August 26 – Day 6, Food Recap

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Day 6!!! Typically, Tuesday is the lowest attended day of the fair, and I appreciated an easy day of navigating. 

I worked in the morning so I didn’t get to the fair until 2:30 pm. I hadn’t eaten anything yet so I decided to start with the Fried Veggies from Vegie Fries. I had never tried these before because I don’t come to the fair to eat vegetables. Once I started eating them I realized they are really just french fries and onion rings with a deceptive name. These had a slightly fluffier batter to them; less crunch than fries or onion rings. I would order them again. They were a good product with a bad name. 

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I needed a main course for lunch so I stopped by Mancini’s for a Sausage On-A-Stick. My first thought was: great another stinking  hotdog, but after the first bite I was surprised how different it tasted. It was pretty spicy and covered in a marinara sauce. It was also accompanied by some great bread. I didn’t have to eat the bread but I did because it was a nice pairing! If you like a little spice, try this one. 

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I walked over to Mickey’s across the street from the food building to grab a Beef Kabob. I had never tried any of their food before because it reminded me of every other fair vendor. To my surprise, these guys had great food! The beef was extremely tender and fell right off the stick. It came with a tortilla which seemed like an odd pairing, but they had lots of condiments to choose from and you could easily have made yourself a taco. Best kabob I have had so far. 

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On my way to my next stop I stumbled across these two. So cute! I told them I was going to post them on my blog and they looked a bit confused. None the less….

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Pretzel House serves up awesome pretzels so I was pretty pumped to try the Pretzel Dog. Unfortunately mine was not hot, not even warm. It could have been awesome, but it just wasn’t.

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For dessert I had a Deep Fried Twinkie. I am glad I tried it! It was very light and fluffy and I can see why people like them. I imagine they taste similar coming out of the factory oven. The Twinkie was hot and gooey with just a little more breading than an original Twinkie. It was a glorified Twinkie but a fun treat. 

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I knew I would have to tackle the Gummy eventually so I went for it. I thought it would taste like a gummy bear but I couldn’t even bite into it. I was a sticky mess trying to eat this mustache. Thankfully I sat next to a hilarious man for 45 minutes who told me all about his adventurous day at the fair. Do not get this, it wasn’t good. 

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You can’t go wrong with a fresh dipped Chocolate Covered Banana. Granny’s Cheesecakes does it right and this is a nice treat on a hot day. 

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I had a Paul Bunyan Bar from West End Creamery on my list, but I came to find out they only had Blue Bunny Orange Dreamsicles. Talk about disappointment. I paid $4.00 for something I can get at the grocery store year round for a fraction of the cost. They have so many other options, don’t waste your money on this. 

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I headed back to Peterson’s Grill to grab their Grilled Chicken Breast. It has the same seasoning as their pork chop, which is delicious, but I thought it seemed a little saltier on the chicken. Overall it was a bit salty, but grilled perfectly. 

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My last stop of the day was for Stuffed Jalapeños On-A-Stick. These were not on-a-stick and had been under the lamps way too long. I am pretty sure these don’t count as officially being on-a-stick which means I ate them for “fun.” Truth is, it wasn’t very fun, and they weren’t very good. 

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My girlfriends came out tonight so I had some company. They stopped at O’Gara’s and grabbed the Pretzel Curds and had rave reviews. I didn’t try one because well…it didn’t have a stick but they looked fabulous. 

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I have 11 items left on my list. I checked about 50 vendors today to confirm I didn’t miss anything and still have about 100 more vendors to go before I can officially say:

I ATE ALL THE ITEMS ON-A-STICK AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR.

August 25 – Day 5, Food Recap

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It was a beautiful day for the fair! Perfect weather and lots of fun people were in attendance. Unfortunately, I had some of the worst food so far today. Read on to learn what to avoid!

Round 1


My morning started around 8:15 and I stopped into the Gass Station on the southeast corner of the food building for their Pancake Battered Sausage. I thought the sausage was a bit sweet but the outside breading was great. The women at the booth mentioned it was Jimmy Dean’s sausage, but it just tasted a little off compared to the dough. I also grabbed their Corn Dog Bites. I didn’t realize these were on-a-stick until they told me. These were great. I would highly suggest going with these if you are with a group and everyone wants a little bit of everything. This is one order (SIX!) and it has probably been one of the best “bang for your buck” foods I have found. It was $5.00. 

