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As mentioned in our last email, we joined the throng of fairgoers on Monday with empty, hopeful bellies. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not on our side, and it rained the entire time. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a downpour, a $3 poncho, and sticky heat to ruin what is usually a delightful spam burger experience. I didn’t enjoy sweating in my poncho while attempting to navigate puddles, so we didn’t stick around for too long to explore new foods. I apologize to those who were looking for reviews from my trained and discerning palate. For those of you who plan on visiting the fair this weekend, we’ve rounded-up the reviews to make it a little easier for you to decide where you’ll put your hard-earned cash.  


  • Minn Post provided a nice “definitive” summary of other’s reviews, although it’s their own interpretation of what the original critics said, so may not be 100% accurate. In their view, the ones to try are: 

  • Rainbow Cloud Roll (for real?!) 

  • Sweetie Cakes 

  • Wood-grilled Elote 

  • Mangonada Shave Ice 

  • UpNorth Puff Pasty 

  • General Tso Chicken Taco (unfortunately, Taco Cat was only at the fair for a limited time this year – so hopefully they’ll be back in 2019!) 

The ones they believe got the most negative feedback from the critics are: Firecracker shrimp stuffed avocado, Moroccan sausage bowl, Triple chocolate strawberry shortcake, and Ahi tuna poke bowl.  


  • Rick Nelson of the Star Tribune did his annual trip to sample all of the new foods, and here’s his ranking. His favorites are: 

  • First Kiss Apple 

  • Grilled Peaches (sense a theme here?) 

  • Heirloom Tomato and Sweet Corn BLT 

  • UpNorth Puff Pasty (repeat from list above!) 

  • Wood-grilled Elote (repeat from list above!) 

Based on his ratings, Rick would probably tell you to skip the following: Irish Tater Kegs, Moroccan sausage bowl, Rainbow Cloud Roll, sweet Greek cheese puffs, Za-waffle sticks, and the Zesty PB&J sausage. 


  • City Pages also gives a rundown of each of the new foods here. The testers here liked the offensively pink Cloud Roll and sweet Greek cheese puffs of which Rick (above) was not a fan. So, just because some rave doesn’t mean it’s a winner for all! That being said, the Elote and Puff Pasty were again on top for City Pages’ testers.  


  • Lastly, Mpls.StPaul Magazine gave readers more opinions on whether to get or skip the fair’s new food AND drinks. The reviewers recommended quite a lot, so you’d still have to make some tough decisions... but maybe just go with a crowd and share! 


Many Instagrammers, including Chef Andrew Zimmern have chronicled some of their favorites of the year. The grilled peaches seem to be a huge hit – and my, how simple and perfectly portioned is that?! Of course, you’ll have to decide which of your top fair favorites to sacrifice in order to fit in any of these new offerings, but chances are it won’t be Sweet Marthas! Enjoy your time, and hopefully you can avoid my unfortunate sweaty rain poncho experience. 

Photo By BenFranske - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,