Thanksgiving Waffles, Elvis Sundaes, and other new (and terrifying) State Fair foods
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With the gut-busting, people-watching expo that is Summerfest thankfully in our rear view mirror, Milwaukee is now between behemoth festivals. Fortunately, another massive 11-day ordeal is waiting just past the horizon: The Wisconsin State Fair returns August 1-11. While the massive fair offers performances by respected entertainers (and Vince Neil) and livestock competitions, the main draw of the State Fair is its food.
In recent years, the event’s culinary offerings have advanced well beyond hamburgers, corn on the cob, and its iconic cream puffs. In fact, a staggering 60 new items will be on hand (and, often, on stick) for fairgoers to masticate. While some are sweet, others are salty, and many are shamelessly excessive in caloric content and number of species incorporated, all new food offerings have one thing in common: They’re all terrible for you. Here are some highlights we found.
If there exists a limit to the amount of combinations possible to mix chocolate, whipped cream, confectioners sugar, cinnamon, peanut butter, honey glaze, cream cheese, iced cream, and fried dough, State Fair vendors haven’t even scraped the creamy, sugar-laden, caramelized surface. However, the event is marching—well, wearily waddling—closer to the pantheons of pastry and pastry-like completion with new offerings like the oh-so futuristic Dippin’ Dots Float, regional future favorite Beer Donuts (with choice of Miller Lite, Summer Shandy, and Honey Weiss), Brioche Con Gelato (and, elsewhere, Gelato On A Stick), Cinnamon Knots, Fruit And Muffin Parfaits, and Iced Irish Coffee Floats.
But the new dessert that truly captures the indulgent spirit of the event is none other than the Elvis Sundae. The edible homage to the fat-era King is described as “A scoop of Purple Door Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream with a chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, whipped cream then topped with an ‘Elvis’ (Reese’s peanut butter cup deep fried in banana butter).” It sounds worth dying on the toilet for.
If you love animal protein, Wisconsin State Fair will make your heart grow three sizes... before eventually exploding and instantly killing you. Though the number of new foods containing the word “brat,” “burger,” or “chicken” in their names isn’t all too shocking, a great deal of them have inventive incorporations of fair favorites into tasty-sounding amalgams. Try reading the description of the Reuben Brat On A Pretzel Roll without drooling. The same can be said for Frosted Flakes Chicken On-A-Stick, Breakfast “Brat-Eat-O,” and Beer-Battered Deep Fried Sliders. (We’ll probably take a pass on the Cajun Frog Legs On-A-Stick.)
There was a time when adding a slice of bacon to a cheeseburger seemed wacky and altogether irresponsible. Now we live in a state whose annual fair famously peddles chocolate covered bacon. Soon, attendees will be able to obtain bacon-wrapped bacon on a stick... made of bacon. Until that fateful day, people will be forced to settle for such piggy delicacies as Beer-Battered Macaroni & Cheese Bites With Jack Cheese And Bacon, Bacon Brat On-A-Stick, Beer-Battered Bacon-Wrapped Cheddar Hot Dog On-A-Stick, a Cedar Crest Ice Cream Better With Bacon Bar, Hot Pretzel With Bacon And Chocolate Sauce, and the just plain fucked-up-sounding Deep Fried Peanut Butter & Bacon Nuggets With Berry Weiss Jelly. Of the 60 new items, one-sixth of them have the word bacon in the name—one-fifth if you include items with words “Pig Candy” in the title.
Why? I mean, we’ll take two, but why?
Some of the new menu items are difficult to classify due to their odd nature or through the questionable insertion of a stick. Of these, some of the highlights we spy are Thanksgiving Waffle (a waffle mixed with turkey, stuffing, Craisins, gravy, and mashed potatoes), Steak & Egg On-A-Stick, Rasta Shrimp Sliders, Pizza Nachos, Krispy Kreme Burger With Spicy Pig Candy, Garlic Buttered New Potatoes On-A-Stick, and Deep Fried Nachos. One less-than-appealing option is the “Slaw-Tered” Chicken, which uses a morbid pun to indicate that it mixes coleslaw with chicken to serve up a new food, with a complimentary side of reality thrown in for free (and without being requested).
Umm... unless you can convince a Chan’s Chicken On-A-Stick vendor to remove the fried rice from your vegetable fried rice, we’re pretty sure there are plenty of nearby restaurants you can visit before or after your State Fair experience. Good luck.