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Friday, July 28, 2017

2017 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 5

Today is it. The final day. Part 5 of our 2017 MN State Fair New Foods Preview.

Yes, yes. Cry all you want. That is a healthy expression of your grief.

But soon, friend. Soon there were be actual food to cram in our mouths, not just pictures of food to stare at and whimper.

So we must forge on!

You can find parts One, Two, Three, and Four here.

Once more into the breach!


Sweet Corn Blueberry Éclair



Kernza® flour éclair filled with sweet corn pastry cream and topped with blueberry glaze.

At Farmers Union Coffee Shop on the north side of Dan Patch Ave. between Cooper & Cosgrove streets


Sarah

Look! Something sweet without chocolate, marshmallow or maple syrup!

I was immediately excited about this until I realized that it’s not the éclair that’s made our of sweet corn but instead, sweet corn kernals are in the cream.

That sounds kind of horrible to me. I’m really worried it will affect the texture of the cream, and if so, that will be hugely disappointing. But maybe it’s actually ground into a dust and that’s in the cream?

If so, then I’m back to being excited about this one.


Patrick

A good éclair is a little piece of heaven.  That cream inside has to be just right; thick, sweet, and soft.  The outside has got to be firm and chewy, and the chocolate on top needs to be sweet and glazed on thick.  Making it a blueberry glaze sounds like a delectable variation.  Blueberry is a desert flavor I can almost always get behind.  We’ll see how using a sweet corn pastry cream works out.  Looking forward to this treat.

Anne

WTF is Kernza flour?

OH!  Apparently it’s Intermediate Wheat Grass and is being developed by the U of M and might be a more sustainable crop than wheat going forward as it’s a perennial grass.

Well now I’m excited to try this wheat that tastes sort of grass like with hints of honey and molasses.  THE FUTURE!


Sweety’s Churros



Sweet potato, cinnamon and nutmeg kneaded into a traditional churro dough, deep-fried and served with a side of chocolate or maple-brown sugar sauce or whipped cream.

At Potato Man and Sweety on the west side of Liggett St. between Carnes & Judson avenues


Sarah

I like me some churros dipped in Mexican hot chocolate, so I’m down with trying these. Do you get one of each? (Yay!) or do you have to pick a flavor? (boo)

Also, I’m bummed you have to choose one of the three dipping sauces. (though, shocker, maple here, too!)


Patrick

Churros, to me, feel like another one of those confections that doesn’t really need to be messed with, and I’m not sure I’ve had a variation that I liked (tried a chocolate churro once and it fell below the mark).  Going with a sweet potato infused batter doesn’t seem like a stretch, but we’ll see if it can beat out the traditional, proud churro.  I’m skeptical on this one.

Anne

I’m gonna need both dips AND the whipped cream, thankyouverymuch.
I am intrigued about the sweet potato aspect and am actually really excited to try this.


Swine & Spuds




Bacon-wrapped pork belly and mashed potato croquettes served on a skewer and topped with a choice of homestyle gravy, Korean Bulgogi barbeque sauce or sweet chili sauce.

At Swine & Spuds in the Warner Coliseum, northeast corner


Sarah

I know I said I’m not overly down with bacon wrapped stuff (what’s the point, people?!) but I am really down with this.

I love pork belly.

I love taters (precious)

I love croquettes.

I love this.

Another one, though, where I want all the dipping sauces but I got to pick only one.


Patrick

This doesn’t look super appetizing or exciting, but if I was just going off of the description I would be interested.  I want to try all those sauces, and both the pork belly and croquettes sound delightful.  It wouldn’t be the first food item that surprised me when I had little in the way of expectations.  I’ll be open minded on this one.

Anne

LOLOLO WHAT?! They have bacon wrapped around pork belly?! This is getting a little god-danged ridiculous!  But I cannot wait to eat this.  I’ve never heard of this vendor I don’t think, but I like the cut of their jib!


Swing Dancer Sandwich



Honey smoked salmon, cucumbers, capers and cream cheese with fresh dill on pumpernickel, served with sliced lemon garnish.

At The Hideaway Speakeasy in the Veranda, Grandstand upper level, northwest section


Sarah

Eh. I don’t like sammiches in general. I don’t particularly like pumpernickel. I don’t like smoked salmon. And I’ve already discussed how I don’t like the idea of cream cheese.

