Holy. Pronto-pup. It's The Great Minnesota Get Together edition of Fresh Forkin' Friday! (And I know y'all missed me last week, mwah.) So I wish I could just go to the Fair every day and cover all the food, and ride all the rides, and skip-to-my-lou around the stroller mafia, but I'm not Jason DeRusha, for crying out loud. Mama's gotta bring home some of the paper bacon. So here's just a smidge of advice for those packing their fanny-packs and heading out . . .
1. Print out a set of these unofficially unsanctioned Minnesota State Fair bingo cards. They are hi-larious. Back boobs? Mullet? Someone falling? Awesome.
2. Visit the MN Cooks stage on Tuesday, August 31 in Carousel Park. Not only do you get to see chefs and farmers in one place, there are free samples. And benches. And me and Shansey at 3 p.m. with Ben Pichler of Grand Cafe and the gang from Clancy's Meat & Fish.
3. Check out what the kids at Heavy Table have been eating. When they compare cheese curds, they of what they speak.
4. Any serious foodie won't miss the Creative Activities building; just to check out the texture of the rolls that won blue ribbon. Also, if you go on Sunday (AKA John Micheal Lerma Day) you might just learn a little something about pie.
5. If you haven't discovered the Fair Food Finder . . . you're welcome.
P.S. Can you believe no one has ever documented a full Fair eating spree? Have you ever heard of anyone attempting to eat everything at the Fair? Or at least one thing from every vendor? Come on bloggers . . . fame awaits.
Here's a whole bunch of stuff you probably already know, but I feel compelled to catalogue.
Meritage is expanding! Russel and Desta Klein are bashing in the walls and moving into the space next door. The plan includes a bigger kitchen, more patio seating, a turbo-charged crepe cart, an actual bar, plus an honest-to-Belon oyster bar. It's true (except for the turbo cart thing)! Construction should start soon, and hopes pin the reveal around Thanksgiving.
Szechuan Spice is now open in the former Zen Asian of Uptown. Yes, the owners have a stake in the St. Paul Tea House, but they're putting up some Hunan dishes that are sizzling. Early reports from sneaky sneaky Peter L. say good things, including a very conscientious and guest-focused staff. And dan-dan.
Good news! Shakey's is coming back to Minnesota. I hope they still have those huge red plastic tumbler glasses for pop.
Hot Dish dug into the mess of Fuddruckers, so that I didn't have to. Which is nice.
Closings include Hooters on Block E and St. Martin's Table (closing in December), which are almost polar opposites on the good vs. evil wheel.
Also the Chocolate Spoon Cafe AKA SineFella's will be calling it quits on Tuesday, August 31. Show up on Saturday for the last hurrah, which includes $1 scoops of ice cream until it's gone.
If you missed it last week, you should tune into the Cooking Channel on Sunday night for Food Truck Revolution. It's a one-hour special that looks at the food truck craze across the nation. Local trucks profiled include Magic Bus, Barrio truck, and Chef Shack. And yours truly, representin'.
Slow Food's Snail in the Park potluck happens this Sunday. Sign up and bring a side to share while you listen to the experts talk about how to make Farm-to-School a reality.
It's a Crayfish Party! The American Swedish Institute is throwing its kraftskivor party this Saturday in which a ton of mudbugs will be boiled in salted dill water and sucked clean. Yum city. There will be adult beverages, and Kraftskiva songbooks on hand if spontaneous singing should occur. Call to register; this one's a hoot.