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Just inside the food building I grabbed Sonny’s Deep Fried Cookie Dough. These came out a year or two ago and were talked about quite a bit, but I hadn’t ever tried them until this morning. I went back to the booth because I didn’t think they were cooked enough, but the gentleman assured me they were (and even if they weren’t he said there wasn’t any egg in the batter). Either way, I thought they were very, very undercooked. They were very mushy and runny and the combo of outside breading and cookie dough center reminded me of an undercooked cake. It was terrible and I would not advise getting these. 

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And this is how I felt after the last bite.

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I wasn’t sure I had much more in me so I wondered around for a bit and grabbed a lollipop. I knew I was going to have to smash this thing to pieces in order to get it done, so I did just that. I had it gone in less than 5 minutes. 

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My breakfast dessert was Chai on-a-stick from the Farmers Union Booth. I thought the mocha was a better choice and had a more distinct flavor. 

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Round 2


I came back to the fair for dinner and grabbed an Italian Meatball on-a-stick from Spaghetti Eddies (they have 5 different things on-a-stick, good thing they are nice!). This wasn’t as good as the Pepperoni Super Stick but it was a close second. These guys have got those pizza sticks down. If you are in the mood for a pizza type food this is going to be your best bet.

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I headed up machinery hill to grab some Texas Steak Out foods. I started with the Texas Tater Dog and then grabbed a Texas Tater. They were both very good but a bit greasy. The Texas Tater was great because I am always eyeing up those huge baskets of spiral potatoes that tastes like chips but never buy one because I don’t want to eat the whole thing. The Texas Tater tastes very similar and is served in a single person serving (kind of). 

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Next stop: Deep Fried Olives. I love olives and I thought these had a great crust to them. The olives are filled with cream cheese and then breaded and fried. They had a nice sauce that came with them as well. If you like olives, these are worth trying. 

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I headed back to The Shrimp Shack for a Shrimp Dog. This is essentially a corn dog with a mayo/shrimp mixture in place of the hot dog. I thought it had pretty good flavor but the texture was off. I am a big texture person and there wasn’t really anything to chew; it was all very soft. I wouldn’t go back for the Shrimp Dog, but when I was there I saw those grilled shrimp again and wished I could have had seconds of those. 

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Still feeling pretty good I headed to MN Wine Country for their Wine Crusted Deep Fried Brie on-a-stick. I thought this would be perfect. I love cheese and I like wine, so it should be a good combo. WRONG. VERY WRONG. It had a very distinct alcohol flavor to it and as I swallowed it I thought I was taking a shot of liquor. After the shot went down I had to follow it up with a molten cheese chaser.

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I cannot stress how horrible this was to eat. I felt defeated as I sat and stared at the last two gigantic cheese puffs left in the tray. Just then my husband, who is on vacation in another country, called. I told him I was thinking about quitting and that I wasn’t going to be able to finish. For some crazy reason, he convinced me I had it in  me and we talked about strategy to get it done. With his words of encouragement I waited for everything to cool down, breathed though me mouth and accomplished the impossible (okay maybe I am exaggerating a little, but it was a stomach turner).

That basically did me in and the thought of food became very horrible but… as I walked towards the gate I saw Deep Fried Shortcake so I just had to grab it. It wasn’t anything special. They covered the crispy shortcake with a watery syrup mix which kind of ruined the whole thing. It tasted like a plain ol’ shortcake and I didn’t think it was anything you couldn’t put together yourself. 

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I have finished 70 foods so far and am still ahead of schedule. I have a bigger day planned for tomorrow and think I will be nearing the end sooner than I anticipated.

I think I can see the finish line.

August 24 – Day 4, Food Recap

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Day 4 started off quick and fast. My strategy today was to move quickly before the heat and the rain came through. I was also trying to beat the Sunday rush. 

I have been dreading/a little excited for the Scotch Eggs next to the barns. I love all the ingredients in these but I just wasn’t sure about the combo. The line was surprisingly long for 8 am and I took that as a good sign. It is a hard boiled egg with sausage wrapped around it then breaded and fried. They were VERY good. I thought it was a great breakfast and topped one half with maple syrup and the other with horseradish (per the vendors recommendation). I thought they were both very tasty and I would eat this again. The only thought was that the breading was a little dry – but for me that just meant more condiments. 

