Sunday, August 17, 2014
Let's Eat at the EX
It's the end of the first weekend of the Canadian National Exhibition and I am finally getting to writing this post about Opening Day at the CNE. I try to go to the Ex at least once a year to check out the food and sometimes the music artists. I skip the stomach wrenching rides and the money burning games and head straight for the Food Building to see what's new in food weirdness.
This year only had a couple of weird things and a few sort of new ideas.
This year some of the New Food Items were:
1. Cocoa Fried Chicken - (Coco fried chicken) this one doesn't sound right to me, although people put honey on fried chicken and waffles but for some reason this one doesn't appeal to me even though I love fried chicken and chocolate.
2. Smore's BAO - (Far East Taco) I kind of get this one and might of tried it if I had more room in my stomach. It's a white steamed Bao bun filled with Smore's fixings like Marshmallow, chocolate and graham crackers. I guess it just makes it portable because I am not sure the Bao is really necessary. To me a case of if it's not broke why add a Bao bun?
3. Butter Coffee - (Hula Girl Espresso) I did try a small sample of this one and didn't really find anything weird about it. It was from Hula Girl.
4. Crowbar - (Hula Girl Espresso) This is this year's (Cronut) it's basically a new version of Pain au Chocolate, it's a chocolate bar stuck in a croissant. I tried the Caramilk bar Crowbar. This was also from Hula Girl. It was good but I think the basic Dark Chocolate Pain au Chocolate is a lot better.
5. Thanksgiving Waffle - (Fran's) This is one that I really wanted to try but it was massive and if I would have had this I probably wouldn't have been able to eat anything else. Although it really smelled good and I would love to go back just to try it another time. It consists of a stuffing waffle with turkey on top with gravy and cranberry relish. This one makes sense to me but I would probably want it more if it wasn't supposed to be summer right now. This one is from Fran's, it was there first year ever at the CNE.
6. Elvis Grilled Cheese (Coffee Zone) - I didn't see this one but it's located in the Midway section. A grilled cheese with Bacon and peanut butter and I think it has banana in it too. Not so original as Elvis was eating them years ago but I guess new to the Midway of the Ex.
7. Spicy Peanut Butter Sriracha Rolls (Fran's Restaurant) - I was curious to try this one but wasn't too sure and thought I might go back to try it but didn't.
Ok, so I only tried a couple of things out of this new foods list and I liked them but wasn't blown away by them.
What else did I eat? I went for the not so well known Dutch Frites, I met the guys behind the Dutch Frites booth at the TOFoodFest where they told me they were going to be at the CNE this year so I hit up their booth first thing before I got too stuffed on other things. I sampled their frites at the TOFoodFest and decided to get a full, although it was a small order of Frites with a side of the garlic mayo. I was going to get the Poutine but thought it would have done me in for other food but I would recommend that if you want to try the full on flavours. Dutch frites are twice cooked fries. They fry them twice to make them crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The ones I had at the TOFoodFest seemed to be cooked a bit better than the ones at the CNE though but if you like good fries it's worth a try.
These frites filled me up but I continued on my Carb loading and had the Crowbar after these and then I was fully carbed out and wandered around the buildings where I stumbled on the Cheese Tasting seminars. Can't walk passed cheese without having some so I sat in on a cooking demo one, although it was more of an assembling demo. They made an appetizer of an endive leaf with beets, a piece of cheese and a radish slice. I went back for the cheese demo where they sample 6 different kinds of cheese. They also had cheese samples outside of the booth where they were selling some of the cheeses. So I stuffed my face on some really tasty cheese. My favourite was the 5 year old cheddar. I really wanted to buy some but didn't want to carry cheese around the EX. I did win a Black Cheese Apron for answering one of their trivia questions but I would rather carry around an apron than Cheese.
So after having my carb load at the Food Building and then some cheese loading at one of the other buildings it was time to continue wandering. I really wanted to try some more food but only had room for one more of my traditional food stops at the CNE. Yes the classic ICE CREAM WAFFLE. It's such a simple thing but the combination of a fresh hot waffle and some cold Vanilla Ice Cream just seems to work and I was ok with the ice cream melting down my arm while I was eating it because the taste is simply good.
I would have loved to get a bunch of things to go to try the next day. Maybe they should have a take out section next year. I would be into that. I did take home one thing though. When I started wandering around the Food Building I saw a great fudge booth with a bunch of different flavours. I picked up this delicious piece of fudge that I have been nibbling on for the past few days but I forget what this flavour was called but I can tell you it's yummy.
One of the other Carb heavy foods that entices you as you wander around the midway is the smell of the roasted corn. I like my corn roasted without the husk but the smell of the corn roasting makes you salivate for one. I skipped it but I suppose it's one of the healthier carb options at the EX.
I guess there isn't much of a demand for salads at the EX because they don't have smells that waft through out the walk around the CNE grounds
One of the other attention grabbing foods that I spotted while walking around were these Flinstone sized Turkey legs. They brushed them with BBQ sauce. I guess they are catering to the Big Meaty guys with this one. Although it was a woman that I saw purchasing one. Can you imagine a woman chomping on a turkey leg while wandering down the Midway.
They did look good though.
The last thing that I had was a bit of a disappointment. It was this large lemonade. I love having ice cold lemonade in the summer but this stand gave me sugar water. I could barely taste any lemon and pretty much tasted a spoonful of sugar in a little water and ice. I think I just picked the wrong lemonade vendor because I have had lemonade at these big yellow lemon stands before and it was great. This one not so much.
That was it for my food adventure at the EX. The only other thing I had was a Tim Horton's Ice Cap while walking around in the sun in the afternoon. The one thing to note is they don't sell small sizes at the EX so I had to get the medium size which contributed to me not having room in my stomach to try more foods. If I go back again before the end of this season I will try and have a lot more variety of foods although I think the CNE foods tend to be super Carb heavy. Cheap, easy, filling and addictive. Not a great place for someone that is on a low carb diet.
It was the perfect day to go to the EX. It's was the Opening Day on a friday when it was only $8 for admission. The regular price is $18. It was also not super jam packed so it was comfortable to walk around and not get run over by strollers or people carrying large stuffed animals. There were also no long lineups for food and other things which was amazing. I have never been there on opening day before and really found it great.
Here are some other pics that I took at the EX that day. I really love all the colors and lights.
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