Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs at the Hamline Church Dining Hall at the Minnesota State Fair

Tricia Cornell / Heavy Table

Sometimes in the chaos that defines our completist approach to Minnesota State Fair Food, we miss an item or two. Long lines (always a good sign, but logistically challenging) kept us from getting to the Wild Rice Cranberry Meatballs at the Hamline Church Dining Hall on Thursday, but we were able to make a second approach over the weekend and give them a shot.

 You know a good Swedish meatball by its silky texture and soft spring. These meatballs ($11 with side and either cornbread or a roll) get high marks in both departments. Wild rice should add a little … nutty flavor? Crunch? Texture? Something? And cranberries are hard to miss, right? Well, on both counts the wild rice and cranberries fell down on the job. These are excellent examples of Swedish meatballs, and the lingonberry sauce on the side is an appropriate companion; it’s just hard to tell them apart from the classic. But if sit-down food at the Fair is your thing, these are a good choice.

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