For breakfast, we started with the one item everyone has been raving about this year, the Walleye Roll from Giggles. Oh, we know why they are raving, this is a fabulous sandwich. It reminded us of a really good tuna salad, but with that distinctive walleye flavor.
The bread was a wonderful brioche coated with plenty of melted butter. Local sourced ingredients, a fresh presentation, nothing fried! I'd order this sandwich at a restaurant any day.
Seems like everyone else was lining up for a Pronto Pup for breakfast. Matt wanted to get one a bit later, but by then the lines were about 50 people deep. Guess these early birds knew what they were doing.
Breakfast dessert was a bag of fresh Tom Thumb mini donuts. Come on, breakfast dessert is a great idea. I think my taste for mini donuts may have been spoiled by the fabulous chai spiced ones from Chef Shack.
It was Minnesota Cooks day at the fair, so we went listened to Mike Phillips plus folks from various farms and Bethal College talk about local produce and meat. Of course, there was food. Mike cooked up a wonderful bread salad that featured his beautiful cured meats. The smell of them cooking was amazing!
We needed a little cooler at that point, so we visited favorites Spring Grove Soda.
Matt had the Black Cherry which seems to get a lot of raves. He likes it, though I find it a little cough syrup tasting. I had the limited edition Rhu-berry which was so great, not too sweet with a touch of tart from the rhubarb. Even Matt agreed it was the better soda.
We headed to the International Bizarre next to see which of the Midtown Global Markets restaurants were being featured that day. It was Pham's Deli. Their new dish was a cranberry wonton which we had read so-so reviews of, so instead we went with the chicken dumpling.
I have to say we were both really surprised with these dumplings. They were perfectly spiced and didn't even need a dipping sauce. Plus they were not greasy at all, but crispy and light.
We wanted to sit down in the shade at that point, so we went to O'Gara's to grab a shady table on their patio. We'd heard their Blarney Beans were good, so we picked up an order.
As deep fried green beans go these were pretty good. Crisp with a nice light breading. They came with a chipotle dipping sauce which could have been a touch hotter.
Then we were off to see what I was most excited about, my first state fair ribbon.
I took second place in the colorwork mittens category this year. Not too bad for my first entry ever. I'd like to enter a food category at some point too, maybe with our smokey salsa.
By then we were feeling ready for a flight of beer at Land of 10,000 Beers, the new craft beer room at the Agricultural Building. Seems like everyone else had the same idea! That place was wall to wall people trying to get a beer. Next year, I think they need a whole beer garden. With our quest for a cold one thwarted and the lines for everything else crazy long, we decided to cut our fair day a little early and head off to Bulldog in Nordeast Minneapolis to cool off. I'm a little bummed we didn't get any cheese curds, try Ole's Cannolis or the goat at Andrew Zimmern's new food truck. The nice thing about the Minnesota State Fair is there is always next year!
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