Best Irish Bars in the U.S.

Think all Irish pubs are the same? That's a lot of malarkey! Grab your pint glass and raise a toast to these 11 outstanding Irish bars in the United States.

Photos

15 Photos
concession stands

concession stands

First stop at the Colorado State Fair: the concession stands where you’ll find deep-fried items like Oreos, cheesecake and peanut butter. 960 1280

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chocolate covered bacon

chocolate covered bacon

Who doesn't love chocolate? What about bacon dipped in chocolate? Get some at the Famous Dave's stand at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

little girl eats ice cream

little girl eats ice cream

A young girl enjoying her sweet corn ice cream from the Blue Moon Dine In Theater at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

cream puffs

cream puffs

One of the main attractions at the Wisconsin State Fair: freshly made cream puffs on a tray from the Original Cream Puff Pavilion. 960 1280

  

Fried bubblegum

Fried bubblegum

Fried bubblegum, a 2011 Big Tex Award winner for most creative food item at the Texas State Fair. 960 1280

  

grill

grill

Delicious! The grill at Juicy's stand at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

maggots on a sandwich

maggots on a sandwich

Feeling brave? Try a "maggot melt" sandwich at Jungle George’s food concession stand at the Colorado State Fair. 960 1280

  

Close-up of Nutty Bar ice cream

Close-up of Nutty Bar ice cream

Nutty Bar, an Iowa State Fair tradition. Classic vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts. Try one at the Oasis Concessions. 960 1280

  

Sign for baked chocolate chip cookies

Sign for baked chocolate chip cookies

Minnesota State Fair goers line up at Sweet Martha's Cookies for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. A state fair tradition. 960 1280

  

Close-up of Belgian waffles

Close-up of Belgian waffles

Belgian waffles waiting to be dressed at the Belgian Waffles stand at the State Fair of Texas. 960 1280

  

Cardinali's Woodfire Pizza stand is "home of the world’s largest fair food," at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

6-foot pizza

6-foot pizza

Cardinali's pizza -- the giant 6-foot pizza is shown off by Cardinali's owners and employees at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

hot beef sundae

hot beef sundae

Cattlemen’s Beef Quarter's hot beef sundae is one of the star food items at the Iowa State Fair. 960 1280

  

prepared ribs

prepared ribs

Pounds of ribs are prepped for smoking at Famous Dave's at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

brownies

brownies

Blue ribbon brownies, another decadent treat baked at the Original Cream Puff Pavilion at the Wisconsin State Fair. 960 1280

  

Green County, Wisconsin

Green County, Wisconsin

Unsurprisingly, Wisconsin wins as the top cheese producer in the U.S., churning out more than 600 varieties of cheese. Although it’s famed for cheddar, Wisconsin produces everything from mozzarella to limburger. Green County is one of the most famous cheese regions, where a dozen creameries create about 50 different kinds of cheese, including gigantic wheels of iconic Swiss cheese.

At the heart of Green County lies Monroe, dubbed the “Swiss Cheese Capital of the U.S.A.,” owing to the town’s Swiss heritage. Emmi Roth USA, a subsidiary of the Swiss company, is the largest importer of cheese from Switzerland, and visitors are allowed into the viewing hall to witness cheesemaking action. While in Monroe, don’t miss the National Historic Cheesemaking Center, which details the nation’s dairy history.

Of course, no trip to Wisconsin is complete without a cheese festival. Detour two hours north for the annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival, complete with a Big Cheese Parade, a cheese-curd eating competition and cheese carving demos. Try not to leave the state before stopping in Madison at Fromagination, a cheese shop that’s loaded with Wisconsin-made cheeses.
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National Historic Cheesemaking Center  

California Cheese Trail

California Cheese Trail

It makes sense that a state so intertwined with wine would also happen to be one of the top cheese-producing regions in the states. In fact, it ranks just behind Wisconsin, and yields about 250 different kinds of cheese. Experience as many as possible by downloading an app and hitting the cheese trail, a 100-mile journey that wends through redwoods and farmland in Sonoma and Marin counties.

The cheese collective consists of more than 30 farms, creameries and cheesemakers producing small-batch cheese: brie, blue cheese, cheddar and chevre are among the standouts. Many are open to the public, but some require advance booking if you want to tour the facilities. Try your hand at making cheese by booking a class at Achadinha Cheese Company in Petaluma.
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Sacramento Bee / Contributor  

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival

Vermont weighs in with about 50 cheesemakers per capita, the most of any state, and produces more than 150 kinds. The Vermont Cheese Trail blankets the Green Mountain area, but you can also experience the state’s tastiest artisanal offerings at the annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival held at Shelburne Farms. Expect more than 40 cheesemakers in attendance, including Vermont Creamery, one of the leaders of the country’s artisanal cheese movement. Highlights include cheesemaking demos in a historic barn, cooking demos from The Cabot Creamery Cookbook and workshops on Vermont blue cheese. Vermont Farm Tours is also located in Shelburne, Vermont, and can arrange mozzarella-making workshops and artisan cheese tours. 960 1280

Boston Globe / Contributor  

Hudson Valley, New York

Hudson Valley, New York

Pastoral Hudson Valley is ripe with cheese options. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is considered one of the premier restaurant schools in the country, and its Hyde Park location recently added a cheesemaking course. The two-day boot camp teaches the basics of making cheese from scratch, and covers goat cheese, mozzarella and ricotta. Also at the CIA, the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici will be holding a six-course dinner that spotlights Italian cheeses, such as gorgonzola and pecorino.

