An ongoing review of new foods at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair

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31 official new foods will debut at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. You will notice that foods on-a-stick are back (there weren’t any new on-a-stick additions in 2018). Another new trend: a vast amount of gluten-free options.

But there will be many more new menu items to find than what’s on the New Foods list.

Only the most sexy, buzzworthy foods will make “the list.” But Fair officials will let vendors add additional new foods to their menus. They just don’t get the same attention.

This post will have reviews of both those official and “hidden” new Fair foods. If there’s a photo, that means I have tasted it!

The 2019 Minnesota State Fair runs August 22 – September 2.

More State Fair fun on Give Me the Mike:

Bada Bing Sandwich

  • From The Sandwich Shop, near the Sheep and Poultry Barn
  • An Italian flatbread with ham, salami, melted Mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
  • My take: This is not worth it if you’re going to the Fair for one day. I’m there about 11 days and will definitely try it once I’m tired of all the fried food

Blueberry Key Lime Pie

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  • From the Farmers Union Coffee Shop, on Dan Patch near the main entrance
  • Blueberry key lime pie in a graham cracker crust, served with whipped cream and blueberries which are grown in Winona, MN
  • My take: It’s really good. I’m not huge on key lime flavored things, but I absolutely loved it. The crust was perfect and it wasn’t too sweet. It’s just the right size for two people to share.  Cost: $8.

Boozy Berries & ‘Barb Trifle

  • From The Hideaway Speakeasy, on the second level of the Grandstand
  • A five-layer cold trifle with pound cake, lemon cake, blueberry compote and rhubarb compote, along with Cannon River gris wine
  • My take: Everything from The Hideaway is overpriced and bad. Skip.

Breakfast Potato Skin

  • From The Blue Barn, in the West End Market
  • Deep-fried potato skins stuffed with scrambled eggs, peppers, beef and a béarnaise sauce
  • My take: A great add considering there aren’t many good breakfast options on the Fairgrounds.

Caramel Milkshake — UNOFFICIAL NEW FOOD

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  • From the Gopher Dairy Bar, on the outside of the Cattle Barn
  • It’s soft serve ice cream
  • My take: The Gopher Dairy Bar had a VERY good thing going with its mint milkshake. It was on my top 10 State Fair foods list. They replaced mint with caramel. It’s not caramel-y enough. Maybe there should be a caramel drizzle on top. But all the milkshakes from the Gopher Dairy Bar are no frills and therefore, come to you lightning fast. Cost: $6.

Carnitas Taco Cone

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  • From San Felipe Tacos, in the Food Building
  • Carnitas with a sesame-garlic ginger sauce, lime and queso fresco, topped with green onion and sour cream. It’s served in a deep-fried cone-shaped tortilla.
  • My take: It’s pretty darn good. So the deep-fried tortilla was SUPER HOT when I got it. Like too hot to hold. But it didn’t stop me from eating it. The taco didn’t sit heavy, which I always appreciate. I got this on day 1, and the team at San Felipe had quite the line, so they’ll need to work out some production kinks. If you don’t mind the wait in line, it’s worth getting. Cost: $10.

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Also on Give Me the Mike:
San Felipe’s Fish Taco, one of the top 10 foods going into the start of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair

Carolina Pit-Smoked Brisket Taco

  • From Shanghaied Henri’s, located at the International Bazaar
  • Shredded beef brisket topped with gouda cheese, a pickled kale crunch and drizzled with BBQ sauce
  • My take: Their Oslo taco is top-notch. This sounds like it’s worth trying.

Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites

  • From Funnel Cakes, on Dan Patch near the Butterfly House
  • It’s funnel cake with a three-cheese blend on top which you can dip in a Sriracha aioli sauce
  • My take: skeptical and probably not worth it.

Cookie Dough On-a-Stick — UNOFFICIAL NEW FOOD

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  • From Kora’s Cookie Dough, on Dan Patch near the Merchandise Mart
  • It’s raw cookie dough (no egg, due to health code) on a stick. Available in chocolate chip, sugar, monster, Reese’s pieces and Oreo fudge.
  • My take: Extremely skippable. It was hard and rather boring. And at $5, you’re better off buying a tube of cookie dough from the grocery store.

