After a break in 2020, the return of the release of the Minnesota State Fair "new foods" list has got many a Minnesotan excited, but celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern is approaching with a little more caution.
The Minnesota State Fair revealed a list of 26 foods and four vendors that will debut this year for the return of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
But prior to its release, Zimmern – who is a huge fan of the fair – argued on Twitter that there is already plenty of top quality food at the State Fair and there has been for years, expressing reservations about the lengths to which some vendors go to stand out.
"Here’s the deal … I could list another 30 simple delicious foods that could be run through the fair food prism to be plussed up in a fun way… we don’t need gimmicks," he said.
As we mentioned, Zimmern is a State Fair fanatic, and on his website you can find some of his essential State Fair dishes.
They include Fresh French Fries, Sausage by Cynthia, Duke's Poutine, Minneapple Pie, Izzy's Ice Cream, Kiwanis Malts, Gizmo, the Blue Barn, and of course, Sweet Martha's Cookies.
That's not to say he's not intrigued about some of this year's additions – albeit not the Sashimi Tuna Tacos at Scenic 61.
He explained some of his reservations in a response to fellow food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, of MSP Magazine.
"Some of those items are ok in theory, or even appealing," he said. "But execution on a busy day at the MN StFair is a challenge and often the enemy of 'quality'."
Here's the full list of new foods at this year's State Fair.
New foods for 2021 Minnesota State Fair
Banh Minn Bun and Banh Minn Bowl at Sausage Sister & Me
An Asian-inspired sausage in a crusty French baguette with Sister’s Sriracha sauce, shredded and pickled carrot, radish, chopped jalapeño and a sprig of fresh cilantro. The bun-less bowl starts with a five-grain blend and is topped with shredded and pickled carrot, radish, Asian slaw, chopped jalapeño, sausage slices, cilantro and a drizzle of Sister’s Sriracha sauce.
You can find it at Sausage Sister & Me, located in the Food Building on the east wall.
Bison Bites at Giggles' Campfire Grill
A North Woods spin on ravioli with ground bison, braised fennel, portobello mushrooms and fresh basil wrapped in classic egg dough, deep-fried and served with a sweet bourbon sauce with a little kick.
You can find it at Giggles’ Campfire Grill, located on the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street at The North Woods.
Blue Raspberry Blitzed at Sara's Tipsy Pies
Traditional hand pie filled with a raspberry, blueberry and apple blend infused with UV Blue Vodka and topped with cotton candy sugar.
You can find it at Sara’s Tipsy Pies, located in the Food Building on the south wall.
Buffalo Chicken Doughscuit at The Blue Barn
Fluffy biscuit-style doughnuts stuffed with shredded chicken, glazed with a sweet & spicy buffalo icing, and topped with crispy bacon bits.
You can find it at The Blue Barn, located at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center.
Caramelized Banana Pudding at Blue Moon Dine-In Theater
Layers of homemade vanilla pudding, fresh bananas, toasted 'nilla wafers, caramelized cocoa crispy cereal, caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream.
You can find it at Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, located on the northeast corner of Carnes Avenue & Chambers Street.
ChoriPop at Midtown Global Market's Andy's Garage
Chorizo by The Herbivorous Butcher dipped in a classic corndog batter, deep-fried on-a-stick with choice of avocado salsa or mole sauce drizzled on top or on the side. Served with Mexican BBQ chips. (Vegan)
You can find it at Midtown Global Market’s Andy’s Garage (a new vendor this year), located in the Taste of the Midtown Global Market booth at the International Bazaar on the east wall (available Aug. 26-31 only).
Cracklin Prime Nachoes at Coasters
Deep-fried chicharrón (pronounced chee-chah-rrohn) covered in prime rib slices, ¡Que Bueno! nacho cheese, pico de gallo and green onion slices.
You can find it at Coasters, located on the southeast corner of Carnes Avenue & Liggett Street.
Cucumber Jalapeño Limeade at Farmers Union Coffee Shop
Limeade made with juiced Minnesota-grown cucumbers and jalapeño syrup, served with a cucumber slice.
You can find it at Farmers Union Coffee Shop, located on the north side of Dan Patch Avenue between Cooper and Cosgrove streets.
Dual Berry Shortcake at LuLu's Public House
Strawberries and blueberries over a sugar-coated Betty & Earl’s biscuit, topped with whipped cream and balsamic glaze.
You can find it at LuLu’s Public House, located at West End Market, south of Schilling Amphitheater.
Esquites at Midtown Global Market
Mexican street corn off-the-cob topped with mayonnaise, Cotija (pronounced Koh-tee-hah) cheese and pequin (pronounced puh-KEEN) chile powder.
You can find it at Midtown Global Market’s Los Ocampo, located in the Taste of the Midtown Global Market booth at the International Bazaar, east wall (Available Sept. 1-6 only).
Los Ocampo returns to the Midtown Global Market booth for the first time since 2013.
Fudge & Fruit at Minnesota Wine Country
Fresh strawberries and fudge brownies dipped in wine-infused dark chocolate, drizzled with wine-infused white chocolate and served on-a-stick.
You can find it at Minnesota Wine Country, located on the west side of Underwood Street between Carnes and Judson avenues.
