Monday, July 07, 2008

Monday Musings: Taste of Minnesota Edition

Husband Lesson #1: Don't lose an argument with your with your wife before a holiday weekend. Last week, my wife asked if I wanted to go to the Taste of Minnesota. She may as well have asked if I wanted an enema of meth addled porcupines. But, instead of saying "good idea honey, but remember how much the whole event smells like pee? Let's go to the neighbors' party instead," I simply acquiesce. Let's muse.


Several years ago, the Taste of Minnesota moved to Harriet Island. Nobody was asking for this, and nobody appreciated the move, not least of which because Harriet Island is almost inaccessible. As a result, we literally have to park 12 blocks away. Combine this with the usual post-fireworks log jam, and you are talking about the equivalent of a one hour and fifteen minute commute to Minneapolis.


If there is one thing for which the Taste of Minnesota is famous, it is egregious prices. Now, there are those who lament the cost of everything, and I am not one of those people, but here is a sampling of what I was contending with here.

Cheese Curds - $5.63**
Small Taco - $5.00
Lemonade - $7.50
Box of noodles - $8.75
11 oz. pale ale - $9.25*
Potato Spirals - $7.50
Corn - $4.38(!)
French Fries - $5
Shrimp (2) - $5

* - Price reflects the cost of the beer ($6.25) as well as the cost of an (Over 21) bracelet, which is $3. Yep, they charge you $3 to check your ID. That is in no way unreasonable.

** - It is worth noting that the portion is about half the size of the State Fair version.


To add some perspective, one can go to Heidi's and enjoy a crepe with foie gras, curried beluga black lentils, topped with a hibiscus syrup, accompanied by a highly drinkable Malbec for the same price as a cob of corn and a lemonade.


Put another way, the vomit stains on the sidewalk along the river must have cost upward of $50 to produce.


But there's more to the Taste of Minnesota than the food. On the main stage, I am distracted by a fellow who is rapping (to the tune of Eminem's "Slim Shady") about how he is the real Greg Brady, and not the Brady Bunch character of the same name. I thought to myself "why the hell is some old guy pretending to be Greg Brady?"

It was not until the next day that I realized that he was, in fact, Barry Williams, aka TVs Greg Brady. I am beyond words.


One of the talking points defenders of the Taste utilize is that admission is free. This is true, albeit more in the sense that admission to Le Belle Vie is free. Of course, all this means is that we get to spend our evening cavorting amongst thugs (is it a bad thing when the first sign that greets you warns against wearing gang colors?) and people straight out of the casting call for The Hills Have Eyes.

I'd spend $7 not to have to smell these people.


There is a mini-stage for kids, entitled "kiddance", featuring a DJ and some half hearted dancers encouraging a dozen or so youths to dance along with crappy wedding music. The highlight was a rendition of the Superman song (Soulja Boy version, not Five for Fighting), complete with requisite dance moves for the "supersoak 'dat ho'" portion. How apropos. Reason #52 why I will never take my kids to this wretched event.


My wife is complaining too, if you were wondering. I should be able to leverage this to pick our dates through the rest of the summer? "Gee honey, I'd love to do that... I'm just worried it will turn into another Taste of Minnesota".


Above all else, the Taste of Minnesota is extremely boring. It is, essentially, a glorified midway carnival. Almost no local restaurant's take part in the event (though Bennett's can lay claim to the egregious two shrimp for five bucks deal... Suffice to say it won't be receiving repeat business from these quarters). Mostly, it's just caterers making hot dogs.

There are about a dozen or so exhibitors and craftmakers, peddling the usual turqoise jewelry and those ubiquitous hanging chairs. And that's it. Otherwise, it's just sit on your butt and watch Barry Williams rap. $45 well spent, I say.


Apparently, the Taste of Minnesota will be under new ownership next year. It would be hard for them to do any worse. Have fun with it fellas. I'm not going back.

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Blogger Adam Omelianchuk said...

Man I'm glad I didn't go to that. Instead I walked my roommates bike home from the Stone Arch Bridge. I got a flat tire.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Thom said...

I watched the new Rambo instead. I think I had the better deal.

7:59 AM  

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