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I was still in the mood for breakfast type foods so I thought a Gluten Free Beer Battered Brat might fit the bill. This tasted surprisingly similar to a corn dog and I thought it was well done. If you are looking for a GF option I would suggest Sonny’s. They also have the ingredients posted right on the counter so you can see what you are getting. I love that!

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I have never had catfish before but the Walleye On-A-Stick booth was a great first impression. I actually liked the catfish better than the walleye that I had yesterday. I don’t think they tasted too different but the catfish was $1.00 cheaper and seemed a little more moist. Both the brat and the catfish are inside the food building.

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I felt like I was on a roll with the fish so I decided The Shrimp Shack was a good next stop. I tried the grill shrimp first followed by the bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp. The grilled shrimp come in cajun or garlic butter, so I opted for the cajun. I thought they were well done and they had just enough spice. I also thought if you were looking for a lighter, healthier option this would be a good choice. The bacon wrapped shrimp was very good but I feel like there should have been one more. They give you three but for $7.00 the portion was a bit small, especially compared to the grilled shrimp.

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I knew I had to keep moving so I stopped off in the International Bazaar at Henri’s. Henri’s has a good beer selection and they have really nice service. The bacon wrapped turkey tenderloin was very flavorful. I thought the meat was juicy and the bacon gave it a good flare. It was a little heavy so having someone to share it with would have been nice. It was meat, on meat and that is extremely filling. 

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As you can tell in my eyes above I was getting pretty full. I needed something fresh and sweet and knew just where to get it. Midtown Global Market inside the bazaar has whole mangos on-a-stick. These were fabulous. They were perfectly ripe, scored so they were easier to eat in sections and the best part is that it was just plain mango; nothing fried, added or buttered. It was so nice to have something fresh. This is THE spot to get your fresh fruit. It was awesome and I wish I could have had another one. (My love for this could have been from days of greasy food, but I really did think it was perfect.)

Mango

I was still craving sweet things so I stopped in and got a carmel apple and some cotton candy. These are fair food classics and you can’t go wrong. They reminded me of my childhood and I loved every bite. The apple was served on a pop top! And the gentleman that made my cotton candy said he was on the news yesterday and felt famous….so I HAD to take a pic with him. (Who would pass up a chance to take a picture with a famous person?!)

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While I was down by the GrandStand I popped in and grabbed a Cow Pop and a dark chocolate covered marshmallow (chocolate covered s’more) from Ultimate Confections. They were both smooth and surprisingly cheap! The marshmallow was only .50 cents. I would recommend either one if you are in the mood for a small bite of something sweet and don’t want to be over whelmed with too much of a good thing. 

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My sweet tooth was strong this morning so I decided a chocolate dipped cheesecake was in the cards. Granny’s Cheesecakes did not let me down. This was very good. It’s frozen cheesecake and then fresh dipped in white or milk chocolate. If you like cheesecake this is a tasty snack. It was like a cheesecake popsicle. You can find them just east of the yellow slide towards the butterfly tent. 

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I finished my morning off with coffee on-a-stick from the Minnesota Farmers Union. They had a live band so I sat and enjoyed some music while I finished off my day. The flavor was perfect and the texture was very creamy – it wasn’t icy like a popsicle. I also liked this stop because there were lots of older folks hanging out and as you know, I love hearing their stories. It was a fun ending to a fun morning. 

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Can you believe I did all that in 3.5 hours and all before 11:30 am? This puts me at 59 items in 4 days. 

The rest of the day brings the gym and some real life activities outside of the fair.

See you tomorrow!

 

 

August 24 – Day 4, Personal Recap

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Today was a difficult one. 

Mentally


 

I am still feeling pretty good. I am confident that I can do this and I don’t have any real concerns. I have enjoyed (almost) every minute.

It has been so fun to talk to my friends and family. They are so supportive and I feel so lucky I get to have them in my life. 

I also can’t believe how supportive complete strangers have been. Of course there are the nay-sayers, but I am amazed at how many people have just walked up to me and started talking. A lot of people have stopped me to mentioned my blog or Twitter accounts. I feel like I am truly starting to understand the power of social media. Within days I have met more people than I could have ever imaged. 140 characters has turned into a lot of fun!