There are also a number of artisanal cheese makers in the Hudson Valley: Sprout Creek Farm is a working farm known for its award-winning cheeses; stop by the farm to visit its goats. Coach Farm, which specializes in goat cheese, supplies its stock to top NYC chefs like Jean-George Vongerichten. At Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, stop by its store to pick up its award-winning camembert—just note that as a self-serve shop, you’re on the honor system.
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John Greim / Contributor  

Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail

Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail

Neighboring the Hudson Valley, the bucolic Berkshires cover a wide swath of New York and Massachusetts. Narrow the field by following the Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail, which numbers eight farms and three restaurants. Cricket Creek Farm is one of the more established dairy farms in the region, and has won awards for its raw milk and extra-aged cheeses. There are no official tours, but guests are welcome to visit the farm animals, and even watch cows being milked. Hawthorne Valley Farm makes organic cheese, both hard and soft, on its biodynamic farm, and guided tours are available by appointment. Refuel at John Adams, A Farmhouse Restaurant, and choose the farm prix fix menu to get a taste of local cheeses. 960 1280

DenisTangneyJr  

Finger Lakes, New York

Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes have earned a reputation for its wines, and its cheeses shouldn’t be overlooked either. The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail includes six members, but be sure to plan ahead since two are closed in winter. Otherwise, mozzarella, blue cheese and even fresh curds are among the varieties that can be found along the trail.

The annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival is a great opportunity to sample cheese from five members of the cheese trail that aren’t open to the public. You can also watch goats being milked, take a self-guided farm tour and participate in seminars. For even more local cheese sampling, sign up for a wine and cheese pairing class at the New York Wine & Culinary Center.
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Engelbert Farms  

Oregon

Oregon

Add cheese to the list of items experiencing a resurgence in the state. Where to start? Luckily, the Oregon Cheese Trail simplifies the matter by sorting the trail into regions. For example, the Willamette Valley alone has five cheesemakers on the trail. (Added benefit: It’s also one of the top wine-producing regions in the U.S.) In Southern Oregon, award-winning Rogue Creamery has been making cheese since the ‘30s, and blues and cheddars are popular sellers.

In March, Rogue Creamery will be hosting the 12th annual Oregon Cheese Festival. Tastings and classes are part of the fun; attendees can also buy tickets to the Cheesemakers Dinner, a golden opportunity to pick the brains of top cheesemakers during a multi-course dinner.  
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cislander  

Washington

Washington

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is arguably the state’s most famous, and was the first artisanal cheese shop in Seattle when it opened in Pike’s Place Market in 2003. Although it’s branched out, you can still visit the original location and watch its award-winning cheeses being made while you shop. Elsewhere in Washington, Cherry Valley Dairy has won awards for its rubbed rind cheese, and Willapa Hills Creamery is known for its sheep and cow milk cheeses and spreads.

Monteillet Fromagerie in Walla Walla distinguishes itself by making cheese from the Alpine goats and East Freisan-Lacaune sheep that populate its farm. Seasonal varieties include Wasabi Pickled Ginger chèvre along with its signature goat and sheep milk blends. The farm also offers two-day cheesemaking workshops for industry professionals and cheese enthusiasts alike, and you can even stay onsite in its farmhouse. The highlight is a fridge stocked with farm-fresh items (and yes, cheese).  
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Beecher’s Handmade Cheese  

Festival of Cheese, Des Moines, Iowa

Festival of Cheese, Des Moines, Iowa

Every year the American Cheese Society hosts the Festival of Cheese, one of the largest cheese conferences and competitions in the nation. Following the judging portion, the conference opens to the public with more than 1,800 artisanal cheeses to be tasted. This year the conference will be held in Des Moines, which has garnered buzz in recent years for its emerging food scene.

The Cheese Shop will hold events in conjunction with the conference. It’s also worth a visit to the store to peruse more than 100 artisanal cheeses and cheese tasting bar. For a full meal, pop into the Cheese Shop’s café to enjoy cheese-centric menu items, not least of which is the macaroni and cheese made with locally sourced gouda and cheddar.
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Uriah Carpenter / Festival of Cheese  

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sure, Philadelphia has long been associated with the humble cheesesteak (and the cheese-like whiz that smothers it). But cheese-related food aside, Philly’s cheese roots run deep. In fact, cheese purveyor Di Bruno Bros., a mainstay since 1939, has focused on cheese since the ‘60s. It now operates five stores around the city; swing by its flagship Rittenhouse Square location to salivate over more than 600 international cheeses.

