Each year's list of new Minnesota State Fair foods should inspire two responses: excitement about sampling some cool new items and jealousy that you weren't the one who came up with the genius idea in the first place. In the past, we've looked to such tasty treats as chocolate-covered bacon and deep-fried mashed potato balls (on a stick, natch) to inspire such feelings.
So when the 2011 items were announced, we scanned in vain for something with similar appeal and came up with...eh....
See for yourself:[jump]
2011 New MN State Fair Foods * Chocolate Covered Jalapeno Peppers (Andre's Watermelon) * Breakfast Lollipop of deep-fried sausage on a stick w/maple syrup (Axel's) * Crab Fritters (Ollie's Crab Fritters) * Sweet Corn Ice Cream (Blue Moon Dine In Theater) * Deep-Fried Cookie Dough (Sonny's Spiral Chips and Tornado Potato) * Grilled Yankee Apple Pie and Chocolate Sandwich (Moe & Joe's Espresso Bar) * Horchata (El Sol Mexican Food) * Caprese Salad (Giggles Campfire Grill) * Coushari Rice with Lentil (Holy Land Deli) * Pretzel-Wrapped Hot Dog (Der Pretzel Haus) * Jamaican Jerk Fries (Harry Singh's Caribbean Restaurant) * Dirt Dessert of Oreo cookies, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, etc. (Spaghetti Eddie's) * Grilled Chicken Pita (T-Bonz Concessions) * Teriyaki Chicken on-a-stick (Chans Concession)
Since the fair is only a couple of weeks long, concessionaires don't have to worry about repeat customers--moreso than permanent restaurants, they can afford to take chances. But most of these ideas seem recycled, not fresh.
A lot of the ideas aren't anything new: horchata, Caprese salad, pretzel-wrapped hot dogs, teriyaki chicken, and others are all available in many other local restaurants. Martha Stewart has been running recipes for flowerpot baked "dirt cake" desserts for years. Even the novel-seeming sweet corn ice cream was on the menu at Restaurant Alma back in, what, 2005? Ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations were pairing chili with chocolate.
Come August 25, we'll try 'em all of course, and hope to be pleasantly surprised. What are your first impressions of this year's list?