Sisters Britney Payne, left, of Inver Grove Heights and Alexis Geving of Ogilvie enjoy bacon with drizzled chocolate from Big Fat Bacon at the Minnesota State Fair Aug. 25, 2013.

Courtney Perry, Special to the Star Tribune

Beer gelato

Feed Loader,

Bacon-wrapped turkey leg

Feed Loader,

Waffle ice cream sandwich

Feed Loader,

Caribbean-style lobster rolls

Feed Loader,

Hickory-smoked bison dog with the trimmings

Feed Loader,

Two dozen taste-bud thrills added to Minn. State Fair

  • Article by: Rick Nelson
  • Star Tribune
  • August 13, 2014 - 2:40 PM


Minnesotans, start your appetites, because when the Minnesota State Fair opens in eight weeks, fairgoers will find themselves tempted by more than two dozen new — ahem — delicacies.

The world’s on-a-stick capital isn’t resting on its battered and deep-fried laurels, pledging butter-poached “Canadian lobster pieces,” sausage-egg-pancake sandwiches, gluten-free brats and a shrimp/cream-cheese concoction.

When it comes to face-lifts of fair favorites, expect to encounter cheese curds coated in a pretzel crumb batter, bacon-wrapped roast turkey legs and bison hot dogs.

Other innovations include pizza-fied Tater Tots, peanut butter-and-jelly French toast and an a.m. Juicy Lucy in the form of an English muffin topped with a cheese-stuffed sausage patty.

On the international front, look for Schnitzel Strips (breaded and fried pork tenderloin), Korean-style pork barbecue (slow-smoked pork with kimchi pickles), deep-fried pierogi, a “Caribbean-style” lobster roll and chilaquiles. Then there’s the blue cheese-stuffed corn fritters, which may be the first fair fare to ever invoke the word chimichurri, the Argentine herb sauce.

The Lake Wobegon-iest sounding entry comes from a partnership between Izzy’s Ice Cream and the venerable Hamline Church Dining Hall: scoops of potluck-inspired Jell-O Salad ice cream, a swirl of lime, cranberry and marshmallow in a sweet-cream base.

Other frozen treats include craft beer gelato and a caramel-Granny Smith apple ice cream (both will be produced on the Fairgrounds) along with locally produced JonnyPops, featuring a seasonal, only-at-the-fair flavor dubbed Snelling Strawberry Rhubarb.

Other promising entries include a twist on chicken and waffles, pasta with smoked walleye and sweet corn, scones stuffed with ham and three cheeses, and an Italian-inspired chocolate-almond “salami.”

Ever on trend, the fair is getting its first rooftop patio, courtesy of LuLu’s Public House, one of five new food vendors in the West End Market, the $15 million dining-crafts-amphitheater-transit hub remake of Heritage Square.

Other West End newcomers include Two Rivers Kettle Korn, West End Creamery (a reboot of Heritage Square’s Ice Cream Parlour) and the Blue Barn, a venture by the Blue Plate Restaurant Co., which operates eight Twin Cities restaurants, including the Highland Grill, Freehouse and 3 Squares.

The fair opens Aug. 21 and runs through Sept. 1.


Follow Rick Nelson on Twitter: @RickNelsonStrib



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