We asked two Des Moines chefs, George Formaro and Jacob Demars, to taste and rate 10 new foods at the 2019 Iowa State Fair. Wochit


Once again, we took two Des Moines chefs out to the opening day of the Iowa State Fair to taste and rate new foods for 2019. 

George Formaro, chef-partner at Orchestrate Hospitality, and Jacob Demars, chef-owner of the upcoming eatery R I Restaurant in Windsor Heights, joined me to taste and rate the top new foods. 

This time, we included the top eight that were introduced to the masses in July, plus two "chef's choice" items. The chefs rated the foods on a scale from 1 to 5 corn dogs, with 5 being the best score. 

Download the Des Moines Register Fair Food Finder app: iPhone | Android | on the Web.

More: Your guide to food, concerts and fun at the Iowa State Fair, plus all the photos

Here are the new foods the chefs tasted, their reactions and scores:

Berkshire Bacon Balls

Quarter-pound Berkshire pork meatballs, stuffed with cheese and bacon, wrapped with two pieces of bacon, smoked and dipped in barbecue sauce, served on a stick. 

Demars: "It's kind of just everything you want at the fair." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Formaro: "They nailed the texture on it. It screams Iowa. All of these ingredients are very Iowan." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Find Berkshire Bacon Balls north of the Varied Industries Building for $9.

Lemon Peppermint Sipper

A lemon with a soft peppermint stick.

Demars: "It's fast, refreshing and simple. The peppermint goes well with the lemon. It becomes a peppermint lemonade. But my straw didn't work." (Score: 4 corn dogs)

Formaro: "I got my dose of vitamin C in. This is perfect for a hot day. It totally works." (Score: 4 corn dogs)

Find the Lemon Peppermint Sipper at Campfire Cones & Lemon Sippers west of the Varied Industries Building for $3.

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

Fresh, hand-tossed dough with sweet chili sauce and apricot preserves, mozzarella, cheddar and cream cheese, topped with crisp bacon, fresh green jalapeno slices and

more cheese.

Formaro: "You can taste the ingredients individually. It's not a pizza for a pizza snob, but it's a pizza-eater's pizza." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Demars: "I have to stop because I'll eat the whole thing. You can't say 'no' to bacon." (Score: 4.5 corn dogs)

Find the Jalapeno Popper Pizza at Leimon's Pizzeria west of the Jacobson Exhibition Center for $5.

More: 12 weird and wacky new Iowa State Fair foods and drinks we can't wait to try

Georgie’s Roast with the Most Wrap!

A cheddar tortilla wrap with tender beef pot roast, a white rice mixture containing chorizo sausage crumbles, roasted green chiles, cheddar Jack cheese, candy corn salsa, crispy corn tortilla crumbles and a sour cream drizzle with zesty salsa verde sauce on the side.

Formaro: "It has a comforting, satisfying flavor, but eats light. The combination of flavors had great elements of Tex-Mex that I like." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Demars: "It's not messy and easy to handle. I had to put it down and stop eating it." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Find Georgie’s Roast with the Most Wrap! at G Mig's Wrap Stand, southeast of the Varied Industries Building for $10. Gluten-free wraps are available at an additional cost.

The Chief

A new creation of Navajo barbecue fried bread with slow-smoked beef brisket, topped with cilantro-lime slaw and a salsa cream drizzle.

Demars: "The slaw adds a light crispness. It will be hard to try other foods after this." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Formaro: "I'm surprised it took this long for something like this to make it to the fair. The brisket shimmers with juice." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Find The Chief at The Rib Shack on the north side of Walnut Square for $8. A slow-smoked pork option is also available.

Corn Dog Ale

Brewed with 150 pounds of hot dog buns and cornbread, this slightly smoky, mildly sweet brew has a distinctive cornbread-y flavor and 5.5% ABV. 

Demars: "It's way lighter than I thought it would be. It tasted lighter for a darker beer and has a nice, toasty flavor. It's unexpected." (Score: 4 corn dogs)

Formaro: "It's not heavy. It's on the light side and great to pair with a lot of fair foods. You can drink a lot of this without being too full." (Score: 4.5 corn dogs)

Find the Corn Dog Ale at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent on Rock Island Ave. for $8.

More: We tried Slipknot's new No. 9 Iowa Whiskey from Cedar Ridge Distillery

Pete's Steak Popper

Jalapeno pepper stuffed with smoked brisket and cheddar cheese, wrapped in steak.

Formaro: "It's a nice alternative to something fried. It has state fair flavors. The meat, cheese and spice work." (Score: 4.5 corn dogs)

Demars: "It's a bit spicy for me, but if someone wants spicy, it's perfect. It's great for a quick snack and has a lot of flavors. It packs a punch." (Score: 4 corn dogs)

Find Pete's Steak Popper at Jalapeno Pete's Beer and Food on Grand Ave. in front of Midway for $6.

The Colossus

Three hamburger patties, three Italian sausage patties, 10 ounces of mac and cheese, six strips of bacon, three slices of American cheese and three slices of pepper Jack cheese, secured on a 10-inch muffuletta bun.

Formaro: "This could feed a village. The sausage is my favorite flavor and the bun holds it all together. It's a definite nod to state fair hamburgers." (Score: 4.5 corn dogs)

Demars: "The sausage makes it great. The cheese sauce is done correctly. If you fancy yourself a competitive eater, you can challenge yourself with this." (Score: 4.5 corn dogs)

Find The Colossus at The Bird's Nest Beer and Food, east of Fairview Stage for $25.

Chicken Street Tacos

Grilled chicken, sliced thin and covered with fresh corn salsa and a sweet and salty lime mist, held together with a flour tortilla. A sweet pepper sour cream sauce is drizzled over the top.

Demars: "The corn and grilled chicken is a good combination. The sauce isn't too sweet. It's just the right kind of hot. The corn is delicious." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Formaro: "I can see why these are so popular. It totally works. And this tortilla works perfectly for these." (Score: 5 corn dogs)

Find the Chicken Street Tacos at Chicken City on Grand Ave., south of Susan Knapp Amphitheater, for $9. 

More: Iowa State Fair announces 3rd new foods finalist competing for the People's Choice award — Here's how to vote for your favorite

The top new food at the Iowa State Fair for 2019 has yet to be determined. From now until August 12, you can taste all three foods and cast your vote on the Iowa State Fair website and app.

The winner will be announced on Aug. 15 during the Fair. But all the new foods will be available to enjoy until the last day of the fair on August 18.

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The Register's Brian Taylor Carlson breaks down all of this year's new fair foods and tells you which ones to try! Des Moines Register

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