Posts Tagged ‘cheese curds’
The past few days have been an amazing food and beer fueled whirlwind. So much awesomeness and so little time to write. I’m going to focus on the Minnesota State Fair Day (MNSFD) and try not to stray into other topics that deserve their own post including Beer Table (a good restaurant with great beer), Fonda (the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten), an insane Latvian bar in the Lower East Side (LSE), and Bento Burger (a Japanese styled burger place). Yeah, like said, it’s been busy, but pretty awesome. And, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s been great to leave the comfort of Brooklyn and find some adventures in the city.
MNSFD – “The Great Minnesota Get-Together [in New York].”
The 2011 MNSFD, held on Saturday August 20, was a great success. Over 120 Minnesotans and Minnesota-lovers took to the streets of Manhattan to recreate the Minnesota State Fair.
Before I go on, since people not from Minnesota seem to get confused, I should explain the Fair. If you’re Minnesotan, just skip this paragraph, you’ve been going to the Fair at least once a year since before you could walk. First and foremost, there is the food. On these 12 days leading-up and including labor day, you can find corn dogs, fried cheese on a stick, fried cheese curds, pork chop on a stick, corn on the cob, Sweet Martha’s Cookies, deep fried candy bars, deep fried pickles, mini doughnuts…. you get the idea: if you can deep fry it and/or put it on a stick you can find it at the fair. (Eating food of a stick is kind of a big part of the experience.) And while, for many of us, the Fair is about walking from food stand to food stand there are actually are things to see and do. The animal barns showcase every barnyard animal imaginable. Scattered throughout the Fairgrounds are various stages with a range of music playing. There are the arts and crafts buildings displaying Minnesota made seed art, jams, quilts, and paintings. The Midway has all the games-you-can-never win and brightly lit death trap looking rides you could hope for. And, of course, there are the horticultural displays showcasing some really big fruits and vegetables born out Minnesota’s fertile soil–many a blue ribbon is handed out.
Okay, back to MNSFD. In 2008, a few Minnesota ex-pats put on their fanny packs and set out into the city to recreate the food of the Fair. Each year since, the project has grown and evolved. This year’s set-up took a pub crawl meets choose your adventure book approach, with 5 main bars and various optional side-trips including corn dogs, funnel cakes, and corn on the cob. (See map and details below.)
For the first time, tickets were sold for the event with the funds purchasing 40 lbs of Sweet Martha’s Cookie dough and real cheese curds from the same dairy the actual Fair draws on. The City Tavern served-up the famous chocolate chip cookies with an endless supply of cold milk. While it might never be the same as grabbing a bucket of Sweet Martha’s and getting a glass of unlimited milk from the Dairy Barn it was a delicious approximation. Woody McHale‘s opened their hearts, deep fries, and beer kegs to the group. In addition to deep frying the cheese curds, Woody’s had Leinenkugel (a Wisconsin beer) on tap and gave each ticket holder a glass on the house. While delicious, my one source of sadness was that I couldn’t enjoy my cheese curds with a cold Summit beer–I’m waiting with baited breath for the day this great Minnesota brewery starts distributing in New York. On the route, the planned culinary detours warmed my Minnesotan soul (while raising my cholesterol and increasing my waistline).
But more than the food, it was a blast to meet an endless stream of fellow MN-ex pats. Some who have lived in New York for years, others for only a few weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing some of these faces again at the next MN happy hour here in the Big Apple.
Finally a shout-out to the event organizers who pulled it all together: Laura Carter, Nina Panda, Jen Wise, Kieley Taylor, Sam Willems, and Shannon Robinson. Thanks guys for making this another awesome State Fair Day!
Canada is probably one of the last places that come to mind of when you think of culinary achievements and contributions. But sometimes our instincts are wrong. While apartment hunting in Park Slope Brooklyn, I ran across Corner Burger, a restaurant with a large sign in the window advertising poutine. Having seen poutine (pronounced PUT-SIN in its native Quebec French) on some food television show, I had to try this potentially delicious dish.
The sign in the window made poutine sound like a meal that just can’t go wrong: a layer of French Fries (I love fries), topped with fresh cheese curds (I’m from the Midwest so I can’t say no to cheese), smothered in gravy (goes great with pretty much anything savory).
Unfortunately, the reality of Corner Burger’s poutine didn’t live up to its potential. The poutine just didn’t have that level of decadence that seemed so promising. The main problem was the gravy—thin and runny, it settled on the bottom instead of coating the cheese curds and fries. Something was also not right with the cheese curds. Not being a poutine connoisseur, I can’t say for sure, but it seemed the cheese curds should have melted some. There are probably some crazy health code requirements about storing the cheese curds in a refrigerator, which means that the hot French fries only make them warm, not melty.
In addition to the standard poutine, Corner Burger offers additional intriguing toppings such as pulled pork and barbecue sauce. Since I am now going to be living in the neighborhood, I may have to make a return trip to try one of the variety of toppings or one of the great-looking burgers.
381 5th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215