But, we’ll see. Maybe the cuke will offer a nice burst of freshness.

Patrick’s probably excited. He’d die for pumpernickel.


Patrick

Damn you Swing Dancer Sandwich.  I love pumpernickel, but you’ve got some questionable stuff between your two slices.  I feel like this is like a normal sandwich you can get outside the fair, but I can’t think of if it has a name.  I’m not a huge fan of smoked salmon, and all the other stuff with it sounds like an old person’s sandwich.  If you were living with your grandparents and they packed you a bag lunch to bring to school, this is the sandwich they made you.  It came with tapioca pudding, an uncooked potato, and the business section from the Sunday paper.  I’ll try it, as I will any of the above, but I feel like this will be a one-bite and ditch food.  Maybe I’ll eat the pumpernickel.

Anne

OK- FIRST- the main page says this is the Swindler Sammich, but the pop-up says it’s the Swing Dance Sammich.  WHICH ONE IS IT, HIDEAWAY SPEAKEASY?! 

(FFF Update: there was a name change due to *ahem* swindler being a slur. Let's all try to not name our foods after ethnic slurs, people. It's not too much to ask, we think)

Also- this photo is under the Swine and Spuds.  This is all sort of messed up. Kind of like this sandwich that I DO NOT WANT.

Smoked Salmon? Nope. Capers? Nope. Dill? Nope.  Pumpernickel? Nope.  That’s 4 out of 6 nopes.


Triple Truffle Trotters



Sliced peppers and bacon with black diamond truffle oil mayo on top of waffle fries.

At The Blue Barn at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center


Sarah

*please don’t be pig feet*

Oh. Phew.

Aww! Stupid peppers!

Outside of the peppers, though, this sounds pretty good. I’ll pick those peppers off and probably be pretty happy with this one.

OR WILL I?


Patrick

The difference between the Blue Barn and LuLu’s is…I don’t know, they play out pretty much the same.  LuLu’s can somehow still pull me in, even though I know it won’t work out.  Blue Barn sounds good at a glance, but I’d bet money that it won’t be good when you sink your teeth in.  They always put out two new foods, and they always are mediocre at best.  I look at this and I say, “Well, this has to be good right?  What’s not to like?”  The food.  The food is what’s not to like.  Boo on you Blue Barn.  I have zero faith in you.  I wonder if they put out more than one item again this year…


Anne

Just when I thought the Blue Barn wasn’t making a showing this year, here it is. Like a typical Blue Barn showing, it’s a bunch of foody/fancy ingredients combined together into something that looks pretty great but will probably cost an arm and a leg and be disappointing. I like waffle fries, but maybe we can get this without the crotch peppers?

I do like the alliteration of the name.


Wild Bill’s Breakfast Bake



Scrambled eggs, roasted chicken and chorizo sausage baked and topped with salsa and a mix of lettuce, pickled red onions and cilantro.

At The Blue Barn at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center


Sarah

Ugh. Boo on a lot of this.

Things in this that I don’t like:

Chorizo

Maybe salsa (it depends)

Pickled red onion

Cilantro.

Which is too bad because I like the roasted chicken bit, which we never get at the state fair.

It’s always pork, beef, turkey, or maple syrup.


Patrick

God dammit.  Called it (I cheated, I read the list ahead of time before critiquing).  Look it’s another breakfast bowl thing.  I swear each year they have some new variation of a breakfast pile.  Take some eggs, some meat, and top it with some sauces and some veggies and boom, we sure can cook some crap.  Honestly, if this was at some other vendor, I might be like, “Hey, that sounds like it could be a real hit.”  That’s how little faith I have in the Blue Barn.  How can someone make something so creative and make it look appetizingly sound, and have it come out as a bland and boring pile.  Ask The Blue Barn.

Anne

Fuck you, Blue Barn.

Cilantro is awful and so is chorizo and anything on scrambled eggs.


Annnnnd we've done it! The overview is complete! Now the only thing left to do is wait for the days to tick by until we can taste all these delicious and terrible foods. What will be the surprise takeway this year? Which food will devastate and disappoint? Only time will tell!

Also, Sarah, Anne, and Patrick now all have Instagrams where we will be live posting our tastings.

