You're the type to zip through the crowd, to artfully dodge the ambling toddlers and the toddling amblers. You're a woman on a mission, a man with a fire in his belly, and your end goal is delicious Minnesota State Fair foods — the best of the best and none of the rest. We've got your list of must-tries.
10. Fire and Ice Kreme, $6, Goertze’s Dairy Kone
If you like ice cream, try this. If you like Sriracha, try this. Just as the hot sauce bite hits, the thick and creamy cool of the vanilla soft serve puts out the fire — and the salty crunch from chopped corn chips leaves your mouth begging for the cycle to begin again.
9. Smokey’s Breakfast Burger, $7, Smokey’s Char-Broiler
A tasty, if somewhat messy, start to your day. You’ll want plenty of napkins to wipe the egg off your face, and maybe your shirt. Probably not the best choice if you’re trying to impress someone, but then again, you have to have priorities.
8. Chicken Tikka on a Stikka, $6 Hot Indian, Taste of Midtown Global Market at International Bazaar (Available Aug. 27-Sept. 1 only) Potentially the only sous-vide chicken on the fairgrounds, strip away the stick and this is high-class eating. Don’t though— the transcendental tomato cream sauce is also otherworldly orange, and keeping it off your lapel is easier while its impaled.
7. Meatloaf Hash, $8.25, The Blue Barn, West End Market
Consider yourself warned, this menu item will set the bar dangerously high for the rest of the day. Tangy bearnaise sauce covers fluffy scrambled eggs and baked potatoes that crunch as if they spent a hot second in a deep fryer. Thick chunks of veggies add the perfect amount of texture and flavor. Get here by 10 a.m. or you will be SOL.
6. Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream, $5, Rainbow Ice Cream
Don’t let the unlikely combo fool you. As worth seeking out as mini donuts or corn dogs, the formidable kick of chile against the creamy cool of cocoa are the makings for a new classic. Implausible, yet irresistibly entertaining, like Laurel & Hardy.
5. Mac & Cheese Cupcake, $6, LuLu’s Public House, West End Market
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, mid-morning munch, late night snack—this little ditty needs to be part of our every day life. Don’t let the sticky paper frustrate you, just use your fork and go to town. Thick and creamy mac and cheese is surrounded by a light layer of breadcrumbs. Share with a friend; this cupcake is heavy in weight but will lighten your spirits.
4. Maple Bacon Funnel Cake, $7, Funnel Cakes, Food Building
Get this! It’s not fancy, it’s not sophisticated, but it sure is good. The sweet and savory combination has never been put to better use. If you’re with friends, don’t even think about sharing; get one for everyone, or there might be blood.
3. Stuffed Italian Meatloaf On-a-Stick, $5, Green Mill
How often we've wished mozzarella sticks were cloaked in meat instead of breadcrumbs! Our wildest dreams have come true, topped with layer of pepperoni, a dusting of parmesan, and served with a side of marinara for dipping. Truly tasty, easy to eat, gone before the Chevy Trucks hawker across the street even finishes his spiel.
2. Sara's Tipsy Pies, $5-6, Sara's Tipsy Pies, Food Building
Irresistible indie pie maker where five cute kids cheerfully man the booth. Tender and flaky, not too sweet, no fork necessary. Available in flavors like Irish (whiskey) apple and maple bacon apple. Salted caramel gets crunchy with rock salt and gooey a drizzle of the good stuff.
1. Butter Chicken Samosas, $6, Hot Indian, Taste of Midtown Global Market at International Bazaar (Available Aug. 27-Sept. 1 only)
A contender for the best bite of the fair period, they’re almost too haute for the folksy milieu. That is, if they weren’t such an ideal candidate for just this backdrop. These are what deep fryers were made for. And if you can’t or won’t eat the mind-bendingly delectable combination of butter and chicken, well, that’s sad. But the veggie version is a good close second. Instead of a grey paste of pulverized, overcooked peas, these remain the color god intended, along with sweet pops of whole corn kernels.