New 2019 Minnesota State Fair Foods: RANKED!

No, I haven’t tasted any of them. Yes, this is ridiculous.
Pebbles & Bam Bam Waffle by Nordic Waffles
Pebbles & Bam Bam Waffle by Nordic Waffles

Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

The State Fair just released its list of new foods for 2019, and all of us do the same thing: scroll through and decide which foods excite us. When the fair starts, I’ll taste test many of them and post my opinions. But until then, I’m just going to rank them in order of what I’m excited about. Am I wrong? PROBABLY! Let me know what your top three new foods are in the comments! (You can read the whole list from the fair here.)

    1. The Hot Hen: RC’s BBQ is run by one of the best pit masters in the state, Charlie Torgerson. He took last year off from new items, and is back this year. The Hot Hen is like nachos with BBQ Chips—topped with smoked, pulled buffalo chicken and a blue cheese fondue, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes. Sounds perfect for sharing.

      The Hot Hen
      The Hot Hen

    2. Fried Tacos On-A-Stick: Take a stuffed green chorizo taco and a stuffed black bean/corn taco, deep fry them, top them with crumbled cheese and guac salsa—sounds brilliant from the Taco Cat team at the Midtown Global Market booth at the International Bazaar.

      Fried Tacos On-A-Stick
      Fried Tacos On-A-Stick

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    3. Shrimp & Grits Fritters: I’m so glad Funky Grits has a booth at the fair inside the Food Building! Grits, shrimp, creole seasoning deep-fried with an aioli dipping sauce. Sharable, simple, should be awesome.

      Shrimp & Grits Fritters
      Shrimp & Grits Fritters

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    4. Tennessee Hot Chicken On-A-Stick: This one is off the books, an “unofficial” new fair food from the team at Blue Barn. Deep-fried crispy chicken with a sweet-heat-infused butter glaze. I’m excited to see something new on-a-stick! It’s been a while! (Also looking forward to breakfast potato skins, eggs, peppers, and blackened beef chislic—which is a cubed meat popular in South Dakota.)

       

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    5. Blueberry Key Lime Pie: Farmers Union Coffee Shop hasn’t disappointed in their partnership with Birchwood Cafe, and what could go wrong with blueberry-flavored key lime filling in a graham cracker crust? (I’ll try the new Lavender Lemonade there, too: pink lemonade made with fresh lavender leaves.)

      Blueberry Key Lime Pie
      Blueberry Key Lime Pie

    6. Pebbles & Bam Bam Waffles: I love Nordic Waffles, and the sweet combination of Reese’s peanut butter cups and Fruity Pebbles cereal sounds like it could be a winner in the West End Market.

      Pebbles & Bam Bam Waffles
      Pebbles & Bam Bam Waffles

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    7. Snow Cap Mini Waffle Sundae: Another waffle! Normally I’m not that excited about the sweet stuff, but a scoop of Izzy’s cream cheese ice cream on top of a mini-waffle topped with maple syrup sounds fun to me at the Hamline Church Dining Hall.

      Snow Cap Mini Waffle Sundae
      Snow Cap Mini Waffle Sundae

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    8. No Bologna Coney: Mancini’s has really come into its own with some quality sandwiches in recent years, and I’m intrigued by an Italian mortadella pork sausage topped with Mancini’s pepper-blend giardiniera on a split-top bun topped with a muffuletta olive and pepper salad.

      No Bologna Coney
      No Bologna Coney

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    9. Turkish Pizza: This could be a sleeper hit! A Turkish-style, cracker-thin flatbread topped with spicy minced beef, onion, tomato, lettuce, cucumber salad, parsley, fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon and garlic sauce, then rolled or folded. At Blue Moon Dine-In Theater.

      Turkish Pizza
      Turkish Pizza

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    10. Grilled Sota Sandwich: The super-nice couple behind Uptown’s Brim restaurant got a spot at the State Fair in the North End. They’re serving a grilled cinnamon-nut-butter-and-Minnesota-blueberry-marmalade sandwich on Irish soda bread. Gluten-free and dairy-free.

      Grilled Sota Sandwich
      Grilled Sota Sandwich

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    11. Lamb T-Bone Chops: I’m torn on this. It’s from Holy Land at the Midtown Global Market and it’s going to be delicious—but do I want a lamb chop at the Fair? It doesn’t sound very exciting. But it sounds good. Hmmm.

