2017 Wisconsin State Fair Trip 4

Sad but true fact – this was our final trip to the fair this year. An out of state wedding is pulling us away from dairyland during the last few days. I know what you’re thinking…who has the audacity to get married during the Wisconsin State Fair?!? Yeah, same thing I was thinking. I offered to stay home – with the kids – let Tara have a weekend to herself, at a wedding, alone. That’s just the kind of guy I am. But alas, we didn’t see eye-to-eye on that gracious offer and away we go with nothing  but dreams and indigestion to remind me that there is still fair fun to be had.

Anyway, we made our last trip without the kids and the taste of freedom was almost as sweet as the beermosas we had over at The Micro. My Door County Brewing Co. Apricot Dude Ranch beermosa paired up nicely with our first two foods of the day. The new All American Breakfast Sandwich and the old favorite Donut Breakfast Sandwich. When you can’t decide between two foods, get them both. That’s what I say at least.

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The All American had two crispy hash brown patties sandwiching your standard breakfast sandwich fare of egg, bacon, and cheese. This was good. I could eat it regularly. I think I’m still partial to the Donut version as that glazed donut adds just the right amount of sweetness to balance those salty breakfast foods. Either way, you won’t go wrong with one (or both) of these.

We managed to catch most of the Sporkies Judging live and in person during this visit and I have to say – I think I should’ve been up there. Just because I love all of the foods. Like children, or lost puppies. I’m like the Statue of Liberty for food. Give me your fried, your bacon, your battered, your muddled messes yearning to be eaten…

Anyway, back to reality. I snuck over to Brew City to grab the Three Little Pigs dish and brought it back to eat and dream of my glory days as a Sporkies judge.

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These bacon wrapped raviolis were delicious. Great blend of pork and cheese and flavor on the inside with crispy bacon on the outside and a great tasting BBQ-y/Ranch-y sauce on the side. These could have won (or at least came close) in my humble opinion.

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Light crowds and no kids took us back to Tropics at the Fair to get a couple 20 oz Miller High Life’s to wash down another round of Deep Fried Grilled Cheese Bites. They were even better the 2nd time around and are probably my favorite of this year’s fair. Here’s a close-up to further whet your appetite.


Wanting to make the most of our last time here I ordered a Fat Elvis Shake Shake next.

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You have to try it yourself to decide, but I thought it had all the elements of a great dessert (and that includes the bacon pieces throughout.) The deep fried fat elvis (basically a battered and fried peanut butter cup) was an especially nice touch.

Tara grabbed a classic cheese on a stick next to balance out the sweetness we just took in. Always a solid choice.

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I opted for the Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger sliders (as they are 1/3 of the Sporkies nominated Triple Threat). I should have known not to trust anything from the Budweiser Pavilion though.

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They were fine as far as sliders go but there was nothing really special here aside from the pretzel bun. They didn’t (or forgot to) put the slaw on them – which rubbed be the wrong way. I went back up and was told “we aren’t doing that any more, but you can have a side of it if you want.” Weird. Anyway, I got my side, stuck some slaw on top and finished them off.

Couple more kid free beers to wash it all down and that was all she wrote for food at the 2017 State Fair.

I’ll have one more wrap-up post and I’m hoping to get another guest blog from my fairer half as well. Until then…

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2017 Wisconsin State Fair Trips 2 and 3

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.
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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.

2017 Wisconsin State Fair – New Food Preview

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A year of waiting and it’s finally that time again; the Wisconsin State Fair is back later this week. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since last August and I’ve done my best to keep myself in tip-top fair feasting shape. From Naked Chicken Chalupas to Mac & Cheetos – I eat the best and worst of what’s out there just to be prepared for these 10 days in August each year. And my colon is already quivering after reading this year’s new food list.

I know it can be difficult to plan your food choices at the fair; the dollars and calories add up. So, in hopes of helping, I’ve commented on all 67 new foods. The best, the worst, and the rest. Enjoy!

(My comments are in italics.)

 The Best (no particular order)

  1. All American Grilled Breakfast Sandwich – We are taking the all American Breakfast Sandwich (with bacon, egg and cheese) and sandwiching it in between two grilled hash brown patties. At Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese.
    1.  Doesn’t sound as good as the grilled donut breakfast sandwich (of 2015) was, but in the spirit of KFC’s infamous (and sorely missed) “Double Down” I’m all for replacing buns with other options.
  2. Yard Bird Nachos – A complete southern fried chicken dinner in nacho form! Totally “chipless” nachos using deep-fried chicken cracklings as its base! Smothered with Wisconsin cheddar & jack, mashed potatoes, Water Street Brewery amber beer-marinated and house-smoked pulled chicken with special spice rub. Topped with homemade corn salsa, house-pickled jalapenos and sweet peppers. At Water Street Brewery.
    • Substituting those empty tortilla chip calories with some good old wholesome fried chicken cracklings (???) is a great start. Topping it Smothering it with mashed potatoes & co is a great finish.
  3. Deep-Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich Bites – Tender morsels of grilled cheese bites deep fried to perfection and served with a creamy tomato dipping sauce. At Tropics at the Fair.
    • Sucks you right in by dropping a hot “tender morsels” on you right off the bat. Hard to not want these in your mouth. Sometimes simpler is better and I believe that’ll be the case here.
  4. Housemade Cheddar Tots – 4 housemade Wisconsin Cheddar Potato Tots, drizzled with Saz’s Original BBQ Sauce, topped with all natural Duroc BBQ pulled pork and chives.
    • So I was actually a big fan of the “cheesy tots” that they served at Burger King briefly (big surprise I tried those, right?) so when I saw Saz’s was taking a stab at them and that there was pulled pork on top – I was in. Take my money yesterday Saz’s.
  5. Monkey Business – You’ll go bananas for our caramelized banana burrito! Stuffed with house-made bacon jam and creamy peanut butter, then deep fried, drizzled with Wisconsin honey, and finished with a sprinkle of chipotle cinnamon sugar – this funky monkey means business! At Saz’s BBQ.
    • Our first dessert entry on the list. Extra points for wrapping this up burrito style to allow for clean eating (although I wish it was fried à la Chimichangas). Still 10:1 odds that this ends up down the front of my shirt and/or pants. Hot bananas!
  6. Spaghetti & Meatballs Mozzarella Sticks – Albanese’s famous spaghetti & meatballs wrapped in a wonton with mozzarella and fried to golden goodness. Served with Albanese’s famous red sauce. Finalist in the 2017 Sporkies. At Albanese’s Roadhouse.
    • I’m a big fan of making homemade mozzarella sticks with egg roll skins and string cheese. This seems pretty close to that but if they pull of the cheese-noodle-meatball ratio correctly we could have a winner.
  7. Three Little Pigs Ravioli – Completely noodleless, handmade bacon ravioli stuffed with 3 different styles of pork! 6 slices of handwoven bacon stuffed with homemade bourbon bacon jam, house smoked pulled pork shoulder, and pancetta. Complemented by cream cheese, Wisconsin smoked gouda, scallions, onion and brown sugar. Served with homemade cherry bourbon bacon BBQ jam. At Brew City.
    • “Completely noodleless…” That’s right, F!@# noodles, who needs them…not us! We have something called bacon here in the US of A. And this dish is an all-around stellar exhibition of the majestic hog’s versatility in meat offerings. I think this is going to be a good one.
  8. Wisconsin Cheese Curds & Brat Taco – Johnsonville brat deep-fried with Ellsworth white cheddar in a fried tortilla shell and topped with slaw and sriracha mayo. At Poncho Dog.
    • (Read slowly and softly): Taco, deep fried, brat, cheddar, deep fried…And it’s topped with slaw. I’m a big slaw guy. Especially when used as a topping.
  9. SPAM Fries – Spam fries take a traditional can of Spam to the next level. Deep-fried and served with a tasty dipping sauce. At SPAM.
    • Is there a level beyond “a traditional can of SPAM”? I mean isn’t Spam really already “next level?” It’s meat in a can. It’s revered in Hawaii. It rhymes with lots of words. I think it’s already there. But either way, I’m willing to try this and let you know where it lands.

