Come for the music, stay for the sriracha cauliflower bites

Only one food venue and two beverage bars are new to Summerfest this year, but 24 new food items and 35 new drinks — including caramel apple popcorn — will satisfy experimenters. Here are some highlights:

What to Drink

2 New Beverage Stations

Near the new Pizza Man location will be a second Red Bull Bar, offering cocktails that incorporate the popular energy drink. Or swing by the BMO Harris Pavilion to check out the new Vintage 1968 Wine Bar, featuring wine by the glass or bottle.

New Beers

As far as new beers go, most of the new additions are new wines and beers, like Lakefront Lager. The Watermelon Gose from Terrapin also caught my eye: “Watermelon aroma and flavor is complemented with a distinct lactic tartness and saltiness that is true to style.” Sounds worth a taste!

The Main Event

Pizza Man

Pizza Man, the sole new food venue of Summerfest 2019, will offer eggplant fries as well as pizza by the slice or whole. Their three locations (Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and Oak Creek) offer the eggplant fries on the menu, served with either marinara or ranch. The Summerfest version will be smaller and cheaper ($5 instead of $9), but still offered with sauces. Get your pizza and eggplant fries at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater Forecourt.

Venice Club

A meatball sandwich without the mess? Yes, please. Try Venice Club’s new Meatball Cone, aka the “Conewich.” The bread cone is filled with Italian meatballs, sauce and cheese… no mess included.

Cousins Subs

Cousins Subs is adding two new menu items to its current sub sandwich offerings: the Piggy Mac Sub and the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. The Piggy Mac Sub includes the Wisconsin mac and cheese (shredded Parmesan and white cheddar, which you can order by itself), pulled pork, smoked gouda, bacon and sautéed onions — all on Italian bread. Carbs on carbs, plus pulled pork — the best of combinations, especially in Wisconsin.

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Saz’s will be selling sriracha cauliflower bites for the first time. The bites, served with mojito lime sauce, according to Summerfest, will be sold at Saz’s Miller Lite Oasis location.

Ward’s House of Prime

And if fresh Wisconsin cheese curds don’t cut it for you, Ward’s House of Prime will offer deep fried cheese curds for the first time this year to hungry Summerfest attendees.

For Dessert

Little Sweetie’s Special Treat Wagon

Concert-goers with a sweet tooth should try Little Sweetie’s Special Treat Wagon’s new popcorn flavors: unicorn popcorn and caramel apple corn. Unicorn corn, you ask? It’s a multi-colored popcorn mix — think blue, purple and green — that tastes like Fruity Pebbles cereal, according to a representative from Fazio’s Gourmet Popcorn. Fazio’s, which owns the Little Sweetie’s wagon, will also be selling cheesy caramel corn and tubs of popcorn for the first time.

BelAir Cantina

BelAir Cantina, which set up shop with Summerfest just last year, is adding popsicles from Pete’s Pops as a dessert offering — including flavors like salted watermelon, raspberry lime and Georgia peach. For those who field questions about their salt-and-watermelon habits, these popsicles might quiet the haters.

Dippin’ Dots

If you’re sticking with dessert, try Dippin’ Dots’ two new flavors: Brownie Batter and Cool Mint Crunch. If it were up to me, I’d try a mix of those two!