The only thing I am still having doubts on is my list. It is hard to classify which foods count as one and which count as unique items. I feel like I have had so many corn dogs but do the bacon wrapped ones count as a separate food compared to a plain one? Is the SpongeBob Popsicle different then a Bomb Pop? I just can’t decide. In the end there aren’t any real rules but I want to be able to say I ate EVERYTHING on-a-stick, not almost everything. 

Physically


 

I am beat. Today my body did not want to eat anything else on-a-stick. It missed its normal diet and was very hesitant to let me eat anything else fried or battered. I am feeling terribly sluggish and just run down. My strategy today was to get in and get out, mainly because I want to give my body as much time as possible before tomorrows adventure. 

Don’t get me wrong, the food has been great and the challenge is still worth every bite but I think I might be having fair food shock. Tomorrow I start fresh. Today I will get in a long work out and some extra sleep. 

Fun Fact: I haven’t eaten anything that hasn’t been made at the fair since Wednesday night. Whoa.

August 23 – Day 3, Food Recap

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Another wonderful day at the Minnesota State Fair!

I got to the fair around 9 am this morning and knew I was going to spend my whole day there. It didn’t start off perfectly because after biking there I realized I forgot my entry ticket at home (ggrrr).  I decided to start my day off in the food building before it got crowded. 

I thought the PotatoSkins Booth had something on-a-stick (nice guys!), but either my list was outdated, or the Fair App is wrong, either way I ended up getting an egg roll from ChinaTown. Really, it just tasted like a fried egg roll. I wouldn’t give it positive or negative reviews but, hey, if you are in the mood for that, this would be a good spot to get it. 

Potato Skins   Egg Roll

I quickly moved to the Sausage Sisters booth and ordered a Twisted Sister. It had a buttery dough wrapped around a sausage and was served with a spaghetti sauce. It was very”sausage pizza-ish” without the cheese. (I came back later in the afternoon and had a Puffy Daddy. It was basically a crescent roll wrapped around a sausage. The Twisted Sister was MUCH better than the Puff Daddy. )

Twisted Sister   Puff Daddy

I walked towards the yellow slide and stumbled across Mike’s Hamburger’s Deep Fried Hot Dog. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it ended up being a hot dog wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried. It was pretty crunchy and resembled a corn dog with less fluff. 

Mike's Hamburgers   Deep Fried Hot Dog   

I ended up running into my friend Lindsey, who happened to have a mermaid on-a-stick (photo op!).

Mermaid On-A-Stick

I needed a breakfast dessert so I decided to try the fudge. I had cookies & creme and they have lots of other flavors (rocky road, dark chocolate, peanut butter, etc.) …this was a terrible idea. Don’t get me wrong, the fudge was very good but eating an entire fudge block by yourself is never a good idea. This put me on hold for at least an hour. 

Fudge   Bad Choice

After I recovered I found the Deep Fried Lobster at Lulu’s Public House in the West End Market. Lulu’s is impressive. They have a two story building with a patio up top and it just has a very fun atmosphere to it. The lobster was great!It was full chunked lobster deep fried. It did seem a little pricey ($9.00) for the portion that you got, but then again, you are ordering lobster at a fair. 

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I checked out the West End Market for a while and after meeting up with some friends decided it was time to get the newly famous Meatloaf On-A-Stick from The Blue Barn. This place is huge and they were very efficient in moving people through the lines (they were long). The meatloaf was surprisingly sweet. I am used to my momma’s meatloaf with ketchup on top and this one had a bbq-like sauce that was much sweeter than I expected. The meat part was super moist and it was over all a good buy

Blue Barn   Meatloaf

Next up was the Buffalo Kabob from Minnekabob right next to the U of M Building. I have had buffalo before and thought the flavor was fine, but what I couldn’t get over was the price: $10.50! This was the most expensive thing I had ordered so far. I know buffalo is a less popular meat, but this seemed very steep for what they were offering. 

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We saw the Deep Fried Buckeye stand and a friend had decided he was ready to try one. I reluctantly decided it was time and went for it. I soon realized it was a giant log of peanut butter and chocolate deep fried.  It was very good; melty and creamy, just like you would imagine. It was very similar to the deep fried candy bars. The Buckeyes were very smooth and didn’t have a lot of texture. I would opt for a Deep Fried Snickers if I was debating between the two. 

