And while there are certain items one must get every year (sweet corn, mini donuts, cheese curds and Sweet Martha’s Cookies are on my annual list), there’s also an opportunity to try new fare at the fair.
This year, there are more than 20 new food items showcased throughout the fairgrounds for folks to try out. And while, really, we could urge you to try all of them, we don’t want to be responsible for impending cardiac arrest or at the very least, massive food comas. So instead, we thought we’d narrow down a list of 10.
Now, this isn’t the be-all, end-all list by any means but think of it as a starting point for your fair feasting. And with 12 full days of State Fair fun, there’s plenty of opportunities to come back for a second helping.
Turtle Fudge Puppies
Location: Outside the west wall of the Food Building.
While the Fudge Puppies stand is offering two new puppies to try, we have to give the nudge to the Turtle. Starting with a Belgium waffle on-a-stick, the Turtle includes chocolate, caramel and nuts. Delish.
Fried Pig Ears
Location: Corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Liggett Street
Famous Dave’s takes thinly sliced pig ears and fries them up until they are a perfect crisp, then they serve them with a lime chipotle glaze. The texture is very similar to calamari and the taste is a crunchy, salty goodness.
Price: $5, or $7 with ice cream
Location: Dan Patch Avenue at Underwood Street
Miss Strawberry Shortcake would probably gasp at the sight of her precious and sweet shortcake being deep fried to perfection but hey, she’s a cartoon, she’ll get over it. The crispy, yet doughy texture of the deep-fried shortcake adds a perfect backdrop to the sweet berries and cream, making this a perfect summer treat.
Deep-Fried Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes On-A-Stick
Location: Liggett Street, south of Carnes Avenue
The title really says it all, here. Deep-fried? Check. Bacon? Check. Cheese? Check. Mashed Potatoes? Check. On-a-stick? Oh yes. After all of that, do you really need anything else? That’s what I thought.
Korean Moon BBQ Tacos
Price: $3 each
Location: Corner of Carnes Avenue and Chambers Street
These tacos are served a la street vendor-style, meaning with a lot of love and a quick preparation. Made with beef short ribs, spicy-sweet pork or chicken, the tacos truly speak for themselves with a mountain of flavor in every bite.
Grilled Marshmallow, Chocolate and Banana Sandwich
Location: Judson Avenue by the CHS Miracle of Birth Center
For a place known mostly by its coffee-creation pick-me-ups, they serve one heck of a sweet sandwich. Starting with a toasted marshmallow, this simple treat adds chocolate and banana into the mix over an open grill to create an ooey, gooey smore-like snack.
Danny Boy with Sweet Potato Tots
Location: Corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Cosgrove Street
Throw out your conventional burger and replace it with this — a burger made with corned beef and covered in warm sauerkraut, held together by a thick slice of swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. Add on a batch of O’Gara’s new sweet potato tots and you’ve got the luck of the Irish on your side.
Location: Food Building
Not only are the tortas new at the State Fair but Manny’s Tortas is a brand new food vendor this year. The gourmet Mexican tortas are like a twist on your typical sandwich. Made on a french baguette, tortas include your choice of meat with lettuce, tomato, avocado, refried beans, jalapenos and a chipotle pepper mayo. Oh, and don’t forget the pineapple pina colada for $7.
Location: Food Building
Take a potato, cut it in a spiral and toss it on a stick and you’ve got a tornado potato. Now, add chocolate to the mix and you’ve got, oh-my-goodness delicious.
Fresh Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips
Location: Carousel Park, east of the Grandstand Ramp
It’s not often that a new food item is offered that’s not deep-fried and battered, so it’s refreshing when something as fresh as this pops up. I actually make a similar recipe of this fruit salsa at home and while they have me beat on flavor, you truly can never go wrong with a berry salsa and cinnamon chips. It’s a great way to get some healthy fruit into your fair diet.
Honorable Mention (of sorts):
While the deep-fried avocado was listed as a new food item this year at Tejas, inside The Garden, the owners told us it didn’t quite make the cut. But they say look for this item — served with ranch dressing — on next year’s menu.
-Sara Boyd is a Web Producer at WCCO.com.