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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

2018 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 3


HUMP DAY!


We're in the middle of the list today, letters M through R (if you didn't realize they're listed alphabetically, you do now.  YOU'RE WELCOME.)

You can click here for part 1, and part 2.


Let's get to it!


Messy Giuseppe





A blend of seasoned ground beef and Italian pork sausage smothered in marinara, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served on crusty Italian bread.

At Mancini's al Fresco


Sarah

No. I don’t want this. Besides Mexican food, Sarah doesn’t like red sauce. And I’m pissed that the State Fair is making me eat so many things that I don’t like this year.

I mean, it sounds fine. I bet Anne and Pat will like it all right. But I know I will try a bite and say “Yep. That’s marinara sauce” and then be fucking done with it.

And of course it has to be “smothered” in marinara. Why can’t it just be drizzled with it?


Anne

Yep. Gimme That. Right In Ma Mouf.

I am not sure we’ve ever eaten with this vendor before. I hope they represent.

(update- they made the Bomba Sammich last year- it was fine).


Patrick

Aaaah yeah, now this is what I’m talking about.  There is nothing I don’t like about this.  This just sounds like something delicious I want to chow down on.  I think Mancini’s has been hit or miss for food items (and usually it looks good and falls a little flat, which has me a *little* worried about making this my most excited item), but I feel like they’ve got all the right punches to make this sandwich a knockout.  I guess the bread could be soggy or stale and that would eff things up, but I hope they really pull through on this one.


Moroccan Sausage Bowl





Coarse ground beef and lamb sausage seasoned with herbs, sweet spices and a hint of red pepper, cooked with carrots, turnips and chick peas, and topped with sautéed onions and a green olive.

At Sausage by Cynthia



Sarah

Son of a bitch it took me three tries to spell Moroccan right. And yet I get Giuseppe on the first try. (okay, it was the first try on the title of the previous entry but the second try here. I’m a giant mess (and actually, spell check has just informed me that I, in fact, did not spell Giuseppe right on the first time ever, except for in this sentence, right now.))

So, I think the photo on this is a little underwhelming. Something about the colors, maybe. BUT. All that said, this looks good. I mean, get rid of those crotch peppers and then we’ve got a deal! Okay, I guess I’m also not sure about the chick peas. I think I’ll most likely end up pushing those to the side of the plate, but everything else on this sounds great! So color me excited about this one!


Anne

Not one whole green olive! How are we going to split that three ways?

Yeah this looks and sounds good. I’m not a HUGE chick pea fan, but I’m interested to try them again in a different way.

What is Sausage by Cynthia? Because we already have pretty good sausage on offer at Sausage Sisters so…


Patrick

This was aaaalmost my most excited for item.  I passed on it for that pic because of the chick peas.  Not crazy about chick peas.  Honestly though, I think I can work through that, because this looks amazing.  Love the meat and vegetables, and the green olives.  Sounds like my kind of crazy ethnic food that I love giving a try.  I seem to use crazy a lot in these reviews, like I have no middle ground for food preference.  I’m either crazy about something, or not crazy about it.  Guess I have to live to the extremes!



Nordic Waffles





Fresh-made waffle wraps in seven varieties: All-Day Breakfast (egg, bacon & cheddar); Berries & Cream (raspberry & strawberry mixture with vanilla cream); Cinna-Sugar Butter (cinnamon, sugar & butter); Slammin’ Salmon On-A-Stick (Norwegian smoked salmon with cream cheese & green onions); S’More (marshmallow crème, crumbled graham crackers & Nutella); Turkey Chipotle Club (turkey, bacon & mixed greens with Sriracha mayo sauce); and Vegetarian Viking (black bean veggie burger, cheddar cheese, mixed greens & chipotle sauce).

At Nordic Waffles



Sarah

Jesus it’s like they’re taking parenthetical lessons from me.

I get irritated when a “new food” is actually like seven new foods. Like, come on. Just pick one you want to focus on for your debut and push that as the front runner. Because now the three of us are going to have to decide which one of these we’re gonna want to try. And I bet it will come down to the All-Day Breakfast, Berries & Cream, or S’More. *Sighs for fifteen minutes*

But I think this is a clever new shop and I hope these waffles turn out great so then I’ll want to make the effort to try the other ones I’m interested in.


