Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 MN State Fair New Foods Preview Part 1

So! We're almost into August, which means we've reached one of the most exciting times of year: planning for the MN State Fair!!

Which also 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. Maybe there's some overlap, but that's because two of us are twins and we all spend a lot of time together. We're cool people like that.

Also, this year, we're breaking this post up into more manageable bites (heh) which means, 7 food items today, and 6 for every other day this week. So check out all 5 posts if you're looking for our thoughts (and humor?) on these foods.

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


I’m pretty excited about this list. I would say nothing really jumps out at me and makes me scream in excitement, but in general, I feel like it’s a step up, so I don’t feel overly blasé about the list, either.

It’s hard to get too excited, too, because I’ve been burned in the past before. Things that I were super excited for really let me down. And then, too, things I thought would be nothing were surprise hits.

So maybe those past experiences have tempered my excitement some.

Or not my excitement for the fair, cuz there’s no tempering that. Just my pre-excitement about the list.

A crap ton of maple syrup and maple stuff this time around. I’m not crazy about that, but I feel like maybe that’s a theme?

It’s hard to tell. It wasn’t quite as obvious as previous years.

Most excited for: Swine & Spuds. Though there were a couple others I thought about putting here instead.

Least excited for: Slow Roasted Pork Mole Tamale. Nope right the heck out of here.


I’m probably always optimistic about each year’s list of new foods, and maybe that is partially built up by the hype of seeing a list of new and curious food, but I am tentatively excited about this year’s list.  There is a solid chunk of items falling into the sweet category (maybe around a third of the list), which is fun to see some desserts that aren’t just more ice cream.  There also looks to be some interesting fusions of flavors or regional foods (a naan taco, whaaaat?).  I’d say last year that this optimism overall, didn’t pan out, as even some items that I was very excited for, turned out to be duds.  Oh optimism, you cut me extra deep when you do not pay off.  Seems we’re back on a bacon hype/theme this year (yawn).  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again:  I love bacon!  It is crispy, sweet and savory, meat heaven.  That doesn’t mean putting it on everything makes it better.  Seems there is selective amnesia every three or four years on this fact, and here we are again, celebrating our love of bacon unnecessarily by trying to incorporating it into all our food.

Most excited for:  Gotta be the Duck Bacon Wontons.  Giggles has rarely let me down, and may very well be my favorite vendor overall, at the state fair.  I love a good wonton and this just sounds like a winning variation of the Asian fare.  Super excited to give it a try.

Least excited for:  Deep-Fried Avocado.  O’Gara’s is consistently a letdown for new foods, and I have little love for the avocado.  I like guacamole, and that’s about it.  I’ll eat it if it is in sushi, but do not like this mushy fruit (it is a fruit right?) on its own.  Deep frying isn’t going to make me feel any better about it. 



At first I thought the theme was going to be Bacon this year, and while Bacon is definitely making a strong showing (we haven’t seen this much bacon since whichever year debuted chicken fried bacon and big fat bacon), I think the theme is AACTUALLY Savory & Sweet.

Overall I’m actually pretty excited for this year- I think it looks better than last year and I am LOVING all of the pastries (deep fried and otherwise) we are going to be indulging in.

Hot dang, I cannot wait!

Most Excited For: Tough Call this year.  I think either the Loukamades or the Duck Bacon Wontons

Least Excited For: The Swindler/Swing Dancer Sandwich

Onto the foods!

Bacon Fluffernutter

Grilled cinnamon bun sandwich with a bacon, peanut butter and marshmallow cream filling.

At The Sandwich Stop on the west side of Clough St. between Carnes & Judson avenues


Umm, yes please. I mean, I’m sure I’ll take like one bit of this and say “OHMYGOD THIS IS AMAZING” but then I won’t want anymore because it will probably be too rich. But as long as that cinnamon bun is soft and or fluffy, and the insides are salty, crispy, and gooey, I’m down for this.

Also, the Sandwich shop generally puts out good food.



I think this would sound great, if they left out the bacon.  I don’t care what anyone says, bacon is not a desert topping or component.  Maybe, maaaaaaybe if you candied that bacon, I might let it slide.  This however is a travesty.  Throw a frigging pork chop in this sandwich, same thing right?  Maybe the bacon takes a back seat to all the other powerful flavors (I’m looking at you peanut butter, you’ve got this) and this could be an interesting treat.  We’ll see, but I’m fairly skeptical.


First off, I find the term ‘Fluffernutter’ distasteful.  It feels like a job someone would have on the film set of a porno (and waaaay below a Best Boy or Key Grip).  And yes I know that Fluffer is already a porn-set job.  This just sounds more offensive than that.

Anyway. I think this looks good!  I appreciate the mix of savory (bacon) and sweet (all the rest), and the photo looks good too.  Though I would rather not with Marshmallow Cream Filling.  Is the Sandwich Stop where we get those other good sammiches?  I’ll have to check, because if so then I’m betting this will be a good one.