Buckeye   Friends   

It took about an hour or so to be ready for my next food choice which ended up being Deep Fried Macaroni and Cheese back at Lulu’s Public House. I didn’t care for the first bite, but after that I thought they were pretty well done. For $4.00 the portion size was generous and the flavor was right on.

Mac and Cheese   Mac and Cheese

I can’t believe there is still more to write about….

We headed to the barns and walked past the Deep Fried Mashed Potato Stand so I gave it a whirl. There was bacon and cheese inside and they were surprisingly good. I could tell that there was a tipping point for the perfect sized portion and the ones that ended up in too big of a fried ball just fell apart (see pic). They weren’t bad and really had a mashed potato taste. I thought they were something unique and fun to try but probably wouldn’t get again

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I knew I needed to cross of some things that I wasn’t looking forward to so I tried the Ostrich On-A-Stick from China Town inside the Food Building. It tasted like very lean ground beef. It was very moist and I didn’t think it even needed the teriyaki sauce that came with it. This also seemed like something fun to try, but I really don’t think I will eat it again. It just wasn’t that “over-the-top” amazing. 

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The last two stops on my list were for olives and a Bomb Pop. Both very standard foods, and I love them both so they were a great way to end my day. 

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Today I completed my 46th item on the list. FOURTY SIX.

Tomorrow I get to spend another day doing what I love: eating.

I am loving this!

August 22 – Day 2, Food Recap

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Day Two: Done!

Today was a long day filled with lots of miscellaneous stops. I had pretty fantastic timing and seemed to get everything “fresh” out of the fryer. Served super hot and served just how it was meant to be eaten.

Round 1


I knew I wanted to start my day off with the Deep Fried Breakfast from The Sandwich Stop next to the Milk Booth. It was pretty amazing: pancakes with ham, cheese, and bacon on the inside all dipped in batter and deep fried on a stick. These guys are great at the deep fried sandwiches and this one did not disappoint.

 Breakfast On-A-Stick    Fried Breakfast

I made my way up to the pork chop to get a little protein. The stand next to the dairy building is my personal favorite (Peterson’s). These guys were very friendly and the pork chop was a pretty easy one to finish.

Peterson's Pork Chop

I wanted to see if I could cross off all the foods on Judson this morning so I moved into the International Bazaar. There are a lot of great vendors in here and I love taking my time through these shops. I stopped at the Holy Land Deli for two items. The lamb on a stick was pretty good, tasted similar to beef but a bit chewier. I also tried the stuffed grape leaves and these were way better than and pre-made ones that I have tried before.

Holy Land Deli   Lamb  Stuffed Grape Leaves

My breakfast was topped off with a dessert of a Deep Fried S’More from Oodles of Noodles. The flavor was there and it could have been SO good, but unfortunately mine was undercooked and the marshmallows towards the bottom were still hard. It was also a bit doughy. I finished it, but I was glad that was my last item before I took a break.

Deep Fried S'More   Deep Fried S'More

Round 2


After work I was surprisingly very hungry so I quick stopped at Poncho Dog and thought it tasted just like it should: a classic corn dog. No surprises here, so I moved right onto the Wild Rice Corn Dog. This too tasted just like a plain corn dog (I am starting to sense a theme). I didn’t think it was anything over the top, and it was 50 cents more than the Poncho dog. If I had to do it again, I would just get the Poncho Dog.

 Poncho Dog   Wild Rice Corn Dog

I knew Spaghetti Eddie’s had good food but I saw the Super Stick and was intrigued. The crew at this place was fun and the Super Stick was a chart topper. This was a WAY better than any other pizza type object on a stick I have ever had at the fair. It was hot, perfectly portioned bites and had an amazing dipping sauce. I could have probably eaten two…

 Super Stick   Super Stick

Since I was still a little hungry I topped off my dinner with Walleye from inside the food building. It seemed like they had some diehard fans, but to me, it seemed like $5.00 was a lot for the portion I got. It tasted like fried fish, but for the cost I would have expected something grander.

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I needed a little break so I grabbed a seat and chatted with whomever was the lucky occupant of the rest of the bench.

