Even though I had missed opening day this year at CNE, I was still psyched about going. I had a rather long list of foods I wanted to try. I had to write them down because I kept forgetting. I got to calling it my passport. (Yes, I regret not having actually made up a fake passport to carry around, maybe next year). Before I could start on any of the new contenders there was a bit of housekeeping to take care of. Last year I had missed out on the smores bao from Far East Taco Co., as the line was too long and it was too late in the day for me. I was not even sure if they would have it this year, as the media were all aflutter about the banana split bao (bananas, gross). My sister wanted to get tacos for lunch and lucky day! They still had smores bao on the menu! I needed a snack to hold me over on my walk through the food building to my lunch choice after all. (I know, excuses right?) The smores bao was delicious and the bun was so light and fluffy. The best part was that the bun itself was not sweet, thus the addition of Nutella and marshmallow fluff was perfectly balanced. Had it been a sweet bun, I would probably still be in a food coma right now instead of writing.
My other sister had been planning on getting the spaghetti and meatball burger, but at the last minute she bailed for fear of it being gross and making her sick. I briefly considered bailing on my plans and getting that instead. But the idea of a burger patty, a breaded chicken cutlet, cheese and sauces all between two beef patties proved far too tempting! And so I found myself in line at Bub’s Badass Burgers. The bad boy burger was quite heavy. It had a toothpick holding everything in place. Before I bit in, I noticed that there was a tomato at the bottom. I flipped the burger over, tossed out the tomato and then proceeded to attempt to eat it. The first bite was a difficult one, as I have a normal sized mouth. It was difficult to get everything in one bite, it took a few mini-bites to get all the ingredients. But man was it tasty. It hit so many craving spots. Even sweet, the chicken cutlet had a sweet sauce. It was fun to eat- to a point. Eventually my hands were entirely covered in sauce and grease. The burger had lost any and all structural integrity and was quickly disintegrating into a sopping, greasy mess. I could not finish the last bite, which was mostly a variety of greases.
The smores bao did not count as dessert, as it was had before the main course. It was really more of an appetizer. Dessert proper was from the deep-fried place: red-velvet battered, double-stuff Oreos. Deep-fried of course, and finally topped off with a cream cheese icing. Each bite was a little piece of heaven. I did not think that deep-fried Oreos could become any tastier, but I was soon proven wrong. Looking back, it seems so obvious. Of course double-stuff Oreos would be even better than regular Oreos. The double icing holds up well during deep-frying and is actually discernible in a bite. One was enough however.
I needed a break from eating, so we took to shopping. The shopping was not as good as previous years (and it gets steadily worse each year). After the acrobatic-and-aerial show I was hungry again (it had been almost two hours now!). Up next on my food passport was cake poutine. As it turns out they were set up in the At Home Pavillion. The choice was clear: smores for the win! The concept, so simple, yet so brilliant. The fries in the poutine: chopped up strips of vanilla cake. The gravy: chocolate sauce. And the cheese curds? Marshmallows!!! Another very light dessert, and also easy to share. I’d be lying if I said I ate the whole thing (just like the Oreos, which came in 3s, perfect for three sisters).
After some more shopping and another acrobatic show, I found my stomach gurgling (I assume from hunger). Back to the food building for one last round!!! I found myself in a rather long line (which shortened quickly as 4 people in front of me bailed), that was thankfully moving quickly. I was at Bacon Nation, awaiting a bacon-wrapped grilled cheese. I had high hopes for this dish. Simple and a staple, deep-fried and done to excess (as it should be, we were at the CNE after all). It was everything I had hoped for and more. It was a gooey cheesey mess with bacon in every mouthful. It was only at the last few bites that my bliss turned to “Oh my god, why am I doing this to myself?” and I slowly realized that no human should ingest this much cheese (somehow the amount of bacon was OK) in one sitting. I started dreaming of an ice cold iced tea. The pickle on the side turned out to be a god-send, the perfect end to a gluttonous meal. The only beef I have with them is: why would you include a bag of chips on the side?!
At this point I don’t know what else is left. I did notice a stall in the midway that sells deep-fried Snickers bars. And hopefully they will bring back the spaghetti and meatball burger next year. Alas, this year I was only able to go once to the CNE. I had read that Tim Hortons was going to have two wacky flavours of Timbits: cotton candy and coca-cola. That was a lie. All they had was Timbits poutine, which was just Timbits with their weird version of whipped topping that is borderline icing, and ice cream. What I need is for them to bring back the deep-fried butter and the deep-fried cola, I missed out on those.