Cuban Fusion Fajita

  • From Juanita’s Fajitas, located in front of the Grandstand
  • Pork, ham, Swiss cheese and a pickle all inside a tortilla
  • My take: it could be good. Just doesn’t sound that exciting

Deep-fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough — UNOFFICIAL NEW FOOD

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  • From Kora’s Cookie Dough, on Dan Patch near the Merchandise Mart
  • They deep-fry chocolate chip cookie dough in some sort of edible wrapper and drizzle chocolate on top.
  • My take: It’s awful. No. Don’t do it. It wasn’t hot and the wrapper, which was like some wort of wonton wrapper. No. No. No. If you want good deep-fried cookie dough, go to Sonny’s in the Food Building. It’s one of my top 10 favorite Fair foods and it will continue to be on my list.

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Also on Give Me the Mike:
The Deep-fried Cookie Dough, one of the top 10 foods going into the start of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair

Deep-fried Chocolate Pie — UNOFFICIAL NEW FOOD

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  • From Minneapple Pie, on Judson Avenue in front of the Dairy Building
  • It is a deep-fried milk chocolate pie filling inside of a pie crust, served with a scoop of ice cream
  • My take: It tastes like melted Nutella. It’s really good. Minneapple Pie had a hit with their deep-fried apple pie, and then added their deep-fried pumpkin pie. This is probably the best one yet. It’s served with a generous scoop of ice cream, which is a perfect pairing. Cost: $8.

Deep-fried Dilly Dog

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  • From Swine & Spuds, located in the Coliseum
  • A pickle stuffed with bratwurst, dipped in batter and deep-fried
  • My take: I didn’t even bother trying to take a pretty picture of this one. It’s not pretty to look at. Even its cousin, the Pronto Pup, can get artistic when you brush mustard on it. The Dilly Dog is massive; it seriously must weigh more than a pound. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t think it’s worth the cash. It’s a thicker hot dog (brat is a stretch) inside a massive pickle which is then deep fried. Since the pickle is big, you get a lot of deep fried casing. So if you like the breaded part of corn dog, you will be happy. The pickle was simply warm. If you want a deep-fried pickle fix, get the traditional deep-fried pickles by the Skyride. Cost for the Dilly Dog: $8.

Duck Drummies

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  • From Giggles’ Campfire Grill, located in the North Woods
  • Deep-fried duck wings, served with a tequila lime dipping sauce
  • My take: Giggles’ will always show up on the new foods list. Their lines are always long and slow moving, so I try to avoid their booth. Folks are giving these drummies very positive reviews, though.

Feta Bites

  • From Dino’s Gyros, located on Carnes near Ye Old Mill
  • Deep-fried Greek pasta stuffed with feta cheese, cream cheese and Greek seasoning and served with an olive tapenade
  • My take: Dino’s is another regular on the new foods list and they haven’t had a hit for years. This has the most potential for them, but I don’t have high hopes.

Fried Tacos On-A-Stick

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  • From Taco Cat, located at the Midtown Global Market booth in the International Bazaar
  • Two-stuffed, deep-fried tacos: one has green chorizo and potatoes and the other is filled with a vegetarian black bean and corn mix
  • My take: They’re tasty. I liked them. They come two to an order. The guacamole salsa is really good. At $12, they’re $2 too expensive.

Grilled Sota Sandwich

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  • From Brim, a new vendor at the North End
  • Cinnamon nut butter and Minnesota blueberry marmalade served on Irish soda bread
  • My take: Totally worth it. So it’s a glorified peanut butter and jelly. It’s got really good peanut butter, a blueberry marmalade that’s made in Minnesota, and in addition, there’s honey. It’s on a panini-like bread, and the whole thing happens to be gluten-free. It’s pretty sweet, so you will want to share it. It’s also very messy to eat. Cost: $9.

