Why did I go to the State Fair, you ask? It's a good question: I'm not a fan of heat, crowds, or deep-fried foods. However, I received an invitation from Dora to hit up the Fair last night for a special event . . . and I couldn't resist! I'm going to keep that event a secret for the moment, though, simply because I haven't gone through all of my pictures of that event, yet, and want to reveal all of the fun properly, in a well-photographed post.
For now, enjoy my Fair eats, in order of consumption:
Pleasantly sweet, nicely creamy, and mildly spiced, (I would have preferred a heavier hand with the spices, but this is Minnesota, after all,) this chai pop was the perfect start to my afternoon at the Fair. By the time I discovered these creamy pops, (not quite soft enough to qualify as ice cream, but definitely smoother and creamier than your average fruity homemade popsicle,) I was due for a treat! The heat and sun were already starting to get to me, and I had only been at the Fair for about 45 minutes. Chai-On-A-Stick to the rescue!
Apple Cider Freezie:
I don't go to the Fair often, but when I do, I always make sure I seek out one of these frozen treats at the Horticulture/Agriculture building. What's better on a hot, summer's day than some frozen Minnesota apple cider? I can't think of much else. And the price is right, at only $1.
The "dinner" portion of my evening began with fried green pepper rings:
Scaldingly hot out of the fryer, and drizzled with ranch dressing, these were fantastic! To someone who loves onion rings, these green pepper rings were a delightful twist on one of my favorites. Pleasantly greasy, (and not in a gross way,) Dora, Ruth Ann, and I all agreed that there was just enough breading on the peppers, and it magically stuck on somehow. Mmmmm!
Cheesy garlic bread with marinara for dipping:
Honestly, this was probably the lowest-quality food item I ate throughout the evening, but it hit the spot at the time. :) Nothing to write home about, but I was craving something small but substantial at this point in the evening -- and these breadsticks were just right! The garlic flavor was assertive but not overwhelming, and the cheese was dripping and oozing over the edges of the cardboard boat in which they were served.
I also had opportunities to try part of Dora's homemade/hand-rolled giant pretzel, topped with garlic and butter, (incredible! I almost bought one of my own,) and some of the sweet corn ice cream from Blue Moon Diner -- it has been one of the "it" foods of the Fair this year, and has received several write-ups from local foodies. Dora had hers topped with candied cayenne peanuts, and Ruth Ann went for the hot blueberry topping. I enjoyed my bites of ice cream, although I found the fibrous corn bits throughout a little off-putting, and thought the peanuts definitely needed more cayenne! The blueberry topping was excellent. :) I just don't care much for corn, so I guess it makes sense that I wouldn't LOVE corn ice cream, right?
On my way to the bus, I thought I deserved one final treat to enjoy on my way out of the gates:
Vanilla frozen custard, just like I grew up on, (Milwaukee is known for its local custard stands, and we frequented several growing up,) stuffed into a perfectly-made waffle cone -- crispy and mildly sweet, but plain enough to let the custard take center stage.
More on the Fair later!