Get your favorite fair foods...without going to the fair
Only a few days left to enjoy the Minnesota State Fair ... or not.
Avoid the chaos and the crowds, but still get your curds and corn dogs.
If you're having a hankering for fried foods on a stick but can't bear traipsing through the stinky barns and stepping over the horse-plop-and-Sweet Martha's-cookie-littered sidewalks to get to them, we're here to help.
Here's our list of five favorite fair foods that are served at Minnesota restaurants.
1. Bread and Pickle cheese curds
These curds tend to be lighter, crisper, and less salty than most of the ones at the fair. They're made with organic cheese from Wisconsin's Castle Rock Dairy, which melts into utter gooeyness while the tempura batter husks stay impossibly crisp.
2. Chef Shack Indian-spiced mini donuts
We've said it a million times and we'll say it again: These cardamom-kissed mini ds are absolutely amazing. On the downside, you don't get to watch them fry in the grease as you do at the fair's Tom Thumb stand, but on the upside, all the ingredients are organic.
3. Wise Acre Eatery corn dog
Just like the fair's corn dogs, these come straight from the fryer, so the batter is crisp on the outside and muffin-soft within. Even better, the dogs come from meat that's raised on the restaurant owners' farm.
4. Crema Cafe sweet corn ice cream
One of the fair's most successful new foods this year is Blue Moon Diner's sweet corn ice cream. But one of our favorite artisan ice cream shops has been making it for years. Crema recently made a fresh batch of the late-summer flavor, so if it's not in the case right now, it should be there any day.
5. Minne's Dinner Minneapple Pie
This one requires a road trip to Rogers (13105 Main St.), but at the end there will be a fine reward: a crescent-shaped, deep-fried apple pie, with a perfectly flaky crust and cinnamon-coated fruit filling that's been pleasing many at its Minnesota State Fair debut.