Minnesota State Fair taste test: worst new foods

When we heard about the new foods at this year's Minnesota State Fair, some sounded great, others gruesome. Would the latter taste as awful as we feared, or would we be eating our words? Here are several we sampled that aren't worth loosening the drawstring.

Deep fried bologna--kind of like a crescent-shaped corn dog.
Deep fried bologna--kind of like a crescent-shaped corn dog.

Deep Fried Bologna ($5) Netterfield Food Court (V-20, Cooper and Dan Patch) We thought this one sounded tasty, and it really isn't bad, it was just kind of disappointing, relatively speaking. It's basically a crescent-shaped, jumbo corn dog, and the one we got had been sitting awhile so the batter seemed greasy and heavy. Stick with a classic corn dog at a busy stand so you get one fresh from the fryer.

We call this chillin', Cincinnati-style.
We call this chillin', Cincinnati-style.

Cincinnati Chili ($4.50-$6.75) Sabino's Pies (L-30, Coliseum) Cincinnati Chili exceeded our admittedly low expectations: It's a relatively inoffensive combination of spaghetti noodles (warmed by a dunk in hot water via an ad-hoc strainer made from a perforated State Fair cup), chili (beanless, but seasoned to resemble ground beef taco filling), and grated cheese (3-way), with the option of adding raw onions (4-way) or beans (5-way). It reminded us of a deconstructed casserole, or something you'd feed to a large group of kids if you were trying to stick to a tight budget. It just seemed like something to make at home, rather than eat at the fair.

What is this? Some sort of junk-food minotaur?
What is this? Some sort of junk-food minotaur?

Corndog Pizza ($4) Pizza Shoppe (T-26, Food Building) Our first reaction to this bifurcated beast was of some sort of genetic malfunction, a junk food minotaur, if you will. We like cheese pizza and corn dogs, but this version presents neither food in its best form. Granted, the slice we tried, at 10 in the morning, had probably been sitting for quite some time, but corn dogs don't taste very good when they've cooled off. and their sweet batter tasted weird with the 'za. We even tried to pry them apart, but the situation didn't get any better.

We'll give you an earfull on this one...
We'll give you an earfull on this one...

Fried Pig's Ears ($5) Famous Dave's BBQ (K-24, Dan Patch & Chambers) These smell like typical seasoned French fries, but beneath their crunchy, batter-fried shells you'll find the creepy texture of chewy cartilage, and unidentifiable hard bits that stick in your teeth long after you've finished. The flavor's not bad when paired with a chipotle-lime dipper that tastes, unsurprisingly, a lot like barbecue sauce. But novelty aside, we can't think of one reason to chose these over French fried potatoes.

** Also: Check out our picks for the BEST new foods at the Minnesota State Fair.

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Minnesota State Fairgrounds

1265 Snelling Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108


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