The Worst

  1. Breakfast Dog – Crispy bacon-wrapped all beef hot dog topped with cheese, scrambled eggs, chives and drizzled with sriracha for that extra little kick. At Siggy’s Wild Dogs Saloon.
    • Hot dog for breakfast? Wrap a sausage link in bacon and maybe we’ll tango.
  2. Cinna Dog – Savory meets sweet in this corn dog rolled in cinnamon sugar. At 3B Corn Dogs
    • Hot dog for dessert? Try harder.
  3. Corn on the Beach – Roasted corn on the cob meets the island life in this corn on the cob topped with chili powder, melted butter, cotija cheese, fresh cilantro and lime. At Tropics at the Fair.
    • Nothing really wrong here, I just don’t like thinking about eating corn at or on the beach. I keep thinking about crunching down on little sand and I hate it.
  4. Goat Meat Wrap – A delicious, unique wrap that bursts with flavor! At Wisconsin Dairy Goat Products.
    • I don’t want my goat meat wrap bursting with anything. I don’t want it at all in fact. Sorry goats…or should I say you’re welcome.
  5. Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Olives On-a-Stick – The ultimate State Fair experience!! Our award winning, green queen olives stuffed with cream cheese, individually wrapped with real bacon, dipped in a seasoned, crunchy batter and served with ranch for dipping and kick up the taste with sriracha! Green olives + cream cheese + bacon = cheesy, salty, crunchy “Baconlicious Awesome Olives!” At Fried Fruit & Fried Olives.
    • I’m sure I’ve said you can wrap anything in bacon and deep fry it and I’d eat it one or twenty times in the past. It’s just that I am not an olive guy. They taste like dirty salty socks. Hard pass.
  6. Cricket Nachos – Think eating bugs is gross? Think again! Insects are good for the environment and for you. Cricket nachos have all the flavor of regular nachos but are high in protein and gluten free! Crickets are a sustainable protein that require less water to grow, providing an eco-friendly way of eating. Be proud to say, “I Eat Bugs!” At All Things Jerky.
    • I thought again, and again, eating bugs is still gross. I mean don’t get me wrong, if we’re all eating cricket flour derived snacks some day because we live in a post-apocalyptic world where that’s all you can eat; well then I’ll personally write a thank you letter to “All Things Jerky.” I’ll commend them for being a pioneer in the bugs-as-food industry and for saving mankind. But until then, keep this away, far away, get it out of the fair. Remember what I said about sand in my mouth up above re: “Beach Corn”? Times infinity for this dish. Sick. Sorry Earth. Not yet. Not yet.

