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Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 MN State Fair New Foods Overview


So! We're almost into July, which means we've reached one of the most exciting time of year: when the MN State Fair releases their list of brand new food!

Which means it's time for myself, Anne and Patrick to go through the list of each new food and pre-emptively talk about our expectations for them.

We compiled these lists separately, without knowing each other's thoughts. So any similarities are just because we're cool people that spend a lot of time together.

Okay! Overall first thoughts and new foods we're most looking forward to, and least looking forward too:

Anne:

I’m pretty excited about a couple items this year.  I am irritated at the amount of kraut on offer- 3 different items!  That’s like… 12% of the items (MATH!).  Maybe I can get them without kraut?  But does that ruin the whole idea to make adjustments?

I was surprised at the amount of boring/clichéd/underwhelming items on offer this year as well.  Looks like the theme this year is SPAM and/or Sauerkraut.  I can’t tell if that’s better or worse than last year’s theme of Sriracha.  I hate sauerkraut but am ok with SPAM

Most excited for: Candied Bacon Donut Sliders
 
Least excited for: Reuben Pickle Dog

Patrick:

Each year, the state fair brings a different variety of new food options, and it is up in the air for how many of those new options will thrill, excite, disinterest, or disgust you.  Usually there is a smattering of all of those amongst the list, with the numbers swaying from one side to the other year after year.  That said, I think this year I am very excited by the concepts that have been presented.  There is a still a breakup among those four rankings, but I definitely feel things are leaning more towards the exciting end of the spectrum.  Of course, the idea of a thing and the actual product are very different, so how food items eventually rank after they are consumed could vary wildly from the initial judgment.  That said, I think this year promises to be a very good year for sampling new fare at the fair.

I don't think the state fair actually has a food (or ingredient) theme, at least intentionally.  Certainly not advertised anyway, and there isn't always one that you could put your finger on.  Instead, I think popular ingredients or flavors of the time inspire new food options for concessions, and many vendors run with that, because it is popular, and that means more sales.  For instance, Sriracha was very popular last year (and still probably is), and by correlation there were many Sriracha based food items that were on the new food list.  There is nothing to the same degree of popularity this year, though Bacon and SPAM have popped up for a few items.  I think bacon has been done before, and I think it is a bit overdone, but it's bacon; delicious, crispy, salty bacon.  Everyone loves it (or everyone should), even if it is overdone.  SPAM is...SPAM.  Sort of a MN staple (not sure how popular it is elsewhere in the country), and you either love it or hate it.
 
Most Excited For:  So hard to choose!  I think I'll say I'm most excited for the Rustic Beef Pastry.  French Meadow Bakery & Café is usually a good bet, and this just sounds fantastic.  Fancy and full of things I am eager to sink my teeth into.  Probably enjoy a dough-sant for dessert.

Least Excited For:  also a hard choice.  I'm going with the SPAM sushi.  I hate SPAM, so the idea of taking such a delicate, fresh, and intricate Japanese cuisine and cramming some mule meat in the middle is like shitting on someone's burger and calling it innovation.  The only difference here is I'll try it, because I'll almost always try something once.  I think I'd pass on the deuce burger though.  I'm not Andrew Zimmer.
 
Sarah: 
 
At first glance I’m slightly underwhelmed. Not in a disappointed way, but more in the fact that I don’t see anything flashy, that shouts at me “EAT ME! YOU CANNOT WAIT TO EAT ME!” And that’s fine because that’s mostly because I’m glancing at the pictures and not even really taking in what it is I’m looking at. I know once I click on each item and read the description, my excitement will build.
 
Upon closer inspection, a few themes seem to have emerged this year (as usual) and that’s SPAM. I am cautiously optimistic since SPAM can taste okay if it’s done right.

Most Excited for: Rustic Beef Pastry from French Meadow Bakery. French Meadow is usually a good bet, so I have high hopes. But of course I’m most excited for meat in a pastry. That kind of food is pretty much my everything.
 
Least excited for: Spicy Pork Bowl. Sarah doesn’t do Mexican and no onion strings are going to change my mind.


Okay! With that out of the way, it's time to go over each individual food!


Candied Bacon Donut Slider

Sliced glazed donut holes with thick candied bacon and a chocolate red wine ganache.
 