Anne

Ok hold on here- I don’t think it’s fair to cram 7 new foods into 1 new food offering.  Like- this is a new vendor, you don’t get to just list everything you make- IT’S ALL NEW.

But other than that I’m pretty exciterested to try these, especially the brekkie one, and the sweet ones. I don’t want fish on a stick so stay away salmon!


Patrick

Shut up, how am I going to try all of these Nordic waffles?  There are so many of them, how does one choose?  Maybe we’ll each need to get one to form a clear opinion on this new food creation.  If I had to pick three to give a go, I’d probably pick All-Day Breakfast, Cinna-Sugar Butter, and S’More, with maybe Turkey Chipotle Club waiting on the bench.  I’m pretty stoked to try these, they sound really good, and I like waffles so seeing them as a sandwich conveyance is pretty exciting.


Pepperoni Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Queso






Thinly sliced fried pepperoni chips served with a warm roasted red pepper cheese sauce.

At Lulu's Public House



Sarah


Hahaha! Lulu’s is such a HACK! Literally Packie makes Pepperoni chips as a side for dinners, sometimes. It takes him, like, what? 2 minutes to make them? YOU CAN MAKE THEM IN A MICROWAVE, GUYS. And here’s Lulu serving them up as something special. Next year on Lulu’s menu: hard boiled eggs.

Seriously. I would say these will be fine, yet nothing special, but it’s Lulu’s and they often are super overpriced for food that is not great so there’s a chance even these will be a flop.

I am a bit excited about the cheese sauce, though.

C’mon, Lulu’s. Surprise me for a change.


Anne

Ok, these are probably gonna be real good. How do I know that? BECAUSE WE MAKE THEM AT HOME!

C’mon Lulu’s, what’d you do, draw inspiration from Pinterest? At least this year they’ll probably have a pretty good new food, because I really want to like Lulu’s but they usually only put out C or maaaaybe B level food.


Patrick

Alright LuLu, if I recall correctly (and I do, I cheated and looked up last year’s reviews) you and I had a real falling out last year.  You had two chances to wow me and you kind of tripped when you were carrying them to my table and dumped them on my head.  I told you I was done wit you.  That you were in the same doghouse as Blue Barn.  You’re back again, and you look like you’re playing things cool, not trying to really stand out, and only putting out a single new item this year (which I can appreciate).  So…I’m gonna give you one last shot.  Don’t fuck it up.  

Pepperoni Chips.  I’d first like to say I can make these in a microwave at home and they are great, so you’re not really trying very hard, but maybe that’s a good thing for you.  Fried pepperoni chips are my jam, and whether you actually fried these or just nuked them like I do, it’ll be hard not to nail this.  That roasted red pepper cheese sauce you got with them?  Ok, I can dig that.  Sounds pretty good.  Just don’t you play me Lulu.  Don’t you do it, or you’ll be getting the same treatment as Blue Barf further down this list.  I believe you can change, girl.


Rainbow Cloud Roll





Three scoops of ice cream sprinkled with fruity cereal and wrapped in a pillow of cotton candy. Hand-rolled on-site. Ice cream choices include Superman, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.

At Rainbow Ice Cream


Sarah

Holy shit look at this!!! Oh man, will this be amazing or terrible? WHO CAN SAY? THIS is the kind of fun fair foods I look forward to. The confections that are weird and strange and you know you’ll either be blown away by this magical treat or saddened that it turned out to be a devil’s trap all along.


NOT TODAY, SATAN.

This is butts. Just straight up good butts.

Will the cotton candy just melt with the ice cream? What kind of flavor will we get? (my vote will be for chocolate) Will it give us ice cream headaches? We’ll find out in a few months!


Anne

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! YAAAAAAASSSSSS! NOW WE’RE TALKING!

This looks absolutely INSANE and is exactly what I’m expecting from new MNSF foods!  WTF is Superman Ice Cream? I assume it’s the red and blue ice cream in the pic?

