2017 Minnesota State Fair New Food Review – The great Minnesota Eat-together is upon us once again. Before the new food list was announced I started telling everyone that I was going to try all the new food items this year, all on the first day…then they announced 30+ items. Ouch. With some much appreciated help of some friends to get the food faster to my face, I accomplished this gluttonous task. Not only trying the items, but taking photos with my iPhone 6 and posting live reviews on Instagram of each item I conquered. Here is how my day went:
Bacon Fluffernutter: Grilled cinnamon bun sandwich with a bacon, peanut butter and marshmallow cream filling. LOCATION: The Sandwich Stop REVIEW: 9/10 $9 – Wow…everything I love in one sandwich. Only thing keeping it from a 10 is the bacon needs to be crispier and thicker, but just crispier would suffice. Damn good!
Bacon Up Pup: 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. LOCATION: Granny’s Kitchen Fudge Puppies. REVIEW: 7/10 $7 – It’s surprisingly not overly sweet with everything involved, then again, it’s not as amazing as I wanted it to be…still really good though! Be careful lifting this off the paper, that maple syrup strings and goes everywhere. I got it everywhere.
Bowl O’ Dough: Scoops of straight-up raw cookie dough that is safe to eat and available in four flavors: Brownie Batter Swirl (a chocolate chip cookie dough and brownie batter mash-up). Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (gluten -free) (a mix of classic cookie dough and chocolate chips). European Cookie Butter, made with Biscoff (European spiced cookies). Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Blueberries (lemons, fresh curd ricotta cheesecake and blueberries blended into a sugar cookie dough). All are served with a side of sea salt-flavored ice milk. LOCATION: Blue Moon Dine-In Theater. REVIEW: 7/10 $8 for the flight…Which seems to be the only offering. Nice flavor profiles here…could be more generous with the portions. When I mixed them all together, I got carrot cake for some reason. I feel like a lot is missing. Wtf?! Looks at description again.
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. LOCATION: LuLu’s Public House. REVIEW: 5/10 $8 – Had potential, was very dry all around. The waffle bowl will get stale and soggy if not eaten quickly. Sausage gravy was good, the maple syrup might throw some people off. I think LuLu’s preps their food too early so the execution doesn’t come off how it should.
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. LOCATION: Sara’s Tipsy Pies. REVIEW: 2/10 $10 (for two) – Maybe it’s just me, but I am not really into these, like at all. The crust is cool. Beer and onions in a pie? Didn’t work, for me. The chocolate had a weird taste to it as well. Someone next to me demolished theirs. Not me. Nope.
Cheesy Nacho Corn on the Cob: Roasted corn on the cob lightly coated with crushed Doritos corn chips and nacho cheese. LOCATION: Texas Steak Out. REVIEW: 9/10 $6 – I loved the deep-fried Nachos here last year, and this meets right up there with them. Grab napkins fo yo face!
Cherry Bombs: Red licorice dipped in batter, deep-fried and dusted with powdered sugar. LOCATION: Veggie Fries. REVIEW: 7/10 $5 – Weird crap. At first I was like, NO…but then after a couple, it is what it is, and it’s a cool treat. Impressed myself.
Chocolate Popover with Peanut Butter Spread: Hot out-of-the-oven chocolate popover with a side of peanut butter spread. LOCATION: LuLu’s Public House. REVIEW: 3.5/10 $6 – Dry meets dry. The popover by itself is just nothing, add the thick dry PB spread and it gets a tad bit better, but not enough to get this at all. Pass.
Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs: Swedish-style meatballs with cranberries and wild rice blend covered with Lingonberry sauce. LOCATION: Hamline Church Dining Hall. REVIEW: 5.5/10 $12.88 – Meatballs were dense and a bit sticky, like they seem to have bread in them? Maybe it’s the cranberries? I don’t know, but I don’t like the texture. These are tightly packed balls. Uh oh, here we go again. Definitely no my style on how these were prepared. Coleslaw, potatoes and cornbread beat out the meatballs.