At Minnesota Wine Country on the west side of Underwood Street between Carnes and Judson avenues

SarahI’m pretty excited about this one. I mean, even without reading the description I can see it’s some sort of glazed pastry with chocolate on it and also maybe some bacon. I predict, though, that this will be okay to good, but it will be wildly overpriced for a small portion because that’s typically how the Minnesota Wine Country rolls.

Anne: Heck yeah!  Though it’s at MN Wine Country so therefore I expect it to be really tasty but way over priced and very small portion
 
Patrick: This vendor has a history, in my opinion, of making very overpriced items with very small portions.  Sometimes they are very good, but tend to be not good enough to get again because of the cost.  That said I think this sounds delightful and tasty and I am willing to fork over the probably 15 bucks to get one of these sliders and taste something fancy.  I love donuts and candied bacon sounds like a good combo.  I might need the wine to help forget that I could have eaten at a restaurant for the price I paid.

 


SPAM Sushi

Grilled SPAM®, sushi rice, fried egg and wasabi rolled in nori (dried seaweed).
 
At Sushi Rolls in the Warner Coliseum, north side

Sarah: The first of the SPAM offerings on the list. Nothing about this blows me away. It seems like it’s more focused on the gimmick of SPAM than of actually putting out something that I’d be super interested in tasting, but I’ll give it a try. (Though I predict that the wasabi, which I hate, will push me into the dislike category that not even the fried egg (which I love) will be able to save me from)

Anne: Meh- feels like it’s been done before (probably at the SPAM competition.) Though I like that it has a fried egg in it- sort of a breakfast Maki

Patrick: I think I was pretty forthright about my feelings on this, above.  Not sure I've ever seen this vendor (new?), and I'd be curious what else they have, but I think they're putting forward their C-game.  C for Crap.  I hate spam.  I hate this.
 



Minnesota Corn Dog

Custom ground sausage on-a-stick made with blueberries, apples, wild rice, maple syrup and cayenne dipped in a homemade corn dog batter and deep-fried.
 
At Gass Station Grill on the west side of Cooper Street between Dan Patch and Judson avenues, outside the southeast corner of the Food Building
 
Sarah: At first I saw this and I was like, an effing corn dog, really? Because I already have a favorite corn dog and it comes from Poncho Dog and ain’t anything in the world better. And don’t go comin’ around here, reader, if you’re gonna blab on about Pronto Pups, because if you do you can get the hell out of here because we are diametrically opposed in all things and this blog is NOT FOR YOU (just kidding, though. Mostly. I mean, I want you to stay. And also convert to corn doggian.)
 
But then I read the deets on this and I was like, all right all right all right. I’m down with trying this fancy sausage that’s battered and deep fried. I hope it’s awesome. But even if it is, it won’t ever beat out the Poncho Dog.


Anne: At first I was like ‘pssssh I don’t need another corn dog because Poncho Dog already makes the most perfect food item ever created’.  But then I read the ingredients and I was like ‘ok- I’m up for it’
 

Patrick: First thoughts ~ Seriously?  Someone's listing a f'ing corn dog as their new menu item?  That's like saying, "Hey, come try our new corn on the cob.  Now with butter."  Then I read the description and felt like a bit of a dick.  Ok, ok, I generally don't think you should mess with the corn dog in its purest state; mainly a hot dog with sweet corn dog batter.  However, I'm adventurous and curious enough to give this a try.  That is a lot of stuff to put in a corn dog but maybe it will work.

 


Carpe Diem
 
A Taiyaki (fish-shaped) buttermilk miso waffle cone filled with balsamic-roasted strawberry compote and topped with vanilla ice cream, graham cracker crumble and a fresh strawberry.
 
At The Rabbit Hole at the Midtown Global Market booth at the International Bazaar, east wall

Sarah: I’m not really sure how I feel about this one. It’s another one where clearly it has a gimmick going on with its fish waffle. I can sometimes be a curmudgeon with fair food gimmicks, but I have been proven wrong in the past (rocket corn, anyone?) and I’m willing to look past the fish waffle to the actual food.
 
I mean, it helps that the food is a lot of things I like (ice cream) mixed with other things I like (miso) and I’m interested to see how it actually all comes together.
 
But it’s going to all come down to that fish waffle. Because I can (and will) get great ice cream in other places at the fair.
 
