We'd like to interrupt the arterial recovery you've been experiencing since the close of Summerfest with a new edition of diet-destroying treats.
This round is brought to you by the Wisconsin State Fair, which has proudly added nearly 70 gut-busting additions to its menu for 2017.
There appears to be a variety of themes among the new dishes being offered – from new breakfast items, to bacon, unicorns and even (erp!) bugs.
The all-you-can-eat pancakes have become a perennial favorite at the Machine Shed. And it seems other vendors are eager to capitalize on that breakfast theme. New items include Exotic Meat Grill’s Gator Breakfast Burrito featuring a mix of scrambled eggs, tater tots, chunks of cajun spiced alligator sausage and shredded cheddar cheese; the Breakfast Dog, a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with cheese, scrambled eggs, chives and drizzled with Sriracha at Siggy’s Wild Dogs Saloon; and Siggy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese’s All American Grilled Breakfast Sandwich featuring bacon, egg and cheese sandwiched between two grilled hash brown patties.
On a stick
I’m a little disappointed. There are notably fewer new foods "on-a-stick" this year than there have been in the past. And it makes me wonder: Have the vendors lost their inspiration for creatively skewering interesting foods? In fact, one of the most interesting 2017 contenders is the Door County Popper On-A-Stick, mostly because this combination of ingredients is utterly perplexing to me: a bell pepper stuffed with a creamy coleslaw and served on a bed of shredded carrots and cheddar cheese with a side of shrimp cocktail sauce. What??
I’ll probably skip that in favor of the Sangria On-a-Stick. It’s just a popsicle (sad trombone) but it’s made from a refreshing mix of frozen wine, club soda and fruit. And it sounds like it could be a great way to beat the heat (a bit like last year’s beersicles did).
There will also be magic in the air, along with glitter and rainbow colored sugar. In fact, my guess is that all the little girls (including me) are going to be excitedly ordering up the Unicorn Twinkie, a deep-fried twinkie with cotton candy filling topped with bright pink and blue icing and edible glitter sprinkles. I’m suspecting this is a direct descendent of the #RainbowFood trend, a national craze you needn’t look further than Instagram to witness. And that’s ok … because, unicorns!
Apparently, insects are also making an appearance at this year’s State Fair. All Things Jerky has come up with a plan to sneak crickets into our diets. Their featured cricket chips are apparently gluten-free and quite high in protein, boasting at least one cricket per chip. You can also get those chips in the form of Cricket Nachos, which are said to have "all the flavor of regular nachos" ... plus, of course, a bit of bug.
Which ones should I try?
For the second year in a row, I'll be trying and reviewing at least ten of the new Wisconsin State Fair foods. I've got a small list started of things I'm interested in trying, but I'm also taking requests! Leave your suggestions for foods I should consider in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (use subject line: State Fair Foods) on or before Aug. 1. I'll try to include as many of your suggestions as I can.
In the meantime, you can take a look back at the 13 foods I reviewed from the 2016 State Fair.
All the new foods
For your convenience, here’s the complete list of all the new foods at the Fair (along with where to find them). You can also find more favorite dishes using the Wisconsin State Fair Food Finder.
- All American Grilled Breakfast Sandwich - Siggy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese
- Animal Style Dog - Siggy's Wild Dogs Saloon
- Apple Pie Nachos - Jayme's Chipstix
- Bacon Ravioli - Brew City
- Bacon-Wrapped Pork Shish-Kabob - George's Fun Foods
- Ball Park Tots - Knucklehead
- Banana Boat - Knucklehead
- BBQ Pastrami Brisket Biscuit Sandwich - Usinger's
- Beer-Battered Bacon-Wrapped Cheddar Sausage On-a-Stick - Apollos
- Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders - Budweiser Pavilion Grill
- Bowtie Basil & Balls Walking Pasta - Pitch's BBQ & Miss Katie's Diner
- Breakfast Dog - Siggy's Wild Dogs Saloon
- Triple Threat Sliders On-a-Stick - Budweiser Pavilion
- Grill Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Siggy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese
- Buffalo Chicken Nachos - Slim's PBR Park
- Buffalo Mac & Cheese Quesadilla - Mexican Grill
- Caramel Macchiato Gelato - La Coppa Artisan Gelato
- Carne Asada Fries - Mexican Grill
- Cheddar Corn Dog - 3B Corn Dogs
- Chicken ChimiWrap - Slim's PBR Park
- Chicken Parmesan Sandwich - Albanese's Roadhouse
- Chocomela Nachos - La Coppa Artisan Gelato
- Cinna Dog - 3B Corn Dogs
- Cinnamon Caramel Apple Mini Donuts - The Donut Family
- Corn on the Beach - Tropics at the Fair
- Cricket Chips - All Things Jerky
- Cricket Nachos - All Things Jerky
- Deep-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Olives On-a-Stick - Fried Fruit & Fried Olives
- Deep-Fried Cherry Pie Wonton - Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill
- Deep-Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich Bites - Tropics at the Fair
- Deep-Fried Nutella -Granny's Cheesecake & More
- Door County Popper On-a-Stick - Door County Fish Boil
- Donut Ice Cream Sandwich - Grebe's Bakery
- Drunk Tots - Knucklehead
- Fat Elvis Shake Shake Shake - Slim's Lakefront Brew Pub & Eatery
- Fire Tots - Knucklehead
- Gator Breakfast Burrito - Exotic Meat Grill
- Goat Meat Wrap - Wisconsin Dairy Goat Products
- Great Balls of Fire Sandwich - Rupena's
- Grilled Garlic Butter Shrimp On-a-Stick - Shrimp Shack
- Grilled Ribeye Steak over Rice - Chan's Chicken On-a-Stick
- Housemade Cheddar Tots - Saz's BBQ
- Island Torpedo Sandwich - Tropics at the Fair
- Monkey Business - Saz's BBQ
- Mousse-Stuffed Gelato Cone - La Coppa Artisan Gelato
- New Zealand Green Shell Mussels by the Half Shell - Joey's Seafood & Grill
- Pastrami Beer-Brined Ribs (PBRs) - Slim's PBR Park
- PB&J Smoothee - Caribbean Smoothees
- Popcorn Shrimp - Shrimp Shack
- Pretzel-Wrapped Bratwurst - Gertrude's Pretzels
- Rancho Tots - Knucklehead
- Root Beer Pops - Sprecher Root Beer Everything
- Russian Imperial Stout Maple Bacon Cupcakes - Sprecher Landing
- Sangria On-a-Stick - Leadfoots Race Bar & Grill
- Southwest Chicken Nachos - Slim's PBR Park
- Spaghetti & Meatballs Mozzarella Sticks - Albanese's Roadhouse
- SPAM Fries - SPAM
- Spicy Cheese Curds & Chorizo Taco - Poncho Dog
- Strawberry Basil Wine Slushie - Slim McGinn's Irish Pub
- Steak Shish-Kabob - Butcher Boys
- Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos - Saz’s BBQ
- Swiss, Tomato & Spinach Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Siggy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese
- Three Little Pigs Bacon Ravioli - Brew City
- Triple Cross Tots - Knucklehead
- Unicorn Twinkie - 3B S’mores
- Wild Boar BLT Sandwich On-a-Stick - Exotic Meat Grill
- Wisconsin Cheese Curds & Brat Taco - Poncho Dog
- Yard Bird Nachos - Water Street Brewery
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.