Taste of Minnesota's Andy Faris on what's new at this year's music & food blowout

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Taste of Minnesota kicks off Friday (we leave it up to you to decide whether the music is worth the price of admission), so we asked Andy Faris, one of the managing partners of Taste, what red, white, and blue foods would be for sale and what exactly "Manfood 101" will teach attendees.

1. Who are the new food vendors this year?
There are 12 new restaurants participating in Taste this year:
• Barrio
• Bubba Gump
• Crave
• Decoy's Grill and Bar
• Famous Dave's
• Joe's Crab Shack
• Kabob Shack
• Safari Kenya
• Seven Sushi
• The Liffey
• The Tea Garden
• Summit beer

2. What new food items should attendees keep an eye out for? Which are you excited to try?
Crave is serving a Minnesota Roll complete with smoked walleye. Barrio will be featuring fried mahi-mahi tacos with citrus-cucumber pico de gallo. Bennett's Chop and Railhouse will serve tenderloin steak sandwiches. There'll be ribs and wings from Famous Dave's, gyros from Holy Land, Juicy Lucys from the 5-8 Club, firecracker shrimp from Seven, wood-fired pizzas and much, much more. Can you tell I'm excited about the food at this year's Taste?

3. If we're trying to follow a patriotic color scheme in our food chocies, can you recommend one white, one red, and one blue food that will be available at Taste?
White food would have to be a walleye fillet from the Walleye Wagon, red food would be BBQ ribs from Famous Dave's or Bennett's, and for a blue food I'd recommend a fresh-fruit smoothie from Maui Wowi.

4. I see there's a food presentation on "Manfood 101." Can you give us a sneak preview?
"Manfood 101" by Food University will be an entertaining cooking session on how to serve up super chicken wings and a chili/nacho dish. Claudine Pepin, the daughter of legendary chef Jacques Pepin, and Karl Benko, a chef and restaurant consultant, will host the session and provide food samples to people who stop by.

5. How far in advance do the organizers start to contact food vendors for next year's Taste of Minnesota?
Within days of this year's Taste of Minnesota ending.


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