Left: Comet Corn
Dwellers of Earth, say hello to Comet Corn, described as a "futuristic caramel corn made with liquid nitrogen." Sub-zero temps mean one breathes vapor trails of "comet dust" that leave a "tingly, bubbly feeling." The prophecies were true.
Right: Chop Dog
A griddled and chopped Kramarczuk all-beef wiener chopped into pieces and stuffed into a Pullman bread pocket so large you could probably turn it upside down, shake out the loose change, then crawl inside and take a nap.
Left: Bacon Cannoli
Of course there's a bacon cannoli. And it's a class act, too.
Right: Grilled, Glazed Doughnut
With strawberry-mint dipping sauce — how seasonal. Seriously, why don't more people grill glazed doughnuts?
Left: Wine-Glazed Deep-Fried Meatloaf
"Where were you when you first found out that someone realized they could batter meatloaf, fry it on a stick, and serve it with a red-pepper-and-Minnesota-wine glaze?" Someday, maybe, your children will ask you this question.
Right: Fried Pickles 'n' Chocolate
It took a briny nine years for legendary Minnesota State Fair vendor the Perfect Pickle to sell its millionth fried chip. That was a few years ago, and now the masters of innovation return with a new batch that is not only dusted with powdered sugar but served with a mini-sauna of hot chocolate for dipping.
Left: Cocoa Cheese Bites
Perennial vendor Axel's ups the ante with crushed cocoa-puff-breaded Wisconsin cheddar cheese nuggets. These nuggets, too, shall be dunked in hot chocolate sauce.
Right: English-Toffee Fudge Puppy
Considering the business is called Granny's Kitchen Fudge Puppies and there's a real granny who persevered through torrential rain, windstorms, and even a blizzard all in order to serve forced-air-baked chocolate-covered Belgian waffles to the people for decades, the English toffee triple threat is a must-eat. (No actual puppies were harmed in the making of this English-toffee Fudge Puppy.)
Left: Grilled Steak Sandwich
Mancini's al fresco steak sandwich seems like a regular steak sandwich, but consider the fact that every last bit of its surface area has grill marks on it and you realize how dedicated these people are.
Right: Deep-Fried Monte Cristo
The sandwich is traditionally pan-fried, sure, but why not prove your love by going all the way with one that's taken a hot oil bath, been given a fine dusting of powdered sugar, then be-dolloped with raspberry jam. Don't be a chicken.
Left: The Big Andy
You get a quarter-pound hamburger and Philly steak, onions, peppers, and a mix of melted American and Swiss. It's really the best of both worlds.
Right: Breakfast Sausage Corndog
The batter is pancake, the sausage is link. The sauce is maple-flavored. That is all.
Left: Chipotle Chicken Salad Fajita
Don't be fooled by the sliced orange. Or the presence of walnuts, Craisins, and apples. And chicken salad. This is a fajita.
Right: Double Bacon Corndog
Campbell's Flavored Corndogs isn't messing around with this "double-bacon" variety. Fixins' include "double-bacon mustard," nacho cheese, and of course, "flavored salts."
Honorable mentions: The Idaho taco, a Tex-Mex showstopper that replaces the tortilla with a russet potato; Philly fries, where the bread found on a cheesecake sandwich has given way to waffle fries; Cajun pork rinds served with Alabama-White barbecue sauce; fried bread pudding; fried olives; and much, much more.
The Minnesota State Fair, with all its neon, beaming llamas, jumbo butter art, well-groomed goats, and freak doughnuts, starts August 22 and goes through Labor Day.
2013 New Food [Minnesota State Fair]
Earlier: Orgy of Excess: Three Days of Eating at the Minnesota State Fair