2017 Wisconsin State Fair – New Food Preview

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A year of waiting and it’s finally that time again; the Wisconsin State Fair is back later this week. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since last August and I’ve done my best to keep myself in tip-top fair feasting shape. From Naked Chicken Chalupas to Mac & Cheetos – I eat the best and worst of what’s out there just to be prepared for these 10 days in August each year. And my colon is already quivering after reading this year’s new food list.

I know it can be difficult to plan your food choices at the fair; the dollars and calories add up. So, in hopes of helping, I’ve commented on all 67 new foods. The best, the worst, and the rest. Enjoy!

(My comments are in italics.)

 The Best (no particular order)

  1. All American Grilled Breakfast Sandwich – We are taking the all American Breakfast Sandwich (with bacon, egg and cheese) and sandwiching it in between two grilled hash brown patties. At Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese.
    1.  Doesn’t sound as good as the grilled donut breakfast sandwich (of 2015) was, but in the spirit of KFC’s infamous (and sorely missed) “Double Down” I’m all for replacing buns with other options.
  2. Yard Bird Nachos – A complete southern fried chicken dinner in nacho form! Totally “chipless” nachos using deep-fried chicken cracklings as its base! Smothered with Wisconsin cheddar & jack, mashed potatoes, Water Street Brewery amber beer-marinated and house-smoked pulled chicken with special spice rub. Topped with homemade corn salsa, house-pickled jalapenos and sweet peppers. At Water Street Brewery.
    • Substituting those empty tortilla chip calories with some good old wholesome fried chicken cracklings (???) is a great start. Topping it Smothering it with mashed potatoes & co is a great finish.
  3. Deep-Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich Bites – Tender morsels of grilled cheese bites deep fried to perfection and served with a creamy tomato dipping sauce. At Tropics at the Fair.
    • Sucks you right in by dropping a hot “tender morsels” on you right off the bat. Hard to not want these in your mouth. Sometimes simpler is better and I believe that’ll be the case here.
  4. Housemade Cheddar Tots – 4 housemade Wisconsin Cheddar Potato Tots, drizzled with Saz’s Original BBQ Sauce, topped with all natural Duroc BBQ pulled pork and chives.
    • So I was actually a big fan of the “cheesy tots” that they served at Burger King briefly (big surprise I tried those, right?) so when I saw Saz’s was taking a stab at them and that there was pulled pork on top – I was in. Take my money yesterday Saz’s.
  5. Monkey Business – You’ll go bananas for our caramelized banana burrito! Stuffed with house-made bacon jam and creamy peanut butter, then deep fried, drizzled with Wisconsin honey, and finished with a sprinkle of chipotle cinnamon sugar – this funky monkey means business! At Saz’s BBQ.
    • Our first dessert entry on the list. Extra points for wrapping this up burrito style to allow for clean eating (although I wish it was fried à la Chimichangas). Still 10:1 odds that this ends up down the front of my shirt and/or pants. Hot bananas!
  6. Spaghetti & Meatballs Mozzarella Sticks – Albanese’s famous spaghetti & meatballs wrapped in a wonton with mozzarella and fried to golden goodness. Served with Albanese’s famous red sauce. Finalist in the 2017 Sporkies. At Albanese’s Roadhouse.
    • I’m a big fan of making homemade mozzarella sticks with egg roll skins and string cheese. This seems pretty close to that but if they pull of the cheese-noodle-meatball ratio correctly we could have a winner.
  7. Three Little Pigs Ravioli – Completely noodleless, handmade bacon ravioli stuffed with 3 different styles of pork! 6 slices of handwoven bacon stuffed with homemade bourbon bacon jam, house smoked pulled pork shoulder, and pancetta. Complemented by cream cheese, Wisconsin smoked gouda, scallions, onion and brown sugar. Served with homemade cherry bourbon bacon BBQ jam. At Brew City.
    • “Completely noodleless…” That’s right, F!@# noodles, who needs them…not us! We have something called bacon here in the US of A. And this dish is an all-around stellar exhibition of the majestic hog’s versatility in meat offerings. I think this is going to be a good one.
  8. Wisconsin Cheese Curds & Brat Taco – Johnsonville brat deep-fried with Ellsworth white cheddar in a fried tortilla shell and topped with slaw and sriracha mayo. At Poncho Dog.
    • (Read slowly and softly): Taco, deep fried, brat, cheddar, deep fried…And it’s topped with slaw. I’m a big slaw guy. Especially when used as a topping.
  9. SPAM Fries – Spam fries take a traditional can of Spam to the next level. Deep-fried and served with a tasty dipping sauce. At SPAM.
    • Is there a level beyond “a traditional can of SPAM”? I mean isn’t Spam really already “next level?” It’s meat in a can. It’s revered in Hawaii. It rhymes with lots of words. I think it’s already there. But either way, I’m willing to try this and let you know where it lands.

