We attended 3 out of the first 5 days of the fair. A 60% occupancy rate for you stat fans. Not too shabby. I attended work 3 out of the last 5 days as well – but much more begrudgingly. So, what did visits 2 and 3 bring? Read on to find out.
First off though, the weather Friday evening – upper 60’s and beautiful. I’ve never not sweated at the fair and while I didn’t break that streak (eating and drinking is hard work!) I was more comfortable than I’ve ever been. I probably didn’t take enough advantage of the weather – I could have eaten much more and but we were lucky enough to have some out-of-state friends with us and I usually like to leave the piggish behavior to the animals in the swine barn when we’re in good company.
The first food of the night wasn’t my own but my fair foodie in training, my 7 y/o Beckett’s Unicorn Twinkie.
Judging by the sheer velocity and ferocity he ate this with – in addition to licking the stick clean – we’re going to have to judge this one a rousing success. I didn’t get a taste but it looked pretty good – perfectly golden browned with nice frosting drizzle and glitter garnish.
Desperately wanting to join in the eating I set out on a mission to find the cheese curd and brat tacos. These are towards the back over by the dog pier jumping stage – at a little trailer called Poncho Dog. Find it. I asked Tara if she wanted any before I ordered – she said she’d “try a bite” so I thought one would be enough but when I got up to the window the friendly purveyor said it was only $3 more for a 2nd – I gladly obliged.
2 Tacos in hand I was ready to dive in. These were amazing. I know you’ve heard me say that about food in the past but if you only try one new food at the fair this year – consider making this it. More like a “Chalupa” then a Taco, it was crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside with just enough lettuce and chipotle sauce to balance it all out. I probably would have liked a few more brat slices thrown in there but it’s hard to complain about something that tasted this good.
Unfortunately, there are bugs at the fair this year. Edible bugs. People are drawn to this. I don’t blame them, I don’t judge them, I just don’t understand them. That being said, I hesitantly followed our party over to the “Exotic Meats” stand towards the south end of Grandstand Avenue to check them out. Seeming like a pointless endeavor to eat a cricket on a chip or as part of nachos – the bug eating veteran we were with ordered straight up bags of crickets and worms/larvae. I stood back at a safe distance – as did Becket – while we watched in horror as crickets were crunched and chomped.
Semi-eager to understand how anyone could do this, I gave in and decided I’d at least try a worm. I don’t know why but it seemed better. It was cheddar flavored I guess.
Was it better with cheddar? Hardly. It was maybe much ado about nothing as one tiny worm barely registered in my mouth, but it made its impact in my mind and I quickly threw back my remaining dried cranberries (bought for 50 cents in the WI Product Pavilion) to erase the reminder of worm in my mouth.
Deep fried cheese curds, donut grilled cheese, Leinenkugel’s State Fair Ale and Drunk Tots wrapped up the night making me feel much better about myself and my choices in life.
Trip 3 brought us more great weather (albeit a bit warmer) and a chance to redeem myself a bit more and pack in the foods.
A sleeping 2 year old in a stroller took us to the north end of Grandstand Ave and right into Sprecher Landing – a great hidden gem of an area to sit down and enjoy something Sprecher-y. I got a root beer float doughnut and Beckett got a plain ol’ root beer float. Both were as good as you could expect.
The beer battered bacon wrapped cheddar sausage on a stick caught Tara’s eye as something I’d likely be interested in (she knows me) and she pointed it out. Like a moth to a bright light I flew right over there without speaking a word.
They did all the right things when creating this one. Beer batter, bacon wrap, on-a-stick, and cheddar inside. So it was impossible that it would be bad. And it wasn’t. But, it was a lot to handle, and I needed a souvenir size cup of Coke from the root beer barrel to wash it down – making me feel slightly guilty about what I was doing to my body. Not to worry, the feeling was flighting and more foods were had.
Another Sporkie Finalist and one on my list of must-tries were the Spaghetti and Meatball Mozzarella sticks. I was hesitant to fork over $9 for these but they were big enough to share (which I did for once) and they were actually really great. The meatballs were outstanding and the spaghetti, mozzarella, parmesan mix up was spot on. The red sauce was on the side letting us each have it just to taste. I recommend this one.
Off to Brad and Harry’s for some more deep-fried cheese curds (3rd time for those keeping score at home). But don’t worry about me. The whole family enjoys this tradition now. We struggled to find any unique shapes so here’s a picture of one that looks loosely like New Jersey.
With just enough time and appetite left for dessert I opted for the Cherry Pie Wonton.
It was just like it sounds – sweet cherry pie filling (the from-a-can type) inside a nice crispy flaky wonton skin. Chocolate drizzle, powdered sugar, and whip cream on top helped spruce it up. It was overall nothing too special but still nothing to shake a stick at either ( ‘specially since it wasn’t on one). I’d probably skip it and get something more interesting like Monkey Business if you’re in the market for something sweet.
And that’s it so far. The fair isn’t over yet though and I’m not done with it either. Check back again soon.