You can read my review of foods making their debut at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair by clicking here.
So the 2017 Minnesota State Fair is one for the record books. Literally. Two daily attendance records were broken.
As for me, I spent 11 days at the Great Minnesota Get Together. I ate a lot. Everyday, I made a game plan for what I would consume and tried nearly 30 foods making their debut in 2017.
As things wrap up, here’s my revised list of foods you need to eat which are a little more off the beaten path. Oh, for the record — those buckets of cookies y’all wait in line for are overrated.
1. Wild Rice Cheeseburger
Wild Rice Specialties, Food Building
Again, the wild rice cheeseburger tops my list. Don’t let ‘wild rice’ bother you; this is a juicy hamburger. It has a plain sesame seed bun, and in this case, simple is best. Make sure you get cheese. I add on onion for good measure. All the people at the State Fair stink anyway.
2. Cinnamon Roll
Cinnamon Rolls, Food Building
For $5, this cinnamon roll is a steal. The best part is the ooey-gooey middle. And wait until you see them slab all that frosting on top. It’s a great item to share. You know when a booth does something well when they only have two items on their menu. The other thing they serve? Stromboli. That may just be my sleeper hit for 2018.
3. Mint Milkshake
Gopher Dairy Bar attached to the Cattle Barn, Judson Avenue
The most refreshing thing you’ll get on the Fairgrounds is the mint milkshake from the Gopher Dairy Bar, attached to the Cattle Barn. Run by the University of Minnesota, the college kids running that stand have a spring in their step, meaning you won’t encounter a line. I never have, and trust me, I’ve been to that booth many times.
4. Fish Taco
San Felipe Tacos, Food Building
I assumed State Fair officials knew a thing or two about foods you can try, so I asked one to share her favorite thing to eat. Her answer: the fish taco at San Felipe Tacos. And goodness, is it good. The tilapia isn’t deep-fried or breaded, making it light, yet filling. The cost for what you get is spot on.
5. Mini Donut Beer
Ball Park Cafe, outside of Food Building on Underwood Street
Surprisingly not too sweet, the mini donut flavored beer at the Ball Park Cafe is a must-have. They rim the cup with sugar. Come on now. And I will admit it — I sipped on a mini donut beer while eating mini donuts. I have no shame.
6. Polish Sausage Corndog
Hand-Dipped Corndogs, on Cosgrove across from Education Building
Combine the pronto pup with its wimpy hot dog with a Super Dog and its obnoxious size. What do you get? A Polish sausage corndog. The meat is hearty, the breading isn’t too sweet, and it really fills you up. And at $7, it’s a great price.
7. Giant Egg Roll On-a-stick
Que Viet, on Cooper Street just south of Dan Patch
Another new food in 2017 that’s making my must-eat list for 2018 is the giant egg roll on-a-stick from Que Viet. A new vendor in 2017, Que Viet only sold four items (the egg roll, garlic cream cheese wontons, amazing Vietnamese iced coffee and bubble tea), and they were amazing. This egg roll is packed with pork and has more substance to it than a typical egg roll. And it wasn’t too crispy. I hate when all you get in your bite is the shell. Want this fix outside of the Fairgrounds? Check out Que Viet locations in Brooklyn Center and Northeast Minneapolis.
8. Australian Battered Potatoes
Australian Battered Potatoes, on Judson Avenue between Clough and Liggett
Don’t let the $12 price tag fool you, these potatoes are one of the best values at the Fair if you’re with a group of people. You’ll get full after eating two, and they come eight on a plate. You can pour sour cream, nacho cheese, bacon, chili and more on top. They’re warm, cheesy and delicious.
9. Vanilla Malt…But From One Particular Spot
Sadies, on Judson Avenue between Clough and Nelson
For years, I’ve had a special spot in my heart for the vanilla malt from Sadie’s, located across the street from the Miracle of Birth Center. But paying $8 for a malt is a lot. So during the 2017 State Fair, I refrained from getting it until day nine. Once I had my first one for the year, I remember why I love them so much. It’s hard to explain. But they’re definitely worth it.
10. Deep-fried Cookie Dough
Sonny’s, Food Building
Deep-fried cookie dough beats out the buckets of cookies you’ll find on the Fairgrounds. They’re gooey, warm and even have powdered sugar on top. Grab two friends to try these — you’ll be done after one. And unlike the cookies, you won’t have to carry a bucket with you for the rest of your day at the Fair.
Blue Cheese and Corn Fritz
Blue Barn, West End Market
Chilled bread pudding
Blue Moon Drive-In Theater, corner of Carnes and Chambers
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