Bacon Up Pup

A Belgian waffle served on-a-stick with bacon in the batter, dipped in chocolate, drizzled with maple syrup, and topped with whipped cream and bacon.

At Granny's Kitchen Fudge Puppies on the east side of Underwood St. between Dan Patch & Carnes avenues, outside the Food Building.


Yeah all right. This sounds like it will be good. I mean, fried bacon, fried waffle, chocolate. I’m a little leery of the maple syrup just because that’s a different sweetness than chocolate and whipped cream, but I’m still excited to give this a shot.

First two items are super sweet. Bring on the savory, I say!


I feel like this isn’t anything revolutionary or particularly creative, and they just threw bacon on top to try and be innovative.  I’ve been clear on my thoughts of adding bacon as a component to a dessert.  Might be good, but I’m on the fence, with my toe touching the side of NOPE, ready to put my weight down and leap off in that direction.


Oh!  It’s a Waffle?  For some reason I was thinking it was some sort of hotdog confection. I see ‘pup’ refers to fudge puppies and not hot dogs. Obviously.

This seems like a lot- and probably pretty rich, but I guess I’m not surprised coming from a shop dedicated to Fudge Puppies.

Is bacon the ‘theme’ this year?

Bowl O’ Dough

Scoops of straight-up, raw cookie dough that is safe to eat and available in four flavors: Brownie Batter Swirl is a chocolate chip cookie dough and brownie batter mash-up; Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (gluten-free) is a mix of classic cookie dough and chocolate chips; European Cookie Butter is made with Biscoff® European spiced cookies; and Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Blueberries is lemons, fresh curd ricotta cheesecake and blueberries blended into a sugar cookie dough. All served with a side of sea salt-flavored ice milk.

At Blue Moon Dine-In Theater on the northeast corner of Carnes Ave. & Chambers St.


Okay, so it’s just raw cookie dough? Eh. I mean, maybe it will blow my mind, but it doesn’t sound very exciting.

Though I will say I AM excited to try the side of sea salt flavored ice milk. Like . . . what is that gonna be like?

Okay, now the more I think about it, the more I am excited about it. Sea Salt iced milk for the save, I guess!


Ok, ok!  This isn’t ice cream right?  No?  Ok good.  Not a huge fan of ice cream, but holy smokes…I do love me some batter!  This is like…oh my god.  Did…Did I put the wrong thing down for “most excited for”?  I don’t know you guys.  I’m all over cookie batter like a fat guy eating cookie batter straight from the tube like a push pop (pssst…I’m the fat guy).  But, different kinds of batter?  Are you shitting me?!  Four different kinds, and what appears to be salty conveyances to deliver this to my mouth.  It took me fifteen minutes to write this, because I had to keep pausing to wipe away the tears.  This is some kind of Harry Potter Hogsmeade dessert; something you’d order after you finished your butter beer.  This is a magic desert.  *Sniff* you’re a wizard Harry.


Is this Ice Cream?  NOPE!  Apparently it’s literal scoops of cookie dough.  Shit- they even have a gluten free option!

However- there is NO WAY that Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Blueberries counts as a cookie.  NO WAY.  That is a cheesecake dough, which we’ve recently discovered is actually a Pie.  C’mon Blue Moon- don’t be trying to slip a fast one past us.

Blue Moon is usually a good bet- this sounds fine but the fact that it’s from the ol’ BM (HAH!) has my interest piqued.

HOLY CRAP!  It’s served with a side of sea-salt flavored ice milk?!  WTF is that?
Also- are those potato chips in the photo?  Now I am confused…

Breakfast Buddy Bowl

Waffle bowl filled with hash browns, maple syrup, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and bacon, topped with a biscuit, country sausage gravy and green onions.

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


Well, Sarah does love her some brekkie, let me tell you. I am also so happy to see that there’s not, like onions or bell peppers *cough* crotch peppers *cough* in this bowl of mashing all breakfast foods together.

Again, unsure about the maple syrup, but happy to give this a good shot. Though, if I was a betting person, I’d say we’ll probably come out thinking this is okay, not great.


It seems that every year  LuLu’s puts out something new that looks either exciting or good, and I’m not sure I have ever been impressed.  At a glance, this breakfast buddy bowl looks alright (I’m not too sure about adding in maple syrup with all those other ingredients), and at least this is an appropriate place to find bacon for a change.  I’ve found that breakfast bowls like this (throwing all the components of a breakfast together in a bowl), are generally hit or miss on whether they hit the spot.  I’m pretty lukewarm on the idea, both for the venue and the food item.


Aww, it’s your Breakfast Buddy!

Oh snap!  This sounds good- like everything that’s good about breakfast stuffed together into one delicious bowl.  The only challenge I see is that it’s at LuLu’s- not because Lulu’s doesn’t have good food, but because there’s no way I’m going to be over at Lulu’s during breakfast.  Maybe this is an all-day food?