Deep-Fried Avocado: Avocado slices dipped in a lightly seasoned batter, deep-fried and served with chipotle ranch dipping sauce. LOCATION: O’Gara’s. REVIEW: 9/10 $8 – What I like is the hint of lime either in the batter or on the avocado itself. Nice sized package of chipotle ranch. These made me happy.
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. LOCATION: San Felipe Tacos. REVIEW: 5.5/10 $10 – The steak alone isn’t flavored very much, with it all together, decent, but there’s more naan than anything. Steak was a bit stringy, as well.
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. LOCATION: RC’s BBQ. REVIEW: 10/10 $6 – We got another one folks! We’ll call it a $6 Slider, but it’s well worth it. Nice amount of heat on here. According to the description, the only thing spicy would be the pepper jack, but I’m going to go with the BBQ sauce they added that wasn’t mentioned in the description. Let me know when you try it if you thought the same.
Duck Bacon Wontons: Duck bacon, grilled sweet corn and cream cheese combined inside deep-fried crescent-shaped wontons and served with dipping sauce. LOCATION: Giggles’ Campfire Grill. REVIEW: 8.5/10 $8.50 (each) – Both are damn good, even with the beer. Wontons were filled plump with all elements in each individual wonton, not some in this one, some in that want…evenly portioned. Great flavors. You’ll love these! Don’t let the word “duck” scare you. The pickle Ale had a bit more than a slight taste of Pickle, which was perfect…but it lingers around on the palate for a while, and I dig it!
Fall Guy Breakfast Panini: Capicola and scrambled egg topped with white cheddar on ciabatta. LOCATION: The Hideaway Speakeasy. REVIEW: 4.5/10 $8 – nothing special here, lacking on all levels. Meh.
Hill Country Beef Pocket: Black pepper mushroom cream and seasoned dipping sauce. LOCATION: The Blue Barn. RATING: 5/10 $8.75 – It’s savory, not bad, not a stand out either. Definitely not worth it for the steep price for one.
Honey Puffs (Loukamades): Deep-fried dough balls crispy outside and sweet inside, tossed in a sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. LOCATION: Dino’s Gyros. REVIEW: 7.5/10 $6 – Sticky and sweet…just as you’d expect. Tasty balls of joy…wait. Never mind. Get these.
Italian Bomba Sandwich: Beer-braised pork shoulder with prosciutto cotto ham, fontina cheese, giardiniera (Italian relish) and aioli on a grilled ciabatta roll. LOCATION: Mancini’s al Fresco. REVIEW: 10/10 $8.25 – This is like a Cuban sandwich and Italian beef hybrid (minus the actual beef) that melts in your mouth, portion is perfect for the price. Fiya/Flame. Probably my number one of the year.
Memphis Totchos: Sliced bananas and sautéed bacon over tater tots, topped with peanut sauce. LOCATION: Snack House. REVIEW: 1/10 $9 – These will change your life…for the worse. All separated, it has a chance. All together, death.
Mini Sconuts: Buttermilk scone holes filled with chocolate, marshmallow and Nutella®, deep-fried and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar (Gluten-free). LOCATION: French Meadow Bakery & Cafe. REVIEW: 9/10 $5 – These are scrumptious and are pretty similar to the deep-fried cookie dough in the food building. Go to the left ordering station where it’s not on the menu. Very confusing place with the wrong price as well.
Mobster’s Caviar: Cream cheese dip with crab meat, green onions, fresh red pepper and water chestnuts, served with whole wheat flatbread crackers. LOCATION: The Hideaway Speakeasy. REVIEW: 7.5/10 $11 – Good portion, perfect for sharing, wish the bread was buttered and toasted along with more of a wedge of lemon. A bit of a cluster being a brand new restaurant here, where do you stand after your owrder? You’ve been warned. Also trying the Cotton Candy Bubble Trouble: Real, fresh-spun State Fair cotton candy in a champagne flute, doused with Cannon River Winery’s Sparkle Edelweiss. REVIEW: 9/10 $9 – The magic and taste work! This was sweet and refreshing.
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. LOCATION: Dairy Goodness Bar. REVIEW: 6.5/10 $5 – It’s no peanut buster parfait, but it’s a nice little concoction. I didn’t really care for the lemon curd, but that’s just me.