The Worst

  1. Breakfast Dog – Crispy bacon-wrapped all beef hot dog topped with cheese, scrambled eggs, chives and drizzled with sriracha for that extra little kick. At Siggy’s Wild Dogs Saloon.
    • Hot dog for breakfast? Wrap a sausage link in bacon and maybe we’ll tango.
  2. Cinna Dog – Savory meets sweet in this corn dog rolled in cinnamon sugar. At 3B Corn Dogs
    • Hot dog for dessert? Try harder.
  3. Corn on the Beach – Roasted corn on the cob meets the island life in this corn on the cob topped with chili powder, melted butter, cotija cheese, fresh cilantro and lime. At Tropics at the Fair.
    • Nothing really wrong here, I just don’t like thinking about eating corn at or on the beach. I keep thinking about crunching down on little sand and I hate it.
  4. Goat Meat Wrap – A delicious, unique wrap that bursts with flavor! At Wisconsin Dairy Goat Products.
    • I don’t want my goat meat wrap bursting with anything. I don’t want it at all in fact. Sorry goats…or should I say you’re welcome.
  5. Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Olives On-a-Stick – The ultimate State Fair experience!! Our award winning, green queen olives stuffed with cream cheese, individually wrapped with real bacon, dipped in a seasoned, crunchy batter and served with ranch for dipping and kick up the taste with sriracha! Green olives + cream cheese + bacon = cheesy, salty, crunchy “Baconlicious Awesome Olives!” At Fried Fruit & Fried Olives.
    • I’m sure I’ve said you can wrap anything in bacon and deep fry it and I’d eat it one or twenty times in the past. It’s just that I am not an olive guy. They taste like dirty salty socks. Hard pass.
  6. Cricket Nachos – Think eating bugs is gross? Think again! Insects are good for the environment and for you. Cricket nachos have all the flavor of regular nachos but are high in protein and gluten free! Crickets are a sustainable protein that require less water to grow, providing an eco-friendly way of eating. Be proud to say, “I Eat Bugs!” At All Things Jerky.
    • I thought again, and again, eating bugs is still gross. I mean don’t get me wrong, if we’re all eating cricket flour derived snacks some day because we live in a post-apocalyptic world where that’s all you can eat; well then I’ll personally write a thank you letter to “All Things Jerky.” I’ll commend them for being a pioneer in the bugs-as-food industry and for saving mankind. But until then, keep this away, far away, get it out of the fair. Remember what I said about sand in my mouth up above re: “Beach Corn”? Times infinity for this dish. Sick. Sorry Earth. Not yet. Not yet.

