A More Enthused State Fair Post!

What’s the big new food at the Great Minnesota State Fair this weekend? I think for me it’s going to be:

1) Peaches and cream parfaits from Salty Tart—layers of fresh peach and peach compote interleaved with coconut water and Greek yogurt soft serve.

2) Sausage-stuffed fresh jalapenos by the Sausage Sisters, in the food building. I love the Sausage Sisters, and really miss that they’re no longer at the Minneapolis Farmers’ market. But I can still get my old world Minnesota fix at the fair, so that’s what I’m going to do.

3) A big pineapple full of a non-alcoholic piña colada, at Manny’s Torta’s! Which is part of the Midtown Global Market at the fair. This, by the by, also looks to be the vegetarian hotspot of this fair-going season.

4) And while French Meadow has all sorts of new things this year (black and white cupcakes, to add to their standard lavender ones, for instance), I think I’ll be there for the same thing I am always there for: The only good iced coffee at the Fair. They’re in the old Schumacher’s space on Carnes Avenue.

I’ll be at the State Fair next Friday on Chad Hartman’s show at one o’clock at the WCCO booth—come on by! We’ll raise a glass of iced coffee to one another. We will not raise a Big Fat Bacon. I think I’m giving this one a miss. Quarter pound of bacon on a stick? I don’t know. Why not just put a 16-ounce prime rib on a stick? Something about this is making me feel crabby. I draw the line at you, Big Fat Bacon! I hated the chocolate bacon last year. Once burned, twice shy. Oh, don’t look at me like that bacon, maybe I will try you…

What, you say, you’re not setting foot inside the state fair this year? You don’t have to! I got a note from Derrick of the briefly brilliant, quickly defunct soul food restaurant that bore his name in south Minneapolis saying he will be cooking at a stand across the street from Nelson’s Cheese Shop at the southeast corner of the fairground. What will he be cooking? Fried ribs and corn on the cob and catfish on a stick, of course.

What, you say, all this talk of the Minnesota State Fair makes you long for foods with nothing to do with a deep fat fryer or stick? I was planning to tell you about the nifty dinner Tangletown Gardens is hosting this Sunday with chefs from California’s Boulevard and Chez Panisse, but I just called and they are sold out. Oh well. Make your own Chez Panisse at home by shopping at Tangletown.

Every day they have farm produce from their own farm—well, every day, but the selection is best on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays following deliveries. Look for the produce inside by the register—I’m told raspberries, eggplants, cabbages, and tomatoes are in abundance right now—as well as their own eggs from free-ranging chickens. One of the nicest things about the Tangletown Market is that they’re open regular store (not farmers’ market) hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

That’s all I got! Have a great fair weekend, Minnesota. May all your cheese curds be crisp, your time standing on lines for the Skyride brief, your parking free, and your memories wonderful.