The Rest

  1. The Wild Dog – All beef hot dog topped with grilled onions, cheese and thousand island dressing. Siggy’s Wild Dogs Saloon
    • I wouldn’t say no.
  2. Apple Pie Nachos – Cinnamon and sugar nacho chips topped with apple pie filling, caramel, whipped cream and walnuts. At Jayme’s Chipstix.
    • I like nachos and I like pie.
  3. Bacon Ravioli – Handmade bacon ravioli filled with cheese. At Brew City.
    • Familiar formula that works; replace something with bacon; serve, eat repeat.
  4. Bacon-Wrapped Pork Shish-Kabob – Pork, wrapped in bacon and put on a stick. At George’s Fun Foods.
    • Don’t pork yourself!
  5. Ball Park Tots – Tailgate heaven meets on top of these tots with hot dogs and baked beans. At Knucklehead.
    • Always been a fan of beans and wieners.
  6. Banana Boat – Banana Boat will remind you of the days of being a kid sitting around a campfire and enjoying this banana stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate chips. At Knucklehead.
    • Something is off in that description – read it again. Like you were a kid traveling to a future to enjoy this banana thing and then coming back to the campfire so you could remember it someday for this sentence…Confused? Me too. But I’d eat it. 
  7. Beer-Battered Bacon-Wrapped Cheddar Sausage On-a-Stick At Apollo’s.
    • Of course.
  8. Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders – Two beef burger slider patties, topped with cheddar cheese, bourbon-bacon sauce and coleslaw on a pretzel slider bun. At Budweiser Pavilion Grill.
    • I love sliders. And there’s that slaw again!
  9. Bowtie, Basil & Balls Walking Pasta – Three homemade cocktail meatballs simmered in our house tomato sauce. Finished with fresh basil and bowtie pasta, secured with a toothpick and served with garlic bread. At Pitch’s BBQ & Miss Katie’s Diner.
    • Haha, balls. Nice alliteration but I like my pasta sitting.
  10. Budweiser Pavilion Triple Threat – A tower of sliders represents three Wisconsin State Fair staples, each with a special flavor twist and served on-a-stick! The Budweiser Pavilion Triple Threat includes 3 savory sliders – one Smoked Jalapeno, Bacon and Cheddar Brat Slider, one Budweiser BBQ Pulled Pork Slider, and one Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Slider – stacked and skewered in the Wisconsin State Fair On-a-Stick tradition.
    • More sliders! Yippee! Skip the cheap stick trick though – no way it works on that pulled pork one.
  11. Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich – This sandwich features grilled buffalo chicken topped with pepper jack cheese and blue cheese dressing. At Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese.
    • Maybe. Maybe not.
  12. Buffalo Chicken Nachos – Classic, crispy nachos topped off with buffalo chicken. At Slim’s PBR Park.
    • More buffalo chicken.
  13. Buffalo Mac & Cheese Quesadilla – A quesadilla grilled to golden brown and stuffed with shredded buffalo chicken, queso mac & cheese, bacon and crushed Doritos. Served with jalapenos and a side of blue cream cheese. At Mexican Grill.
    • Even more buffalo chicken. Awesome adders though – almost made the best list. I’ll probably eat this.
  14. Caramel Macchiato Gelato – Skip your morning cup of joe and get your frozen caffeine fix with a Caramel Macchiato Gelato. Our rich Caramel Macchiato Gelato, which is blended with a tantalizing caramel chocolate chips, perfectly paired with an extra rich and creamy caramel sauce, then lavished with our heavenly fresh whipped cream, is topped off with exquisite espresso beans and a homemade wafer to perfect this Italian wake up call. At La Coppa Artisan Gelato.
    • Too fancy for the fair?
  15. Carne Asada Fries – Fresh cut fries topped with carne asada, queso cheese, guacomole, pico, sour cream and jalapenos. At Mexican Grill.
    • This would work. I choose steak discerningly at the fair though.
  16. Cheddar Corn Dog – The cheese is built-in in this corn dog. At 3B Corn Dogs
    • Sounds good but doesn’t seem new.
  17. Chicken ChimiWrap – Two different chicken flavors of deep-fried bliss! Buffalo or Southwestern Chicken mixtures wrapped in a flour tortilla then deep fried. At PBR Park.
    • Gimme a chimi any day!
  18. Chicken Parmesan Sandwich – Inspired by the classic Italian dish of the same name, this sandwich makes all the flavors of Chicken Parmesan portable for you to enjoy the rest of the Fair. At Albanese’s Roadhouse.
    • Lacking in creativity.
  19. Chocomela Nachos – Hold the queso and bring on the sweetness with Chocomela Nachos, our scrumptious dessert nachos! Our homemade cinnamon sugar tortilla chips are made to delightfully dip in our salted caramel and milk chocolate gelato classics. Topped off with whipped cream sweet chocolate coating, and a salty peanut sauce with peanut pieces. At La Coppa Artisan Gelato.
    • Another dessert nachos. This one might be a nice change of pace to cool things off a bit. I think “salty peanut sauce with peanut pieces” might just be a fancy way of saying chunky peanut butter but I might try it to find out.
  20. Cinnamon Caramel Apple Mini Donuts – Our original mini donuts dusted with cinnamon sugar, topped with chopped cinnamon apples and Ghirardelli caramel, finished off with a generous crown of homemade vanilla bean whipped cream. At The Donut Family.
    • Nothing here NOT to like.
  21. Cricket Chips – Gluten free and high in protein, these chips feature one cricket per chip. At All Things Jerky.
    • Is one cricket per chip a good ratio? ‘Uhhh, Hi, excuse me, waiter? There’s a cricket on my chip. There’s one on every chip in fact…’ Barf.
  22. Deep-Fried Cherry Pie Wonton – Deep fried spring roll stuffed with cherry pie filling and topped with sprinkles of powdered sugar, drizzles of chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream! At Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill.
    • Did I mention I love pie – in any and all formats (as long as there aren’t crickets).
  23. Deep-Fried Nutella – Your favorite hazelnut cocoa spread is even more scrumptious in this deep-fried confection. At Granny’s Cheesecake & More.
    • Just throwing a dollop of Europe’s Peanut Butter in the deep fryer? Not sure how it works, but I’m likely going to find out for you.
  24. Donut Ice Cream Sandwich -Two of your favorite desserts collide to create this ultimate dessert.
    • Nice but they have these at Miller Park.
  25. Door County Popper On-a-Stick – This bell pepper is stuffed with a creamy coleslaw and served on a bed of shredded carrots and cheddar cheese with a side of shrimp cocktail sauce. At Door County Fish Boil.