If you'd like in the moment updates about what's good and what's barfinade, please feel free to follow us at:

Sarah_Ahiers

AnneAhiers

Patrick_Ahiers

 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

2017 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 4

Part Four! Part Four! Paaaaaart FOUR!!

Only one day left after today, monkey clowns, on our travels down the new foods exploration of the 2017 MN State Fair.

Of course, then we'll be one step closer to the real deal.

Here are parts One, Two, and Three

Onwards and Upwards!


Mobster's Caviar



Cream cheese dip with crab meat, green onions, fresh red pepper and water chestnuts, served with whole wheat flatbread crackers.

At The Hideaway Speakeasy in the Veranda, Grandstand upper level, northwest section


Sarah

Ugh. This doesn’t sound appetizing to me. I like cream cheese and I generally like cream cheese dips and spreads, but the ideas of them never strike me as something good. So I’m gonna side-eye the shit out of this the entire time until it either proves me right, or is delicious.

Also red pepper is gross.

Patrick

Awww, well now, doesn’t this look nice?  All that sounds nice and tasty, with the crackers and the dipping.  Yeah, alright.  I got this.  I’ve got high hopes that this will be enjoyable.  I could also see it just turning out like crap.  But I’m going to hope for the best on this.

Anne

At initial read this seems like something someone would bring to a potluck.  I’m betting (hoping?) that this actually turns out ok- I like all the things in it, and I like the idea of a fancy dip offering.  I will happily try this.  Maybe Hideaway Speakeasy won’t be so bad.


Pie'n the Sky Malt & Sundae



A sweet and tart mix of crunchy, spiced “airplane” cookies and lemon curd, topped with dark chocolate drizzle and served with vanilla ice cream as a sundae or malt.

At Dairy Goodness Bar in the Dairy Building, south wall


Sarah

So just a bunch of stuff thrown on ice cream to make a Sunday, or on top of a malt.
I mean, I’m not gonna say NO to this, but is it really gonna be better than the regular malts I can get at the dairy building? Me thinks not.

Also I don’t want tart things with my sweet things.


Patrick

I’ll put my apathy for ice cream aside for a moment to judge this.  Not sure what they mean by “airplane” cookies, but if they are those biscotti cookies you get on some airplanes, holy crap those are tasty.  Throw those in with some lemon curd and dark chocolate drizzle and alright, I’ll try that out.  Might be good.  I mean, I’ll be pretty god damn apathetic about what’s under all that (ice cream), but sure, why not.

Anne

Oh damn!  Wait- wtf is an “airplane” cookie?!  According to Google, and Airplane cookie is either a cookie in the shape of an airplane (which doesn’t seem to be the case here), or a Biscoff biscuit cookie.  Maybe that’s what it is? The photo seems to support that theory.

I’m not a fan of citrus in with ice cream (typically citrus + cream = curdle), so the lemon curd on this bums me out (even though I lurve me some lemon curd), but I’d probably give it a go as a sundae


Pizzarito



Flour tortilla filled with pepperoni, Italian sausage, risotto, mozzarella and marinara, coated with garlic butter, parmesan and Italian spices, baked and served with a side of marinara.

At Green Mill on the east side of Cooper St. between Randall & Wright avenues, at Family Fair at Baldwin Park


Sarah

Yeah this sounds good! Even though pizza things always end up kind of being the same, I still get excited about them. This looks good, and I’m excited to find out if it is. Especially the tortilla since that’s the real shakeup here.

Patrick

Green Mill almost always puts out something new and it’s usually pretty good, maybe even really good.  I know the twins don’t really like flour tortillas (or maybe it is mostly Sarah), but this looks and sounds pretty good.  I like all that stuff inside this pizza burrito, and if it is as good as their Italian taco last year, it could be a solid hit.  Come on Green Mill, just go full Italian-Mexican fusion at this point.  You’ll be beautiful.  On a funny note, Sarah hates red sauce and Mexican food, so is this like her arch-nemesis?  What would mine be?  ...got it; a spam blizzard.  Anne’s would be curried cod.  Anne’s is like, an actual dish that is readily available in an Indian or Thai restaurant.  Sarah’s is a mad science miracle.  Mine is impossible, never gonna happen.  I win.

