No one knows how to rock summer like a Minnesotan; the precious season is one long party in our state. We live it up at outdoor fairs, a jubilant expression of civic pride and community connection. Here comes our own Woodbury Days celebration, a riotous three days of quintessential festival fun. There’s a bike ride and sand volleyball and fireworks and a grand parade and all that, but let’s get real: these occasions are about the chow, and everyone knows that food tastes better when eaten al fresco. Head to Ojibway Park and make your way to “Taste of Woodbury.” Our favorite local places await us, stocked with tasty treats for every hungry maw. Remember: It’s your civic duty, as a Minnesotan and a Woodburian, to hightail it over and stuff your face. (Hint: If you have a Woodbury Days button, you’re entitled to significant discounts in the food area.)
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Greater American Ribs Inc.
Barbecue is a must-eat on any summer afternoon, anywhere. Enter Greater American Ribs: This longtime wholesale joint owes its success to the strength of Grandma Angie’s 70-year-old barbecue sauce recipe. Take a bite and you’ll get it: a rich layering of classic flavors from the best of grill cuisine. The divine pork ribs are a bit sticky and uncommonly meaty, but we prefer the pulled pork loin sandwich ($4.50) for Woodbury Days. It’s filled with 1/4–1/3 lb. of tender meat, capturing that sweet and smoky porky satisfaction with hand-held portability and minimal splatter risk. A soft white bun fresh from St. Agnes bakery snares all the precious juices and crispy bits.
Meatballs on a Stick
Any fair worth its salt must have food on a stick. Carbone’s obliges with a gathering of miniature meatballs: four 1-ouncers perch on a skewer, generously slathered with Carbone’s slightly sweet, deeply tomato-y spaghetti sauce. Made from a mixture of ground beef and pork and seasoned with parsley, oregano, garlic salt and just a wee pinch of red pepper flakes, these spunky darlings offer lots of flavor, a shot of protein and less mess than you’d expect ($4). Warm and buttery garlic bread on the side? Yes, please!
Mocha Caramel Icecrema
Dunn Bros Coffee
Keep your energy high with a sweet treat from Dunn Brothers, Minneapolis’ own coffee shop chain. Dunn Brothers serves a mouthwatering concoction, the icecrema frappe, which for all intents and purposes is a milkshake. It’s sweet, rich, intensely creamy and crowned with a glorious mountain of fresh whipped cream. The drink’s high-test foundation, cold-pressed coffee, is the latest coffee-making trend that promises a super silky, ultra rich brew. Dunn Brothers calls theirs “infinite Black,” so steel yourself for a far-out experience. Choose mocha or caramel, or our favorite: mocha AND caramel (Small, $3.80; medium, $4.27).
Green Mill Restaurant and Bar
If you’re craving something in the pizza family, check out the offerings at Green Mill. Their diablo flatbread ($8.99) is a marvelous arrangement of savory ingredients on a hot, fresh crust: grilled chicken, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, green and red onions plus a handful of herbaceous flecks of cilantro. It’s a bit spicy, crunchy with veggies and devilishly delish. There is frozen Red Bull on a stick here too, in case you need to rev up your motor in a hurry.
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Holy cheese curds! Deep-fried cheese curds are the very currency of Midwestern fairs, and these are the best: not too salty, not too greasy—just as gooey, hot and irresistible as they should be. What else is there to say? The cheese stands alone. Get yours while they last ($5).
Wild Rice Burger
Minnesota’s upscale supermarket shells out some upscale Minnesota food at Woodbury Days, including the ingenious wild rice burger ($6). Once a staple for indigenous peoples, wild rice is now our state’s signature comestible and we throw it in whenever and whatever we can. Why not a burger? The wild rice is a subtle force in this beef patty, adding a welcome bit of texture and a dash of homegrown nuttiness.
Brix Coffee Crepes Custard
At this cheerful peddler of “crepes, coffee and custard,” the crepes stand out as ideal walk-about fare. The very thin pancake makes an eggy, golden wrapper for all kinds of goodies, sweet and savory. The basic sweet crepe is laced with butter, powdered sugar and whipped cream; the fresh berry version includes scads of strawberries and blueberries. The nutella, featuring an insanely delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread, is a Woodbury Days favorite and it sells like, er, hotcakes ($6.40). In the mood for something salty and cheesy? The oh-so-melty ham and white cheddar crepe does the trick; it comes with a dollop of crème fraiche and a lightly dressed spinach salad on the side ($8.45).
Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich
Maggie Moo’s unites two of our favorite things, cookies and ice cream, in one giant cookie ice cream sandwich ($4.50) that is easy to carry around and even easier to eat, because it’s so dang yummy. The ice cream joint is famous for its multitude of flavors; at Woodbury Days, there are five choices for your ice cream sandwich, including vanilla, chocolate, cotton candy, cool mint and birthday cake. There are different kinds of cookies, too: Oreo, chocolate chip, chocolate-chocolate chip and sugar. A sugar cookie filled with cotton candy ice cream is festive and super-sweet, the perfect treat to cool your palate and rev your motor at the same time.
Mark your calendars!
What: Taste of Woodbury
Where: Ojibway Park
When: Friday, August 22 4-10 p.m. Saturday, August 23 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, August 24 10 a.m.-5 p.m.