    • Ehhh, mmm, uhhh. I don’t know. Maybe. It does have slaw.
  26. Drunk Tots – These dots are drunk on the flavors of beer cheese and bacon that top this snack. At Knucklehead.
    • Welcome to the club.
  27. Fat Elvis Shake Shake Shake – A milk shake fit for The King! Peanut butter cup and banana ice cream, along with fried bacon bits, blended into a milk shake then topped with whipped cream, bacon bits, chocolate sauce, and a deep-fried mini Elvis, served in a peanut butter and chopped peanut-rimmed cup. At Slim’s Lakefront Brew Pub & Eatery.
    • This sounds great and really filling. Wish there was a mini size.
  28. Fire Tots – Tossed with cumin and topped with curry ketchup, these tots will leave you begging for water. At Knucklehead.
    • Asking for trouble. Pass.
  29. Gator Breakfast Burrito – The Gator Breakfast Burrito is worth waking up for. A warm tortilla wrapped around a mix of scrambled eggs, tater tots, chunks of cajun spiced alligator sausage and shredded cheddar cheese. Topped with your choice of sour cream and salsa. But don’t worry — if you over slept, this Gator Burrito is great for lunch and dinner, too! At Exotic Meat Grill.
    • Rather not.
  30. Great Balls of Fire Sandwich – A sandwich that explodes with so many flavors of spicy Hungarian sausage, garlic sour cream sauce, stuffing balls, pulled pork and creamy coleslaw. At Rupena’s.
    • Stuffing balls and coleslaw. This almost made the best list – not sure I have the intestinal fortitude – at least not whilst walking around the fair with a gut full of everything else.
  31. Grilled Garlic Butter Shrimp On-a-Stick – Grilled, slathered with garlic butter, and served on a stick, this treat will make you feel like you are at a backyard cookout instead of the Fair.
    • Slathered…
  32. Island Torpedo Sandwich – A sandwich boasts a combination of ground beef and italian sausage topped with red sauce, queso blanco cheese and an island pepper mix. At Tropics at the Fair.
    • White cheese sounds better in Spanish.
  33. Mousse-Stuffed Gelato Cones – This chocolate confection is sure to conquer all your sugary cravings. At La Coppa Artisan Gelato.
    • Mousse – French for fluffy and slightly unfulfilling.
  34. New Zealand Green Shell Mussels – 4 large, steamed New Zealand Green Shell Mussels topped with fresh lemon and black pepper. At Joey’s Seafood & Grill.
    • Not a fair food in my mind. Maybe in a coastal state.
  35. BBQ Pastrami Brisket Biscuit Sandwich – Don’t miss our brisket, don’t even risk it, to make it even better, we serve it on a biscuit! At Usinger’s.
    • I like these things separately but not sure they belong together.
  36. PB&J Smoothee – A creamy blend of peanut butter, strawberries, bananas and non-fat milk. At Caribbean Smoothees.
    • Maybe we’ll make it at home.
  37. PBRs (Pastrami Beer-Brined Ribs) – PBR never sounded so good! PBR-brined ribs, rubbed in a homemade pastrami spice rub then smoked til tender, then slathered with Horsey BBQ sauce. At Slim’s PBR Park.
    • I’m sure PBR makes them tender. It makes me tender.
  38. Popcorn Shrimp – This full of flavor classic is sure to please Fairgoers of all ages. At Shrimp Shack.
    • These were new to me when I was 7 at the Chancery and thought I was getting real popcorn with my dinner.
  39. Pretzel-Wrapped Brat – A giant Johnsonville brat on-a-stick, wrapped in pretzel dough and deep-fried. Brushed with butter and lightly salted and served with your choice of hot cheddar cheese or dusseldorf mustard. At Gertrude’s Fresh Pretzels.
    • I choose hot cheddar cheese. And this. I’ll get this.
  40. Rancho Tots – Ranch, green onions and bacon are the stars of this tater tot dish. At Knucklehead.
    • I’m kind of over the endless combination of tots and toppings.
  41. Grilled Ribeye Steak & Rice – This steak is marinated, grilled and served with rice. At Chan’s Chicken On-a-Stick.
    • Not something I’d get at the fair. Or from a place called “Chicken On-a-Stick.”
  42. Root Beer Pops – It’s that old fashioned flavor of Sprecher Root Beer, but even more refreshing for those hot summer days. At Sprecher Root Beer Everything.
    • Ok, I suppose.
  43. Russian Imperial Stout Maple Bacon Cupcake – Cupcake infused with Sprecher’s Russian Imperial Stout, topped with maple frosting and bacon bits. At Sprecher Landing.
    • The rootbeer float cake won the Sporkie last year. This has potential.
  44. Sangria On-a-Stick – Frozen sangria pops. A refreshing, adult delight made with Copa Di Vino wine, club soda, fruit juices and fruit puree. Choice of red or white wine. At Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill.
    • I’m partial to the beer pops.
  45. Southwest Chicken Nachos – These nachos are given a kick with our delicious southwest seasoned chicken, which is sure to make your mouth water. At Slim’s PBR Park.
    • Not standing out.
  46. Steak Shish-Kabob – Tender and juicy cut of beef served in classic fair-style. At Butcher Boys and George’s Fun Foods.
    • What’s “classic fair-style”? 
  47. Strawberry Basil Wine Slushie – This is an adult summer refreshment in a glass! Copa di Vino white wine blended with shaved ice, frozen strawberries, fresh basil, and basil infused simple syrup. Just try and drink only one of these beauties…bet you can’t! At Slim McGinn’s Irish Pub.
    • Cost: 1 man-card. (I’d probably like it though.)
  48. Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos – Fresh jalapenos stuffed with Saz’s BBQ Pork and Wisconsin cheddar cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried to perfection. Served with a side of Saz’s Spicy White BBQ Sauce. At Saz’s BBQ.
    • Sound good but too spicy for my blood.
  49. Swiss, Tomato & Spinach Grilled Cheese – Simple spin on a classic sandwich with delicious results! At Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese.
    • I’m sure it’s fine.
  50. Triple Cross Tots – These tots are topped with beer cheese, bbq and ranch for triple the flavor. At Knucklehead.
    • More tots…
  51. Unicorn Twinkie – Deep-fried twinkie with cotton candy filling topped with bright pink and blue icing with edible glitter sprinkles. At 3B Smores.
    • For the kids.
  52. Wild Boar BLT Sandwich On-a-Stick – We’ve taken an old time classic and made it State Fair worthy! Deep-fried wild boar bacon surrounded by crisp iceburg lettuce, sandwiched between slices of thin crunchy toast, topped with a grape tomato and served on a stick. Other sandwiches don’t stand a chance! At Exotic Meat Grill.
    • Curious on this one – “deep fried wild boar bacon”. 

