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.


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


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!


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?


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


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.)


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.


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.


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!


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!


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 jalapeƱo ranch sauces, and wrapped in warm naan flatbread.

At San Felipe Tacos in the Food Building, east wall


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.



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.


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


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!


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!


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


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.


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


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?


Shut. Up.  I LOVE Duck. LOVE IT.


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

1 comment:

  1. 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.

    Pickles, in any/all forms, are easily in my top five favorite foods of all time. And that line moves super fast.


    You had me at "duck bacon", and sealed the deal with "Giggles".


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