The Rest

  1. The Wild Dog – All beef hot dog topped with grilled onions, cheese and thousand island dressing. Siggy’s Wild Dogs Saloon
    • I wouldn’t say no.
  2. Apple Pie Nachos – Cinnamon and sugar nacho chips topped with apple pie filling, caramel, whipped cream and walnuts. At Jayme’s Chipstix.
    • I like nachos and I like pie.
  3. Bacon Ravioli – Handmade bacon ravioli filled with cheese. At Brew City.
    • Familiar formula that works; replace something with bacon; serve, eat repeat.
  4. Bacon-Wrapped Pork Shish-Kabob – Pork, wrapped in bacon and put on a stick. At George’s Fun Foods.
    • Don’t pork yourself!
  5. Ball Park Tots – Tailgate heaven meets on top of these tots with hot dogs and baked beans. At Knucklehead.
    • Always been a fan of beans and wieners.
  6. Banana Boat – Banana Boat will remind you of the days of being a kid sitting around a campfire and enjoying this banana stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate chips. At Knucklehead.
    • Something is off in that description – read it again. Like you were a kid traveling to a future to enjoy this banana thing and then coming back to the campfire so you could remember it someday for this sentence…Confused? Me too. But I’d eat it. 
  7. Beer-Battered Bacon-Wrapped Cheddar Sausage On-a-Stick At Apollo’s.
    • Of course.
  8. Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders – Two beef burger slider patties, topped with cheddar cheese, bourbon-bacon sauce and coleslaw on a pretzel slider bun. At Budweiser Pavilion Grill.
    • I love sliders. And there’s that slaw again!
  9. Bowtie, Basil & Balls Walking Pasta – Three homemade cocktail meatballs simmered in our house tomato sauce. Finished with fresh basil and bowtie pasta, secured with a toothpick and served with garlic bread. At Pitch’s BBQ & Miss Katie’s Diner.
    • Haha, balls. Nice alliteration but I like my pasta sitting.
  10. Budweiser Pavilion Triple Threat – A tower of sliders represents three Wisconsin State Fair staples, each with a special flavor twist and served on-a-stick! The Budweiser Pavilion Triple Threat includes 3 savory sliders – one Smoked Jalapeno, Bacon and Cheddar Brat Slider, one Budweiser BBQ Pulled Pork Slider, and one Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Slider – stacked and skewered in the Wisconsin State Fair On-a-Stick tradition.
    • More sliders! Yippee! Skip the cheap stick trick though – no way it works on that pulled pork one.
  11. Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich – This sandwich features grilled buffalo chicken topped with pepper jack cheese and blue cheese dressing. At Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese.
    • Maybe. Maybe not.
  12. Buffalo Chicken Nachos – Classic, crispy nachos topped off with buffalo chicken. At Slim’s PBR Park.
    • More buffalo chicken.
  13. Buffalo Mac & Cheese Quesadilla – A quesadilla grilled to golden brown and stuffed with shredded buffalo chicken, queso mac & cheese, bacon and crushed Doritos. Served with jalapenos and a side of blue cream cheese. At Mexican Grill.
    • Even more buffalo chicken. Awesome adders though – almost made the best list. I’ll probably eat this.
  14. Caramel Macchiato Gelato – Skip your morning cup of joe and get your frozen caffeine fix with a Caramel Macchiato Gelato. Our rich Caramel Macchiato Gelato, which is blended with a tantalizing caramel chocolate chips, perfectly paired with an extra rich and creamy caramel sauce, then lavished with our heavenly fresh whipped cream, is topped off with exquisite espresso beans and a homemade wafer to perfect this Italian wake up call. At La Coppa Artisan Gelato.
    • Too fancy for the fair?
  15. Carne Asada Fries – Fresh cut fries topped with carne asada, queso cheese, guacomole, pico, sour cream and jalapenos. At Mexican Grill.
    • This would work. I choose steak discerningly at the fair though.
  16. Cheddar Corn Dog – The cheese is built-in in this corn dog. At 3B Corn Dogs
    • Sounds good but doesn’t seem new.
  17. Chicken ChimiWrap – Two different chicken flavors of deep-fried bliss! Buffalo or Southwestern Chicken mixtures wrapped in a flour tortilla then deep fried. At PBR Park.
    • Gimme a chimi any day!
  18. Chicken Parmesan Sandwich – Inspired by the classic Italian dish of the same name, this sandwich makes all the flavors of Chicken Parmesan portable for you to enjoy the rest of the Fair. At Albanese’s Roadhouse.