Anne: ‘LMFAO!  It’s a Carp Cone!  It’s a pun you eat!’  Yeah I’ll try the crap (carp?) out of this

Patrick: Hah!  Look at that thing.  It is so whimsical and delightful.  I can eat it?  Why yes, I will give that a try, thank you!  I'm not sure what compote is, but I think this looks wonderful.  We'll see if looks is everything. 
 


Rustic Beef Pastry
 
Moroccan-spiced, grass-fed beef and baby spinach topped with creamy goat cheese and nestled in a flakey butter crust.
 
At French Meadow Bakery & Café on the north side of Carnes Avenue between Nelson and Underwood streets

Sarah: I’m not even gonna pretend that I’m not hella excited for this because I am. I so am. I mean, meat in a pastry? Yes YES! I need this right now! And you’ve added spinach and goat cheese? Everyone better get the eff outta my way because I’m heading right to the front of the line.

And, generally, French Meadow is a good bet. Once there was something I didn’t like, but that was purely due to my tastes (and specifically to my dislike of Mexican food and Mexican spices) and not because the item was bad or anything (and I remember that I really wanted to like it, too. I think it was a risotto ball (yay!) with black beans or something (boo.))

Anne: This sounds amazing. And French Meadow Bakery doesn’t usually steer us wrong (though I think something we had from them last year was just ok- like a C item)
 
Patrick: Take my money!  Shove that in my mouth!  I will literally stand at the cash register and you can sock me in the maw with your delicious looking beef pastry.  I'll even thank you as I cry from pain and elation, rolling on the floor with crumb and bruise stained lips.




Macaroni & Cheese Curds

Rich macaroni & cheese blended with fresh cheese curds.
 
At Oodles of Noodles in the Food Building, east wall

 
Sarah: I’m not sure about this one. Cheese curds are one of those things that are so popular (and deservedly so) that people always try to do something new and fancy with them. But those things almost always fail because it’s hard to improve on something that is already so spectacular. I mean, battered deep fried cheese is about as good as it gets.
 
When I looked at this picture, though, it looks reeeeal good. And I really, really love mac & cheese. So, I dunno. I’m cautious about this. We’ll see how it goes.


Anne: Mac and cheese WITH curds?  Someone has discovered how to add more cheese to mac and cheese and I am game to try it


Patrick: I am generally of the opinion that the more complicated you try to make mac n' cheese, the more you move away from what makes it so good.  It is simple; noodles and cheese, and it is great.  That said, as far as new versions go, I think I could get behind this.  It is just adding more cheese, which isn't inherently bad.  I'll give it a go.
 


Cheesy French Onion Monkey Bread

Savory, pull-apart artisan bread loaf filled with caramelized onions, cheese and beef broth, then baked in a wood-fired oven.
 
At Blue Moon Dine-In Theater on the northeast corner of Carnes Avenue and Chambers Street

Sarah: At first I was like, No. Because I don’t really like French onion soup. It doesn’t do anything for me.

But then I read the description and I was like, okay, Yes. And now I’m pretty excited for it.

Anne: I bet Packie is super excited about this since it combines his love of French onion soup and bread.  I like Monkey Bread and Blue Moon is usually a good bet and it looks tasty

Patrick: Not sure I have had the opportunity to try monkey bread, but I have always wanted to. Finding a savory version of said bread at the fair this year has me curious and titillated.  I love French onion, so I am quite excited to pull this apart and cram it in my craw.
 


Gumbo Frites

A bed of crispy french fries topped with Ragin’s traditional New Orleans gumbo made with andouille sausage, chicken, bell peppers, onions, celery and a rich roux-based sauce, then finished off with cheese and green onions.
 
At Ragin Cajun in The Garden, west wall
 

Sarah: Sarah doesn’t like gumbo. Its seasonings don’t really do much for her, and though she always feels like she should like it because she likes the things in it, whenever she tries it, she’s disappointed.
 
But Sarah does like fries. And she reeeally likes it when fries have things on them. So, she’s torn.

Anne: Another one I bet Packie’s excited about since he likes Gumbo.  I like fries and I like fries topped with stuff.  I’m not a huge gumbo fan, and am not a fan of bell peppers so I’m shifty-eyed about this offering

Patrick: I love me some gumbo, and throwing that on top of some French fries sounds like a smart move.  Seems sort of like a Cajun version of poutine.  Definitely need to try this!

 


Iron Range Meat & Potatoes

A hearty portion of seasoned beef with a layer of cheddar cheese, topped with mashed potatoes, baked, and drizzled with a wild rice gravy.
 