Anne

Oh. Damn. At first I was like- why would you ruin pizza with rice and a tortilla?  But then I saw that it’s from Green Mill and they ALWAYS deliver.  Plus this actually sounds pretty dang good


Slow-Roasted Pork Mole Tamale



Fresh corn tamale with slow-roasted pork, mole coloradito sauce and black bean and pineapple relish.

At Tejas Express in the Garden, north wall


Sarah

NOPE. No way, Jose. None of this for me. Not only is it Mexican, but it’s tamales, which is absolutely the last kind of Mexican food Sarah is okay with.

I will try this, and then I will immediately regret it and it will reaffirm my dislike of Mexican food as a whole.

It’s pretty, though.


Patrick

Hey, more stuff Sarah hates.  Seriously though, I’ve come to really like a good tamale, and mole is an even more recently discovered delicious favorite.  A lot of this has what Sarah hates, but I know at least Anne will give it a try, though I don’t think she likes tamales very much.  When…when the hell did this turn into me critiquing what the other two would think?  Somehow, I know this is LuLu’s doing.  Anyways, this sounds great as far as Mexican fare goes, and I’m excited to give it a try.

Anne

Sarah hates Mexican so this will be great for her.

I could definitely do with some more mole in my life, and every single thing in this sounds delicious so I am really, really excited to try this.  Full disclosure- I don’t know what coloradito sauce is, but I am excited to find out.



Sonoran Sausage: ONE.BAD.DOG



Tex-Mex sausage stuffed with pepper jack cheese, wrapped in bacon, baked and served on a cornmeal-dusted bun with fresh corn salsa and a drizzle of avocado ranch sauce.

At Sausage Sister & Me in the Food Building, east wall


Sarah

What is even up with the title of this one? Just pick one and call it that. It doesn’t need two names. God.

Tex Mex can often be too close to Mex for Sarah, but this sounds all right. I’m not really down with bacon wrapped stuff, but the Sausage Sisters generally know what they’re doing and put out good stuff.

And everything on this sounds pretty good (ranch always increases my interest) so I’m excited to try this one.


Patrick

Wow, this is a crazy looking dog.  Might be a little too much going on here, but the hot dog is a very versatile food and apparently shoving an exorbitant amount of toppings and extras on it, can’t keep it down (I’m looking at you Chicago dog).  Nothing about this is super exciting or tempting for me, but maybe the dog itself will be good.  Sausage Sister & Me has put out some damn good food before, but also had some real misses.  Hopefully, this won’t be the later.

Anne

I was waiting to see what Sausage Sister was putting out this year, as they’re a vendor I general appreciate.  And in general they did not disappoint this year!  I like the ease of eating this since it’s in a bun.  They have ruined it by adding pepper jack unfortunately, but I like the sound of everything else.  I wonder what’s making the sausage “Tex Mex”…? It better not be crotch peppers…


Spicy Thai Noodles



Rice noodles and red curry with coconut milk served with kaffir lime, basil leaves, bell peppers, galangal, onions and tomatoes. (Gluten-free)

At Oodles of Noodles in the Food Building, east wall


Sarah

I love me some curry, especially coconut curry, so that’s excellent. I do not, however, handle spice. Like, at all. So this will really come down to how spicy we’re talking about.

Also, bell peppers = gross.

But, Oodles of Noodles put out one of our favorite new foods last year (macaroni and cheese curds), so I’m optimistic about this one, even if it is too spicy for me.


Patrick

The picture doesn’t look suuuuper appetizing, but the description sounds right up my alley.  I love curry, noodles are banging, and all that other stuff sounds like a good combo.  Maybe this will be great!  Optimistic Patrick is back, yo!

Anne

I appreciate all of the new foods that are Gluten Free so I can feel happy for my friends with Celiac’s.

But this is not an item I want to try.  I WILL try it (because I am committed), but I am not a big fan of curry, bell peppers, or tomatoes.  I’m interested to see what Pat and Sarah think as they love curry.

OK- there is definitely grilled chicken in the photo, but chicken is not in the above list.  Maybe you choose a protein…?




And that's it! One more day, friends. So we hope to see you back here tomorrow!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2017 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 3

Yay! It's time for Part 3 of our 2017 MN State Fair New Foods Preview! Where we dish about all the delicious delectable awaiting us in just a few short weeks.

