Local girl survives eating cronut… and returns to that very same place for a different burger, tarnished reputation be damned!
As is tradition, we returned to the CNE once more. I was having a hard time deciding what to eat. I kept changing my mind, contemplating the Behemoth (two grilled cheese sandwiches for buns) from Epic Burger. I was worried that it would be too much bread (4 buns!)- not that I would get poisoned, as the culprit was the bacon jam on the cronut burger (of which I took two bites, and then tossed aside the cronut bun complete with jam and ate just the burger patty with cheese, survival). I was also considering getting poutine from Bouchard’s, they had been at the CNE food building for a while and I still had not gotten around to trying it. It was agony, going over my options in my mind. I had to go to the source.
I left early so I could wander through the food building and look at all my options. I was also set on getting a coffee from Hula Girl, newly opened in the spot where the British food place had been (I never did get to try a haggis pie). For $3 I expected a much better coffee, the light roast was oddly bitter. Maybe I should have opted for a hand-pressed cup of coffee, there were two choices: one was $25 and the other $50. Insane. I love a good cup of coffee and am willing to pay a bit more but $50?! Maybe if it was the coffee wherein the beans are first eaten by a cat, upping the amount of labour involved. But really.
I was a bit peckish still, maybe because I was in the Food Building? As I wandered I wanted a snack. The 99 cent tacos caught my eye, but who wants tacos at 10am?! And besides, if I was getting tacos they would be from the Far East Taco Co. and judging by the price, these tacos were not meant as a post-breakfast snack. I debated getting something to nibble on from the Nutella stand but nothing there stood out, I could easily make most of those things at home (even more of them if I had a panini press). There was a new Swiss waffle and crepe stand (right around the corner from the competion) that had on offer a smore: homemade vanilla marshmallow with chocolate on a graham cracker, toasted. It was the perfect snack! And it was sold out. At 10:30am, they did not have the requisite supplies to make one for me. In the end I walked out with just a coffee and a craving I could not pinpoint. It worked out because as I walked towards the Dufferin Gates I passed by a McCain sample truck handing out free pieces of cake, carrot cake, but cake nonetheless (it was not that good).
Sitting around on a muskoka chair by the entrance, waiting for my family, I noticed a small crowd gathering around behind me. They were getting the birds of prey ready for the show. I was intrigued… and terrified. They were giant and I had watched The Birds way too many times to be comfortable with a giant bird so close to me. Not helping matters was when Lucy told me to pose for a photo and the guy brought the giant turkey vulture right up behind me. I was actually shaking a little.
After wandering the arts & crafts building for what felt like hours we finally breaked for lunch, but not before stopping for some more McCain cake. FYI: their “new” recipe has managed to ruin even their chocolate cake. I am really not sure why I grabbed a coupon. Camilla had to leave and she was not back yet, Lucy was not as keen on sharing a large amount of weird food. It took some convincing but I got her to split chowdah fries from Jake’s with me (of course we left about half of it for Camilla). I queued up next door at Epic Burger for a Behemoth burger, I caved, I had to do it. I ordered it with no lettuce and no tomatoes, added bacon (which they forgot).
The Behemoth was difficult to bite into (I would really benefit from a snake-inspired jaw modification) but once I got into it, it was rather delicious. It covered cravings for salty and umami and the bread kept it from going overboard. However there were bites where it was just bun and cheese… it was bad. So bad, just dry and horrible. Maybe if it had been an artisinal bun and some fancy-shmancy cheese, but no: it was a bite of Wonderbread and Kraft cheese slices i.e.: a nightmare. Needless to say I did not eat that last little bite where it was bun-cheese-bun-bun-cheese-bun. Plus, I had a mountain of chowdah fries to work on. It was a good idea, pour clam chowder on fries, inspired by poutine no less. Bacon bits on top and actual pieces of clam? Bonus points for that. Alas, there is the disconcerting feeling of “my fries taste kind of fishy” that is hard to get around. These fries would benefit from portion control. If the order had been half the size, it would have been delightful, alas it was too much towards the end. The fries never did get soggy somehow.
On my way back from the bathrooms, I could not resist stopping at a deep-fried stand, partly because the smores situation from before had not changed. It’s just not a trip to the CNE without something deep-fried. I had realized that I never tried the deep-fried Twix, and that was about the only appealing thing this year. Until I had placed my order and was standing there waiting for my Twix bars. I looked over the stall next door and realized: they had deep-fried cola. It was back, alas without its counterpart deep-fried Kool-Aid, and not sold out! Calamity!!! Why had I not been more observant?! Why was I not at the CNE with more people/people who liked deep-fried novelties?! Why do I not have double-stomach capacity?!?!?!? I think I would have been better off with the cola. The Twix was not deep-fried well, as most things I have had at the CNE (except for corn dogs, hot dogs and cheesecake). They had the oil on too high a temperature (explains the short wait) thus the chocolate and caramel melted into the batter. Biting into it, you got batter, an air pocket and a surprisingly still crispy (making it dangerous, as the first half of the bite is soft & chewy) cookie. It was a dangerous snack. And not just to my heart.
Needless to say I was not hungry for the cheap candy they always have in the At Home Pavilion. However, the satiety did not last that long. In only a few short hours I found myself inexplicably hungry again, it was like I was on vacation. It was time for Far East Taco Co.! I was encouraged by the really long line-up, that meant it had to be good right? At the very least it gave me time to contemplate my choices, but that took no time at all, the choice was clear: two tacos, one spicy pork & kimchi, one beef bulgogi. After about 20 minutes I finally returned to my family, they had all eaten and were eager to try a bite of mine, given how long I had waited for it. The spicy pork & kimchi blew the bulgogi away. In fact it blew just about everything I have ever eaten at the CNE (and others not from the CNE) away. It lived up to its name with a nice spicy kick to it. The bulgogi was bland and almost flavourless, borderline tasting like plain boiled beef.
Alas due to the long wait at the taco stand I had no time to get deep-fried cola for dessert as had been planned before. I had to leave early, as I was to get up at 4am to write my G* exam. Still, I could not leave the CNE without dessert. Turns out self-serve Yogen Fruz is quickly becoming a tradition, unless they are not there next year.