Archive for the ‘St Paul’

New 2013 Minnesota State Fair Food

Every year for the last 4 years I have written about the new food being released at the Minnesota State Fair. If you’re really dying to read them you can find them all here: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

I have to admit I’ve really never been a huge fair food fan, but over the years I have become increasingly less tolerant of the garbage that these vendors put out every year for ungodly prices and call it new. This year “a record 47 new foods will debut,” according to the StarTribune and while Twitter was buzzing yesterday about these new items, the list is a record 47 awful items.

Here are some lowlights:

    1. Bacon Wrapped Shrimp on a Stick

      This is just ridiculous, done 100000000x different times in 1000000000x different ways. They should have been banned from the new food list for being boring.

    2. Cajun Pork Rinds

      Famous Dave’s does it again by using the most useless pieces of meat they can find and still charge more than $5 for a small portion of it. No thanks, I’ll pass.

    3. Craft Beer Onion Rings

      Because we want to capitalize on the high cost of craft beer, people’s stupidity at the Fair, and the fact that we can charge a TON of money by saying it’s new, we’re going to use craft beer to make onion rings and screw everyone out of their hard earned cash because they’re sheep! This is just pain wrong.

    4. Mancini’s Classic Char-Grilled Garlic Toast

      What better way to make a KILLING financially than grilling a bunch of bread with butter and garlic and sell it for $5+ while grinning that the public is actually buying it because it’s “new”.

    5. Fried Pickles and Chocolate

      Fried pickles were a new thing at the fair a new years ago and while they weren’t done well at all there, why not make them disgusting by having people dip them in chocolate?! If you can’t compete with decent food, you can’t really make it cheap and trick people into eating it (Mancini’s) then you do the next best thing–make it gross but partially edible.

You know, this is just awful. There wasn’t a single item on there that I said to myself, “that’s actually new or interesting and worth my time.” In fact, on Twitter and Facebook I wondered if we could just do away with almost all of the traditional Minnesota State Fair vendors and replace them with food truck vendors from around the country. Want to talk about new and interesting? Tasting good and really being worth your admission price + the cost of food? That would be it.

What do you think about the new Minnesota State Fair food in 2013? Are any of these at all interesting to you and why? What about the food truck idea? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Apple Valley Convinced BRT to Aid Growth

According to this article in the StarTribune, Apple Valley continues to pin its hopes on Bus Rapid Transit aiding growth within the city’s limits, especially the near decade-long vacancies in the Central Village “downtown” area. While Apple Valley’s leaders hope this will help everything from residential growth to new business, questions remain to be answered on how effective this new transit line will be and whether it can help business growth when most of the metro’s transit system is developed to funnel people into the city from the suburbs and not the other way around.

From the article:

An office building — one with a large employer as an anchor tenant — is high on the city’s priority list for filling some of the empty space. Nordquist said the city would like to see up to 100,000 square feet of office space, a total that likely would require an anchor tenant taking about 50,000 square feet.


“New construction is expensive, and there’s no shortage of existing space that would be cheaper for an office user,” Karkula said. Large chunks of vacant office space include the former offices of Delta Air Lines and Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Eagan and the former Brown College campus in Mendota Heights.

With so much other open development opportunities available elsewhere, Apple Valley appears to be jumping the gun on trying to build out and anticipate development needs around a transit line which hasn’t even opened yet and will remain in its infancy for years. The current transit system is oriented towards one-way travel: suburb -> city in the morning and city -> suburb in the evening. While BRT has the potential to fix this, somewhat, the City of Apple Valley is hoping that people from other areas are going to be willing to spend over an hour on transit systems with several transfers to get to Apple Valley. This will continue to be a non-starter for years to come.

What Apple Valley is currently doing here is very similar to what they did with the start of Central Village nearly 15 years ago. They are hedging bets on broken thought processes and a clear lack of understanding of how they fit into the metro area. They need to wait for BRT to mature (which it likely never will) and instead of using nearly $1 million in tax dollars to retrofit buildings now for companies which have already turned away from Apple Valley (hey guys, where was the huge press event where you admitted you lost the company you touted as the future of Apple Valley’s business sector?), the waiting game should continue for a while so you aren’t left with more unused and outdated development for business which will likely never come.

What do you think about this one? If you were located in another part of the metro would you be willing to take the LRT to BRT to work in Apple Valley? Do you think the city should be using nearly $1 million in tax dollars to build out commercial space for companies which are likely to never come? Do you think BRT will ever become the transit line the county and cities hope? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Funding Youth Athletics or the Vikings?

Ed Kohler of The Deets posted an interesting quote from a commenter on an MPR article which says:

Minnesota has a second class education system that charges students to play sports. But we have world class sports stadiums so they can sit on the couch and watch their “home” team. And we wonder why we have obesity problems.

While there was some argument that plenty of states have schools were extracurriculars require additional outside funding from the participants, this is an interesting discussion and one worthy of further exploration. With the state government looking to tax cigarettes further, something which has been proven to aid public health, why would the State not help to fund extracurriculars to help with the health of students in school?

Whatever you think about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What Makes You Attached to the MSP Metro?

According to this MinnPost article which discusses what makes people attached to a particular city. The article discusses with Katherine Loflin, a placemaking expert and lead consultant for a Gallup and Knight Foundation study on what drives attachment to a city. While the results of this study are interesting, most people may disagree with the findings.

From the article:

If people can find jobs and reasonable places to live, they’ll be attached enough. Worrying about quality of life, amenities, public spirit and all that squishy stuff seems a bit trivial in an economy that still recovering from one of the worst recessions ever.

But Loflin makes a business case for love of a place. These days, those people most likely to drive the growth of a city, namely young people between the ages of 25 and 34, have reprioritized. Quality of life registers high on their list of necessities. Corporations are finding that increasingly they have to sell talented recruits on the place where they would be relocating as well as the job.

As a hiring manager working in a field which is showing rapid growth and high competition during the turned down economy, I have been fighting to both recruit and retain people for my teams. While my experience is limited and certainly not as wide as the number of people looked at by this study, my experience in no way mirrors what Loflin has said. Talented recruits just out of school or with less than 10 years experience have just as much desire for high salary, regardless of their current location in our outside Minnesota, as anyone else I have talked to recently. You can sell them all you like on the greatness of the MSP metro but they know two things: money talks and it’s freakishly frigid here. When recent grad students are requesting six figure salaries without more than a few months of relevant real-world experience and getting offers from elsewhere with it, I can give you a 99.999% guarantee that this study is bunk.

What do you think about this one? Would you pass over a much higher income elsewhere just so you could stay where the people are? Are you surprised that recently minted masters-level students without much relevant experience are receiving such high offers when you hear in the news that this group is so hard pressed for cash lately? What attaches you to the MSP metro? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.