Part One and Part Two can be found by clicking the links.

On to the foods!

Fall Guy Breakfast Panini



Capicola and scrambled egg topped with white cheddar on ciabatta.

At The Hideaway Speakeasy in the Veranda, Grandstand upper level, northwest section


Sarah

That’s it? Ham, cheese, and eggs on a panini?

Booo! BOO on this one! That’s boring! And the picture doesn’t look appetizing.

I can’t see how this will blow my mind. At best I think I will tolerate this. But probably it will cost like $8 and I’ll resent it before I even try it.

I already do, honestly.


Patrick

Umm…I mean, there’s not like anything that doesn’t sound good about this sandwich, buuuut…it’s pretty simple.  Maybe too simple?  I feel like it’d be good, but not “new state fair food” good.  I bet I’d like it.

Anne


I think the Hideaway Speakeasy is a new vendor this year…?

(CONFIRMATION- it is.  Apparently it serves “Appetizers, Breakfast Sandwiches, and Paninis”).

Anyway, if this is the kind of food they’re offering then color me underwhelmed.  This looks like a sammich I could easily make at home and would choose not to.  Of all of the delicious breakfast meats that could be included on a breakfast sammich, Ham (oh!  I’m sorry- Capicola.  Trying to be fancy up in here with spiced and smoked pork shoulder.  IT’S HAM) is the crappiest choice to make.  And then scrambled eggs and white cheddar?  Wooh…


Honey Puffs (Loukamades)



Deep-fried dough balls crispy outside and sweet inside, tossed in a sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

At Dino's Gyros on the north side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets


Sarah

Omg I definitely want these. I want them right now. RIGHT NOW. Why don’t I have them yet? Give it. I want it!

I mean, all you have to say is “crispy outside, sweet inside” and I’m there.


Patrick

Dino’s makes the best gyros, hands down.  No point in getting gyros anywhere else at the fair, and honestly…no point in getting gyros at the fair period.  Dino’s has a year round restaurant in Roseville, so why waste room in my belly at the fair when I have so much food to cover.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen them on the list for new state fair foods though.  Holy crap crackers from LuLu’s, this sounds really good!  Oh man, it’s just…Aaaaggh!  Shove it in my maw!  Do it now!  They’re like little donut balls with cinnamon and sugar.  Like an elephant ear in ball form.  With sweet syrup?  What?  Aaaaggh!

Anne

Well these look delightful!  And they are a combination of things I like- pastry and foreign foods I haven’t tried yet!

Apparently Loukamades are Greek Honey Dumplings.  OK! These seem very simple so I do hope they’re not too expensive, but I am pretty excited to try them


Italian Bomba Sandwich



Beer-braised pork shoulder with prosciutto cotto ham, fontina cheese, giardiniera (Italian relish) and aioli on a grilled ciabatta roll.

At Mancini's al Fresco on the north side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets


Sarah

Everything about this sounds spectacular until you get to that Italian relish. Looking at that picture and seeing that relish makes we want to NOPE right out of here.

Probably what will happen is, I will take a bite, think it’s great but that the relish ruins it. Hope that Anne and Patrick feel the same so we can scrape the relish off and just eat the rest of it.

Patrick

Aw yeah, now this is a sandwich I can get my meat hooks into.  Look at all that awesome meat, and giardiniera pepper relish is my jam (is that another pun?  Relish is kind of like a jam.)  This just looks like a bitchin’ sandwich, plain and simple, and I aims to eat it.  How could this possibly disappoint?  It can’t, I’m calling it.

Anne

Heh.  Bomba.

I don’t know about that Italian Relish.  I’m not a relish fan, and that doesn’t look very appetizing to me. Otherwise the sandwich looks pretty good and I’ll of course give it a go as is.  But I’m betting it’ll just make we want a good Cuban sammich instead (braised pork shoulder, mmmm)


Maple Cream Nitro Cold Press Coffee



Locally sourced heavy cream and maple syrup in a cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen.

At Farmers Union Coffee Shop on the north side of Dan Patch Ave. between Cooper & Cosgrove streets


Sarah

Well, I don’t drink coffee, so I expect I won’t really like this. But, I mean, heavy cream can only help.