At Giggles’ Campfire Grill on the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street at The North Woods

Sarah: So, for someone who really, really loves meat and potatoes, I was only a little excited for this.
 
And then I saw that it will be at Giggles and I almost flipped my desk in excitement.
Because hands down, Giggles serves some of my most favorite MN State Fair foods. Especially the chicken fried bacon and the walleye cakes. I’m gonna eat those so hard, and then I’m gonna eat this, and I expect it will be spectacular and then we’ll have to go to the fair another day this year just to get the foods we like a second time.

Anne: Well Giggles pretty much never disappoints.  And I like meat, potatoes, and gravy, so sign me up!

Patrick: Giggles could put road kill on a plate and I'd be first in line to try it, because Giggles makes miracles happen with food.  Everything I have tried there has blown me away.  Basically meatloaf with potatoes and gravy on top (sorry, wild rice gravy; whaaat?), so if Giggle's made it, I'm sure it is the best meat and potatoes I'll ever have at the fair.



Italian Taco

A flour tortilla baked with butter and shredded parmesan, filled with Italian sausage and mozzarella, topped with roasted bruschetta, romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, pesto, pizza sauce and parmesan cheese, and then drizzled with a balsamic glaze.
 
At Green Mill on the east side of Cooper Street, between Randall and Wright avenues, at Family Fair at Baldwin Park

Sarah: At first I was like, booo tacos. As per the aforementioned dislike of Mexican food. But then I read the description and realized what I should have realized right away – that this is, in fact, an ITALIAN taco.
 
Because I love the idea of tacos. So I would love to eat one that’s real good. And Green Mill has not steered us wrong in the past, so I’m pretty hopeful that this will be awesome.

Anne: At first I was like ‘meh’.  But then I read about it- Green Mill had an amazing item last year so that makes me more interested.  And this sounds pretty good- I like sausage and bruschetta

Patrick: Hmm...I'm on the fence with this one.  You had me up until "Caesar dressing, pesto, pizza sauce".  Is that all three on one taco, or is that a typo and you pick one of the three?  A little overwhelming with the sauces if they're throwing all three on together.  Maybe there is three tacos, each with one of the sauces?  Ok, I'd be behind that.  Mostly just a little perplexed with this one, but also intrigued?


 

Strawberry Donut Delight

A fresh glazed donut sliced in half and filled with strawberries and whipped cream – like a shortcake sandwich!
 
At The Strawberry Patch on the west side of Liggett Street between Carnes and Judson avenues 

Sarah: Yep. This sounds great. I mean, okay, I can only eat so many strawberry things. And this, with the fish waffle and the deep fried banana split Anne and I will get from Ole and Lena’s, that’s a lot of strawberries.
 
But I’ll never turn away from a glazed donut or things with whipped cream, so there you have it.
 
I expect this will be good. Probably not great just because there’s nothing really unexpected about it, but certainly good enough that if I wasn’t eating fish waffle I might get it again.

Time will tell!

Anne: I don’t know- I’m pretty excited about the other donut from the Wine Country.  And strawberries are my least favorite berry.  I’m sure it’ll be FINE I’m just not excited about it even remotely

Patrick: Looks like berries and cream shoved between two donut halves.  I don't usually go for fruit desserts, but I think I could enjoy this.  I do like berries and cream and throwing a donut into the mix just seems smart.

 


 
Sheep Dog

Lamb dog served hot in a bun with garlic sautéed kale, raw fermented sauerkraut, quinoa and honey mustard drizzle. (Gluten-free option without the bun.)
 
At Lamb Shoppe in the Food Building, east wall

 
Sarah: Dammit. So much of this sounds great.
 
Except for the sauerkraut. I don’t want to eat that. So, chances are, unless we can get this w/o sauerkraut, I won't be happy.
 
Maybe, maaaaaybe, I’ll be an adult and take a bite with the kraut, but my magic 8 ball says this seems unlikely.

