You don’t have to be in Minnesota long before someone will bring up the “Great Minnesota Get-Together.” They may wax on, misty-eyed, about how many deep-fried cheese curds or Sweet Martha’s cookies they were able to consume before passing out in front of Garrison Keillor. Or maybe they’ll insist that you check out the state’s largest swine and the butter-carved bust of this year’s “Princess Kay of the Milky Way.”
The point being, most peoples’ fair experiences are firmly centered on consuming as much dairy products and meat on a stick as possible. The fair, after all, is deep down pretty much a celebration of dairy and livestock, so the idea of a Veg guide to the event may be seen by some as a bit of an oxymoron. I am determined, however, to enjoy people watching and gorging on as much food as the next person, without feeling as guilty if I happen to venture into the livestock barn and look at little Wilbur after lunch.
To the vendors’ credit, there certainly seem to be more vegan and veggie options than in years past, and the fair itself is also taking steps to cater to vegan interests in the form of its vegan main dish competition. The competition is a first as part of the events at the Creative Activities building. Tiny steps forward!
Below is my guide to the food vendors at this year’s fair. It is unclear from the menus whether some items are actually vegan or not (veggie burgers are a toss up, so I’ve listed them under vegetarian), but I’m guessing many (such as burritos) can be made vegan by asking to omit dairy toppings. Vegetarians will have an easier time, since cheese seems to be everywhere. From personal experience, I would particularly recommend O’Gara’s cinnamon-dusted sweet potato tots and the chickpea curry wrap at Harry Singh’s! Feel free to add comments, reviews, and corrections after your visit to the fair. Coordinates refer to location on the official State Fair map (R-27, for example). For added inspiration, check out these old blog posts from Raw Food, Right Now, in which these crazies attend the fair on a raw food mission.
- Dole Whip: Offering “non-dairy fruit based desserts.” Q-26.
- Falafel King: Falafel, veggie, or hummus pita sandwiches, falafel balls, fried vegetables. T-26.
- Fried Fruit: Deep-fried fruit on a stick, fruit cups, fruit salsa and chips. N-25.
- Harry Singh’s Caribbean Resetaurant: Jerk fries, Trinidadian doubles (chick peas, hot sauce, and chutney sandwiched between two pieces of bread). T-26.
- Holy Land Deli: Coushari Rice with lentils, falafel, vegetarian samosa, hummus, tabouli salad. U-30.
- Produce Exchange: Lots of fruit n veg, plus grilled peaches! S-27.
- Stawberries’n Crème: Dish of fresh strawberries with non-dairy whipped topping. R-16.
- Blue Moon Dine In Theater: Sweet corn ice cream, waffles, pizza, veggie burgers. M-26.
- Boulevard Grill: Black bean burgers, waffle fries. L-31.
- Dino’s Gyros: Greek fries, spanakopita (delicious spinach and feta pastry), pitas and hummus. R-26.
- French Creperie: Fruit and whipped cream crepes, savory crepes. Q-26.
- French Meadow Bakery: Breakfast burrito, Cheese and Bean quesadilla, baked goods. R-26.
- Giggles Campfire Grill: Northwoods salad on a stick (mozzarella, grape tomoatoes, wild rice, and dressing). V-12.
- O’Gara’s: Sweet potato tots (!), Shamrock sandwich (sautéed spinach, garlic, and feta). W-24.
- Potato Man and Sweetie: Sweet potato chips with honey mustard or Cajun dip, baked and mashed potatoes. J-27.
- Tejas: Vegetarian burritos and quesadillas, bean and cheese guacamole with chips. T-24.