Sampling the food at the State Fair is a favorite pastime for many Minnesotans, and with the State Fair's list of more than 450 options – including nearly 30 new foods – from over 300 vendors, it can be hard to choose what to try.
Here's a list of the culinary delights that BringMeTheNews readers recommend at the Great Minnesota Get-Together:
Meatloaf on a stick, blue cheese and corn fritz, Grain Belt Premium beer from the Blue Barn. Rob and Jeannine Grundstrom, of Minneapolis, say these fair finds were "Mmmmmm." But with a caveat: "It was awesome, but I wanted more cheese inside the fritz!" Jeannine said.
Walleye fries and S'mores beer at Giggles. Mary Plain, of Minneapolis, says she's not a fan of dark beer, but this beer "was great! Surprisingly refreshing on a steamy day. ... I definitely recommend trying it." She added the beer tastes like an iced mocha and the walleye fries accompany it well.
Pretzel curds from O'Gara's. Jessica Frascati, of Hopkins, gave these "Two thumbs up!!"
Cheese curds from Kropp's. Amanda Gutierrez says these curds "Are easily the most delicious curds at the fair. Made with dark lager beer batter and served with ranch or marinara sauce. YUM!" Gutierrez also says the Blue Moon Diner's hangover sandwich, comet corn and monkey bread were "all perfectly prepared."
Deep fried cheesecake. Erin, of Glencoe, says "It was so good! $7 and I would eat it again and again if that wouldn't make me go up a pant size!"
Hungry yet? Here are some more food reviews from BringMeTheNews' Twitter followers:
Media review round-up
Several media outlets compiled lists of the best fair foods – the Star Tribune's Rick Nelson gave a play-by-play of his snacking adventure and live-tweeted his food choices. Here are a few he found to be among the best:
WCCO names the "five-ish" best fair food finds and North Wright County Today has a list of 10 must-try foods at the fair. The food blog Heavy Table and foodie celeb Andrew Zimmern also list their favorites.
WCCO has listed the calorie totals – and how many steps it'll take to walk them off – for some of the fair's food. For example, the beloved cheese curds are about 650 calories, which would take 6.5 miles of walking to burn off. If that's a concerning number, the Star Tribune notes what foods to pick if you want to eat a little healthier at the fair.
State Fair staples
There are about 300 food vendors at the State Fair, which offer hundreds of food options. Vendors are offered one-year contracts, and if they're successful they are typically invited to return the following year.
Many fairgoers have snacked on the State Fair's new and unique food choices, but the State Fair staples, like corn on the cob, Sweet Martha's Cookies and cheese curds are typically the biggest money earners at the fair.
Here's a look at which vendors rake in the most dough (according to FOX 9 and the Business Journal):
1. Sweet Martha's Cookies earned $2,427,431 at last year's fair.
2. Midwest Dairy Milk's all you can drink milk earned $851,761 in 2013.
3. Mouth Trap Cheese Curds earned $815,950 last year:
4. Fresh French Fries earned $711,786 at last year's fair. Ruthann Bolle, of St. Paul, posted the photo below on the BringMeTheNews Facebook page. She says she "Waited all year for these fries."
5. Corn Roast earned $605,013 in 2013.
The Minnesota State Fair is half over and attendance is outpacing last year's totals. As of Monday, 693,365 fairgoers have walked through the gates this year, according to turnstile clicks counted by the fair.
That's about 50,000 more than this time in 2013. Last August was miserably hot and humid during the State Fair's run with the "feels-like" heat index hovering over 100, likely having an effect on attendance numbers.