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13 Must-try New Foods at Summerfest

Jun. 8, 2017
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Summerfest recently revealed this year's new food lineup, and there's practically a new item for each of the fest's 50 years in business. I was able to try some of the new foods at a public event, and well, not all of them are praise-worthy. “Assorted bags of Frito-Lay snacks,” for example, are not exciting, though they are counted in the long list of new foods. So I went through the list for you, and picked out the 13 most noteworthy options.

Wong's Wok: Kowloon Beef

This is one item I was able to sample, and it was surprisingly delicious, even if a big hunk of beef might not scream “festival.” The beef is marinated in a sauce that's similar to teriyaki, with garlic and ginger, then skewered and grilled. Order it by itself or as part of a plate with fried rice or other goodies.


Trinity Three Irish Pubs: Deep South Twister Dog

Take a Usinger's smoked sausage, put it on a stick, wrap it in spiral-sliced sweet potato and fry it. Then load it up with pimento cheese sauce, beer braised onions, chipotle ketchup and pickled peppers. You had me at “pimento cheese.”


Martino's: Pretzilla Pretzel with Pine River Beer Cheese

OK, so this one's just (really good) soft pretzels, but it's the cheese spread that's the standout. Pine River recently swept a bunch of Wisconsin cheese awards, and I can vouch that their spread is delicious. If you've never tried any of them, now's your chance.


Louise's Trattoria: Short Rib Arancini

Homemade parmesan risotto is mixed with wine-braised short ribs, rolled into balls and deep fried. It's topped with truffle cream sauce, because why not?


Saz's Dockside: Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos

Fresh jalapenos are stuffed with BBQ pork and cheddar, then wrapped in bacon, deep-fried and served with spicy white BBQ sauce. Two kinds of pork and hot peppers? Count me in.

Saz's Dockside: Cheddar Potato Tots with BBQ Pork

Hefty potato and cheddar balls are breaded and deep fried, then topped with BBQ sauce, pulled pork and chives. It's one substantial boat of food.


Saz's Dockside: Deep Fried Bread Pudding Bites Ice Cream Sundae

Saz's is clearly on a roll this year. Three hunks of homemade vanilla bread pudding are deep fried and topped with Cedar Crest ice cream and sea salt caramel. Fried desserts and ice cream are irresistible together.


Water Street Brewery: Yard Bird Nachos

These nachos use crispy chicken cracklins instead of tortilla chips, perhaps in the name of low-carb eating, but sounds like a good switch to me. They're topped with cheesy mashed potatoes, which is kind of weird for nachos, but also BBQ pulled chicken, corn salsa and pickled peppers. Perhaps this is more like a KFC bowl than nachos?


Angelo's: Stuffed Pasta Pizza

For carb lovers only. A deep dish garlic and Romano pizza crust is filled with penne pasta, homemade meatballs and Italian sausage, red sauce and mozzarella cheese.


Mader's: Beer Battered Bratwurst on a Stick

There's no incarnation of brats that Milwaukeeans don't love. A Usinger's brat is dipped in a German lager beer batter, deep-fried and served with kraut and pickles. It's like a corndog, only German.


Cedar Crest: Waffle Nachos Hot Fudge Sundae

Vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, whipped cream, and little rounds of waffle cone that you dip in the sundae. It's basically a waffle cone with hot fudge, but who doesn't like waffle cones? This is better for sharing.


Vagabond: Flamin' Hot Cheetos Tacos

MKE cannot be behind on the Flamin' Hot Cheetos trend. Two tacos are filled with chili, smoked brisket, serrano crema, pickled red pepper, cheese curds and Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Sounds like a mouthful.


Vagabond: Deep-Fried Mojito

Not to be outdone by last year's deep fried old fashioned, they turn a different drink into dessert form. Lime rum flavored cake is stuffed with a mint cream cheese filling, battered and fried. It's topped with lime rum flavored syrup and mint whipped cream.


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