I uttered the words, “What if this is the year I don’t try any new foods?” And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, they (sort of) came true.
Usually I scour the new Minnesota State Fair food guides and critic reviews from the first day. Then, we make a list and try as many as possible. This year was different. We’re finally back home with more move under our belt. New jobs, new house, new neighborhood. . . I wonder if we were really craving the old reliable. At least we were for this year’s visit.
Our core favorite Minnesota State Fair foods come down to curds, corn, cookies, and corn dogs (or pronto pups).
Mouth Trap cheese curds are what we’ve returned for every year since we were kids tagging along with our parents. These curds have never changed. Year after year Mouth Trap delivers the same curds made with high quality cheese and a light crisp batter. Pat’s Tap’s curds are the only other version we’ve tried that even come close.
And then there’s the State Fair Corn Roast. Don’t even think twice about handing over $3 for an ear. It’ll be the best ear of corn you’ll ever eat. The ears are always large and studded with sweet kernels. Order a more charred one, or don’t. Get the butter dip and sprinkle with salt and pepper to your delight.
You know you’ve reached Sweet Martha’s Cookies when the sidewalk’s littered with smushed cookies.
They may not be the best cookie you’ll ever eat, but they’re freshly baked and perfectly chewy. The tradition is that the employees overfill your cookie vesicle. The person that serves you won’t just fill a bucket or a cone, he or she will painstakingly stack them as tall as possible and carefully hand them over before the cookies start to wobble.
Try to grab a cookie from the top without knocking the others to the ground like a game of cookie Jenga.
Corn Dog vs. Pronto Pup? I go with whatever I pass by on the way out of the fair. Please hand-paint all of my future corn dogs with ketchup and mustard.
- Demetri’s Gyros: They’re way better than the average gyro. Perfectly shaved meat, fresh veggies, plenty of thinly-shaved onion seasoned with herbs, and a generous dousing of garlicky yogurt sauce.
- August Schell’s Red Citrus Sangria Beer (making its second annual appearance): Despite the rosy appearance, this fruity beer topped with frozen sangria beer slush isn’t too sweet. If Jake orders this beer too, you know it’s not too sweet. The sangria flavor is better than the blueberry (and also less sweet).
- Fresh French Fries: Lately I’ve been ranting about the types of french fries I don’t like. These won’t disappoint.
- Jalapeño Cheese on a stick: No, not that cheese on a stick stand, the other one by the Grandstand! The sign explicitly states “Jalapeño cheese on a stick.” It’ just better than the others.
And my nemesis: Australian Battered Potatoes. You know that one food that you ate too much of or tried to add too late in the fair day? Yup, this is mine. I once loved these too much. Too many greasy, battered and fried planks of potatoes covered in ranch AND cheese had me laying in bed praying for death. If you order these, share, and don’t save them for your last food of the day.
Lastly, here is the one new food we did try: Brown Ale Onion & Gouda pie from Sara’s Tipsy Pies.
I liked it a lot! I’m obsessed with onions and prefer sweet and savory foods. This hit all of the right notes for me. Also, the crust is light and flaky. Bad pie crusts really piss me off. I can tell this one is very homemade.
Feel free to share your favorite state fair food. I’d love to know if you tried any of the new foods this year!
My go-to guides for new fair foods: