I live for the excitement and new food offerings that swirl from this Great Minnesota Get Together.
Some people live for occasions like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I live for Halloween and the Minnesota State Fair. My Christmas Eve is reading the Twin Cities food critics’ reviews of the zany new foods. I’m always amused by how foods that make one critic’s worst list will make another’s favorites.
My best advice for fair goers is to simply eat whatever catches your fancy.
As I’m getting older I’m finding myself gravitating towards more of my old favorites than the new foods. To be honest, I didn’t find a lot of the new foods appealing; plus, there’s the whole stomach space limitation and cost factor.
Some classics are still a bargain compared to the other items, such as the simple pleasures like corn dogs, pronto pups, roasted corn, and milkshakes. A lot of the other hyped items will run you anywhere from $7-$12.
Still, I think the whole experience is totally worth it.
If you didn’t this year, remember to purchase your cheaper tickets at Cub! This year I joined a long line of procrastinators on State Fair Eve at the customer service desk.
Here’s my 2018 Minnesota State Fair food list:
The new food I really wanted to try but didn’t: French Meadow Bakery’s hilariously trademarked “Earth Wings.” I was genuinely excited to try this dish. The specific line for the wings was very long. Apologetic employees tried to herd people who just wanted to order a scone into a shorter line. But alas, everyone was there for the Earth Wings. One person said they struggled to keep up due to a fryer malfunction.
After 30 minutes of not really moving and realizing the line funneled into a whole different line to receive Earth Wing orders, I gave up. Hanger is a powerful thing. If you got to try these I’m jealous .
Schell’s Frozen Red Sangria Lager
This beer is not only my favorite beer at the fair, it’s one of my favorite beers anywhere. Unfortunately, you can only get it at the fair. The icee topping pushes it into celebration territory. It’s icy cool, smooth, and somehow not at all too sweet.
Chicken Curry Roti from Harry Singh’s Carribean Restaurant, Food Building
This is not a new state fair food, but it’s new to me. Harry Singh’s is a local Minneapolis restaurant I’ve never visited before. The doubles were sold out so I asked for whatever the spiciest remaining dish was. The employee recommended the chicken curry roti with added hot sauce.
I sat down and unwrapped my package, ripping off pieces of the tender roti bread and scooping up chicken curry. At first I thought the first bites needed a little salt, but then I quickly reached the hot sauce. The heat snuck up on me. It was so hot that for a moment it felt like my soul left my body.
This is a great non-fried food item, perfect if you love heat..
Blueberry Wine Slushie, Minnesota Wine Country
The watermelon rose slushy caught my eye but, alas, there was only blueberry. Fortunately, the blueberry was very good. I loved the natural blueberry flavor and how it wasn’t too sweet. Totally worth the $10. For the ultimate, perfect fair food pairing, order a wine slushy here and enjoy with Mouth Trap cheese curds.
Cheese Curds from Mouth Trap in the Food Building
There’s been some debate on which cheese curds at the fair are the best; we think these have always been the best. They’re served fresh from the fryer, so hot you’ll scald our finger if you try to eat one right away. The batter is light and crispy and the cheese is high quality.
Outside of the fair, we’re always chasing cheese curds this good. I’m disappointed about 70% of the time. But, Pat’s Tap makes really good cheese curds reminiscent of the fair (only $5 at happy hour!).
Mouth Trap is always crowded but the vendor has efficiency down to an art. Hand over $6 for a paper boat of curds or $15 for a small plastic bucket. Then, you’ll have your curds in no time.
It’s ok to be selfish with these.
Gyro from Demetri’s Greek Food
You may think that ordering gyro at the Minnesota State Fair is boring. It might be if you order an ordinary gyro. These gyros are much better than the average gyro, from the shaved meat with some crisp to the generous yogurt sauce, fresh onions and juicy tomatoes all wrapped in a warm pita. It’s not overstuffed nor is it understuffed. And you won’t find it filled with soggy shredded lettuce.
I can’t remember a year we haven’t ordered these. If you’ve found Demetri’s, you’re near the corn roast so you might as well head over.
$4 will get you the best ear of corn you’ve ever had. It’s toasty and juicy. Add plenty of salt and pepper.
Grilled Peach from Produce Exchange
Besides the cauliflower wings, this was the second new food I really wanted to try. The food critics are right and the hype is earned. This sweet grilled peach ($9) is drizzled with honey and sprinkled with fresh herbs. Alongside is a plop of goat cheese. All together, a refreshing sweet and savory combination.
Mint Lemonade, Holy Land Deli at the International Bazaar.
Here’s another “new to me” item but not new to the fair. Holy Land’s mint lemonade with a sweet and sour slushy with a strong minty punch. I liked it and would seek it out again. You’ll probably want to share.
Feel free to your thoughts below on your favorite and least favorite fair foods. Did you try anything new this year?
My Favorite NEW Minnesota State Fair Food Reviews:
- Dara’s Top Five and Bottom Three
- James Norton and The Growler Crew ‘s epic review of every new food. If you miss the Heavy Table reviews, read this.
- We Tried It’s new fair food review.