Fucking fantastic.


Patrick

LMAO!  What?  What is this?  This is like kid crack.  Something a kid would like go crazy over, but anyone with real developed tastes would be like “that shit gonna taste insane”, and not necessarily in a good way.  That rainbow ice cream looks fun and kooky.  It’s like the suicide soft drink of ice creams.  It sounds cool and fun, but ultimately you’re just muddying everything with too many flavors.  I don’t know, maybe like the chocolate or vanilla, or even the strawberry might look more appetizing.  I’ll jump in this ball pit of sweetness, but I feel like I’m going to get frustrated when I can’t flounder my way out of it.


Check us out tomorrow for part 4!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

2018 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 2

We continue our look at the 2018 New Foods with the next 5 foods on the list.

You can find part 1 here!

Onwards!

Fire Cracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado




Gulf white shrimp tossed with lime, onion, black beans, tomato and fire-roasted corn in a garlic aioli, drizzled with cilantro-infused olive oil, stuffed in avocado halves and served open-face with flatbread.

At the Hideaway Speakeasy

Sarah
So at first I was like “huh, okay” but then I saw that it was from the hideaway speakeasy and I screamed so loud that the sound turned into literal fire until I looked like Azula from Avatar the Last Airbender.




Fuuuuuuuck the Hideaway Speakeasy. The stuff they forced us to eat last year was so bad it literally put me in a rage lather. Not to mention you have to walk up a billion stairs to get to it, there was no official line so people kept budging, and everything cost as much as a small island in the Caribbean (at least according to Island Hunters. That show is great!) I was seriously hoping they would not be here again this year.
But nooooo. Here’s a new fucking dish we have to eat. And on the surface it looks like maybe it would be okay, right? Skrimp in avocado? Yeah! Sure! But I know I’m gonna eat this and wanna barf and then want to rage all over again.

Shit. I’m already raging and it’s only the beginning of July.

Anne

This was the 2nd thing I saw that I figured Packie would be irritated about because he no like avocado- OH HOLY SHIT THIS IS AT THE HIDEAWAY SPEAKEASY???!!!

How in THE HELL did they get renewed for another year? OMG I’M GOING TO HAVE TO WALK ALL THE WAY UP TO THAT CRAPHOLE AGAIN ONLY TO HAVE TO SPEND WAY TOO MUCH MONEY ON OVERPRICED TRASH FOOD!

I mean, you’d think this would be hard to mess up. It looks good! I like all the things in it! But GODDAMN was everything from Hideaway Speakeasy last year just really, fucking awful.  Like- everyone I spoke to about it agreed!  IT’S AWFUL.

So even though I thought this looked tasty I am hella concerned and irritated already- not a good way to go into any new food.


Patrick

This place can eat a dick.  I said it.  I don’t want to try this, I don’t want to burn a hole in my wallet to pay for it, and I don’t want to even give it my time to critique it.  I’m not even waiting until after I try it and after the fair for my follow up analysis.  This gets an F.  It’s shit, you know it, I know it, let’s move on.


General Tso Chicken Taco




Battered and deep-fried chicken tossed in a sauce of ginger, garlic, soy sauce and Asian spices, with seasoned cream cheese and topped with wonton crisps and green onion, served on a flour tortilla. 
At Midtown Global Market’s Taco Cat 8/29-9/3

Sarah

Well okay! So Sarah doesn’t like Mexican food. Which is sad because Sarah likes the IDEA of a lot of Mexican food. Like tacos. She wishes she liked tacos because they look really good.

So whenever there’s a taco that’s not a Mexican taco, I am excited! And everything on this looks really good. Except for the cream cheese. What the fuck. Why is that on there?  This is like when you’re eating some good sushi and then someone sticks some cream cheese in their roll for dumbass reasons. NO ONE NEEDS THAT.

So in general I am excited about this one, but have a healthy amount of side-eye at that cream cheese.

Anne

This is the other split week vendor at Midtown Global Market.  First, I appreciate the palindrome name.

Hey, this looks pretty good! I like the marriage of Asian food and Tacos, because I could stand to have more tacos in my life (a problem that is 100% attributed to Sarah and her lack of liking Mexican Food).

It’s unfortunate that they chose to serve this on a dumb ol’ flour tortilla though, because those are stupid and not tasty and a waste of calories, especially when they could’ve served it in some sort of hard shell (freaking wonton shell! YOU DONE FUCKED UP TACO CAT!) or even a fried corn tortilla so it’s at least a little crispy.

Patrick

…It is practically a whole damn avocado that they ham-fisted some crap into and haphazardly drop onto a plate with “flatbread”.  Looks more like pita chips, but what the fuck do I know?  Served “open-face”?  What is it, a god-damn sandwich?  This so damn stupid….sorry, I hate this Hideaway Speakeasy so much, it spilled into my next review.  Sorry everyone, sorry.

Here we go with another restaurant at Midtown Global Market, and another food item that hey, actually looks kind of good.  They usually do.  It just hardly ever pans out that way.  How do you even pre-review a place where the food always looks good, and rarely tastes that way?  Here goes:  I like the sound of an Asian taco with battered General Tso chicken and wonton crisps, and I predict it will taste like mediocrity on my tongue.   Best of luck to you Taco Cat.

Honey Cream Soda Float



Honey cream soda (made without sugar) poured over Minnesota Grown honey ice cream.

By Minnesota Honey Producers

Sarah
Is this going to be another barfinade? Whenever honey comes into any drink I automatically worry that it’s going to be barfinade all over again. Which is too bad because I’m thinking this might be okay and maybe even good. I like me some floats, and there’s nothing citrus in here, so I don’t THINK this will be a new barfinade but I guess we’ll find out. I do like it when we get some cold things on the menu, because typically it’s hot when we’re at the fair, so hopefully it won’t be, like, raining when we have to try this.

Anne

I view anything with honey with shifty side-eyes, ever since we tasted the WORST THING EVER (WTE) ™ (BARFINADE YOU DICK), so my immediate reaction was excitement that was quickly tempered. However, I do recall that we enjoyed the honey ice cream, and so I think this might actually be good. The Honey Cream Soda will make or break it.

Patrick

I’m still pretty gun-shy after trying that honey lemonade several years back (infamously known as “Barf-o-nade”).  They really packed the honey in this one, eh?  Honey cream soda AND honey ice cream?  I have to say I don’t look forward to trying this.  I like honey, but I don’t like cream soda, I’m not a big ice cream eater, and I don’t particularly like any kind of “float” drink.  I know, I’m kind of a monster.  Accept it, and accept that I can’t fairly judge this drink for that reason.  Because it’s gross, cold crap, is what it is!

Irish Tater Kegs




Jumbo deep-fried tater tots made with a blend of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, sour cream and potatoes drizzled with house-made Thousand Island dressing and nestled on a bed of sauerkraut.

At O'Gara's at the Fair

Sarah

As soon as I saw this picture I was like “yeeeeeesssssss.” But then I read the title and I was like, “Oh, shit, they’re going to be at O’Gara’s.” And I was right.

And then I read the description and I got confused as hell. How are they jumbo tater tots if they’re made out of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese (you know, that Irish staple: cheese from the swiss) and THEN, finally, taters?

No. Just no. Whyyyyy did they do this to the beloved tot? Why did they think “let’s throw in a lot of garbage, like corned beef and sauerkraut, then add some different region cheese and top it with the dressing that no one ever puts on their salad and call this a slam dunk?” 

I predict this will be terrible. And not just because it’s O’Gara’s and they are typically a huge miss.

Anne

Ok- first, I really don’t like the phrase 'nestled on a bed of sauerkraut' because that implies sauerkraut is something good and soft or cute and IT IS NOT.  Also, this is at O’Gara’s, so it’s going to look interesting and good and then completely miss the mark.

Just take a break O’Gara’s. Just give us all a freaking break.