Greek Stuffed Ravioli at Dino's Gyros
Mediterranean pastry dough stuffed with cream cheese, tzatziki sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoncini, tomato, gyro meat and Dino’s Greek seasoning, deep-fried and drizzled with roasted garlic butter.
You can find it at Dino’s Gyros, located on the north side of Carnes Avenue between Nelson and Underwood streets.
Island Hopper at The Hanger
Hollowed-out half-pineapple filled with charbroiled chicken glazed with teriyaki sauce and served with steamy white rice and pineapple chunks, topped with green onions and sesame seeds.
You can find it at The Hangar, located at the North End, southwest section.
Jumbo Donut Sundae at Fluffy's Hand Cut Donuts
A jumbo frosted yeast-raised donut available in a variety of flavors, topped with vanilla softserve ice cream, hot fudge and blend of sprinkles.
You can find it at Fluffy’s Hand Cut Donuts (a new vendor this year) located between West Dan Patch and Carnes avenues and Liggett and Chambers streets.
Kerala Fried Chicken Kati Roll at Hot Indian
Marinated, battered and fried chicken tenders wrapped in paratha (pronounced puh-RAH-ttah) with chutneys and slaw.
You can find it at Hot Indian, located in the Food Building, east wall.
The fair says this was "A fan favorite in the Midtown Global Market booth in years past, Hot Indian has a new home of its own in the Food Building and will be at the fair all 12 days."
La Floretta at Mancini's al Fresco
Oven-roasted cauliflower florets seasoned with Iron Range herbs and spices and served with Calabrian (pronounced kah-LAH-bre-an) sweet chili sauce. (Gluten-free, vegan).
You can find it at Mancini’s al Fresco, located on the north side of Carnes Avenue between Nelson and Underwood streets.
The Naughty Biscuit at RC's BBQ
Smoked pork belly topped with beer cheese sauce, arugula, pickled red onions and candied jalapeños served on a buttermilk biscuit.
You can find it at RC’s BBQ, located on the north side of West Dan Patch Avenue between Liggett and Chambers streets.
Chicken & Macaroni Nordic Waffle and I-Scream Waffle Sandwich at Nordic Waffles
Two new fresh-made waffle wraps: A Southern-fried spicy chicken drummy and cheesy macaroni, finished with a drizzle of honey on a warm Nordic waffle; and a classic ice cream cookie sandwich, crunchy kettle corn and chocolate drizzle dusted with sprinkles all wrapped in a Nordic waffle.
You can find it at Nordic Waffles, located at West End Market, south section.
Paneer Pakora at Hot Indian
Seasoned paneer cheese cubes fried in a gluten-free batter and served with tomato butter. (Gluten-free, vegan)
You can find it at Hot Indian, located in the Food Building, east wall.
Pizza Lucy at Green Mill
Sausage patty topped with pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese, stuffed in homemade Green Mill pizza dough, and topped with Italian seasonings, cheese and crumbled pepperoni.
You can find it at Green Mill, located on the east side of Cooper Street between Randall and Wright avenues, at Family Fair at Baldwin Park.
Sashimi Tuna Tacos at Scenic 61
Crisp wonton shells filled with ahi tuna, avocado and sesame soy. Thai slaw with peanut dressing, pickled ginger and wasabi served on the side.
You can find it at Scenic 61 by New Scenic Café (a new vendor), located on the east side of Underwood Street between Lee and Randall avenues, just south of Little Farm Hands.
Sidecar Sandwich at The Hideaway Speakeasy
Thick-cut cognac-infused bacon smothered with Cointreau (pronounced khan-troe) and citrus marmalade, layered with melted havarti, smoked Gouda and aged cheddar, served on toasted sourdough bread and garnished with fresh orange slices.
You can find it at The Hideaway Speakeasy, located in the Veranda, Grandstand upper level, northwest section.
S’Mores Funnel Cake at Funnel Cakes
Graham cracker funnel cake topped with marshmallow, milk chocolate chunks and more graham cracker bits.
You can find it at Funnel Cakes, located in the Food Building, east wall.
Spufull Puff at Potato Man and Sweety
Mashed sweet potatoes blended with sweetened cream cheese then wrapped in dough and fried. Lightly dusted with powdered sugar and served with maple dipping sauce on the side.
You can find it at Potato Man & Sweety, located on the west side of Liggett Street between Carnes and Judson avenues, outside the Horse Barn.
Summer Lakes Beverages in 3 varieties - Wedge-Hammer, Lake Storm Lemonade and Bama! Lemon Sweet Tea
These 2021 State Fair-exclusive mocktails are all gluten-free and vegan. The Wedge-Hammer is fresh ginger, orange and other citrus juices, zest, sparkling water and simple syrup. Lake Storm Lemonade is lavender-infused lemon and other citrus juices, zest, sparkling water and simple syrup. Bama! Lemon Sweet Tea is fresh brewed tea, fresh lemon and other citrus juices, zest, sparkling water and simple syrup.
You can find it at Summer Lakes Beverage (new vendor) located on the east side of Underwood Street between Lee and Randall avenues, just south of Little Farm Hands.
Summer Lakes Beverage previously sold its bottled mixes and merchandise at the State Fair.
Waffle Burger at Andy's Grille
Quarter-pound bacon cheeseburger served between two maple-infused candied sweet crunch waffles with a side of maple syrup.
You can find it at Andy’s Grille, located on the south side of Carnes Avenue between Chambers and Nelson streets.