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Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Turkey Donuts and Kangaroo Potstickers

We Sampled the Sad and the Sublime at the Wisconsin State Fair

turkeydonut
Turkey Donut
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Everyone has their favorite foods at the State Fair, the old standbys that they eat every year. Mine include the butterflied pork chop sandwich near the Coliseum, a cheeseburger from Major Goolsby's, and almost anything in the Wisconsin Products Pavilion, especially the apple cider donuts and the strawberry sundaes. But this year I decided it was time to branch out and try something new. These bites are not just new to me, but also new to the fair this year. I may just be adding something new to my regular fair rotation.

Deep Fried Racine Kringle – Bavarian Haus

 

This was the winner of the day. Four self-contained pieces of the kringle we all know and love, only deep fried instead of baked, then drizzled with vanilla sauce. If you loved toaster pastries as a kid, this is like the ultimate grown up version: crispy and flaky with a molten hot raspberry or cinnamon center. Deep frying should really be the default way to cook kringle from now on.


Verdict: A must try.

 

Deep Fried Maple Bacon Cookie Dough – Emma's Cookie Kitchen


Imagine oatmeal cookie dough mixed with crisp bacon pieces, rolled in thin pastry and fried crispy, topped with maple syrup and more bacon. It sounds like a lot going on, but it's a pretty gloriously gluttonous combination, which is of course what a state fair is all about. The cookie dough was thick with lots of cinnamon, and the smoked bacon helped to tame the sweetness. Maple was a great compliment to both the cookie dough and the bacon, but I wish there had been a little more of it on top. I was a little wary of this one, but it knocked my socks off.


Verdict: A dessert with bacon that actually works.

 

Dolce Panino – La Coppa Gelato


This little cup of gelato and cake won the coveted Sporky award this year, beating out the fried maple bacon cookie dough above, along with six other entries. It's a take on a PB&J sandwich, made with yellow cake, jam-like grape sauce, peanut butter gelato and thick frosting all layered in a cup. I was pleasantly surprised that the peanut butter gelato wasn't overly sweet, and the thick grape sauce was like a wonderful concord grape jam. The cake added some interesting texture, but the frosting was pretty superfluous. It would have been better if it wasn't pre-made and frozen solid, but waiting to eat it a couple minutes on a hot day should take care of that.


Verdict: Refreshing and not too sweet.

 

Southwest Pulled Pork and Slaw – Lakefront Brewpub and Eatery

 

This one confused me. I wrongly assumed that a dish described as pulled pork with pepperjack and slaw would come on a bun as a sandwich, but I was wrong. Instead, it was a plate of IPA-infused green chile pulled pork with the toppings, served with a fork. I guess if you're on the Atkins diet, this is the perfect meal. The pork itself wasn't too bad, but there was more beer flavor than green chile, and no heat to speak of. The pepperjack cheese really helped spice this one up.


Verdict: Low-carbers will love this.

 

Combo Plate with Snake Eggroll and Venison and Kangaroo Potstickers – Exotic Meats


At $10, you really have to want to try some interesting game meats to enjoy this one. Both the eggroll and potstickers were freshly fried and nicely crunchy, but the heavy generic Asian flavor to them all made them hard to swallow. The venison should be nothing new to most Wisconsinites, but the 'roo was pretty gamey. The snake really did taste like chicken and was a white meat, but it was really chewy.


Verdict: Perfect to feed your annoying, unwitting drunk friend.

 

Turkey Donut – Pommes Frites

I imagined so much potential for this one, and was greatly let down. A little bite of real turkey breast and cranberry covered in donut batter and fried sounds delicious. In reality, it was a stale, dry sugared donut, cut open and stuffed with some warmed deli meat and a squeeze of cranberry. Real turkey would have made this 100 percent better. As it is, it was just really sad.

Verdict: Get any other donuts at the fair.