Brown Ale and Onion-Gouda Tipsy Pie

Onions caramelized in Lift Bridge Brewery’s Chestnut Hill Brown Ale with smoked Gouda cheese, baked in a pie crust, topped with an onion sugar and drizzled with a sweet beer glaze.

At Sara's Tipsy Pies in the Food Building, south wall


Oh fuck this straight up! Tipsy pies think they’re so effing great. But they aren’t! First, they’re always expensive as hell. And I just don’t want to pay that much when I can go home and make my own hand pies (WHICH I DO.)

One of the hand pies I make at home is a Guinness and onion hand pie, that, wait for it, has cheese inside.

SO FUCK YOU, TIPSY PIES. I’m still gonna try your pie because I’m an adult, but it’s gonna have to blow my mind to even come close to beating my own recipe.

(Also, that pie crust is too white. It looks undercooked or floury. Gross.)

(Also also, I just realized it's at Sara's Tipsy Pies, and that's not even the right way to spell Sarah.)


I’m sure she will mention as much herself, but I’ll point out that Sarah has made something like this herself for years.  It is all the more suspicious that the store making this hand pie is also named Sara.  Anywho, conspiracy theory aside, I think this looks pretty darn tasty.  We’ll see how it compares to Sarah’s homemade version, but if it is even close it should be a delicious hand pie.  Something about a pie that fits in your hand feels so rustic or perhaps medieval, I love it.



Ok not really, but I am just not impressed/not a fan of Tipsy Pies. Someone added liquor to pies- big deal.  The alcohol would burn off in the cooking process anyway.  I do wonder what an onion sugar is/tastes like (I assume it’s an onion infused sugar), but if the only thing I am interested in is the decoration/garnish, then this is a miss

Cheesy Nacho Corn on the Cob

Roasted corn on the cob lightly coated with crushed Dorito® corn chips and nacho cheese.

At Texas Steak Out on the west side of Underwood St. between Lee & Randall avenues


What? I just, this seems like it will be hard to eat. Because corn on the cob is already hard to eat, so add a crumbly topping and cheese isn’t gonna make it easier.

That said, I’m unsure of the corn pairing, but I do like the idea of crushed doritos and nacho cheese, so color me cautiously optimistic.


I’m kind of in the same boat as someone who doesn’t feel like corn on the cob needs to be messed with.  This feels strange to me, and I try picturing what the flavors would be like in my mouth, and I just get nacho cheese and corn trying to combine and failing terrible.  Sometimes weird combinations that have no good reason to work well together do, but I’m skeptical in this case.  I’ll keep an open mind, but I’m not keeping my hopes up by any means.


HAHAHAH!  I bet Sarah and Pat are REAL excited for this one.

I wouldn’t normally want nacho cheese on corn on the cob, but this seems well within the spirit of new State Fair Foods- something crazy that you’d never think to try yourself, but now you gotta give it a go and hopefully it’s good (and not like barfinade)

Cherry Bombs

Red licorice dipped in batter, deep-fried and dusted with powdered sugar.

At Vegie Fries on the north side of Dan Patch Ave. between Underwood & Cooper streets


Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-CHERRY BOMBS!

Oh. I see there actually isn’t any cherries in this one. I thought there would be. That’s fine, I’m not a big cherry fan.

I do like red licorice, though. So yeah. It doesn’t blow me away with excitement, but I think it’ll be decent.


Now what is this adorable novelty?  I like red licorice, sure!  Batter it and deep fry it?  Why, I don’t know what that’ll be like, but I am delighted to find out.  It’s like someone said, “here, try this chocolate dipped cotton candy”.  The logical me is saying, that’s impossible, it would never hold up.  However, the whimsical me is saying, if you made it work I am giddy to devour it.  And so, I am giddy to try these Cherry Bombs, and hope they are as delightful as they appear.



Now that we all have the song in our head, I was SHOCKED to see that the Cherry in these Cherry Bombs comes from red/cherry licorice.  Like-wtf?  These are even at the ‘Vegie Fries’ stand (which- is that a typo?  If it’s not a typo, then I think I’m finding incredible amounts of delight that they’ve intentionally mis-spelled Veggie- like you think it’s a vegetable, but it’s not.  Just like how you’d think cherry bombs would be made with cherries, but at the Vegie Stand YOU WOULD BE MISTAKEN). (I have been informed that it’s not a typo).

ANYway, I’m sure this will be fine- like my office-mate said- dough filled with sugar.

And that's it's for our Part One of the MN State Fair New Foods Preview!

Tune in tomorrow, and the rest of this week, for the remaining foods!

1 comment:

  1. First off, I find the term ‘Fluffernutter’ distasteful.

    In the Fair's defense, fluffernutter is a thing that already exists (it's a peanut butter & marshmallow sandwich, traditionally served on white bread), so no one involved with this variation coined the term.

    I just, this seems like it will be hard to eat.

    Right? Like, I'm imagining how I would it, and I can't even wrap my head around it. Sounds great, but functionally useless.


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