Halo Cone

  • From Rainbow Ice Cream, located on the first floor of the Grandstand
  • Cotton candy meets blue raspberry soft serve ice cream in a mess of vanilla cotton candy with candy toppings
  • My take: these folks have had big hits with the Thai Rolled Ice Cream and the Rainbow Cloud Roll. I bet this could be a fan favorite.

The Hot Hen

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  • From RC’s BBQ, located near the Skyride on Chambers
  • BBQ chips with pulled buffalo chicken, blue cheese fondue, pickled jalapenos, veggies and blue cheese
  • My take: It was underwhelming. It’s like a deconstructed chicken wing. The bed of potato chips have the chicken, buffalo sauce, blue cheese and jalapenos on top. The chips aren’t big or sturdy enough to pick up all the goodies on top. They also don’t hand you a fork when you get it (we had to hunt for them at the booth). I don’t cook much, and I could easily make this at home. Not worth it. Cost: $8.

Irish Whiskey Boneless Wings

  • From O’Gara’s at the Fair, located on Dan Patch near the main entrance
  • Deep-fried white chicken tossed in a whiskey BBQ sauce (gluten-free)
  • My take: sounds pretty standard, but the Reuben at O’Gara’s is one of the best foods you will get at the State Fair

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Also on Give Me the Mike:
The O’Gara’s Reuben, one of the top 10 foods going into the start of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair

Jamm’in Brisket Grilled Cheese

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  • From RC’s BBQ, located near the Skyride on Chambers
  • Brisket, red onion jam, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses and BBQ sauce
  • My take: It was pretty good. Definitely shareable for two people. There’s plenty of beef brisket, so you get your money’s worth. I wish the bread was a bit thicker. The red onion jam is pretty powerful. Cost: $10.

Joey Mary

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  • From Brim, a new vendor at the North End
  • An iced coffee slushie topped with gluten-free baked goods
  • My take: So it’s not a slushie, per the State Fair’s description. A slushie would have been really nice. I’m a coffee snob, and this cold brew was pretty weak. However, I was a MAJOR fan of the gluten-free almond cookie that’s on top. Wow. There’s also honey toffee and a dark cacao truffle, so the whole “skewer” is gluten-free. At $8, the coffee isn’t worth it.

Kentikka Fried Chicken Sliders — UNOFFICIAL NEW FOOD

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  • From Hot Indian Foods, located at the Midtown Global Market booth in the International Bazaar
  • Crispy chicken sliders with creamy tikka sauce and slaw
  • My take: They’re really good. Definitely worth getting. They have a hint of an Indian taste, but it’s not overwhelming. If you like chicken tikka masala, you’ll love this. And they’re surprisingly filling. But warning; Hot Indian Foods is only at the Fair through Tuesday, August 27th. Cost: $12.

Lamb T-Bone Chops

  • From Holy Land, located in the International Bazaar
  • Lamb loins seasoned in Holy Land’s marinade
  • My take: pretty normal, but I bet they’re good

Lavender Lemonade

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  • From the Farmers Union Coffee Shop, on Dan Patch near the main entrance
  • Pink lemonade with fresh lavender
  • My take: It’s good. Not too sweet. At $5.50 for a small, it’s too expensive.

Mini Donut Latte

  • From The Anchor Coffee House, near the Ramberg Music Cafe
  • A latte made with mini donut flavoring
  • My take: Anchor Coffee House was new in 2018 and they were a site for sore eyes. I haven’t tried this as of day 7 (ahem, Anchor Coffee House). Reviews I’ve seen aren’t stellar.

No Bologna Coney

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  • From Mancini’s al Fresco, located on Carnes
  • Italian pork sausage with pistachios served on a buttered bun and topped with a muffuletta olive and pepper salad
  • My take: we had these on Twin Cities Live and although I didn’t get a chance to try it, the hosts loved them

Nordic Waffles: Pebbles & Bam Bam and Al Pastor

  • From Nordic Waffles, in West End Market
  • Pebbles & Bam Bam: a waffle with Reese’s peanut butter cups and Fruity Pebbles
  • Al Pastor: waffle with marinated pork, pineapple, onion, cilantro and salsa verde
  • My take: they are good. I liked the Pebbles & Bam Bam a lot. It’s definitely one to share. The Nordic Waffle line in 2018 was always extremely long. And know that what you’ll get most definitely won’t look like the publicity photo.
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Original publicity photo for the Pebbles & Bam Bam Nordic Waffle. Courtesy Minnesota State Fair.