Maple syrup again, though. I’m starting to sense a theme…


Patrick

Huh.  Yeah, I’ll give it a go.  I like coffee alright.  Neither of the other two are likely to want to drink it, but they’ll have to try it, because dem’s da rules!  Maybe it will be really good, and if not, I’ll get my caffeine buzz to keep my going through the day.

Anne

Do people go to the State Fair to drink fancy coffee?  Like- don’t we have enough options for fancy coffee in our regular day-to-day lives?

I’m not a coffee drinker, but the photo looks good in the way that coffee always looks good.  But otherwise- isn’t this just a Maple Coffe zazzed up in a non-impactful way?  NOW WITH NITROGEN!


Memphis Totchos



Sliced bananas and sautéed bacon over tater tots, topped with peanut sauce.

At Snack House in the Warner Coliseum, south concourse


Sarah

I don’t know about this. It contains all things I love. But mixing bananas and tots? I don’t know. I feel like the texture more than anything is gonna be weird.

I love bananas, though. Patrick hates them. Probably more than he hates avocados.

Patrick

What?  T-This…this sound pretty great, but…why the eff did you put stupid bananas on it?  I hate bananas, and even if I didn’t, I don’t know why they’re on this dish!  God Dammit!  You don’t know what you’re doing Snack House.  You don’t-know-what-you-are-doing!  Get it together guys.  Just…get your shit together.  Can’t believe I gotta eat bananas.  Stupid.

Anne

So my initial reaction was “I am so over Totchos” (which, for those not in the know, Totchos are Tater Tots + Nachos).  But then I realized these are a sweet + savory totchos with bananas and peanut sauce and bacon and now they’ve reeled me back in.  I’m excited to try these!

Mini Sconuts



Buttermilk scone holes filled with chocolate, marshmallow and Nutella®, deep-fried and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. (Gluten-free)

At French Meadow Bakery & Cafe on the north side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets

Sarah

So it’s more or less a deep fried scone filled with sweet stuff? I mean, okay. I’m curious to see how the texture of the deep fried scone works out. Because scones aren’t soft like a donut, so then will they come out dense instead of fluffy? I suspect so.

Man there’s a lot of chocolate and marshmallow on this list, too. Maybe try stuffing other sweet things in your things?


Patrick

EEEEEE!  Oh man this is…this is everything!  I love Nutella, I frigging luuuuuurve marshmallow, and chocolate all together and deep fried into a scone?  You crazy girl!  You let me down last you French Meadow…you owe it to me, to make this a hit.  Do it.  Just do it!  I’mma devour you.

Anne

What are these like mini scones or something?  OH- yes they are. Huh.  Well these sound scrummy, and apparently I need to step up my scone game.  French Meadow Bakery rarely disappoints (last year was the first year in evs that we were sad- stupid rustic pastry thing), and while I am not a fan of marshmallow cream (as stated before), I am excited to try these as deep fried pastries are something that French Meadow tends to do well.


And that concludes our Part Three of the new foods review! Only two parts left. Please join us here tomorrow. Same bat time. Same bat channel.




RIP Allen West.
 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

2017 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 2

Today continues our 5 part overview of the MN State Fair New Foods preview. You can see Part One here.

LET'S DO THIS!

Chocolate Popover with Peanut Butter Spread




Hot out-of-the-oven chocolate popover with a side of peanut butter spread.

At LuLu's Public House at West End Market, south of the Schilling Amphitheater

Sarah

This sounds good. I mean, it sounds like something I could make at home (I totally could because I make popovers regularly (god I need to make some more popovers . . .)) but this should be nice. I hope it’s not too chocolatey or peanutbuttery. I don’t want it to be so sweet that it ruins the popover. Guess we’ll see!

Patrick

Considering I have had my fair share of popovers, I’m surprised I’ve never seen something like this tried before.  At a glance this looks very promising and sounds delicious.  I see this is LuLu’s Public House again, and per usual they have caught my attention and I am wary of the actual result of their experimental confection.  I worry I will approach this stand and ask for the Chocolate Popover with Peanut Butter Spread with a cheery smile, and some vendor will slap the baked good into my face and laugh, shouting “eat up dum dum!  You fall for this every year.”  I cry softly, licking the disappointing pastry off my tear and chocolate stained features.  Why you do dis to me LuLu?