Anne: Is that sauerkraut?  Yes. Damnit.  Now we have to try something with sauerkraut. Also- could we put more trendy food on a hot dog? Kale, quinoa, lamb. Trying too hard

Patrick: That's a lot of kraut. I mean, I've been slowly learning to enjoy kraut, but that looks like a lot of it for one dog.  Everything else about the lamb dog sounds great; garlic sautéed kale, quinoa and honey mustard?  Yup.  I love a good hot dog, so I'll try it.  Maybe without the kraut, or be prepared to scoop some of it out

 


 

Deep Fried Nachos Supreme

Pepper jack cheese cubes coated with a mixture of crushed seasoned tortilla chips and nacho cheese, then deep-fried, covered with taco meat, guacamole, more nacho cheese and sour cream, and served with jalapeños on the side. Also available traditional-style without the supreme toppings.
 
At Texas Steak Out on the west side of Underwood Street between Lee and Randall avenues

Sarah: DAMMIT! So much of this sounds great! But, then like real life nachos supreme, it’s ruined for me by taco meat, which is the most offending Mexican food ever, so unless I can get a little bit that hasn’t touched the taco meat (and man, I really hope there’s like a corner that’s free of the meat) I’ll probably be passing.

Anne: …What? Sarah’s probably super excited about this one. Actually sounds pretty good to me, and I’m glad jalapenos are on the side- I am Minnesotan after all

Patrick: I do rather enjoy some nachos, and this sounds like a fun and delicious variation to the classic.  I'm not sure I would have guessed you could put nachos on a stick and deep fry it, but they seem to have accomplished the impossible.  I'd try it traditional or supreme style.

 


Paneer On A Spear

Deep-fried Indian-seasoned paneer cheese coated with a local craft beer batter and served with tomato garlic chutney. (Gluten-free)
 
At Hot Indian at the Midtown Global Market booth at the International Bazaar, east wall
Available Aug. 31-Sept. 5 only


Sarah: I mean, c’mon. We already talked about deep fried cheese and how great it is. So of course, OF COURSE I’m gonna try this.
 
The only thing that makes me a little nervous is last year they did the same thing where they had two sort of pop up places, one for the first half of the fair and one for the second, and both of those places ended up being subpar, (like, things were overcooked and under-seasoned) so now I’m a bit worried that maybe this year will be the same.
But, really, how can you eff up deep fried cheese?

You really can’t.

(I hope that’s not famous last words)

Anne: Well I like the rhyme scheme. What’s Paneer?  Apparently it’s a type of cheese?  I’m down with trying this but was Hot Indian where we had multiple sub-par items last year?

Patrick: I always so desperately wish for the bazaar food to be amazing each year, and more often than not they turn out to be a flop. I am an optimistic guy, though, so I'll keep hoping for the best. I love paneer. Deep frying it with beer batter and dipping it in tomato garlic chutney? I hope this is great and I'm gonna find out. Please don't disappoint me.


 


Barbecued Shrimp Taco
Sweet, smoky, slightly spicy barbecued shrimp and cool, fresh jicama slaw in a warm flour tortilla.

At Tejas Express in The Garden, north wall

Sarah: I don’t know. I mean, I’m pretty sure I can get a barbecued shrimp taco other places, so this doesn’t really wow me at all. I mean, honestly, I could probably make it for lunch right now if I wanted to. So color me underwhelmed.

Anne: While this looks just fine it’s so far from something new and special I couldn’t be more underwhelmed

Patrick: Maybe it should be taco themed this year. I love a good shrimp taco, but I have never tried a BBQ one before. I'll try it, but I'm a little apprehensive about this one. Not sure I'll like it.


 
 



Candied Bacon BLT

Crispy, thick candied bacon, rancher’s slaw and green tomato spread on a sweet egg bun.
At The Blue Barn at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center


Sarah: I like BLTs as long as they don't have tomatoes (because I don't like sliced tomatoes on sandwiches or burgers because I'm not some dumb tomato slice lover.) And green tomatoes are just not any better.

But, this is a green tomato spread, and I do like spread. And I’m real excited about a sweet egg bun, so I’m actually pretty excited to try this one.
Anne: Ok ok ok ok... yeah--this sounds great. Oh--I see it's at the Blue Barn...hmmm...in the past they have had mixed results at best. I'm less excited now

Patrick: I've been enjoying BLTs a lot more recently, once I discovered the secret for the best sandwich (no tomato and extra bacon.) Yeah, shut up! I have a very odd and jaded relationship with raw tomatoes (dirt fruit.) That said, this sounds like a tasty reimagining of the classic sandwich, and I look forward to mashing it in my mouth, tomatoes and all. Until I'm like "ugh, dirt fruit!" and I pick the tomatoes off.