My Evening Today

Background info: Stress level at “Code Orange” after a long week (and day) – a story for another day. Let’s fast forward to 5pm this afternoon and bullet point the rest of the day:

  • Play outside with family. Take silly string to the cornea. Twice. Worth it.
  • Tara gets ready to leave for evening. Mom Blog thing.
  • I take boys to get Beckett’s baseball uniform in lieu of cancelled practice. Say to the coach “yeah the weather sures not good as of late.” Wonder to myself why I would say it like that. Slowly back away and leave.
  • Take boys to Arby’s. Order the usual. Uh oh. Can’t get it. The junior roast beef no longer exists. Stunned silence at first then a panic order four sliders and a brisket sandwich instead. Told the drive thru lady we were devastated. Maybe a bit dramatic in retrospect.
  • Back home. Wave to Tara as she passes down street. Hold up Arby’s bag. Prove I will feed kids (probably).
  • I do. We eat the Arby’s.
  • Beckett wants to feed new Venus Fly Trap. I consider roast beef. Internet says no go. I go outside with ziploc bag over hand. Find monster mosquito. Grab it by tail. Try to feed it to fly trap without touching fly trap. Mosquito escapes. I smash it. Back outside. Find another mosquito. Kill it just a little bit (they won’t eat dead bugs says internet). Take fly trap outside. Feed it mosquito with plastic fork. Chomp. Success. Want to vomit.
  • Take boys in basement to play. Doorbell rings. (Never rings.) Door to door salesman. Tell him thanks but no thanks. Takes 5 minutes. Talk about grubs. He leaves.
  • Back downstairs. Hear a fire alarm chirp. 4th time in 3 days. Already changed the batteries in 2 of them this morning at 4am. (They coordinated their attack.)
  • Hear another chirp and voice saying “low battery.” Beckett hates it – thinks its a ghost. Work way from basement to 2nd story pausing for additional chirps along way. Finally find chirping alarm. Same one as 4am – already has new batteries. Change them again.
  • Back downstairs. Doorbell rings. (Reiterating here that it never rings.) Door to door salesman number two. Pest control. (Now realizing I should have said, “do you treat for door to door salesmen” – that would’ve been a real zinger. Always have been slow on the draw.) 10 minutes to get rid of him and somehow he’s stopping by again tomorrow – I think. I don’t know why. Smoke alarms were all alarming while he was squawking. The others know they’re missing one of the operatives from their terror cell – it’s in my hand and it’s not long for this world (the smoke alarm, not the salesman.)
  • Back downstairs
  • Looking at phone to troubleshoot smoke alarm. Flashing green either means it’s faulty or we’re all about to die of CO poisoning. Assume the former and hope one of the other 67 of them we had to install in the house will save us.
  • Continue looking at phone – not seeing anything; literally. My vision suddenly bright and swirly everywhere but the peripherals. Hold phone off to side while looking straight ahead. Not working. Tell Beckett to type in Kidde Interconnected Battery Backup Smoke Alarm. Does admirably well. Home Depot has one. Text Tara – tell her to get it on way home.
  • Vision in and out – mostly out. Boys want nighttime snacks. Back up stairs.
  • Back downstairs with snacks.
  • Bedtime. All the way upstairs. Vision remains marginal.
  • Beckett in bathroom – yells for me that he found a spider. Wonder to myself what sort of black magic the pest control salesman used to make a spider appear in upstairs bathroom (after telling me their treatments would kill spiders). Will ask tomorrow if I get the chance.
  • Vacuum large swaths of the upstairs due to new spider paranoia. Hope to to suck up any other accomplices. Boys run around screaming.
  • Boys to bed.
  • Put feet up. Vision returning – wonder how to get beer without getting up. Wish dog was trained for that. Or there was a robot.
  • Drift off thinking of robot dog that brings beers. Wonder what happened to Sony Aibo.
  • Vision comes back.
  • Write this.
  • Going to get a beer.

2016 Wisconsin State Fair:  Stick a Fork in Day 1

Like a couple of old snowbirds, we completed our day at the fair and made it home for a nap by early afternoon. It’s not the heat but the humidity that gets you they say. And they’re right. With the dew point working its way up from “uncomfortable” towards “intolerable” and the current temp one-upping the forecasted high we knew it would be a challenge today. Throw in 2 temperamental kids, one large man-child (yours truly) and a _____ lady on hand (MadLib it); we had to get in and get out for opening day at the fair. 

But none of that or the 30 minute line to get in could keep us from doing our best to take in some of the tastes, sights, and smells on day 1 of the 165th running of this grand old fair. 


A delicious donut breakfast sandwich kicked off the fairtivities for Tara. (Reviewed last year here)

Next stop Spam! A new and welcome edition to the Wisconsin State Fair (but apparently a regular at the Minnesota State Fair in its home state). I went with the Spam breakfast sandwich over the SpamCurds to try and eat more chronologically thru the day. You get to customize the sandwich with your choice of Spam flavor (yes, Spam has multiple flavored and bacon seemed appropriate to me). Aside from being on your standard bottom-shelf grocery store hamburger bun, I had no issue with this no-teeth-needed sandwich (continuing the old folks theme). I think I like the idea of Spam – the general Spam aura and vibe – better than the actual product itself. 


But either way, I was glad to try something new. Here’s the picture – in its half-eaten glory – there’s no glamorizing this one. 

On to the institution that is the Bucks’ Milk House to cleanse the pallete. They went back to the more traditional starting lineup of Chocolate, Strawberry, Root Beer, and Banana, but kept Orange Creamsicle from the previous year. Maybe they thought last year’s flavor shakeup was a mistake (kind of like signing Greg Monroe – or maybe he’s the Orange Creamsicle – I don’t know). The bigger news is that the milk is no longer $.25! It’s $.50. Yeah my world is upside down as well. I can’t complain though – it’s been $.25 since at least 1994 (I remember because Herb Kohl came to our elementary school that year and all I wanted to ask him was where I could buy that milk outside of the fair). 


(Ellis BYOM’d)

Needing to continue rehydrating, we naturally made a stop @theMicro for some Beermosas. They’ve got a great selection this year and it’s fun to think about what would go well with some refreshing OJ. We’d recommend the Royal Nektar or Grapefruit Raddler. 

The 9.5%ABV Nektar also makes for great nook cleaner (kidding). 
A trip to the so-hot-it-could-melt-your-cheese Giant Slide put me within spitting distance of Saz’s and those Deep Fried Bread Pudding Bites I had my eye on. There would be no spitting though – these puppies were tasty vittles. Crunchy on the outside, soft and pudding-y on the inside (always great to combine textures in my book). I won’t pretend I know what the exact flavors and spices were (vanilla, nutmeg, caramel perhaps) – but you can take my word for it – these are a great dessert choice this year at the fair. And they do get Glamour Shots treatment. 

A Cranberry Cookie for the kids and a Billie’s Special Baked Potato for the adults were enough to put us into that full and hot feeling where nothing more good can happen. So, we made plans to leave the fair; but not before grabbing a three pack of cream puffs to-go and getting those requisite every-trip deep fried cheese curds for the mile long walk back the car. Fresh out of the fryer curds aren’t really the best choice for walking across the hot asphalt Milwaukee Mile race track – sun beating down. But its key to keep that blood thin and pumping when you’re eating like that – so why not. 


*you’re welcome sweet fair, you’re welcome. 

Next trip tentatively planned for Monday 8/8. 