      Lamb T-Bone Chops
      Lamb T-Bone Chops

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    12. Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites: Cheesy/savory funnel cake pieces with a sriracha aioli dipping sauce. I’d be more into this if it went all in with a sriracha dusting or something, but the sweet/spicy combo intrigues. Funnel Cakes is between Nelson & Underwood on Dan Patch Avenue.

      Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites
      Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    13. Jamm’in Brisket Grilled Cheese: Another new offering from RC’s BBQ by the Sweet Martha’s near the Grandstand: slow-smoked brisket, red onion jam, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, and hot barbecue sauce. YEP.

      Jamm’in Brisket Grilled Cheese
      Jamm’in Brisket Grilled Cheese

      Minnesota State Fair

    14. Irish Whiskey Boneless Wings: O’Gara’s knows how to do high-volume, easily sharable food. Despite my belief that there’s no such thing as a “boneless wing”—it’s a nugget!—an Irish whiskey barbecue sauce could be a winner.

      Irish Whiskey Boneless Wings
      Irish Whiskey Boneless Wings

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    15. Deep-Fried Dilly Dog: This has high potential for failure, but something about a pickle stuffed with bratwurst, battered, and deep-fried speaks to me. Swine & Spuds in the Coliseum.

      Deep Fried Dilly Dog
      Deep Fried Dilly Dog

      Minnesota State Fair

    16. Duck Drummies: Battered, deep-fried duck wings with a tequila lime dipping sauce—guaranteed success for Giggles’ in the North Woods.

      Duck Drummies
      Duck Drummies

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    17. Tipsy Pecan Tart: I love Sara’s Tipsy Pies. This one is pecan-infused with Dubliner Irish Whiskey and baked in a shortbread shell. Gluten-free.

      Tipsy Pecan Tart
      Tipsy Pecan Tart

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    18. Joey Mary: It’s like a Bloody Mary except without alcohol or tomato juice. So, it’s an iced coffee slushie topped with a skewer of gluten-free baked goods, like a chocolate bite, honey toffee crunch, and an almond cookie. At Brim in the North End.

      Joey Mary
      Joey Mary

    19. Feta Bites: I’ve had mixed success at Dino’s at the Fair, but deep-fried Greek pasta dough stuffed with feta and served with an olive tapenade could be good.

      Feta Bites
      Feta Bites

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    20. Halo Cone: Instagram cat-nip, but probably way too sweet for my tastes: cotton candy and blue raspberry soft-serve ice cream surrounded by vanilla cotton candy and sprinkled with a mix of candy toppings at Rainbow Ice Cream in the Grandstand.

      Halo Cone
      Halo Cone

      Minnesota State Fair

    21. Carnitas Taco Cone: It’s not a waffle cone; it’s a taco cone. I’m concerned about eating technique for this San Felipe Tacos creation, in the food building.

      Carnitas Taco Cone
      Carnitas Taco Cone

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    22. Carolina Pit-Smoked Brisket Taco: I’m suspicious about Shanghaied Henri’s ability to deliver a tender pit-smoked brisket. But if they can, brisket with smoked gouda and a pickled kale crunch could be good.

      Carolina Pit-Smoked Brisket Taco
      Carolina Pit-Smoked Brisket Taco

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    23. Bada Bing Sandwich: The Sandwich Shop is bringing a warm ham, salami, melted mozzarella sandwich with tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

      Bada Bing Sandwich
      Bada Bing Sandwich

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    24. Boozy Berries & ‘Barb Trifle: I do love pound cake, but I’m a little intimidated by a five-layer cold trifle with layers of lemon curd, Cannon River Gris wine, and blueberry compote topped with mint-infused fresh whipped cream and Gris-and-blueberry coulis. At Hideaway Speakeasy in the Veranda of the Grandstand.

      Bozzy Berries & 'Barb Trifle
      Bozzy Berries & ‘Barb Trifle

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    25. Mini Donut Latte: It worked for Lift Bridge and beer. Now, the Anchor Coffee House is trying a traditional latte with house-made mini-donut flavoring, whole milk, and espresso topped with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar.

