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.
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’.
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.
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 Tots(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:But 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!”
Our 3rd and 4th trips to the fair came on Monday & Wednesday (and both were totally kid free – thanks Grandparents!)
I was going to defer these posts to my fairer half Tara to guest author but I told her she could do her real work instead (I know I’m a giver). I think watching me feed my face like a blue ribbon hog may have been in there somewhere for her although Monday we both left feeling like this:
Let’s rewind back to Monday morning and find out how we got there:Breakfast of champions. The breakfast donut in the foreground was awesome – like a bigger more complete brother to the donut grilled cheese I had on Day 2 – the only thing wrong with it was that we had to share it.
You might think deep fried cheese curds are a weird choice for breakfast but you’d be seriously wrong. Oddly this is our first year of fairing (out of 11 together now) that we have started going in the mornings and we discovered something. Morning cheese curds are especially magical (and extra addictive). Maybe it’s new fryer oil, squeakier curds, fresh dairy air – I don’t know and I don’t care – they are the best (Brad & Harry’s on Central Ave always).
With storm clouds brewing on the horizon we decided to camp out at The Micro for another round of Beermosas and whatever other food was nearby. Enter Siggy’s Wild Dog Saloon and a Pickle Dog. It was good enough but at $6 for a hot dog with 3 frickles on top I was the one who felt like a wiener.
It rained hard and heavy but 30 minutes later we were on the move. We made an obligatory stop in the expo center while I would have loved to check out the steam mops and super absorbent this and thats – that place is really infuriating. Walk on the right, don’t stop in front of me for no reason, there’s an empty Vitamix booth 20 feet away you don’t all need to stop at the one right inside the door. Rant over.
With the fair grounds steaming from the rain and now hot sun, where better than Tropics at the Fair for our next stop. We went for their two Sporkies finalists: Beer Battered Pretzel Coated and Cheesy Smoked Gouda Sidewinder fries. All those adjectives lived up to their hype. The cheese curds were different enough from our usual battered curds that they were worth getting. The fries were great; rich and tasty cheese sauce with nice thickness and crispiness on the taters. Well done Tropics at the Fair!
Feeling like we should shift gears from stuff with cheese a deep fried pretzel crusted brownie on a stick from Saz’s seemed like a good idea.
These were just ok. They were a little cake like and not as crispy on the outside as I had hoped. I prefer my brownies dense and my deep fried things crunchy.
We got some deep fried mac and cheese for the walk back to the car. This may have been a mistake as we barely waddled back to the car in the hot sun.
After a day of rest and fried cheese withdrawal we headed back Wednesday evening for more fair fun. Turns out this was a great choice, cooler weather and smaller crowds meant happy times for us. No sharing curds this time around. Not as good as morning curds but nothing to squeak about.
Another one off the new food list – The Hot Mess. Everything on this worked together to make a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy (this is what happens when you have kids, you use Yo Gabba Gabba songs to describe your life). Seriously though the honey, peanut butter, bacon, beef, cheese and pretzel bun were great together. It was a hot mess and so was I when this was all gone but it was sooo worth it.
So two full days of fair meant two full fairgoers. We plan on going back tomorrow for our last trip of the fair. With temps in the 90’s and humidity to match it might be rough – but we have to say goodbye somehow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
More milk (of course)
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.
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.
Come back soon for the Day 3 recap.
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.
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.
It’s not just hump day, it’s Wisconsin State Fair Eve! Sing it with me:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
They’ll be fried food a-flowin’
(Our hearts will be slowin’)
We’ll be drinking good beer.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
I could go on, but you get the idea – I’m full of cheer as the fair draws near. Our new not-so-little cheddar nugget (20+lb, 5mo old, Ellis) and a year in limbo (moving 3 times and building a house) has put a serious dent in my blogging efforts as of late. But nothing can keep me from sharing the fair with the world (or whomever happens across this tiny blog).
So you’ve heard of doomsday preppers? Well, I’m a fair prepper. How does one do that? Well, throughout the year, I make sure I eat a selection of foods that keep me in whatever the opposite of tip-top shape is. Here are some of those things:
Meat stuffed donut, bacon bottom pizza, hot dog crust pizza, nachos on a stick, and an all you can drink milk tent were all part of my prep plan. As you can see, I don’t rest on my laurels (I’m not sure if I even have laurels).
Final prep steps:
- Good night sleep (Ha! says teething baby and recently faulty smoke alarm)
- Hydrate (fair foods are apparently high in sodium – weird!)
