There may be a couple of months before State Fair fever hits in full force, but this year’s new food offerings are public—and people’s mouths are going to be watering. Check out the full list (plus four all-new vendors), but here’s what caught our attention.
Blue Barn set the stakes high last year with its fried chicken-in-a-waffle-cone smothered in spicy gravy, and this year’s offerings raise the bar again—there’s a Snicker Bar Salad, but more intriguing is the Meatloaf Hash (featuring what may be the first béarnaise sauce to grace the faigrounds) and the Up Nort Shoreman’s Lunch, northern pike dressed with tomato sauce, potatoes, corn, and a smoked-pepper tartar sauce.
The Midtown Global Market stand continues to raise the Fair’s food game with global cuisine, and this year features a double-whammy: Starting September 1, the Rabbit Hole will be dishing up Hot Tail, a roasted pig tail with scallion-ginger sauce, plus a Kimchi ‘n’ Curry Poutine (featuring braised pork and potatoes loaded with curry gravy, cheddar cheese, kimchi, and a poached egg) and a Salad Named Soo, which sounds downright refreshing for a hot day. But for the first days at the MGM stand, Hot Indian Foods will be slinging butter chicken samosas, Indi Frites (coated in Indian spices, they may even lure crowds from the Fresh-Cut Fries stand), and chicken Tikka-on-a-Stikka.
chilled bread pudding from blue moon dine-in theater, photo courtesy the minnesota state fair
The dessert geniuses at Blue Moon Dine-In Theater (the guys who got us to fall for sweet-corn ice cream) are giving chilled bread pudding a whirl (in flavors from Old-Fashioned Challah to Fudge Brownie Batter), served sundae-style with a warm glaze and crunchy toppings.
As always, Giggles’ Campfire Grill will be packed—this year, for plates of walleye-stuffed mushrooms.
For a midday pick-me-up (or particularly indulgent breakfast treat), the Espresso Float at Java Jive is a Minnesota take on affogato, suitable for warm weather: iced espresso poured over ice cream and topped with whipped cream.
While some of this year’s ice-cream offerings have us a little dubious (Rainbow Ice Cream‘s bacon-and-jalepeño variety?), the coffee-and-brown-butter flavor at Hamline Church Ice Cream Hall (produced by Izzy’s, naturally) sounds downright delicious.
A little bit of Hawaii is Minnesota-bound with the arrival of new vendor MinneSnowii Shave Ice. And no, it’s not really like a Sno-Cone. Trust.
And Sriracha’s gone mainstream this year, with hot sauce–laced sliders from Sausage Sisters, fried Sriracha Balls and a Sriracha hot dog at Boulevard Grill, and Fire and Ice Kreme at Goertze’s Dairy Kone—vanilla ice cream topped with Sriracha, corn-chip crunch, and whipped cream. Count us skeptical on that one.