Peaches n’ Cream Nachos

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  • From Bridgeman’s Ice Cream, located near the Sheep & Poultry Barn
  • Cinnamon sugar pita chips with Bridgeman’s Peaches n’ Cream ice cream, a peach topping, honey and crush pecans
  • My take: I am a big fan of Bridgeman’s peach ice cream. It’s light and refreshing. However, I wasn’t huge on this. It’s not bad, but a malt would be a better way to spend your cash. My ice cream and the pita chips were both too hard. Cost: $8.

Tacos al Pastor — UNOFFICIAL NEW FOOD

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  • From Manny’s Tortas, in the Food Building
  • Marinated pork in chile paste, cilantro, onion and pineapple salsa in a blue corn tortilla
  • My take: I really liked it. The pork is really well seasoned and the salsa is fresh. Cost: $5.

Shrimp & Grits Fritters

  • From Funky Grits, in the Food Building
  • Deep-fried cheddar grits with shrimp, onion and Creole seasoning and served with an aioli dipping sauce (gluten-free)
  • My take: yes. Funky Grits is a hidden gem restaurant in south Minneapolis. I’m thrilled that the state of Minnesota will be introduced to what they’re making.

Snow Cap Mini Waffle Sundae

  • From Hamline Church Dining Hall, located near the Visitors Plaza
  • It’s a mini waffle topped with Izzy’s cream cheese ice cream, maple syrup and a cherry
  • My take: Sure.

Stuffed Cabbage Roll

  • From iPierogi, a new vendor located in the Food Building
  • Cabbage leaves wrapped around ground pork and rice
  • My take: I’ll try something from their menu, but probably not this.

Tipsy Pecan Tart

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  • From Sara’s Tipsy Pies, located in the Food Building
  • Pecan pie infused with Irish whiskey and baked in a shortbread shell (gluten-free)
  • My take: we had a few of these get dropped off. I didn’t have the chance to try one, but multiple people said it’s the best pie that Sara Hayden has made to date.

Turkish Pizza

  • From Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, located at Carnes and Chambers
  • A thin flatbread pizza with minced beef, onion, tomato and other veggies
  • My take: Blue Moon pizzas are good if you’re tired of eating deep-fried fare. I will be giving this one a shot.

Warm Cheesecake Tart

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  • From LuLu’s Public House, located in the West End
  • Cheesecake tarts with your choice of chocolate, salted caramel or strawberry glaze
  • My take: In 2018, LuLu’s had a fail with their deep-fried pepperoni chips. It was plain and overly greasy. So I had low expectations for their 2019 new food. I was pleasantly surprised. This isn’t reinventing the wheel, folks. It’s warm cheesecake. But they do sprinkle some sea salt on it for a little crunch.

White Claw Red Bull Slushie

  • From O’Gara’s at the Fair, near the main entrance
  • It’s coconut White Claw seltzer mixed with Red Bull in a slushie form
  • My take: I tried a sip. I don’t like Red Bull, and I’m not huge on White Claw, but I wasn’t mad about this. Cost: $9.

Wingwalker Donut Flight

  • From The Hangar, located at the North End
  • Deep-fried donut holes with syringes of fillings so you can DIY your own Bavarian creme filled donuts
  • My take: So this was the new Fair food that was going to be served with syringes until everyone thought that was a dumb idea. I had a horrible experience ordering food from The Hangar in 2018. I’m not excited to try their modified version.

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2 comments on “An ongoing review of new foods at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair”

  1. It is unfortunate that you didn’t try the Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites. They are not a classic funnel cake, nor were they ever meant to be. These morsels are NOT SWEET and are infused with a special blend of select cheeses. Then they are topped with a mixture of five different cheeses and finished with chives, accompanied with homemade Sriracha aioli dipping sauce. Too bad you missed it, but we hope to see you next year. I guaranty you won’t be disappointed!

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