    • Lacking in creativity.
  19. Chocomela Nachos – Hold the queso and bring on the sweetness with Chocomela Nachos, our scrumptious dessert nachos! Our homemade cinnamon sugar tortilla chips are made to delightfully dip in our salted caramel and milk chocolate gelato classics. Topped off with whipped cream sweet chocolate coating, and a salty peanut sauce with peanut pieces. At La Coppa Artisan Gelato.
    • Another dessert nachos. This one might be a nice change of pace to cool things off a bit. I think “salty peanut sauce with peanut pieces” might just be a fancy way of saying chunky peanut butter but I might try it to find out.
  20. Cinnamon Caramel Apple Mini Donuts – Our original mini donuts dusted with cinnamon sugar, topped with chopped cinnamon apples and Ghirardelli caramel, finished off with a generous crown of homemade vanilla bean whipped cream. At The Donut Family.
    • Nothing here NOT to like.
  21. Cricket Chips – Gluten free and high in protein, these chips feature one cricket per chip. At All Things Jerky.
    • Is one cricket per chip a good ratio? ‘Uhhh, Hi, excuse me, waiter? There’s a cricket on my chip. There’s one on every chip in fact…’ Barf.
  22. Deep-Fried Cherry Pie Wonton – Deep fried spring roll stuffed with cherry pie filling and topped with sprinkles of powdered sugar, drizzles of chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream! At Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill.
    • Did I mention I love pie – in any and all formats (as long as there aren’t crickets).
  23. Deep-Fried Nutella – Your favorite hazelnut cocoa spread is even more scrumptious in this deep-fried confection. At Granny’s Cheesecake & More.
    • Just throwing a dollop of Europe’s Peanut Butter in the deep fryer? Not sure how it works, but I’m likely going to find out for you.
  24. Donut Ice Cream Sandwich -Two of your favorite desserts collide to create this ultimate dessert.
    • Nice but they have these at Miller Park.
  25. Door County Popper On-a-Stick – This bell pepper is stuffed with a creamy coleslaw and served on a bed of shredded carrots and cheddar cheese with a side of shrimp cocktail sauce. At Door County Fish Boil.
    • Ehhh, mmm, uhhh. I don’t know. Maybe. It does have slaw.
  26. Drunk Tots – These dots are drunk on the flavors of beer cheese and bacon that top this snack. At Knucklehead.
    • Welcome to the club.
  27. Fat Elvis Shake Shake Shake – A milk shake fit for The King! Peanut butter cup and banana ice cream, along with fried bacon bits, blended into a milk shake then topped with whipped cream, bacon bits, chocolate sauce, and a deep-fried mini Elvis, served in a peanut butter and chopped peanut-rimmed cup. At Slim’s Lakefront Brew Pub & Eatery.
    • This sounds great and really filling. Wish there was a mini size.
  28. Fire Tots – Tossed with cumin and topped with curry ketchup, these tots will leave you begging for water. At Knucklehead.
    • Asking for trouble. Pass.
  29. Gator Breakfast Burrito – The Gator Breakfast Burrito is worth waking up for. A warm tortilla wrapped around a mix of scrambled eggs, tater tots, chunks of cajun spiced alligator sausage and shredded cheddar cheese. Topped with your choice of sour cream and salsa. But don’t worry — if you over slept, this Gator Burrito is great for lunch and dinner, too! At Exotic Meat Grill.
    • Rather not.
  30. Great Balls of Fire Sandwich – A sandwich that explodes with so many flavors of spicy Hungarian sausage, garlic sour cream sauce, stuffing balls, pulled pork and creamy coleslaw. At Rupena’s.
    • Stuffing balls and coleslaw. This almost made the best list – not sure I have the intestinal fortitude – at least not whilst walking around the fair with a gut full of everything else.
  31. Grilled Garlic Butter Shrimp On-a-Stick – Grilled, slathered with garlic butter, and served on a stick, this treat will make you feel like you are at a backyard cookout instead of the Fair.
    • Slathered…
  32. Island Torpedo Sandwich – A sandwich boasts a combination of ground beef and italian sausage topped with red sauce, queso blanco cheese and an island pepper mix. At Tropics at the Fair.
    • White cheese sounds better in Spanish.
  33. Mousse-Stuffed Gelato Cones – This chocolate confection is sure to conquer all your sugary cravings. At La Coppa Artisan Gelato.
