Late yesterday afternoon, the powers that be at the great Minnesota get-together made the pre-Fair announcement we wait for all year long. It's not about bands at the Grandstand, the new seeds that will be used in this year's batch of stunning crop art, or the likenesses you may see carved in slick, unsalted butter. No. It's about deep-fried stuff on a stick, Frankenfoods, and concession stands you've never heard of that you'll have to map out in your pre-game plan. It's the list of the 28 new items that will debut at this year's State Fair.
Here are the 10 we're most looking forward to eating, evaluating, and probably writing about again in August.
10. The item: Pizza Tots, sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, seasonings, and hash browns, deep-fried and served with pizza sauce.
Where to find it: The Green Mill in Baldwin Park.
What we hope it tastes like: An Italian-inspired version of a delicate potato croquette.
What it might actually taste like: The popular convenience foods of elementary school sleepovers all got fused together in the back of the deep freezer.
9. The item: Chocolate dessert salami, chocolate, butter, almonds and walnuts, sliced and served on thin crackers.
Where to find it: Sausage Sisters inside the Food Building.
What we hope it tastes like: A Christmassy hybrid of nutty fudge and flourless chocolate torte, with a nice crispy underpinning.
What it might actually taste like: An under-baked cookie that looks like headcheese.
8. The item: Deep-fried Buckeyes, peanut butter balls coated in chocolate, dipped in funnel cake batter, deep-fried, and dusted with powdered sugar.
Where to find it: Spaghetti Eddie's on Cooper Street.
What we hope it tastes like: Girl Scout Tagalong cookies, but meltier, and acceptable to eat for breakfast.
What it might actually taste like: Like Ohio is trying to invade our State Fair.[page]
7. The item: Breakfast Juicy LuLu, two American cheese-stuffed sausage patties on an English muffin.
Where to find it: Lulu's Public House at West End Market.
What we hope it tastes like: Infinity McMuffin.
What it might actually taste like: Sun Country microwavable sandwich of sadness.
6. The item: Chicken in the waffle, Southern fried boneless chicken loaded into a crispy waffle cone and covered in creamy sausage gravy.
Where to find it: The Blue Barn at West End Market.
What we hope it tastes like: Wings N' Things mixed with Sun Street Breads brunch and after-brunch ice cream at Grand Ole Creamery, makers of the best waffle cones.
What it might actually taste like: A test-run Jelly Belly flavor gone horribly awry.
5. The item: Bacon-wrapped turkey leg
Where to find it: Texas Steak Out on Underwood Street.
What we hope it tastes like: Bacon-wrapped turkey leg.
What it might actually taste like: Bacon-wapped turkey leg.[page]
4. The item: Beer gelato, made with an unidentified local craft beer.
Where to find it: Mancini's Al Fresco on Carnes Avenue near Nelson Street
What we hope it tastes like: A smoother, more Euro version of the adult ice cream floats we've made with Fulton Worthy Adversary and Sweet Science's stout oat crunch. Also like all your favorite pastimes are coming together.
What it might actually taste like: A Miller Light poured into the bottom of an almost-empty Blue Bunny bucket and slurped down on a dare.
3. The item: Deep-fried breakfast on a stick, an egg, a sausage patty, two cheeses, and a slice of Canadian bacon smooshed between two pancakes, batter-dipped, deep-fried, and speared on a stick.
Where to find it: The Sandwich Stop, just outside the Poultry Barn.
What we hope it tastes like: Every good breakfast thing united as an encased kebab. With real maple syrup for dipping/drizzling.
What it might actually taste like: Those Jimmy Dean breakfast corn dogs that have pancake batter wrapped around sausage nuggets.
2. The item: SnoRibbons, a frozen confection that layers cotton candy, shaved ice, and "creamy snow" in flavors like coffee and donuts, green tea black sesame, and salted caramel corn crunch.
Where to find it: Blue Moon Dine-In Theater on Chambers Street and Carnes Avenue.
What we hope it tastes like: A feathery, melt-in-the-mouth version of Dippin Dots, with great depth of flavor and multi-sensory experience.
What it might actually taste like: The mouthfeel equivalent of melting performance fleece with a creme brûlée torch.
1. The item: Jell-o salad ice cream, made by Izzy's, this treat has a sweet cream base with lime juice and cranberry sauce swirl, all dipped in marshmallow cream.
Where to find it: Hamline Church Dining Hall on Dan Patch Avenue.
What we hope it tastes like: Creamy frozen nostalgia.
What it might actually taste like: Church potluck nightmare.
For a full list of the new State Fair foods, check out the Fair website.