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


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.


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.


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


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!)


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


*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.



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…


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


Ugh. Boo on a lot of this.

Things in this that I don’t like:


Maybe salsa (it depends)

Pickled red onion


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.


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.


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:





1 comment:

  1. 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.

    Yeah, I'm excited about that one, for the potato croquettes moreso than the pork belly, frankly.

    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 sure of the name, but salmon/cucumber/dill/capers is a very common combination, especially in East Coast Jewish delis (which makes the original name even more racially insensitive). I mean, Brueggers has this sandwich as one of their standing menu items, so once again, this new place isn't exactly offering up "only at the Fair!" kind of food.

    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

    For that matter, one of the earlier items listed as one of its ingredients Kaffir Limes, which is technically a slur (Kaffir), even if it's commonly used in the food world.

    The difference between the Blue Barn and LuLu’s is…I don’t know, they play out pretty much the same.

    Which is the one closer to the entrance, and which is the two story one closer to the stages?

    Because everything I've had from the further back two-story one has been garbage, while I've mostly enjoyed everything from the other one (especially the bleu cheese corn fritters, which have become an every year thing for me).

    Both are, indeed, way overpriced, of course.

    Things in this that I don’t like...Pickled red onion

    We started pickling red onions ourselves this summer (it's super easy), so I've been eating them on damn near everything lately. Possibly even cereal. :)


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