2015 Wisconsin State Fair: Guest Post – Tara’s Take

When Adam asked me to “guest post” about the fair, I started thinking, “How did I get to this point?” How did I go from being a fairly normal individual, who, at most, only gave the fair a second thought once a year while it was going on – to being someone who you could call a “fair addict”, constantly jonesing for that next sweet fair fix. The answer is, Adam. Adam has done this damage to me, or maybe we’ve fed off of each other year after year, constantly trying to one up each other to the point where we both have a raging addiction. It’s a vicious, yet delicious, cycle. So, here are my WI State Fair observations for this year…

 

The fair is such a fascinating atmosphere. I’ve never been anywhere else, where I’ve witnessed such an insane grouping of people. No matter what gender, size, race, age….everyone looks like a rabid jackass while devouring a cream puff. And maybe it’s that simple fact that brings everyone together in harmony. Could cream puffs be the key to world peace? Yes, yes they can! We can’t judge one another while we’re all covered a thin layer of sweat and powdered sugar.
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And speaking of powdered sugar…those food booth carnie’s really need to hire a proof reader before printing a giant sign that will be displayed prominently on the front of your booth. Unless of course, you are in fact advertising “POWERED SUGAR”, which does sound enticing.
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But, back to cream puffs, seriously, whoever designed these things was a real jerk. I already have a hard time eating messy things in public, but cream puffs take it to another level, by making you look like to just went on a cocaine bender. These reasons are why I choose to take my cream puff home and devour it in private.

Back to the beginning. We like entering the fair through the “Tunnel Entrance”, mostly because it’s the closest entrance to where we park, but I also like it because it’s such a grand and dramatic entrance.
IMG_7798_2 You have to walk down through this giant dungeon like tunnel, and then – wait! You see the light! You’re almost there! The humidity is gaining…and then…you’re there! You are shot into the fair crowd where you are immersed into a sea of B.O. and heat. I also like that this entrance has a GIANT sign that says “TUNNEL EXIT”, it’s like the fair personnel knew that hoards of people at the end of the night would be too drunk to remember where they parked, so they gave them a giant reminder.
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The fair this year was as perfect as ever. I always appreciate the fact that people look into their closets when choosing what outfit to wear to the fair, and they usually end up picking the one thing that should never see the light of day. I get that it’s insanely hot out, but there is a time and a place where you should wear nothing but extra tight bike shorts. And that place is hell.
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I was extra excited about the fair this year, because last year during the fair I was stuck in what seemed like an endless pit of morning sickness that wouldn’t quit. Not only could I not enjoy the delicious fair food, but I couldn’t enjoy any BEER. Sad. So, I made up for lost time by indulging in what could only be described as a “butt load” of beer. My favorites were beermosas at the Micro, and an Eastside Dark beer float at the Lakefront tent. I could go on about the the tasty food I enjoyed, but I’ll let Adam share his food expertise on that subject. My favorites though, were The ‘donut breakfast sandwich’, ‘truffle tots’, and ‘smoked gouda fries’.

Some other interesting observations I had at the fair this year are as follows:
CORN CAGE. Why do the workers at New Berlin corn sit in a cage whilst selling corn? Are they being punished? I feel like I’m the one being punished, because they can never hear me through the cage, and I’m forced to yell my order at them like a lunatic.
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WINE TASTING. Nothing quite says “high class wine tasting” than the light purple and beige color scheme they have goin’ on at the Wisconsin Wine Tasting building. Fine wine should only be enjoyed under harsh florescent lights. Except wait, fine wines are not called: ‘Hot Mess’.
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CREAM PUFF ZOO. I’ve always enjoyed how the cream puff workers are on display like zoo animals.
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I also like that when you see a “Team Cream Puff” employee out on the grounds, it’s like seeing an animal in the wild. You keep your distance, and proceed with caution.
SWEET SHIRTS. Seriously, I will pay someone good money to get my hands on one of the Giant Slide t-shirts that the workers wear. So simple, it’s perfect. If I wasn’t too scared to appear to be a creeper by asking one of the teenagers for his shirt, I would. So many booths have amazing shirts (Sheboygan Brat House, Fresh Fries, Hot WI cheese), why doesn’t the fair cash in on this? Am I the only one who wants one of these shirts? Anyone? Bueller?

 

In conclusion, the fair is a magical place. So magical in fact, that it’s the only time in which West Allis is the shining jewel of Wisconsin. And it’s the only place on earth that I don’t mind the stank of ripe cow dung baking in the late summer sun. Ahh, I can already smell it now, only 350 days to go…

2015 Wisconsin State Fair: Day 5 (Final Trip)

I’ve finally recovered enough to write and post this entry on our last trip to the fair. The weather tested our love for the fair on Day 5. It was hot. Hot and humid. Boooooo. Would we still go? How could we not? We didn’t even say goodbye the last time. But I hate heat and humidity. It makes me want to die. It makes me claustrophobic when I’m standing in an empty field – alone. So to walk into that fiery furnace of a fair on Sunday- shoulder to shoulder with people all shapes and sizes (some more prevalent than others) it literally took my breath away. Seriously, half way through our first food of the day – whilst enjoying beers at the Micro, I started having a mild asthma attack (not completely medically out of the question for me but mostly unprecedented). Maybe I was allergic to the Parmesan Truffle TotsIMG_5857(But they were too tasty to stop eating regardless of how my histamines felt.) Or maybe the scent of barnyard feces shrunk my breathing passages. I guess it could have been the heat, the humidity, possibly a panic attack wondering what I’d eat for the next 352 days; I don’t know what it was but it felt like a Clydesdale was standing on my chest. Tara kept telling me we should just go home – to which I replied something along the lines of, “what are you, stupid?” (through short shallow breaths). Instead of leaving, I did what any responsible adult would do, I rationalized. I figured I just needed to wash down whatever was doing this to me with some more food. One beer battered brat on a stick later (I had a coupon) and that theory seemed less sensical than it had a few minutes earlier – it didn’t work at all. But we pressed on and found respite from the heat in the oddly-less-crowded-than-usual and delightfully air conditioned expo center. I suggested to Tara that I lie down near this tombstone looking thing:IMG_2225But who knows what that black carpet is hiding…actually I feel like I do, I’m no stranger to the fair after all, and I didn’t want e coli or hep c. Anyway, I started finding my lungs somewhere between German Glue and Master Spas. Thank goodness. We passed by some interesting booths (as always) and I especially liked the salsa booth with dozens of signs telling passerby to “Ask 4 Chips!”