Patrick

Hahahah!  This just sounds like Sarah and Anne repellent in a basket.  Pretty sure they hate sauerkraut, or just refuse to try it because they’re convinced they’ll hate it.  I get it, I used to be the same way, but I’ve actually grown to like sauerkraut the more I try it.  This is O’Gara’s we’re talking about though.  They try so hard to be relevant, and always trip over their untied laces because they’re children who don’t know what people want (or how to tie their fucking shoes apparently).  Sauerkraut aside, I don’t see anything inherently off-putting about this dish, I just know O’Gara’s, and they’re going to kill tater tots for me on this one, I just bet.

Mangonado Shave Ice



Mango-flavored shave ice drizzled with Mexican chamoy sauce, dusted with tajin chili powder, topped with popping mango boba pearls and served with a tamarind candy straw.

At Minnesnowii Shave Ice

Sarah

Wait. Has it always been “Shave” ice and not “shaved?” Is that how it is everywhere? Or just at Minnesnowii?

Hmm. Normally this would piss me off, but the truth is Minnesnowii has the world’s best shaved ice, hands down. Ultra-fact. So is they want to call it something grammatically weird, they can.

This seems…interesting. Interesting not good? I’m not sure. Now I will fucking shove a child over for a chance to eat bobas (regardless of how our mom thinks they’re not good. (THEY ARE GOOD, MOM. YOU NEED TO WORK ON YOUR PALATE)) and as I’ve already stated, Minnesnowii is the absolute best, so I am already pre-disposed to trust them. But Sarah doesn’t like Mexican food, and mostly that’s because she doesn’t like the seasonings and flavors, so let’s just say I am hesitant about this.

Also mango is not my shaved ice flavor of choice. But I love you, Minnesnowii. If you want me to shove this in my craw, well then. I’ll take this Mexican seasoned bullet for you. I love you.

Anne

I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY WITH THIS ONE!

First- has it always been SHAVE ice? Because I’ve always called it SHAVED ice BECAUSE THAT MAKES GRAMATICAL SENSE! Hold on…

God Damnit, Instagram confirms that the business is called Shave Ice. This is just fucking awful.

OK, moving on, MinneSnowii is OUR JAM! So while I am super excited for them that they have something that made the New Foods list…wtf? Maybe I just want to get the Shave (barf) Ice I always get!

Also- this just looks cray.  I mean- I really freaking love bobas, so I’m preeeetttty excited about that.  But some of this stuff I don’t even know what it is!

Chamoy Sauce = apparently a sauce made from pickled fruit, and is salty/sweet/sour/spicy. Why don’t you just do all the flavors then?

Tajin Chili Powder = Apparently Tajin is the name of a Mexican Company. They have a seasoning powder made from Chile peppers, salt, and dehydrated lime juice that is tangy and spicy and used on fruits and vegetables. So not sure if that’s what this is referring to, or if it’s just a straight up Chili Powder made from this company.

Tamarind Straw = ok I’ve had Tamarind before- it kind of tastes like fig. I found it enjoyable. I’ve never had it in straw form so that’ll be something new.

Overall this thing is crazy so you get high marks for that, MinneSnowii.

Patrick

Ok, ok, ok.  MinneSnowii Shave Ice is hands down my favorite place to get shaved ice at the fair.  I probably get one every day I go.  I’m super thrilled that they are on the new foods list this year, good for them!  I suppose I can give up picking whatever delicious flavor of shaved ice I want on one of the days to give this one a try.  I’m not super crazy about mango flavored things, but I don’t mind it as a flavor choice.  Plus, boba pearls are the best.  Just little explosions of sweet juice in your mouth.  Never heard of chamoy sauce before this and had to look it up.  Savory and salty sauce on top of sweet flavored ice?  Why not!

Tomorrow will be part 3!

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 1

SUMMER TIME IS HERE! And you know what that means- less than 2 months until the Great MN Get Together!

And of course, one of the most important way we prep for the event of the summer is pre-reviewing the list of new foods by making snap, often angry judgements of food based on photos and descriptions. Good times, good times.

Like last year, we'll be breaking these posts up since there are 27 foods to cover this year (4 fewer than last year).

Per usual, all opinions are typed up individually before reviewing each others' thoughts, so any overlap is just because we're similar and awesome people.

Please leave a comment and let us know if you agree or think we're way off base!

On to the foods!


