It's that time of year.
The Space Needle is making trips up and down, the Midway is lit and the smell of deep fried food is permeating Como Avenue.
The Minnesota State Fair has begun.
For their 2015 season, the Great Minnesota Get-Together decided to go big or go home and released a whopping 51 new foods; 40 dishes and 11 desserts.
It may seem like an unapproachable task to taste all new foods, and it probably isn't wise for your wallet or your stomach. So, we've taken on the burden. Here are my picks for the best new foods at the Minnesota State Fair.
In no particular order…
The Midtown Global Market has a booth in the International Bazaar each year, and this year Hot Indian and Rabbit Hole share the space. For the first half of the fair Hot Indian will be serving up samosas, spiced fries and tikka on-a-stikka. The sauce is creamy and thick, with just a hint of spice. The chicken is grilled, not fried, which is a nice change from many of the other fair foods. It's cooked perfectly and smothered in the delectable yogurt sauce.
"We slow roasted our chicken in the spices and then smothered it with our yogurt sauce," owner Amol Dixit said. "Then we put it on a stick for the State Fair!"
Tikka On-a-Stikka was created exclusively for the fair, so grab it while you can!
Tip: Hot Indian will leave the Midtown Global Market booth on Sept. 1. Rabbit Hole will then take over.
Located at Hot Indian at the Midtown Global Market on the east wall of the International Bazaar.
Mac & Cheese Cupcake
I like bread and I like cheese, so the fact that I enjoyed the mac & cheese cupcake is not surprising. For those that aren't sure, this is a savory cupcake – not a sweet one. Essentially it's baked mac & cheese shaped into a cupcake. Creamy, gooey, cheesy macaroni sits in a bed of breadcrumbs and is topped with, what else, more cheese.
Tip: It's a rather large cupcake, so sharing is advised.
Located at LuLu's Public House in the West End Market.
Italian Dessert Nachos – Chocolate Caramel Bacon
"It's a take on a traditional cannoli that's been brought to Minnesota," co-owner Jenny Enloe said. "It's an ooey, gooey, walking cannoli."
Just as in years past, bacon is a big flavor at the fair. And there are few better ways to have it than sprinkled on top of ricotta and cinnamon sugared cannoli shells covered in caramel sauce and chocolate chips.
Tip: There are four suggested Italian Dessert Nachos, but they are make your own. Fair goers can put any mix of toppings on their cinnamon sugared cannoli shell.
Located at Pizza Shoppe in the Food Building.
The trick of the fair is sometimes not all of the new foods are released in June. The pork wing from Minnesota Wine Country is one such food. The pork is cooked on the bone, retaining the flavor and softness of the meat. It's covered with a wine bourbon sauce and served in threes.
Located at Minnesota Wine Country on Underwood Street between Carnes and Judson Avenues.
Salted Caramel Puff Corn Malt
Much like bacon, salted caramel is having its year. The winner of the "Flavor of the Fair"" contest, it is sort of a shoe-in to be a fair favorite. Caramel sauce is drizzled over Old Dutch Puff Corn and poured over a vanilla malt. The sweetness of the ice cream and silky caramel sauce are cut by the salty, crunch puff corn. If you're a Dairy Barn fan, this is definitely a must try.
Tip: You can get it as a sundae too!
Located at the Dairy Goodness Bar in the Dairy Building.
Honorable Mention: BBQ Pickle Ice Cream
For those that may want to go outside of their comfort zone, try the BBQ Pickle Ice Cream. It sounds like it would be less than desirable, but the barbecue flavor is sweet and light, and the pickles add a nice, albeit weird, crunch that helps add texture.
Located at R&R Ice Cream on the corner of Randall Avenue and Underwood Street.
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