Nearby, Reading Terminal Market is a 39,000-square-foot food hall that’s home to almost 80 vendors, and is one of the best places to sample farm fresh cheese from Amish Country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Before leaving, stop by Valley Shepherd Creamery to sample handmade, cave-aged cheeses from its North Jersey farm, and Downtown Cheese for its specialty domestic and international selections. 
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Di Bruno Bros.  

10. Grilled Caesar Salad, California State Fair

10. Grilled Caesar Salad, California State Fair

Who said fairs only do food that’s crummy for you? Leave it to the Californians to give us some healthy fair foods, such as grilled Caesar salads and peaches with cottage cheese. That being said, news of the Big Beef Rib (24-ounce steak on a 17-inch cow’s rib) has traveled all the way to me in Minnesota. Gotta try that next time! 960 1280

  

9. Cream Puffs, Wisconsin State Fair

9. Cream Puffs, Wisconsin State Fair

It's said that the original cream puffs are the essential food at Wisconsin's state celebration. How can you argue with a mountain of sweet cream sandwiched in a puff shell? You can’t. I implore you to also eat a brat or 2, along with some cheese curds. ’Cause hey, you're in Wisconsin! 960 1280

  

8. Fried EVERYTHING, State Fair of Texas

8. Fried EVERYTHING, State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas is the largest state fair in the US when measured by annual attendance. And when it comes to foods, it’s all about the deep fryer. There’s deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fried cookie dough, fried peach cobbler on a stick, zesty fried guacamole bites, deep-fried lattes, fried chili Frito burritos, fried hot dogs, chicken fried bacon, fried banana splits, fried grilled-cheese sandwiches ... I could list about 100 more, but I am getting queasy just writing this down. 960 1280

  

7. Sweet Martha's Cookies, Minnesota State Fair

7. Sweet Martha's Cookies, Minnesota State Fair

I think I remember Martha telling me that they make a million cookies every day of the fair. This is a fair must and one of those food experiences that cannot be accurately replicated at home, even if the dough is available for purchase in your grocer's freezer. Few things can beat piping-hot, messy chocolate-chip cookies served with an enormous glass of milk. Martha (yes, Sweet Martha is a real person), I adore you! 960 1280

  

6. Barbecue Chicken, Arizona State Fair

6. Barbecue Chicken, Arizona State Fair

I am a self-proclaimed BBQ snob and was pleasantly surprised at the caliber of 'cue at the Arizona State Fair. From drummies and ribs to sliders and pizza (that only kind of counts), I'm a fan. 960 1280

Shaiith  

5. Kiwanis Strawberry Malt, Minnesota State Fair

5. Kiwanis Strawberry Malt, Minnesota State Fair

There are a lot of great dairy items at the great Minnesota Get-Together. (Hello, we carve our fair princesses out of butter!) My favorite is the little stand run by the Kiwanis ladies adjacent to the Fine Arts Center. I have a hard time picking among chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, so I like to go with friends and order all 3. I’m not sure if this is actually the very best malt at the fair, but it’s been around since 1969, and I think some of the original folks are still employed. It's just a warm, fuzzy kind of place. 960 1280

  

4. The Original Deep-Fried Cheese Curds, Minnesota State Fair

4. The Original Deep-Fried Cheese Curds, Minnesota State Fair

All curds are not created equal. Trust me, I have tried them all. My go-to Minnesota State Fair cheese curd purveyor has got to be the Original. Look for the bright yellow sign with the long, fast-moving line. 960 1280

  

3. Navajo Tacos, Arizona State Fair

3. Navajo Tacos, Arizona State Fair

Think of this as a culinary lesson in cultural hybrids — traditional Navajo fry bread smothered in taco stuff, including ground beef, lettuce, cheese, beans and tomatoes. It's fantastic, and you can't really find it anywhere else. 960 1280

  

2. Gizmo, Iowa State Fair

2. Gizmo, Iowa State Fair

If I could pick only 1 state fair food, this would be it: ground beef and Italian sausage smothered in a secret sauce and seasonings, covered with melted mozzarella cheese and served on a delicious toasted Italian roll. It's like an Italian sandwich torpedo. I'm lucky enough that these guys hit both the Iowa and Minnesota state fairs, so sometimes I get to eat it twice a year. 960 1280

Jaimie Duplass  

1. About a Foot-Long Hot Dog, Minnesota State Fair

1. About a Foot-Long Hot Dog, Minnesota State Fair

I love the classics, and it just doesn't get better than this one. I think this stand has been at the fair since the Stone Age, and simply put, it does a hot dog better than anyone else. 960 1280

Henrik Freek  

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