I ran into my God Mother who was attending the Aretha concert and we went up to Giggles to get a Salad on-a-stick. It was so nice to have something fresh and it was pretty easy to eat. I will say however, that it wasn’t really on-a-stick. It was lettuce in a cup with some sticks on top. I was still happy it was fresh.

 Salad On-A-Stick

She wanted to try something sweet and my will power was weakening fast. I tried to hold off until closer to the end of the challenge to eat one of my all time favorites, Deep Fried Snickers, but I couldn’t. These are so indulgent and so over the top but they are perfectly cooked and are a warm gooey, crunchy treat I can’t escape the fair without. These just make me happy.

Deep Fried Snickers   Deep Fried Snickers

We moved onto the West End Market and saw Jonny Pops. One of the owners was there and said they started this company in college and this was their first year out at the fair. 120 calories, 6 grams of fat. It was a nice cold treat. I tried the strawberry rhubarb (limited time state fair offer) and it was great. Better than a regular popsicle.

 Jonny Pops Owner      Jonny Pops Nurtition

Next up, fried fruit. This was absolutely not good. It seemed like some of the fruit might have been from can/jar and I just don’t know that it was a good mix of flavors. I wouldn’t recommend it and do not want to eat it again. My face explains the my real feelings.

 Deep Fried Fruit

My last stop was a very disappointing Chicken Nachos on-a-stick. I had to wait a while for it to come up and this is what was presented to me:

 Chicken Nachos   Chicken Nachos

Does that look like nachos on a stick? It was chicken on-a-stick with nachos under it. The chicken was very, very fatty and the nachos tasted like something that might be served at a kids soccer game. This was the most painful one I have had to eat so far. I was mad it wasn’t actually on-a-stick, and I was sad I had to eat the whole thing.

30 out of 94 with some more to be added as I discover them.

I am on a roll!! Sweet Dreams (PUN!)

August 22 – Day 2, Personal Recap

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I have had such a fun adventure over the past 48 hours. I can’t believe it is just getting started. Along with all my food recaps, I thought it might be interesting, and entertaining, to share how I am doing both mentally and phyiscally.

Mentally


 

I am having SO much fun! All the preparation has paid off and now I am just enjoying the ride. I am ahead of my eating schedule and that actually makes me very happy. I am a punctual person and I hate when I miss things or am behind. Anyone that knows me, knows that being ahead of schedule brings me piece of mind.

The first few stares and whispers surprised me but really I am wearing a T-Shirt that screams “Stare At ME”. After the first 3-4 people I just got used to it. It’s fun to hear the comments people don’t think you can hear. My feelings aren’t be hurt, but I am a bit surprised at what people say.

I am also getting a bit bored taking so many selfies. That just isn’t really my personality, but all my friends seem to have jobs and aren’t available mid-week to be my photographer, so I am stuck taking pictures of myself. I am looking forward to days where I know certain people will be with me because my friends and family are truly what keeps me going. I have said from the day I decided to do this, that if I am not having fun, it isn’t worth it.

The only other mental challenge is just staying organized. A handful of booths haven’t actually had the “on-a-stick” item so I had to take them off my list. And then of course, there are the booths that weren’t listed that get added. My Google.com/sheets doc is helping big time!

Physically


Well….let’s just say I am a bit bloated. Most of these foods are great, but what makes things taste great: salt, sugar, and fat; none of which I eat on a regular basis. In my real life (not in my “State Fair Life”) I consume around 100 oz of water a day. I bet over the past two days I have easily had closer to 150-175 oz. a day.  I just can’t seem to quench my thirst. It also doesn’t help that it has been pretty hot out.

I have been biking to and from the fair and it has been a pretty horrible ride home both days. On top of that, the 4.5 mile run I had this morning was pretty slow. There was a point where I wasn’t sure if it was raining or if I was just sweating that bad (so much salt!).

The sugar highs are insane. I haven’t had a mid-day crash in a long time and man have I been tired both Thursday and today due to my sugary breakfasts. I get so much energy and then I crash so, so hard! (Nap time?)

The only other thing that has really been impactful health-wise is the fact that my teeth feel pretty dirty. I have been brushing 3-4 times a day, just because they feel gross.

According to my JawBone yesterday I took 17,955 steps and today I took 29,503 steps (including my run thats almost 15 miles).