    • Mousse – French for fluffy and slightly unfulfilling.
  34. New Zealand Green Shell Mussels – 4 large, steamed New Zealand Green Shell Mussels topped with fresh lemon and black pepper. At Joey’s Seafood & Grill.
    • Not a fair food in my mind. Maybe in a coastal state.
  35. BBQ Pastrami Brisket Biscuit Sandwich – Don’t miss our brisket, don’t even risk it, to make it even better, we serve it on a biscuit! At Usinger’s.
    • I like these things separately but not sure they belong together.
  36. PB&J Smoothee – A creamy blend of peanut butter, strawberries, bananas and non-fat milk. At Caribbean Smoothees.
    • Maybe we’ll make it at home.
  37. PBRs (Pastrami Beer-Brined Ribs) – PBR never sounded so good! PBR-brined ribs, rubbed in a homemade pastrami spice rub then smoked til tender, then slathered with Horsey BBQ sauce. At Slim’s PBR Park.
    • I’m sure PBR makes them tender. It makes me tender.
  38. Popcorn Shrimp – This full of flavor classic is sure to please Fairgoers of all ages. At Shrimp Shack.
    • These were new to me when I was 7 at the Chancery and thought I was getting real popcorn with my dinner.
  39. Pretzel-Wrapped Brat – A giant Johnsonville brat on-a-stick, wrapped in pretzel dough and deep-fried. Brushed with butter and lightly salted and served with your choice of hot cheddar cheese or dusseldorf mustard. At Gertrude’s Fresh Pretzels.
    • I choose hot cheddar cheese. And this. I’ll get this.
  40. Rancho Tots – Ranch, green onions and bacon are the stars of this tater tot dish. At Knucklehead.
    • I’m kind of over the endless combination of tots and toppings.
  41. Grilled Ribeye Steak & Rice – This steak is marinated, grilled and served with rice. At Chan’s Chicken On-a-Stick.
    • Not something I’d get at the fair. Or from a place called “Chicken On-a-Stick.”
  42. Root Beer Pops – It’s that old fashioned flavor of Sprecher Root Beer, but even more refreshing for those hot summer days. At Sprecher Root Beer Everything.
    • Ok, I suppose.
  43. Russian Imperial Stout Maple Bacon Cupcake – Cupcake infused with Sprecher’s Russian Imperial Stout, topped with maple frosting and bacon bits. At Sprecher Landing.
    • The rootbeer float cake won the Sporkie last year. This has potential.
  44. Sangria On-a-Stick – Frozen sangria pops. A refreshing, adult delight made with Copa Di Vino wine, club soda, fruit juices and fruit puree. Choice of red or white wine. At Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill.
    • I’m partial to the beer pops.
  45. Southwest Chicken Nachos – These nachos are given a kick with our delicious southwest seasoned chicken, which is sure to make your mouth water. At Slim’s PBR Park.
    • Not standing out.
  46. Steak Shish-Kabob – Tender and juicy cut of beef served in classic fair-style. At Butcher Boys and George’s Fun Foods.
    • What’s “classic fair-style”? 
  47. Strawberry Basil Wine Slushie – This is an adult summer refreshment in a glass! Copa di Vino white wine blended with shaved ice, frozen strawberries, fresh basil, and basil infused simple syrup. Just try and drink only one of these beauties…bet you can’t! At Slim McGinn’s Irish Pub.
    • Cost: 1 man-card. (I’d probably like it though.)
  48. Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos – Fresh jalapenos stuffed with Saz’s BBQ Pork and Wisconsin cheddar cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried to perfection. Served with a side of Saz’s Spicy White BBQ Sauce. At Saz’s BBQ.
    • Sound good but too spicy for my blood.
  49. Swiss, Tomato & Spinach Grilled Cheese – Simple spin on a classic sandwich with delicious results! At Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese.
    • I’m sure it’s fine.
  50. Triple Cross Tots – These tots are topped with beer cheese, bbq and ranch for triple the flavor. At Knucklehead.
    • More tots…
  51. Unicorn Twinkie – Deep-fried twinkie with cotton candy filling topped with bright pink and blue icing with edible glitter sprinkles. At 3B Smores.
    • For the kids.
  52. Wild Boar BLT Sandwich On-a-Stick – We’ve taken an old time classic and made it State Fair worthy! Deep-fried wild boar bacon surrounded by crisp iceburg lettuce, sandwiched between slices of thin crunchy toast, topped with a grape tomato and served on a stick. Other sandwiches don’t stand a chance! At Exotic Meat Grill.
    • Curious on this one – “deep fried wild boar bacon”.