Your Kosher(ish) Guide To The Minnesota State Fair

The 12 days that end on Labor Day make up the Great Minnesota Get Together that is the Minnesota State Fair. For many, that means hours of gluttonous eating of fried foods, and maybe the occasional sketchy ride in the Midway. However, for those who keep Kosher, the State Fair can be a challenge.

While there are three certified Kosher food booths – Sweet Martha’s Cookies, Fresh French Fries and new this year, the Corn Roast – there are options that may fit your fair-going needs if you keep a Kosher home, but don’t need certification when you’re out.

Laura VanZandt, the communications coordinator at Herbivorous Butcher, the well-regarded vegan (and Kosher certified) restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis, is leading a Temple of Aaron group on a Vegan Tour of the State Fair. But before she does that, she gives TC Jewfolk some of her favorite spots.

“There is a surprising amount of vegan food at the fair,” said VanZandt, who is personally ok with eating vegan food from booths that also have non-vegan food. “I can’t vouch for places. It’s good enough for me, but a lot of vegans are careful about cross-contamination. People should ask” if they are concerned.

VanZandt likes to start her Fair Journey in the International Bazaar, with three stops, starting with Cinnamon Roasted Nuts.

“It’s one of my favorite spots at the fair,” she said. “They come in a nice pouch, so it’s easy to walk and eat.”

Also at the Bazaar is Holy Land Deli, home to great falafel, hummus, and grape leaves, and Island Noodles, which has vegan-marked dishes.

The Vegan Irish Apple at Sara's Tipsy Pies in the Food Building at the Minnesota State Fair. (Photo courtesy of Laura VanZandt)

The Vegan Irish Apple at Sara’s Tipsy Pies in the Food Building at the Minnesota State Fair. (Photo courtesy of Laura VanZandt)

Into the Food Building, VanZandt said one of her go-to spots is Sara’s Tipsy Pies for the Vegan Irish Apple Pie, which has 2Gingers Irish Whiskey in it.

Speaking of booze, Minnesota’s awesome brewing scene has been a growing presence at the fair over the course of the last several years. Worried a beer may not be vegan-friendly? VanZandt recommends checking the website Barnivore to make sure your beverage of choice is OK for consumption.

One new item this year that VanZandt is excited for is at French Meadow.

“They usually bring baked goods, but this year they are adding their Earth Wings, which is cauliflower drenched in Buffalo sauce,” she said of the item, which is a relatively new addition to its Uptown restaurant. “I know a lot of people are excited they are bringing them to the fair.”

VanZandt’s “hidden gem” is the regular or Cajun fried pickles at Preferred Pickle. But sneak some vegan ranch in for a dipping sauce.

“I’m glad to go with a group this year,” she said. “It’s easier to sample a little of everything.”

VanZandt has more vegan options from last year in her terrific blog One Girl Two Cities. Did we forget any options? Comment on our Facebook post so others can see it!