The Minnesota Wild unveiled some new bites for the upcoming season at Xcel Energy Center and, after a media preview, we have some thoughts. For one thing, the pickle-flavored everything craze is alive and well, even at the arena. For another, "street corn" is now an entire category of foods.

Club-level patrons will have some of the better options, although any ticket holder can make reservations for the club-level restaurants, Flynt & Kyndle and the Reserve.

Fans can always stick with a tried-and-true hot dog and Snuffy's malt, but if you're eager to try something new, here are the most promising bites we sampled, just in time for Thursday's season opener against the New York Rangers.

Pepper Jack Mac Bites

Deep-fried orbs of macaroni and cheese with a necessary kick to cut through the creaminess, these were the only foods for which we went back for seconds. Dipping into ranch goes all in on the dairy, but it's not at all necessary. $12, Michelob Golden Light Taphouse, Main Concourse.


Don't ask us how chicken fingers at a sports arena is a new food — we couldn't tell you. But these are as good as your standard-issue breaded cutlet can get. They're crunchy, they're salty, they're juicy enough. And you can choose from three dipping sauces. $13, available at concessions throughout the arena.

Smoked Brisket Sandwich

We want to deduct points because of the exclusivity; you can only get Revival's goods if you have Club Level tickets. But this really is one of the best bites we had. Succulent brisket, infused with smoke through and through, remained tender, even under a heat lamp for who-knows-how-long. Mustard slaw was a snappy counterpart. (But Revival's mac and cheese, one of the restaurant's must-have sides, was somehow a flavorless miss here.) Sandwich $16, mac and cheese $11, Revival, RBC Wealth Management Club Level.

Roasted Chicken, Pear Salad

The restaurant Flynt & Kyndle, which requires reservations, has a big slate of new offerings. We don't know who goes to a hockey game for a piece of meat you need to eat with a fork and knife, but the honey-brined chicken thigh with lemon vinaigrette was well executed and a welcome departure from the usual fried fare. Same goes for a salad of poached pears over baby greens, with toasted walnuts, blue cheese and a champagne vinaigrette. Both are part of a $49 three-course menu or a $159 "all-inclusive dining experience." Flynt & Kyndle, RBC Wealth Management Club Level (but open to all).

Spicy Fried Cauliflower

These little vegetarian nuggets aren't even available in the arena, but if you're in the neighborhood, a stop at Herbie's on the Park is usually a good idea. Soaked in coconut curry and red chili, these cauli-bites have a gentle, warm spice throughout. $13, Herbie's on the Park, 317 Washington St., St. Paul.

A couple of new menu items were innovative in their design, but left us scratching our heads.

Signature Bone-In Wings

There's nothing new about wings at a sporting event. These five flavors, however, constitute a new lineup for the Taphouse. Barbecue and buffalo? Sure. Street corn, which is brushed with some mayo and Tajin, we'll take. Vinegary and dusted with dill, pickle wings meet the pickle craze moment. And PB&J, sticky, sweet and salty? We'll leave that up to you. $18, Michelob Golden Light Taphouse, Main Concourse.

Barbecue Corn Ribs, Swedish Meatball Sliders

This Club Level-only snack ($10) does something we don't usually see: splitting a cob into quadrants lengthwise and treating the result as "ribs." Essentially it's just ... thinner corn? But props for innovation. Likewise with a slider bun stuffed with two tasty meatballs, these of the Swedish variety ($18). Instead of ketchup? Lingonberry jam. Corn ribs $10, sliders $18, The Reserve, Bremer Bank Suite Level (but open to all with reservations before the game).