America’s Best Foods on a Stick
Eating food off of sticks is as American as apple pie. And you know what’s even more American than that? Eating apple pie off of sticks!
Photo By: Jeff Marini
Photo By: PHOTO: Jason Greenspan
Tornado Potato at Stick-It Concessions, Ohio
Believed to have originated as a street snack in Seoul, Korea, Tornado Potatoes (also known as Spiral Spuds, Saratoga Swirls, Twisted Taters and Potato Springs) are now an American fair and festival favorite. Stick-It Concessions can be credited with disseminating the treat throughout Southeast Ohio, spiral-slicing Idaho tubers around 18-inch wooden skewers, deep-frying them until they're firmer than a French fry but less crisp than a chip, and seasoning them with ranch, dill, beer, bacon and cheddar, cinnamon and sugar or sour cream and chives.
S'more's on a Stick at The S'moremobile, Indianapolis
Seeing skewered, fire-toasted marshmallows to their obvious conclusion, this enterprising, on-the-move company constructs entire s’mores on a stick to serve throughout the Midwest; enrobing torched, foot-long towers of puffy candy with graham cracker crumbs and chocolate.
Lobster Tail on a Stick at Susan's Fish-n-Chips, Portland, Mai
While we' re suckers for an expertly executed fish n' chips, this New England seafood shack puts a Maine spin on the batter. While they may not get a shout-out in the business name, lobster is a definite draw at Susan's, especially when it's a platter of split tails strung on a stick and deep-fried.
Popsicles at Ozzie's Pops, Chicago
Ideally situated on Chicago’s Navy Pier, this ice pop shop serves more than 15 varieties of paletas (Mexican ice pops). Made on site daily with all-natural, seasonal ingredients, frozen treats include Lime Chia, Blueberry Basil, Toasted Coconut and Dulce de Leche, which can be dipped in chocolate and dusted in an array of toppings.
Key Lime Pie on a Stick at Key West Key Lime Pie Co., Florida
If you thought it was impossible to improve Key West's iconic dessert — which this company crafts solely from natural ingredients, and pure Key lime juice — check out their cooling pie on a stick; generous, tart and creamy slices, blanketed in rich, melted chocolate.
Tater Tot Hotdish on a Stick, Minnesota
The ideal combination of Americana and Scandinavia, the deep-fried casserole from Ole and Lena’s is well on its way to becoming a Minnesota State Fair icon (which is impressive at a fair hailed for its bizarre foods). To create the dish, the team skewers Swedish meatballs and tater tots, then dips them into corn dog batter before a dunk in the deep fryer. A side of mushroom hamburger sauce makes for the creamy casserole-style dip that’s truly Minnesotan.
Roscoe on a Stick at Cafe Habana, New York City
Sure you’ll find elote (skewered, Mexican-style street corn) at this string of eco-conscious cantinas, with locations in New York City, Malibu, New Orleans, Tokyo and Dubai. But what makes the restaurant truly distinct — besides solar and wheatboard paneling, extensive rainwater collection systems and bicycle-powered blenders for churning margaritas — is their quirky Roscoe on a Stick: fried chicken coated in waffle batter, skewered and dipped in maple syrup.
Alligator on Sticks at Harris Crab House, Grasonville, Maryland
Talk about a snack that bites back: alligator on a stick is a favorite at Harris Crab house. Family-run for five generations, this Chesapeake Bay destination offers a whole lot more than all-you-can-eat feasts of Maryland blue crabs. It would be a crying shame to miss their seriously savory alligator on sticks; lengths of tail meat marinated with mustard, garlic and hot sauce, and served with a side of chipotle mayo.
Kushiyaki at Onsen, San Francisco
San Francisco's elegant Onsen specializes in kushiyaki; the formal Japanese term for skewered and grilled foods. Drawing from the lush natural resources of the California region, dainty bites include local sardines with tamari and togarashi, Monterey squid with wasabi and lemon, and braised lamb trailed through dots of pungent mustard.
Giant Egg Rolls at Que Viet Concessions
How do you stand out at Minnesota's indulgent state fairs and festivals, alongside deep-fried, corned beef-stuffed tater tots, pepperoni chips paired with roasted red pepper queso, and barbecued banana splits? You take a cue from Que Viet Concessions, an offshoot of the Minneapolis restaurant Que Viet Village House, which has gained infamy with egg rolls bigger than a baby's head, just barely held aloft on wooden sticks.
Rabbit Rattlesnake Sausage at Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth
Celeb cowboy chef Tim Love is all about adding modern sophistication to Western cuisine. Which is why you’ll find unusual, gussied up proteins at his Texas flagship, Lonesome Dove, presented with a dose of irreverent Lone Star State fun — think nuggets of rabbit rattlesnake sausage skewered atop rounds of spicy manchego rosti.
Dosa Corn Dogs at Chauhan Ale & Masala House
New Delhi meets Nashville at this critically admired eatery, which is why it's unsurprising to see them take a stab at that American heartland favorite (and skewered food O.G.) the corn dog. Tidbits of lamb kebab are coated in ethereal dosa batter, and cleverly complemented with cooling mint chutney and sweet mango ketchup.
Impossible Meat Skewers at The Bowery, Long Island, New York
Being that this Long Island newcomer rocks a street fair and carnival theme, it only stands to reason that they boast an excess of skewered foods. In fact, there's an entire "Sticks" section on the menu, featuring bacon-wrapped corn, corn dogs, rounds of falafel strung with red pepper and cherry tomatoes and dressed with tahini, and even Impossible Burger kebabs, utilizing using the magical veggie product that looks, smells, cooks, tastes and even bleeds like meat.
Kaiseki at Mifune, New York City
It may just be one dish in a multi-course tasting at refined Japanese restaurant Mifune (run by a Michelin-starred chef), but this array of toothpicked tidbits — including Saikyo Misozuke Cream Cheese, Boiled Octopus, Sasa Sushi, Homemade Corn Tofu and Squid Shiso Tempura — will stay in your thoughts all night.
Fried Fruit at Fried Fruit and Fried Olives, Wisconsin
Working the state fair scene from Wisconsin to Minnesota, this deep-fried, skewer-focused concession stand has been family-run for more than 30 years. Inspired by daughter Alison (second generation) and her successful experiment of dropping a handful of grapes in the fryer, the business has only battered up to include apples, bananas, strawberries, peaches, pineapples and pears, dipped in batter and rolled in powdered sugar. And while not as obvious a sell as their previous pie-like concoctions, adding cream cheese-stuffed olives into the mix into 2013 also proved a winning maneuver.