I've been going to the Iowa State Fair since I was in diapers, and yet the cuisines there never cease to surprise me.
- From delicious to daring to downright dastardly, fair foods prove once again that they are the true crown winners.
Below are a smattering of thoughts on the menu items that piqued my interest:
Loaded Crab Bites — $8
Our take: Crab cakes can get soggy, but these delectable bites have a crisp breading to them that's satisfying to bite through.
- The crab meat filling has a mildly sweet seafood taste that's accentuated through the salty bacon bits on top. Cheese and sour cream are musts.
Where you can find it: PO-Boy off Rock Island Ave.
Flamin' Hot Cheeto Funnel Cake — $10
Our take: This is the eyebrow-raising weird food that challenges your palette.
- On first bite, the taste was most similar to a walking taco — mild spice, lots of nacho cheese sauce and a few jalapeños on top.
- Not bad, but I'll stick with a sweet rather than savory funnel cake.
Where you can find it: The Best Around Funnel Cake off Grand Ave.
Tennessee Twinkies — $10
Our take: This will satisfy your salty, savory craving without pushing you over the edge.
- What makes this dish over the top without needing a gimmick (other than the name) are the ingredients used: jalapeños stuffed with smoked chicken, cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with barbecue sauce.
- But for $10 — don't expect it to fill you up.
Where you can find it: Chicken City outside the Susan Knapp Amphitheater.
Bacon Mac Dog — $6
Our take: Very reminiscent of my childhood Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with cut-up hot dogs, but messier.
- The hot dog was great. The mac and cheese, not so much.
Where to find it: Stockman's Inn off Rock Island Ave.
Peanut Butter and Fluff Cookie Dough — $6
Our take: The satisfying crunch of the chocolate shell, combined with salty peanut butter and frozen cookie dough makes this a winner.
- I'm a sugar fiend, but this dessert is so rich you'll need to share with a couple of friends — or risk a stomachache.
Where to find it: Dipped in Chocolate outside the Livestock Pavilion.
Chicken Egg Salad with Indian Fry Bread — $8
Our take: If you're needing a fresh retreat from heavy fair food, this chicken egg salad does the trick, while also filling you up.
- The slightly sweet salad has a nice crunch to it, thanks to the cabbage slaw and crisp celery.
- Serving it on a fried flatbread adds a twist to the Midwest summer classic. Solid new food.
Where to find it: Cluckin' Coop near the Midway entrance.
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