Anne

Oh damn!  This looks pretty good.  I mean- who doesn’t like a popover?  I wonder what ‘Peanut Butter Spread’ is.  Is that just peanut butter?  Or what makes it a ‘spread’?
Conveniently this is also at Lulu’s, so looks like we’re going to have a pretty good breakfast meal there this year if we can get over there before they stop serving breakfast.


Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs




Swedish-style meatballs with cranberries and wild rice blend covered with Lingonberry sauce.

At Hamline Church Dining Hall on the north side of Dan Patch Ave. between Underwood & Cooper streets

Sarah

Yeah, all right! Love me some Swedish meatballs, so throw a spin on that, and I’m down for it. I’m not typically a cranberry fan, so if it falls apart for me, I suspect that’s where it will, but I think this will work out fine (though pic clearly shows gravy and description says  covered with lingonberry sauce, so which is it? If it’s both, great! If it’s just lingonberry sauce and no gravy, then I don’t know. With the cranberries, that might be a lot of fruit and not enough savory.)

Patrick

Swedish-style meatballs with the gravy and lingonberry sauce is a Minnesota heritage staple.  Anyone who thinks throwing jam onto your gravy drenched meatball is a mind-boggling monstrosity, has never tried it.  I’ve seen world famous chefs on TV be presented with this combo and think very much the same as you, until they tried it, and realized it is golden.  It just works!  I’m happy to try this Cranbery Wild Rice Meatballs version of the dish.  It may not be incredibly innovative, but sometimes just giving a real classic a little twist, is all you need.

Anne

Ok, sure.  I mean- I like Swedish meatballs, and I like the juxtaposition of savory and sweet, so this looks fine.


Deep-Fried Avocado




Avocado slices dipped in a lightly seasoned batter, deep-fried and served with chipotle ranch dipping sauce.

At O'Gara's at the Fair at the southwest corner of Dan Patch Ave. & Cosgrove St.

Sarah

Yes! I want this right now! I like me some avacados and I like deep fried stuff, so I think this will be good (also, yay for ranch!)

People love deep fried pickles and tomatoes and I do not. At all (they’re just gross, guys. You gotta know that. Stop pretending you like them. And that pickle line is way too long. It’s just ridiculous.) But this, this should be crunchy and smooth and creamy. And throw some ranch on it!

Patrick

O’Gara’s sometimes puts out something that looks like it could be good, but I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed anything they’ve made (at least among new fair items).  I’m also not a huge fan of avocado, so I’m just gonna trash this option.  Boo!  You look gross, and I bet you taste gross.  Give you a try?  I might be surprised?  NOPE!  I’ll try it, but I will NOT be surprised.  Hell no.  I’m going back to LuLus, they know how to put out something new that looks appetizing.  At least they lure me in with sweet promises before shoving crap in my face.  You just run out of your tavern screaming and chase me down the street as you hurl your stupid food at me.  Leave me alone O’Gara!

Anne

Oh- Pat LOVES avocado, so I bet he’s SUPER excited about this one.

This is from O’Gara’s which is often exciting in theory, but disappointing in reality.  Seems like it would be hard to mess something like this up, and I like the thought of it, but I’ll take all that with a grain of salt.

(Where does that idiom come from?  Ok- according to Wikipedia, it involves either using salt as an antidote for poison, or using salt to help build up immunity to poison, therefore rendering the threat of poison less serious.  And now we all know).


Deviation Stout Steak Taco Naan




Steak marinated in Modist Deviation 004 - Mexican Dark Chocolate Stout beer, grilled and topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, queso fresco, cilantro lime and jalapeño ranch sauces, and wrapped in warm naan flatbread.

At San Felipe Tacos in the Food Building, east wall

Sarah

The name of this item is dumb. It’s just stupid and crappy with too many words and descriptions. I hate it.

That said, I hate Mexican food (it’s the spices. And the beans. Don’t lecture me. I’ve tried to like it, I really have, but no dice.)

THAT said, this sounds really good. I’m not crazy about the pico, but that’s not gonna stop me from taking a bite of this. I’m pretty excited about the Mexican chocolate beer steak.

THAT’S what the name should have been!

