, 1/3 pound bacon grilled with maple syrup served with dipping sauce. Go get one! Located South side of Carnes Ave between Liggett and Nelson streets, in front of the DNR building.

Waffle Sandwich

To finish the day, I went with the Hot Toasted Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich from West End Creamery. You can never go wrong with two thin hot waffles and a slice of vanilla ice cream between them. It’s simple yet it was very satisfying. Just a great dessert. Located at the West End market, northwest section.

Cookies

A definite must at the fair, Sweet Martha’s cookies. We grabbed a bucket on our way out to share with Grandma, Grandpa, and the kids. Located South side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson and Underwood Streets.
Beer:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Beer

I wanted to add this beer in here as I enjoyed it. It is new this year from Big Wood Brewery. I love chocolate chip everything, so I was very excited to try this chocolate chip cookie beer. The beer itself is a golden ale with hints of chocolate and vanilla, and the glass is served rimmed with semi-sweet chocolate chips. This is a great addition to the fair. Located at Andy’s Grille South side of Carnes Ave. between Liggett and Nelson streets. 
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