      Mini Donut Latte
      Mini Donut Latte

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    26. Peaches n’ Cream Nachos: Cinnamon-sugar pita chips topped with Bridgeman’s Peaches n’ Cream ice cream and a peach topping. I don’t think so.

      Peaches n' Cream Nachos
      Peaches n’ Cream Nachos

      Minnesota State fair

    27. Warm Cheesecake Tart: Boring. Warm cheesecake in a tart crust with choice of chocolate, salted caramel, or strawberry glaze at LuLu’s Public House.

      Warm Cheesecake Tart
      Warm Cheesecake Tart

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    28. Wingwalker Donut Flight: This sounds like a total mess: Hot, deep-fried cake donut holes and that you inject with your own filling. You get three syringes with Bavarian cream, chocolate custard, and Minnesota lingonberry jam. At The Hangar in the North End.
      Wingwalker Donut Flight
      Wingwalker Donut Flight

      Minnesota State Fair

    29. Stuffed Cabbage Roll: Sounds like a recipe for gas to me: cabbage leaves wrapped around seasoned ground pork and rice. At iPierogi inside the food building.

      Stuffed Cabbage Roll
      Stuffed Cabbage Roll

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    From the fair, there are new vendors, too. I ranked them as well! Why not!

    1. Brim: Serving the Grilled Sota Sandwich (cinnamon nut butter and Minnesota blueberry marmalade served warm on gluten-free Irish soda bread); Joey Mary (iced coffee slushie topped with a skewer of gluten-free baked goods); coffee slushies; brewed coffee; blueberry lemonade; and mint green lemonade. Flavorings and colors made with organic and natural ingredients. Located at the North End, northwest section.

      Brim
      Brim

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    2. Funky Grits: Serving Shrimp & Grits Fritters (aged cheddar grits, gulf shrimp, onions and Creole seasoning, deep-fried and served with aioli dipping sauce), gluten-free. Also selling bottles of Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce. Located in the Food Building, east wall.

      Shrimp & Grits Fritters
      Shrimp & Grits Fritters

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    3. Thelma’s Handmade Ice Cream Sandwiches: Serving 10 varieties of ice cream sandwiches made with two cookies and ice cream: Snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, cayenne chocolate chip, strawberry sugar cookie, banana peanut butter, mint double chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, s’mores, and gluten-free snickerdoodle. Located on the southeast corner of Judson Avenue & Underwood Street.

      Thelma's Handmade Ice Cream Sandwiches
      Thelma’s Handmade Ice Cream Sandwiches

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    4. Kora’s Cookie Dough: Serving deep-fried chocolate chip cookie dough topped with powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle; and cookie dough on-a-stick in five flavors: classic chocolate chip, Grandma’s sugar cookie, monster cookie, Reese’s peanut butter, and Oreo fudge. All five flavors can be dipped in chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, or butterscotch chips and rolled in sprinkles or peanuts. Sugar cookie variety is vegan-friendly. Located on the south side of Dan Patch Avenue between Cooper & Cosgrove streets.

      Kora's Cookie Dough
      Kora’s Cookie Dough

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    5. Blue Ox Burger Bar: Serving build-your-own hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and bacon cheeseburgers (with ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and more); breakfast sandwiches (sausage or bacon with egg and cheese on a toasted English muffin); crinkle-cut fries; tater tots; and assorted beverages. Located on the southeast corner of Judson Avenue and Clough Street.

      Blue Ox Burger Bar
      Blue Ox Burger Bar

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    6. iPierogi: Serving stuffed cabbage rolls (cabbage leaves wrapped around seasoned ground pork and rice, prepared with tomato sauce and served with a dinner roll); pierogies in three varieties (meat, potato, and cheese; and a meat/potato/cheese combination, garnished with bacon and caramelized onion and served with sour cream and arugula on the side; and a vegetarian option on request); Polish sausages (with homemade sauerkraut); and blintzes (sweet cheese rolls sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate syrup). Located in the Food Building, south wall.

      iPierogi
      iPierogi

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

    7. Strawberries ‘n Crème:Serving fresh strawberries with non-dairy whipped topping; and fresh-brewed iced tea with strawberry flavoring. Located on the southwest corner of Randall Avenue & Underwood Street.

      Strawberries n' Creme
      Strawberries n’ Creme

      Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

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