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Man how I wanted to see someone just walk up and stick their finger right in a jar – thereby completely justifying signs that should’ve gone without saying. On the other hand, why not just have chips out? Like everywhere else – ever. Were people stealing chips? Can you imagine? I could just picture dude with 18” corndog in one hand walking past and grabbing a handful. F@#$ salsa, I just really want some stale chips from that basket everyone else at the fair has had their hands in. Having to settle for imagining all these scenarios instead of witnessing them we moved on and back out into the inferno we went.
It had been 15-20 minutes since I last ate so I insisted that we hunt down some new eats ASAP. We remembered mention of “Beer Cheese” on a sign near the tunnel entrance and like a zombie searches out brains, we Walking Deaded ourselves over that way. That Miller Lite Pavilion was where it was at and you could get it on mostly anything on the menu (and believe me – I would have). We chose the loaded chips which turned out to be a nice variation of nachos – using crispy kettle chips as the base instead of the tortilla variety. They were tasty, filling and reasonably priced.
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We moved on with our New Foods list and State Fair Map in hand, trying desperately to find Fried Fruit on a Stick – I couldn’t even tell you what for anymore – but all that matters is that we didn’t find it. Instead we did find this banner of Tara eating at the fair (or so it appeared…weird!)
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Where’s the commission checks? Or at least that sweet shirt!?
My mind was torn about leaving at this point (just about as much as my shorts were about to be if I kept eating like this) but I thought – one last hurrah. So back to the Machine Shed for an ol’ reliable deep fried PB&J on a stick.
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We thought we’d get one last beer and give killing a keg one more chance. It didn’t happen but I did drink some delightful Leinenkugels special fair beer – not sure what it was called but it hit the spot.
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If things seem like they’re getting fuzzy at this point – they were (alcohol had nothing to do with it, but gluttony and oppressive heat did). We were both feeling the weight of the day on our sad shoulders. Our conversation turned slightly weird at this point,
Tara:  “I wish we had rascals to drive around in.”
Adam:  “I wish it was a tandem so you could just drive” (because at this point even driving myself around the fair would be apparently too much)
Tara:  “Yeah, we’ll do it when we’re old, then I can just bust into people so they get out of our way”
Adam:  “Then I can just shrug and say, ‘women drivers’ and people will think it’s kinda cute cause I’ll be old.”
It was somewhere around this time where we decided it was time to go to leave the fair and walk through that tunnel exit for the last time in 2015.
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As we walked out through the track I looked back and saw a few hundred people in the grandstand waiting to see Kenny Rogers – I wondered how they got their rascals up the bleachers and if Kenny Rogers would sing from one as well. I kind of wanted to stay. But then a fresh wave of heat and exhaustion fell over me and I thought to myself, it’s probably better that the fair is only 11 days long – to paraphrase the inimitable Rogers – I knew it was time to fold ’em. See you next year!
PS Check back tomorrow for a very special fair themed guest post by Tara

2015 Wisconsin State Fair: Day 2

Half of my wish came true for our 2nd trip to the fair – we left Ellis with the Grandparents and headed to the fair a lot lighter on baggage – with just 5 year old Beckett in tote. It’s the little things that make all the difference when you’re a parent.

But seriously, we took Beckett to the fair to see the pups from Paw Patrol! (Can you feel the excitement in my typing!?) We arrived to the Paw Patrol Trailer (straight from Adventure Bay) right at 10am – when things were supposed to get started.

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Every parent/kid in State Fair park was making a bee-line for the same spacious 20×20 alcove between the pigs and goats. Awesome. Amid the mass confusion we jumped right into line. Some further investigation determined the pups wouldn’t be out until 11:15 but never fear,some other stupid kid stuff would be happening ( Little Charmers, Chubby Puppies and Sick Bricks; whatever those are.) As much fun as that other stuff sounded, we told Beckett we’d come back in an hour for the main event…Poor kid reluctantly followed us away as I promised he could pick out whatever he wanted to eat.

But first, a little breakfast for mom and dad. Breakfast tots and Beermosa’s. Tara noted the presentation of the tots was nicely done.  They weren’t all show and no go either (they were really tasty). I went off script for my Beermosa and chose a Leinekugel’s Big Eddy series Royal Nektar – a strong mead style beer. It’s just what I needed to think about going back to Paw Patrol.

TIP: Visiting the Micro before noon is a great idea, not just for the Beermosa’s but for the serene, less crowded atmosphere as well. 

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Next we headed over to the WI Product Pavilion where I took Beckett to the apple stand to get a delicious treat. Caramel Apple? Apple Cider Donut perhaps? No, he wanted one of the normal real apples (natural-form food at the Fair???) from the decorative bushel of apples. I asked the girl if we could buy one and she said sure. It’s not often you try to convince your kid not to eat healthy.

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With some more time to kill before Paw Patrol, we stopped for some more healthy food – albeit dipped in butter and covered in salt this time.

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Isn’t she lovely?

Tara and Beckett headed back over to get in line for Paw Patrol while I detoured for a donut grilled cheese:

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By cutting the donut in half and grilling the inside, it not only keeps your fingers clean but also ensures the delicious glaze mixes with the melty cheese for sweet and cheesy delight (coincidentally that’s how I’d describe a date with me if I ever had to sign up for an online dating site. Please though Tara, don’t make that a reality as I’m suddenly doubting that line would work).

So back to Paw Patrol – as I approached I saw a frenzied line of parents and kids flanked by State Fair cops – this wasn’t going to be good. They were already blocking the end of the line telling people they’d never make it in time. Whaaaat? Well, Paw Patrol would only be out for 25 minutes and then again at 1:15. COooool. You’re there for 50 minutes out of the day to meet with 50000 rabid fairgoers – those stupid pups might as well join the other animals and take a giant dump right in front of us. But anyway, we told Beckett he’d have to settle for just seeing them and I hoisted him up on my shoulders for a decent view of Marshall and Chase. A promise of a new Paw Patrol toy from the store later seemed to satisfy him well enough (and we walked away as I felt oddly suckered by a bunch of fictional rescue dogs).

The rest of the fair included:

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More milk (of course)

IMG_2154Breakfast pizza and real cherry slush. Yum and yum.

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Cranberry cookie. Nice.

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Surf and Turf (beer battered, deep fried, bacon wrapped shrimp – I love when you have to describe it with multiple commas). Very rich, but delicious.