OVERALL FIRST THOUGHTS

SARAH

Well my thoughts are good this year! Usually I feel a little underwhelmed by this list, but I don’t know, this year I’m excited. Maybe it’s because last year as a whole ended up being such a shit show that I’m once again hopeful and wide-eyed. Or maybe it’s just that there are some good things I’m really excited to try this year. I don’t know. If I understood WHY I feel things I’d probably be a much healthier person.

It seems like the theme this year is Sausages. Even when there isn’t, like, a whole sausage as an item, there seems to be sausages IN things. That and some waffles. I’m okay with both these themes. It’s better than the SPAM theme and the Sriracha theme, anyway.

Most Excited For: Smoked Soft Serve Ice Cream

Least Excited For: Messy Giuseppe


ANNE

Why does the MNSF hate the Oxford Comma?

Seems like maybe the theme is waffles? There’s like 2 waffle offerings plus a whole waffle vendor. Or maybe cold/raw items since there’s an Ahi Tune Poke Bowl, Shrimp Ceviche, and some sort of skrimp stuffed inside and avocado.

NOPE! I changed my mind. The Theme this year is definitely Sausage- there’s like at least 4 things that are sausage or have sausage in them.

Some things are really intriguing (wtf is that rainbow roll?!) and I’m tentatively excited. I mean- it can’t be worse than last year, right? RIGHT??

Also, I legit typed ‘beed’ instead of ‘beef’ every time while writing up my thoughts. I’m not even kidding- every freaking time! What is wrong with me?

Most Excited For: Probably that freaking Rainbow Roll or Mangonada Shave Ice. They fuckin cray.

Least Excited For: Triple Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake. I’m calling it now- it’s going to be a disaster.


PATRICK

A new year, a new list, and me still playing the optimism game that more often than not seems to bite me in the ass hard every year. Last year was real sobering to this positive outlook, and was possibly one of the worst years for new foods that I can remember (partly due to the extra string of some of my favorite foods being taken off the menus; I’m talking about you chicken fried bacon and dough-sant). Alas, I don’t want to go through life feeling cynical, so I’ll try to keep on a positive bent as we go through this year’s New State Fair foods list.

I’m never very good at labeling any kind of theme to these new foods, but that won’t stop me from casually taking a whack at it. Maybe global foods would be what I’d call this year’s list. Whether it’s Swedish, Greek, Nordic, Mexican, Italian, Irish, or Chinese, there seems to be a plentiful variety of foods that celebrate the heritage of eating delicious things.

Most Excited For: I’m gonna play it safe this year (since last year I got hit hard with my choice of most excited for), and go with the Messy Giuseppe from Mancini’s al Fresco. This sounds simple and delicious. Just my sort of fare. I think we’ve been pretty lukewarm about Mancini’s in the past, so we’ll see if this is just eye candy, or if it is meaty goodness in my belly.

Least Excited For: There were a couple of contenders for this one, but I have to go with Firecracker Shrimp and Stuffed Avocado from The Hideaway Speakeasy. Partly because this place should go from being a “hideaway” to being bricked off and left for future archaeologists to find and open like the ark of the covenant (with subsequent face melting, “Shut your eyes, Marion!”). Also, because I’ve made my disdain clear for avocados. I’ll eat them in guacamole, but that’s about it. This just looks like a hot mess of apathy and loathing for hungry people. Bet it costs like twenty bucks.



THE FOODS

Ahi Tune Poke




Ahi tuna, avocado, mango and pico de gallo tossed in a Hawaiian ginger-soy sauce served cold over rice with a fried wonton.

At Café Caribe.


Sarah

Okay. So I’ve always wanted to try poke, I’ve just never really had the opportunity. Okay, that’s a lie. I HAVE had the opportunity, I’ve just chosen not to. So I’m excited that the State Fair will actually MAKE me try something I’ve been wanting to try. I’m particularly excited about the avocado, and the wonton because that shit’s gooood.

Anne

Ok Ok…I am interested/excited (Exciterested? Yes.) to try a Poke bowl, and I have been known to enjoy some real good Ahi Tuna. The question is…is eating fish at a state fair a good idea? I guess we’ll find out! Café Caribe is typically a good bet- prices are usually reasonable for large amounts of food.

