The not-so-authoritative guide to grub at the Sioux Empire Fair

Last week, I detailed the food available at JazzFest in a pretty thorough manner. I even gave you a hand-drawn map!

This week, setting out to do something similar for the Sioux Empire Fair, my stomach just wasn’t in it. For a few reasons:

1. Most of the food is the same. There are a couple variants, and the fair definitely has more food, but largely it was reruns.

2. I don’t like fairs. I know its shades of grey in distinction with festivals, but that distinction is usually smell.

3. I picked the “pre-first day” of the fair, Friday, and many of the booths just weren’t ready, weren’t yet open, or “forgot their bucket of batter for the fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” WHAT?!

So here’s what I’ve got for you. It’s abbreviated, but I think there’s a find or two?

The Chislic & Kuchen booth, run by the Minnehaha Mandskor group, had some pretty mean lamb chislic (above, bottom left). They say they order it three months ahead of time from Scotland because they like the leaner cut.

I tried some without any seasoning and it was good, fried meat. With a little salt/pepper and some garlic salt, it was even better. And, BONUS, they serve a $1 trial size. So if you’ve never had lamb or just want to sample, they’ve got you covered. I also had a slice of raspberry kuchen, and while good, there might be better fare for your sweet tooth.

After I was shut out on trying the only thing I REALLY wanted to try (the PB&J mentioned above), I settled for trying some oddities at the Cool Zone Cafe near the grandstand: a Donut Burger and some Fried Kool Aid.

The donut burger (upper left) was predictably gross and a waste of $7 for the two bites I took. Hockey puck burger, burnt on an all-but-stale donut (not doughnut) with a slice of processed cheese. Somewhere out there is a good doughnut burger. This isn’t it.

The Fried Kool Aid (upper right), however, was interesting in that it was crispy outside, but gooey inside and not super sweet or saccharine as I expected. Kind of mellow and odd. I say check it out and let me know what you think.

Lastly, there are a TON of places claiming to serve “fresh-squeezed” lemonade. I cannot confirm that ANY of them actually do this but can speak to the only one I saw actually sporting a lemon squeezer (lower right).

I was duped. No lemons were squeezed, my lemonade came out of what looked like a sink hose, all foamy from the multiple streams of liquid filling the cup, and it tasted like uncarbonated Sunkist Lemonade if uncarbonated Sunkist Lemonade tasted bad.

No way was that “fresh squeezed,” or even squeezed that day, as the lady behind the counter assured me.

Oh well, like I said up top: not really a fair fan. Hopefully you have better luck and a lot more fun!