- Good beard and mustache trim, the flavor saver can only savor so much flavor -before it gets nasty.
- Apply Gold Bond liberally to my nether regions.
- Pack maximum daily dose of chewable Pepto (for on-the-go relief)
- Jump up and down with Tara (who’s last fair was tempered by morning sickness)
- Review the list below of my top new foods to try (see entire list here)
- 50/50 Burger with a Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Melt
- Machine Shed A10
- Apple Pie Wonton, Deep Fried (Apple pie filling, caramel w/ ice cream or whip)
- Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill F9
- Bacon Bottom Porker Pizza (BBQ pork shoulder, gouda, cilantro & pork rind)
- Brew City F9
- Bacon Cinnamon Roll with Icing
- Cinnamon Rolls E6
- Beer Battered Pretzel Coated Cheese Curds (Pilsner, pretzel, &panko battered)
- Tropics at the Fair B10
- Cheesy Smoked Gouda Sidewinder Fries (Gouda sauce, bacon, green onion tops)
- Tropics at the Fair B10
- Donut Grilled Cheese (Grilled, halved donut w/ American cheese)
- Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese D10
- Grilled Breakfast Donut Sandwich
- Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese D10
- Gyro Meatballs (Gyro ingredients except pita in a meatball, deep-fried)
- Apollos B9
- Lasagna Sticks (Handmade filling wrapped &deep fried w/marinara)
- Steak Stop B9
- Maple Bacon Gourmet Mini Donut Bowl (With real bacon crumbles & maple syrup)
- The Donut Family G5
- Pickle Dog, Deep Fried (Fried pickles on beef hot dog, ranch dressing)
- Siggy’s Wild Dogs Saloon D10
- Poutine (French fries, cheese curds, & gravy)
- Duke’s Poutine F7
- Pretzel Crusted Brownies On-a-Stick, Deep Fried (Side of sea salt caramel sauce)
- Saz’s Ribs E8
- Surf & Turf , Deep Fried (Battered, bacon-wrapped shrimp w/chipotle BBQ glaze)
- Joey’s Seafood & Grill E9
- The Hot Mess (Cheeseburger w/ peanut butter, honey & bacon on a pretzel bun)
- Tavern at the Park F11
It’s good to be back! I’ll be posting updates of my thoughts on all the above and more soon.
Happy Fat Tuesday!
As fate would have it, an impromptu trip to Menards after work led me past (and into) the wonderful Grebe’s bakery on the way home. Knowing my affinity for bakery (and let’s be honest – all food) Tara questioned if it was really fate that caused me to drive past a bakery selling those delicious donut-like treats – the Pączki. I had to question the coincidence of it myself. What drove me to find my way past that bakery on this day – of all days. Nature vs. nurture could explain it, perhaps. It was only natural that I’d want to devour those soul and body nurturing treats after all (and one of the six in my box is supposed to be filled with prunes – nutrition!). And then, as if walking out the door of Grebe’s with my half dozen Pączkis wasn’t good enough, I was holding the aforementioned door for an older couple on my way out (their way in) when the older, overweight, oxygen-tank-toting gentleman looked at me and exclaimed, “I’m fat and it’s Tuesday! Guess I’m in the right place.” A respectful head nod was all I could muster as I questioned my life choices and walked towards my car. The pontificating ended quickly as I buckled my seatbelt and wolfed down the first Pączki my hand blindly came across – custard filled, my favorite.
It’s cold, it’s snowing, you’re stuck living at your mom’s house (temporary!), and you’re hungry. That’s the bad news. The good news is she owns a Fry Daddy and you have just enough oil to make it work. Your instincts kick in. What can you do?
What can’t you do is more like it. Ok, well, I couldn’t figure out how to wrap Mac and Cheese inside bacons, but aside from that it was awesome. Here’s some slow motion deep-fried erotica for you:
I wasted a good hour discovering iMovie Trailers and creating what I called 50 Shades of Fried, but my advanced screening for Tara proved to be too cringe worthy for public consumption so the above uncut version will have to do. Now I just feel sick from eating all that fried food and I’m avoiding going to shovel snow … and then inevitably changing my pants.
This old chair was rescued from my Grandparents basement. The torn vinyl couldn’t be fixed so we decided to give it a new orange felt skin. And I feel like this reupholstering project was plenty manly to warrant D.I.Guy status – pliers, spray paint, staple guns, swearing, pliers again, more swearing and finally a chair!