Happy Minnesota State Fair Season! I call it a season because I really feel like these 12 days in Minnesota are a tiny little season of it’s own. I had the opportunity to head in on opening day and do a mini tour with the Lift Bridge crew. We sampled beer and food from all over and then of course I had to grab some of my own.
So for your enjoyment I created a Hit it or Skip it list for the State Fair! All of these are my personal opinions and I am no foodie expert so take everything with a grain of salt. I was talking to a few of my friends that went opening day too & tried some new things I didn’t get to so I included some of their opinions below. If you went and had something AMAZING and/or something terrible, let me know and I can add it to this list! 🙂
Lift Bridge Cherry Firework Seltzer @ Ball Park Cafe – I’m already a huge fan of seltzer and Lift Bridge Brewing so I was excited to try this. It’s so refreshing and you can tell they used natural ingredients. This is a definite must to try this year! My dad, who isn’t in to fruity drinks/seltzers/beers, even liked this one.
Tailspin @ The Hangar – This was honestly one of my favorites that I would go back for. It’s essentially pulled pork on top a hash brown waffle layered with coleslaw, french-fried onions, BBQ sauce, elote, and Oaxaca cheese. (The photo does not do it justice.)
Boozy Berries & ‘Barb Trifle @ The Hideaway Speakeasy – This is my Dad’s top pick! He’s a dessert connoisseur (I must get my sweet tooth from him) and he said that was the best thing he had all day. He’s already talking about getting it the next time he comes back. Imagine 5 layers of blueberries, pound cake, lemon curd, and rhubarb compote topped off with mint infused whip cream. (Small picture below under the Skip it list with the Firecracker shrimp)
Mini Donut Latte @ The Anchor Coffee House – Okay so I didn’t get to this but I had 2 friends try it. This will always be on my Hit It list because mini donuts + a latte? Duh. No brainer in my book.
Duck Drummies @ Giggles Campfire Grill – I love anything duck so I was super excited to try these. You get 4 of them (decent sized too) with a tequila lime dipping sauce that was a great addition! Even though they were deep fried they were lightly breaded and pretty light!
Porketta Wings @ Mancini’s – Not new but oh so amazing. These were tender and fell right off the bone. They had the perfect seasoning too! Definitely would get these as a late night/hang out snack.
Bacon Wrapped Pork Belly @ The Hangar – YOU GUYS. OMG. Pork belly is one of my favorite things in the world so when I find it wrapped in bacon ya girl is running not walking to get it. The bacon on the outside was the perfect amount of crispy where it kept the pork belly inside super tender and moist. 10/10 on this one. Oh and it’s on a stick so there’s no reason you can’t walk around and eat this!
Mini Donut Beer @ Ball Park Cafe – Also not new but a staple for the Fair since you can only get it once a year! Hit up the Ball Park Cafe for all things Lift Bridge. Seriously it’s so good you gotta have it at least once a year! That sugar rim makes it!
Chicken in the Waffle @ Blue Barn – (From Nayda @healthywholebeautiful) I’ve had this a couple of years ago and Nayda sealed the deal for me to get it again this year. A classic fried chicken in waffle cone topped with fresh gravy.. mmm mmm mmm.
Jamm’in Brisket Grilled Cheese @ RC’s BBQ – (From Nayda @healthywholebeautiful) – Nayda was raving about this one and I’m a fan of a good grilled cheese so I had to include this! Slow-smoked brisket, red onion jam, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses and RC’s hot BBQ sauce. WHOA. Can’t wait to try this!
Red Wine Sorvino @ Mancini’s – When someone brought it out I was underwhelmed. Then I tried it and was overwhelmed by how good it was. It was a scoop of berry sorbet in Canon Rivers GoGo red wine. I don’t even like red wine but I LOVED this. The sorbet was super fresh too – definitely worth sharing with a friend!
Blueberry Key Lime Pie @ Farmer’s Union Coffee Shop – (from Jessica @worldtravelista1) I saw Jessica yesterday at the fair and she was RAVING about this pie! I’m not a pie person but she could change my mind with the way she was talking about it..
Breakfast Scrambler @Mancini’s (from Jessica @worldtravelista1) Jessica was an early riser and got to the fair for breakfast so she tried the scrambler at Mancini’s and said it was delish! So for all of you early fair goers – try this one. Steak and eggs, Bruschetta blend with 2 pieces of toast – all for $8!
Anything from Nordic Waffles – I just love waffles, OK? Go and try one. They have 2 new flavors this year one including: Pebbles & Bam Bam – warm Reese’s chocolate peanut butter cups and fruity cereal. YUM.
Cookies @ Sweet Martha’s – A fan favorite obviously BUT I got the bucket yesterday and both my dad and I were surprised at how good they tasted. Like better than previous years. A small tweak in the dough? Maybe cooked for one minute longer? Who knows, but we both were pleasantly surprised at how fresh and slight crispy they were.
Garlic Fries @ Ball Park Cafe – Good portion but if you’ve had garlic fries before then you’ve had these before.
Breakfast Potato Skins @ The Blue Barn – (From Nayda @healthywholebeautiful) – While these sounded enticing, Nayda just wasn’t super excited about the final product. Skip it and go for their tried and true chicken options!
Messy Giuseppe @ Mancini’s – I’m not a huge red sauce/sausage fan so this was a no for me. The bread of course was delish but it indeed was messy and heavy and just wasn’t a standout for me.
Chicago Dog @ Chicago Dogs – Again, If you’ve had a Chicago Dog you’ve probably had this one. Nothing special for me.
Wing Walker Donuts @ The Hangar – I was so excited to try these. Originally they were supposed to have a syringe with fresh cream, chocolate, or berry sauce injected in but with a major public outburst they had to squash that idea. The donuts were fine, the sauces were fine, but I think you could skip and spend it on something else!
Firecracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado @ The Hideaway Speakeasy – Firecracker Shrimp and avocado are some of my favorite things so I was disappointed in this one. The presentation was beautiful! The flavoring was just sub par.
Dessa’s Night Drive Izzy’s Ice cream @ Hamline Dining Hall – (from Jessica @Worldtravelista1) – New flavor for the fair, (think coffee flavored with toffee, cardamom, and espresso chips) which sounds amazing but Jessica thought it was just okay and a little pricey for the small scoop. This flavor will be available at Izzy’s locations AFTER the fair too so.. just wait until the fair is over and hit up your local Izzy’s.
S’more Beer @ Giggles Campfire Grill – I might get mean looks for this one BUT since this is a few years old TRY SOMETHING NEW! So technically I’m just telling you to substitute it out this year. Giggles has FOUR new beers on their list so indulge in one of those. I’m coming for you Lemon Drop Shandy…
Okay I hope you enjoyed this list! While this is only a SNIPPET of what’s at the fair I hope you found something good to try for your next visit! My top places that typically never disappoint are: The Blue Barn, The Hangar, & Giggles Campfire Grill. However, I think it have to add Mancini’s to the list now!
Let me know if you want me to add on – I’m all ears and need ideas for my next trip! Now go and eat your heart out 🙂