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. LOCATION: Green Mill. REVIEW: 9.5/10 $5 – This tastes amazing, with rice even! Excuse me, risotto?! It just works. Good size, good price…I’m a fan.
Raspberry Hard Cider (which is new) – and a boat load of Perch (not new). LOCATION: Giggles’ Campfire Grill. REVIEW: 1/10 $8.50 (da beer) – yuk. Waaaay to fruity for my liking of a brew.
Slow-Roasted Pork Mole Tamale: Fresh corn tamale with slow-roasted pork, mole coloradito sauce and black bean and pineapple relish. LOCATION: Tejas Express. REVIEW: 7.5/10 $10 – More of a deconstructed tamale. A good one at that, bit steep on the price for this. I’d probably pass if I were you, but good flavor profile.
S’moresas: Marshmallow and chocolate fried in a crisp shell with chai dipping sauce. LOCATION: Hot Indian. REVIEW: 8/10 $6 – I’m diggin’ these. Wasn’t on the new item list that the Fair offered, why?? Hey, they are new this year. Basic, but yummy. Didn’t care much for the dipping sauce and rather of had another s’moresas! Everything on their menu is $6 and you only have until 8/29, because 8/30 they switch over to Rabbit Hole, which also has a new food item, guess I’ll be back.
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. LOCATION: Sausage Sister & Me. REVIEW: 7/10 $7 – It’s a damn good dog with some damn good toppings…that bun though, overwhelming, and there’s a whole lot of it.
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). LOCATION: Oodles of Noodles. REVIEW: 8/10 $10 (with chicken) – Nice freshly tossed bowl of Thai spiciness (also an 8/10), only complaint is that I wish they had used different noodles.
Sweet Corn Blueberry Eclair: Kernza® flour éclair filled with sweet corn pastry cream and topped with blueberry glaze. LOCATION: Farmers Union Coffee Shop. REVIEW: 5.5/10 $6.50 – blueberry is fresh and packs a punch. The sweet corn you get right away and then it dissipates. Not bad, not good either…so in between. On the fence with this one.
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. LOCATION: Potato Man and Sweety. REVIEW: 3.5/10 $5 – Nothing special here, basic churros. At least you can get both sauces, which are both needed with these crunchy dry sticks.
Swine & Spuds: Bacon-wrapped pork belly and mashed potato croquettes served on a skewer and topped with a choice of homestyle gravy, Korean Bulgogi barbecue sauce or sweet chili sauce. LOCATION: Swine & Spuds. REVIEW: 3/10 $8 (each) – Uneven portions. Non-photogenic. Sauces are very sweet, mix that with the very salty duo of pork and it’s pretty rough to like. Just doesn’t work very well. I got the sweet chili and the bulgogi sauces. Nothing special here, move along.
Swing Dancer Sandwich: Honey smoked salmon, cucumbers, capers and cream cheese with fresh dill on pumpernickel, served with sliced lemon garnish. LOCATION: The Hideaway Speakeasy. REVIEW: 8/10 $12 – I really like this sandwich, everything balances out and I would call this their star dish here…add kettle chips and it would’ve been a solid 9.
Triple Truffle Trotters: Sliced peppers and bacon with black diamond truffle oil mayo on top of waffle fries. LOCATION: The Blue Barn. REVIEW: Sliced peppers and bacon with black diamond truffle oil mayo on top of waffle fries. LOCATION: The Blue Barn. REVIEW: 9/10 $7.50 – The truffle profile is there, everything works, making it a near perfect dish. More waffle fries, please!
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. LOCATION: The Blue Barn. REVIEW: Scrambled eggs, roasted chicken and chorizo sausage baked and topped with salsa and a mix of lettuce, pickled red onions and cilantro. LOCATION: The Blue Barn. REVIEW: 6/10 $8.75 – It’s decent, It’s filling, has mild spice. It comes off very dense since it’s packed inside of a tortilla, basically. A Mexican egg-bake, if you will. On the fence with this one, let me know your thoughts if you end up trying this.
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