Also, apparently Poke Bowls are always Ahi Tuna…? I have to google this, but if that’s the case, then calling it an Ahi Tuna bowl is redundant (shout out Alexa if you’re reading for this tidbit).

UPDATE: Poke (pronounced POH-keh if you weren’t sure) means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of marinated fish, usually tuna, which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-packed sauces. So I guess I’m not certain now if it’s overly redundant. YOU BE THE JUDGE.

Patrick

Poke is something I’ve always been mildly curious about, but have the sneaking suspicion I won’t like. Maybe it’s the raw fish (I like sushi, but not sashimi…it's strange), or the avocado mixed in there, but I have mixed feelings. In all honesty, I’m glad I get this opportunity to try it without actually devoting my time and money to order a whole meal of it at a restaurant, so for that, I thank you Café Caribe. I’ll try to keep an open mind, and maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.


Bananas Foster French Toast



Cinnamon swirl French toast topped with slices of fresh bananas in an orange-rum-flavored caramel sauce and finished with a dollop of whipped cream.

At Hamline Church Dining Hall.


Sarah

Well all right! I lurve me some bananas so I’m pretty excited to give this a shot. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about the orange-rum-flavored caramel sauce. I worry the orange flavor will interact not nicely with the bananas, but I guess we’ll see! Also, I know Pat’s pretty pissed he’s gonna have to eat bananas this year. But he’s gonna.

Anne

I saw two things on this list right off the bat that Packie is going to be irritated about, and this is one of them. He don’t like no bananas. Which is dumb because they’re delicious. And here’s your lesson today courtesy of moi:

Bananas as we know and love them are going extinct- we (Americans and Europeans) eat the Cavendish Banana which is large, yellow skinned, white fleshed, and has no seeds. This banana replaced the Gros Michel variety we USED to eat until a fungus called Fusarium Wilt eradicated that banana back in the 50’s (I guess they were even sweeter and better than Cavendish- we’ll never know!). Cavendish was resistant to Fusarium Wilt, but unfortunately the fungus has mutated and can now infect Cavendish. Scientists are racing to try and stop the fungus or genetically modify Cavendish bananas to resist the fungus, but if they’re not successful we have no replacement banana and we’ll only have bananas as we enjoy them for another 10-20 years. SO EAT UP!

Hamline Dining Hall is usually an ok bet- so far haven’t absolutely LOVED their offerings but they’re no Blue Barn, that’s for sure. This seems fine and I’m sure it’ll taste good, but it doesn’t seem original AT ALL and I feel like I could get this at IHOB any day of the week.


Patrick

Damn you bananas! One year without having to try something with bananas in it, is that too much to ask? I really like the idea of bananas foster. If it weren’t for the actual bananas, I think I’d really like this. At least I’ve got some French toast, caramel sauce, and whipped cream to stomach the stupid bananas. If this is anything like what they made last year at the Hamline Church Dining Hall, it’ll be exactly what I expect with no surprises, and ultimately I’ll be left feeling like I could have eaten this at any IHOP, Perkins, or Dennys. Getting creative with food doesn’t seem like their bread and butter.


BBQ Split




Scoops of BBQ pulled pork, mac & cheese and coleslaw served side-by-side with a pickle spear.

At Midtown Global Market Mama D’s 8/23-8/28.


Sarah

Welly welly welly! Looks like we’ve got two new replacements in the mid-town global market and I am excite! Because the previous two always put up good sounding food that ended up being crappy, so hopefully the replacements are better.

And already we’re looking pretty good! There’s nothing on this plate that I don’t like, so I’m sure it will be good. Though I guess there’s a possibility the bbq sauce they use isn’t to my liking. Or the coleslaw could be bad. But you can’t fuck up mac and cheese, right? RIGHT?

Oh god. Why I do this to myself??

Anne

ok, this is one of the new vendors, and it’s the split week at Midtown. I am definitely excited for a new vendor because the last two there were always exciting on the surface but disappointing in their execution.