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Chocolate Banana (for Tara) and chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered, sugar cookie dough (for me – not pictured because I don’t have an x-ray machine).

A trip down to the midway for Beckett proved to teach him a valuable life lesson I learned only much later in life. Milk before rides, clears yours insides. Tara whisked him off the spinning bears just in time for me to get him to the cleanest stall I could find where he screamed “it’s gonna stink and it’s gonna hurt!” He was at least half right from what I could tell.

With that out of the way our day at the fair wound down.

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Come back soon for the Day 3 recap.

 

2015 Wisconsin State Fair:  Day 1

A fair day at the fair:

We had high hopes for the first day of the fair (see triumphant entrance below)

 Unfortunately hot, crowded, and stressed wasn’t just how I’d describe my intestines. Turns out having two kids along at the fair can put a real dent in previously well intended plans. And if you’re reading this someday kids; I wouldn’t trade you for all the curds in dairyland, but I might try to leave you home next time.

I can and should partly blame myself – leaving the diapers/changer in the trunk a couple Milwaukee Miles away wasn’t especially helpful to our situation. I might have been too caught up in fair prepping and excitement but that’s no excuse. Thanks to my wife (and props to mother’s everywhere) for constantly being on top of all that stuff. I can only blame the cream puff between my ears and/or the corndog between…well, let’s just blame my gender. Maybe if I identified as the fairer of the species I’d be better at that stuff (hell, maybe I’d even win an Espy).

But back to the fair. It wasn’t all bad. Starting your day w/ some pre-noon deep fried cheese curds and washing them down with Beermosas from The Micro is an excellent idea. We tried a Point Ciderboys Peach Country base and a Sprecher Grapefruit Raddler one as well. Both awesome.

Next, we headed over to the newly rebranded Bucks Milk House:

 On the way there I slammed my Beermosa to make room in the stroller’s limited cupholders for as many milks as possible. They’ve changed the lineup pretty significantly this year w/ the flavor lineup consisting of Banana Cream Pie, Strawberries & Cream, Orange Creamsicle, Chocolate Cream Pie, and Creamy Root Beer. We get it, milk is creamy – please ditch the cream in the names. That being said, they’re all still 25 cents and they all still taste good. Beckett continues to grow in his Milktitude (aptitude for milk drinking) and was very reluctant to share any of his 3 flavors with me.

 My disappointment was outweighed by my pride for him.

Being full of fluid but light on food we headed to the Machine Shed and I shelled out a crisp Hamilton for the top of the line 50/50 burger topped w/ a Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Nugget. This is the burger made of a half ground beef and half ground bacon.

 Unfortunately the cheddar nugget and pretzel bun were the only good things about this. I don’t know how you can make something worse by adding bacon but you’ve done it again Machine Shed! (1st time was the limp chocolate covered bacon) You should be ashamed of yourselves. The burger patty was more akin to one of the “premium” leather wallets you can buy all over the fair grounds than anything resembling meat. I swallowed my disappointment along with the last piece (it was $10 after all) and we moved on.

A disappointing cup (yes, inexplicably it was served in a little cup) of Duke’s Poutine – supposedly Quebec style – was the only other food of note from this 1st day of the fair.

So as you can see, my sweat wasn’t the only thing leaving me feeling salty on Day 1. But, there are 10 days left and plenty of food yet to be tried. I’m hoping for better days ahead.

2014 Wisconsin State Fair – Digested

Our 4th and final trip to the fair on Day 11 (final day) went a little late and ended with a final (unsuccessful) push to kill a keg at The Micro. So, I never got around to posting that final round-up. But now that the food has all digested, it’s time to say goodbye. And that’s ok. That much fairing does something to a man. Things that take a while to undo. I’ll be Cravin D. Cream Puff for weeks yet, and I still long for all my food to be fried and on a stick; but alas, that lifestyle is unsustainable and it’s time to get back to my normal only slightly unhealthy ways. 

Rants:

  • The milk house was closed pretty early on Sunday. We were pretty devastated. Back at home We’ve be going through gallons of milk at breakneck speeds but it never tastes quite as milky as it does at the fair.
  • The crowd was something on Sunday. Not sure where they though they were but I’ would’ve like to let them know that it was still the fair – the place with barn animals, gut busting food, and as-seen-on-tv miracles, amongst other wonders. So, there is absolutely no reason anyone needs to see your midsection and even less reason (if possible) anyone needs to see your butt.  Most of you have no business showing those features off in the first place, and even if you do, it’s really not the correct venue.

Raves:

  • Among the numbers summing up the fair:
    • 10,000 Chicken-n-Waffle Cones – And this was my favorite new food of the fair proving you don’t have to deep fry the entire entrée for me to love it! Well done.
    • 400,678 Original Cream Puffs – We bought our 6 pack!
    • 1,030,881 people went through the gates – we were good for 11 of that total, or 0.001%. In spirit and food consumption I think we were more like 10% though.
  • Well done by the Milwaukee Bucks (don’t hear that phrase everyday) for keeping the Milk House going after Herb calling it quits. They had the 2 new flavors this year too – which was a nice change of pace.

And here’s a few loose ends to wrap up the 2014 State Fair:

Turkey Donut

TurkeyDonutI was leery of this from the second I walked up to the booth but I was not about to back down to some measly deli meat / confectionary combination. I confidently ordered one. Two minutes later I had the warmish quasi-sandwhich you see pictured above. Big surprise is that it was pretty good! The doughnut was soft and fresh, the turkey was…well really normal turkey, and then there was some cranberry something in there too. I ate ever last bite. I’m not saying I’d recommend it but I didn’t hate it.

Hank Cookie

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Yep, even the fair is on the Hank bandwagon. Beckett was happy to oblige though.

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I scored this sweet piece of fair wear off the clearance table. I understand the innuendo that some of you may be tempted to make towards me if you saw me wearing this shirt. I’m ok with it. And besides, a lady never tells.

Unlicensed mascots?

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Pretty sure this was just some guy dressed as a wolf. A frickin’ awesome (and creepy) looking wolf at that. You may question why I would send my son up to him for a picture  (I think hippie dude eating a twister dog in the background might have been wondering). But it’s mostly just because I was too embarrassed to ask for one with me…

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If you’re going to buy a giant flagpole you better bring transportation.

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See you next year!