Saucy Shrimp & Slaw

Breaded shrimp tossed in your choice of parmesan garlic, sweet chili or buffalo sauce on a bed of fresh coleslaw.


At Fish & Chips Seafood Shoppe at two locations: In the Food Building, northwest section, and on the west side of Liggett Street just south of Mighty Midway

Sarah: Ugh. Why are there so many chooooices? Don't they know I'm going to be hot and tired and running out of money and slightly burned by some of the previous foods we ate and so making a decision will just irritate me?

But I’ll probably vote for parmesan garlic. It’ll either be that or sweet chili because I hate buffalo sauce so that will be right out.
Anne: Well seems like the slaw is maybe actually just lettuce to soak up the sauce?  But I’m excited to try this with either the Parm Garlic or the Sweet Chili sauce

Patrick: Yes! God yes! Breaded shrimp? There! Delicious sauces like parm garlic, sweet chili, or buffalo? There! Fresh Coleslaw? Throw that on the ground and get it out of the way of my breaded shrimp!


 

 
Spicy Pork Bowl 

A mix of adobo pulled pork, rice, black beans, spinach, charred salsa and fried onion strings.
 
At The Blue Barn at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center
 
Sarah: Nope on this one. So many things I do not want. It’s pretty much 83% Mexican foods and flavors and 17% other things (onion strings) and those percentages do not favor Sarah’s palate
Anne: I wonder how spicy it is. I like black beans and onion strings. And it's on rice so that will hopefully help cut away any heat.
Patrick: Hmm...I don't know. Nothing about this dish really POPS to me. Except the onion strings. I will throw a baby into the Ye Olde Mill canal to get some good onion strings.
 
  
 

Cajun Peel-N-Eat Shrimp

A half-pound of shrimp seasoned in a blend of Caribbean spices and served cold with a side of cocktail sauce.


At Café Caribe on the south side of Carnes Avenue between Liggett and Nelson streets

Sarah: I don’t know. I mean, love some skrimp. And the Cajun seasonings is tempting (though, gumbo…) but, also, I can make my own peel-n-eat shrimp, so I’m not super impressed by this. I’m betting it will come down to cost, and space in our stomachs.


Anne: SKRIMP!  Looks like a fancy skrimp cocktail so sign me up!

 
Patrick: Sounds good to me!  Pretty straightforward, with the Cajun spices, peeling the shrimp and grumbling at how messy that is and how long it takes and how the hell did I slice my finger open on an f-ing crustacean shell?  Are you kidding me?  Cajun poisoning?  Dip that shrimp into some cocktail sauce and forget all your worries child!
 


Reuben Pickle Dog
 
A dill pickle spear with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing wrapped in a slice of corned beef.
At Pickle Dog on the south side of Carnes Avenue between Liggett and Chambers streets


Sarah: I’ve never had a Reuben and because of the kraut I never plan on it. But I can’t deny that something wrapped in meat isn’t appealing to me. Because it is. It really is.
 
Anne: Goddamned sauerkraut!!  This looks like a hot mess and I hate it on principal but I am dedicated and will try it
 

Patrick: Have you every looked at something from afar and you're thinking "that looks great, down into my belly with you." Then you get up close and you're thinking none of these things should really go together. That's what this is. I've never had a Reuben though, so maybe that is my problem.  Should probably do that, if I am going to claim I kinda like sauerkraut.  I don't know about this though.



 
Burnt Butt Ends
 
Premium cuts of pork, seasoned with a BBQ rub, then smoked over oak and served with onions and jalapeños.
At RC’s BBQ on the north side of West Dan Patch Avenue between Liggett and Chambers streets (former site of Famous Dave’s)


Sarah: I was like, yeah, I like burnt ends. They’re good when I get them at—and then I see the note about the former Famous Dave’s site and I flip my damn desk because WHAT THE SHIT?? Where did Famous Dave’s go?? How are they ever going to bring back my beloved pork rinds if they’re no longer there??
And then I go on a rampage in the streets.
And when I finally return I agree that I’m pretty excited to eat these.
 
Anne: Well I love it on principal because I am a child and laugh at ‘butt’.  But yeah- this sounds tasty
 
Patrick: A delicious looking concession for a hilarious name.  I don't think I'll ever want the burning of butts to end after I sink my teeth into this dish.  I've had burnt ends elsewhere and they were amazing, so I will hope for the same with this.