I like all three of these things and so I’m looking forward to trying this. It doesn’t seem SUPER special- it’s basically three common foods all in a tray together, so even if it’s the best ever I don’t think it’ll be memorable- where’s the ol’ razzle dazzle?

Patrick

Midtown Global Market keeps putting stuff out and keeps adding restaurants to its booth, and I’ve yet to be really happy with anything they put out (They had that Carpe Diem dessert one year that was pretty good). The BBQ split doesn’t even really excite me like many of the other items did, until they ultimately disappointed. This is basically like a plate of BBQ; pulled pork, mac & cheese, and coleslaw. That is like so unoriginal as to be boring, but hey, maybe they make really great BBQ. Making it into the shape of a banana split seems cute, but adds nothing to the actual dish. I do like a pickle spear, though…


Blueberry Rhubarb Cobbler





A blend of organic blueberries and rhubarb topped with a cornmeal biscuit and whipped cream.

At Farmer's Union Coffee Shop.


Sarah

Jebus “rhubarb” is not an easy word to spell. I mean, it is when you just look at it. But when typing it I always want to add an extra “h.”

ANYWAY. This looks good! Nothing too special, but sometimes the simple things are the best (a la, “Big Fat Bacon.”) I’m interested to see how the biscuit is. Will it be grainy? If it’s grainy, I am going to be not happy. NOT HAPPY AT ALL.

Anne

Well right off the bat I expect this to be expensive, because it’s at the Farmer’s Union Coffee Shop.

This looks…fine I guess? I mean, it’s probably tasty but when I go to the MNSF I’m looking for something special, something unique that I can’t really get elsewhere or even make myself. This looks like something I could easily make at home. At least last year they had that corn éclair with the crazy new Kernza Flour from the U of M. I mean- it wasn’t good, but at least they tried, you know?

Patrick

Maybe it is just a bad picture, but this looks boring as fuck. I do like blueberry and rhubarb, especially in a pie or maybe a cobbler, but it looks like they just threw a biscuit on top and slapped some whipped cream on it. Should of done a crumble, crumbles are the sweet shit! I predict I’ll take one bite of this and be underwhelmed. They should stick to making coffee, which is actually pretty good there.


Earth Wings



Fresh cauliflower pieces dipped in a seasoned batter, deep-fried and smothered in organic sesame BBQ sauce. Vegan and gluten-free.

At French Meadow Bakery.

Sarah

Huh. Okay. At first I thought these were going to have buffalo sauce on them and I was going to lose my shit in a bad way. I hate buffalo sauce. I can’t even stand the smell. I probably would have cried real, actual tears if I had to eat buffalo sauce fake wings. Tears of sadness and rage.

BUT! It is NOT buffalo sauce but instead a sesame bbq sauce! I’m not sure how I feel about these fake wings. On one hand I think it’s clever and interesting. On the other, I think maybe they’re trying too hard? But it is French Meadow bakery and they are almost always a success. Almost always (except for getting rid of the doughsant. WHY YOU DO THIS TO US??!) Normally I don’t like cauliflower (it’s just fake broccoli) but hell, it’s battered and deep fried so maybe it will be good!

Anne

I saw the pic, thought it looked good, then realized it was cauliflower and was delighted, and THEN realized it was French Meadow which is 98% good (RIP 2016-2017). So I gotta say- I am pretty durn exciterested to give this a taste! This is not something I would normally get to try so I’m looking forward to it!

Patrick

OMG, I just have to say that Earth Wings sounds like the lamest hippy name to try to normalize cauliflower as an alternative to chicken wings. Don’t try to confuse or convince me into buying that these are “wings”, but vegan, gluten-free, and healthier. I’m sure people who prefer or need vegan/gluten-free food are happy to have this option (and I am happy for them, honest), but don’t pander it to the meat eating crowd. Your portabella burger isn’t a burger, your tofurkey isn’t turkey, and these aren’t chicken wings. All that said, I like vegetables and I like cauliflower and this actually sounds like an interesting and tasty dish. I’m excited to give it a try. I’m just not going to imagine that I can replace chicken wings with these.


Tune in tomorrow for Part 2!