Friday, August 28, 2009

State Fair Food Reviews

I went to the Minnesota State Fair. I ate things. Here's what I ate, and whether I liked it. Go.

Leprechaun Legs - O'Garas - This is really well executed. Great balance of bean and batter, not greasy or overcooked, and the sauce is nice and pungent. Portion is a bit small for $5.

Bacon - Big Fat Bacon: The orange chipotle marmalade is still a great compliment to a high quality slice of bacon, but the bacon was a tad underdone and the portion didn't seem as generous. The magic was missing.

Pig Cheeks - Famous Daves: I thought the meat was nicely done and flavorful. I wanted the peach glaze to infiltrate the meat a bit more, and I wanted salt, which was not available. Still, a good chance to try a generous portion of a cut you are unlikely to purchase again.

Porcupine Meatballs - Giggles: The belle of the ball this year. The elk (not porcupine) meatballs are cooked with gorgonzola and wild rice, which contrasts nicely with the (real) mashed potatoes and gravy. Sweet onions tie everything together. The portion is substantial for the price, and ranks as one of the most sophisticated dishes at the fair.

Risotto balls - French Meadow: A dud. Soupy, bland, risotto with mushroom cream sauce soggily breaded and served at about 65 degrees.

Olives on a stick - International Bazaar: An annual tradition we were about to shirk in favor of Holy Land's $1 deals... Until we realized HL's $1 deals are apocryphal. The olives are good, but we scored a Thrifty Thursday deal, and I can't imagine paying $2.50 for five of them.

Funnel Cake Fries - Apple Lil's: Wife had high hopes for the portable version of her favorite. Dish is largely a failure. The "fries" are cut too wide, and they are served with, literally, heated Hershey's syrup. Lame.

Cheese Curds - The Mouth Trap: After one glorious year, Ole and Lena's has stopped serving their exquisite curds with Lingonberry sauce. Back to the salty old standby.

Mini-donuts - Tom Thumb: They are mini donuts. Next.

Tornado Potato - Sonny's Spiral Spuds: The name is a bit of hyperbole, considering the product is simply spiral cut, fried potato slices on a stick. That said, they were nicely seasoned, and the sauce was so good, we considered lugging it around for the purpose of dipping other food items.

Chocolate/Raspberry Wine ice cream - Ag Building: A decent scoop of chocolate ice cream from Izzy's with nary a hint of the promised raspberry wine infusion. Which, usually when you order a flavor from Izzy's, by God you are going to get that flavor up to your eye-sockets. I'd pass.

Walking Taco - Epiphany Diner: Ironically, it's one of the least portable food items at the fair, but they do a nice job with this.

Alligator Sausage - Bob's Bayou Gator Shack: I was all excited to try the advertised gator ribs, but alas the offerings are the same as last year. I usually pivot between the marinated bites and the sausage, and went with the sausage. For $3.50, this remains one of the tastiest bargains at the fair.

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