Deep Fried Grilled Cheese Bites
 
White cheddar cheese blended with beer batter, cubed and deep-fried for a taste reminiscent of a grilled cheese sandwich. Served with a bloody mary mix marinara.
At O’Gara’s at the Fair on the southwest corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Cosgrove Street


Sarah: I’ma eat this so hard.
I mean, it seems so simple and yet so genius. I want to eat this right now, so bad.
The only thing I’m hesitant about is that it’s at O’Gara’s and they have been hit and miss for us (like the pretzel curds, which should have been amazing and were not (but then later, we saw other people were served a dipping sauce with their pretzel curds, which WE DID NOT GET, and maybe that would have improved on the pretzel curds, but we’ll never know and that’s another strike against O’Gara’s.))
 
Anne: I appreciate that they stuck to the traditional fair food route- take an everyday item and deep fry it.  I am uncertain about bloody mary mix marinara…
 

Patrick: I am starting to think O'Gara's plan each year is to try and win people over by thinking up the next best cheese curd craze.  Cheese curds are fine on their own, stop messing with them!  Anywho, I like grilled cheese Sammy's, and if this claims to taste like one, I will tentatively curb stop my mouth with a few.
 


Beer Brat Buddies
 
Oktoberfest beer brat in a German pretzel bun with sauerkraut, chopped onions and a choice of mustards — a serving for two!
At Sausage Sister & Me in the Food Building, east wall


Sarah: Stupid kraut again. And, to be fair, me, Anne and Patrick literally make our own sausages, so it’s not like I couldn’t actually make this at home, without the kraut.
But, the Sausage Sister & Me turn out really good food year after year, so I do kind of want to try these little dogs. Maybe the kraut will be optional.

Anne: God Damnit- I have to spend money on THREE items this year with sauerkraut?!  But I do love the Sausage Sisters, and if it didn’t have the kraut I’d be interested (but otherwise it’s just a brat in a pretzel bun so pretty boring).  And there’s two of them- I don’t need two!
 

Patrick: There's the damn kraut again.  Is it...is it a kraut theme this year?  Anywho, brat on a pretzel bun with choice of mustards (l love having a choice of mustards)?  Then yes, you may fire this bun-loaded meat missile into my craw.
 
 
 
SPAM® Curds

Cheese-flavored SPAM® that has been cubed, battered and deep-fried, served with a side of ranch dressing.
At SPAM® east of Chambers Street, just south of the Grandstand


Sarah: What the hell is cheese-flavored SPAM? And do I want it?
I don’t know.
I mean, deep frying can put a shine on a lot of questionable foods, but I need to know if this will be more of a cheese nugget, or a can-meat nugget.
But, ooh, ranch! I do enjoy ranch dipping sauce.

Anne: I have never tried alternative flavored SPAM so this will be a first.  I am excited that I get to dip them in ranch
 

Patrick: I just...I mean come on, its...stupid SPAM!  Stop pretending you can do fun things with SPAM.  You can't hide yourself around other flavors and ingredients.  The best SPAM dish is one where the diner say "Mm, you can hardly taste the SPAM."  Which is awful, because it is a dish being judged for how little you can taste the stupid mud mutton!  No, just no.


Bang Bang Fresh Chicken Tenders
 
Lightly breaded, fresh, never-frozen fried chicken tenderloins served with Bang Bang sweet and tangy chili sauce.
At LuLu’s Public House at West End Market, south of Schilling Amphitheater


Sarah: Yep, I’m gonna need this.
I mean, it’s nothing special. It’s chicken tenders with a fancy dipping sauce.
But I effing love chicken tenders with dipping sauces. So pretty much this is targeted right at me and Anne.
I’m gonna eat this so hard.

 Anne: Ok- I lurve me some chicken tenders.  Are these like served with a Bang Bang sauce?  Oh- looks like it.  This is at LuLu’s- like everything in the West End Market (except the fruit stand) they’re also sort of a mixed bag.  But I’m excited to eat these because it looks like it has some substance to it

 
Patrick: Hey, I love a good chicken tender, and this one looks pretty darn tasty.  Bang Bang sweet and tangy chili sauce?  I don't know what that is, but I want my tenders slathered in it, I'm sure.  Get into my belly.




And that's it! That's the list of new MN State Fair Foods.
 
Which one(s) would you be the most excited for?