I mean, why is Naan the last word? TACO should be the least word! If they just switched those two words, the name would be drastically improved. Still dumb, but better.

God!

Patrick

Hmm…I feel like someone at this stand said, “how can we make a taco different yo,” and someone else said “Hey, lets like, combine Mexican flavors and food with Indian.”  Everyone agreed this was a stellar idea, as it had never been done before.  “But…how do we do that?  What do we take from Indian cuisine?”  They thought long and hard and someone shouted, “Naan!  It’s like Indian bread, and we can use it as a taco shell.”   Brilliant!  Alright, that’s a start, but what else?”  Everyone shrugged,  “Naw man, that’s good.  We don’t want to go crazy, it still has to be a taco.  Just the naan is fine.”  Naan taco…I guess.  Alright I’ll eat it, but come on…pretty lazy.

Anne

Ok, before I even look at this item, is this the most ridiculous name for an item ever?  Potentially yes.

It’s like they just stuck 5 different nouns together thinking that some of them might be descriptive but instead it just ended up being an unwieldy and confusing amalgamation of words.

Otherwise, this just looks like a really good taco.  I will happily try it and I hope it’s good, but I’m not EXCITED or WOWED by the thought of eating it.


Double Dose of Pork Belly




100% ground pork belly burger topped with crisp smoked pork belly, pepper jack cheese, coleslaw and pickled onions, served on a toasted bun.

At RC's BBQ on the north side of West Dan Patch Ave. between Liggett & Chambers streets

Sarah

Pork belly is hella good. So throw two types of pork belly on a bun and add some cheese and slaw? Yeah, that sounds real nice. Will it blow me away? Probably not. But will I enjoy the hecks out of it? Probably yeah!

Patrick

This almost made my top as most excited for.  Pork Belly is-the-shit!  People only made bacon in the first place because pork belly was so f’ing great, they were like “this amazing meat goes bad so quick, we need to cure it so we can eat it all the time.  Not on deserts though, that’s just stupid.”  Now that we can get pork belly much easier without worry about it rotting in our cupboards, there almost isn’t a reason to keep eating bacon.  People refuse to give up their cured peasant fare though, so whatever.  Everything about this sounds great, and the fact that the burger is also pork belly just rocked my world.  Double Dose?  How about a triple dose of these burgers/sliders in my belly!

Anne

Oh man!  I lurve me some pork belly!  Overall I am excited to try this.  I wish they hadn’t ruined it by adding pepper jack cheese (which is my least favorite and therefore stupidest cheese).

This is at RC’s BBQ which is the former Famous Dave’s spot. Famous Dave’s was always a great bet, and last year RC’s didn’t disappoint either, so in spite of gross pepper jack, I’m still excited to give this a go.


Duck Bacon Wontons




Duck bacon, grilled sweet corn and cream cheese combined inside deep-fried crescent-shaped wontons and served with dipping sauce.

At Giggles' Campfire Grill at the southeast corner of Lee Ave. & Cooper St. at The North Woods

Sarah

Anne is probably crying right now, reading this one. Cuz she can’t get enough of the quackers in her belly.

I was excited about this at first, but I don’t know about the corn and cream cheese also inside the wonton.

I’m sure it will be fine (or terrible. That’s the thing about the state fair, you can never tell what will tank and what will shine) but I was more excited about this one before I read the description.

WAIT. EVERYBODY WAIT. THIS IS FROM GIGGLES.

Giggles has yet to let us down. I. AM. EXCITE.


Patrick

I’ve said it numerous times.  Giggles could deep fry a boot and people would line up to eat it.  Somehow, it’d be delicious to boot (HAH!  Oh my god what a pun!)  Wontons are delightful Asian appetizers or sides, and do I care this is a north woods, rustic fare food stand?  Hell no.  This sounds great.  This will be great, I guarantee.  This place is the antithesis of LuLu’s.  Take that LuLu!  You’re breaking my heart!  I need some damn Duck Bacon Wontons, and five other things from Giggles.  Why isn’t there a Giggles Restaurant?

Anne

Shut. Up.  I LOVE Duck. LOVE IT.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR THIS IS AT GIGGLES?!  SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!


Annnnd that's it for today! Please come back tomorrow for Part 3!