CNE 2015 Eats
With the end of August and September coming up, you know Canadian National Exhibition (CNE or The Ex) is here! For those who are unfamiliar with CNE, it’s pretty much a huge fair filled with rides, retail booths, live music, food, and so much more.
My family attends almost every year since I was a kid and I used to go for the rides and games when I was younger, but now I just attend for the food 🙂 With the rise of crazy food trends, restaurants at the CNE introduce new menu items specifically for the event. This year, one hype is the Jamaican beef patty burger from Bub’s Badass Burger.
After walking through the retail exhibits, my cousins Justyn and Ryan, my sister Suzanna and her fiance Mark, and I all went to the Food Truck Frenzy area to grab breakfast/lunch. This area also had the Craft Beer Fest. It was only Mark that wanted to try the beer, so he bought some tokens to try them out. We all ventured to a food truck of our liking and grabbed on item each.
Ryan went to Hogtown Smoke and got the 2lb Pulled Pork Poutine.
When he ordered it, he had no idea it was 2lbs. When Ryan came back with his poutine, it was heavy and quite big. It looked like pulled pork but it also didn’t. The sauce wasn’t your usual BBQ sauce but more like gravy. It was a really good gravy sauce though. It wasn’t too salty nor too thick. It had a nice, smooth consistency. It did make me crave mashed potatoes. The poutine was around $12.
Suzanna and Mark went to TDot Naansense and ordered the Butter Chicken Poutine.
The portion was kind of small compared to the other food trucks’ poutine sizes, but it was packed with the flavour. The butter chicken smell was enough to get you hooked. It had a decent amount of chicken, but I wish it had more! I love butter chicken so much and this poutine was a hit. This one was around $13.
For my meal, I went to The Urban Smoke and ordered the Brisket Poutine.
It was packed with beef, sweet BBQ gravy, onions, and cheese. I ordered the large portion since we were all sharing our food. The small size was $5 and the large was $10. When I received it, it was quite big. Almost as big as Ryan’s 2lb poutine. The gravy was delicious, the beef was cooked tenderly, and the fries themselves tasted great. I do wish there was more beef. One thing I didn’t like was the BBQ part of the gravy. The centre of the poutine had normal gravy but the sides had the sweet BBQ flavour that I wasn’t fond of. It was sweet and tangy but it also tasted like mayo. I hate mayo so I tried to eat the fries that weren’t covered in the BBQ sauce.
Suzanna and Mark also ordered the Pad Thai Fries from Fidel Gastro’s.
I suggested this to them because I told them about my visit to Lisa Marie. It was a hit with everyone! Mark wished that it had meat in it but everyone else thought it was fine without it. But I’m glad they all enjoyed it 🙂 This was selling for $8.
Justyn was the only one that didn’t get something with fries. He was craving a burger so he got one from Burgatory. I don’t know how it tasted but it looked pretty good.
Once we finished our lunch, we walked the rest of the CNE before we headed to the Food Building to try all the other crazy food items.
During our walk, I did purchase a Maple Leaf lollipop made out of 100% pure maple syrup. I had been eyeing to get one since I saw them at Bass Pro Shop by the Outlet Collection at Niagara. The First Nations booth at CNE was selling for $3.
Mark bought a Waffle Ice Cream sandwich. It was between $3-4. Looking at the photo, you can tell they gave a generous amount of ice cream between the waffles.
Since Mark had a couple of beer tokens left for the Craft Beer Fest, we headed back to that area for his last two beers. He also got a Smoked Meat Poutine from Caplansky’s Delicatessen.
The smoked meat on the poutine didn’t look too appetizing – it literally looks like a dump of Sloppy Joe’s on top of fries, but it wasn’t that bad. The meat is minced and heavily covers the fries. It had a nice gravy to it and the cheese curds were really good. The fries themselves were cooked great too.
Afterwards, we walked towards the Food Building. It took us FOREVER to find the Jamaican Beef Patty Burger, the Snow Crab Fries, and etc. By the time we found them, there was at least a 10 minute queue for them.
The Snow Crab Fries from Jake’s Lobster was by far the quickest received order of the day. We immediately received the fries as soon as we gave the order. I guess they knew there would be a constant supply so they prepared them beforehand – smart on their part!
When I ate the fries, I got a huge whiff of the garlic flavour. It was good but it overpowered the crab. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Also, I knew we weren’t going to be given much snow crab pieces but there were barely any. Not to mention the pieces themselves weren’t that great. The one snow crab piece I ate was hard and a bit rubbery. There was also little to no garlic aioli for the fries, so it was kind of dry. I did enjoy this because of the garlic flavour, but I wouldn’t order it again. It was about $13, so it’s not worth the price.
Since it’s stuffy, humid, and hot in the Food Building, I knew I wanted to grab the Coffee and Doughnut Milkshake from Fran’s Restaurant. When I heard about this offering, I knew I had to try it out (They had me at “doughnut”).
It was quite pricey for this milkshake – $9. More than I would ever pay for a milkshake but since it was special one, I made the exception. The milkshake is really sweet, but I like really sweet foods, and you can definitely taste the coffee and doughnut. The coffee taste had a mocha flavour to me and you can taste something dough-y in the milkshake with some cinnamon. I really enjoyed this milkshake, it was everything I wanted! Unfortunately, everyone else thought it tasted weird.
The burger from Bub’s Bad@ss Burger was the number one food that I HAD to try. I was willing to wait an hour for it, if that’s what it took. Luckily, I didn’t wait an hour for it. It was about a fifteen minute queue and then another five minute wait for the burger.
The burger with the Jamaican beef patties is called One Love, or the more extreme version is called Bad Boy. For $3 more, I went with the Bad Boy one. The main difference between One Love and Bad Boy is that Bad Boy comes with a fried, breaded chicken breast. The Bad Boy burger included this:
A Jamaican beef patty split into two for the buns, ground beef patty, one fried, breaded chicken breast covered in honey garlic sauce, two slices of cheese, buttermilk ranch slaw, slices of tomato, onions, and lettuce.
Sounds tasty, right? WELLLLLLLLL, it really wasn’t all that. There was so much going on that I couldn’t comprehend what I was eating! The only thing I could really taste was the honey garlic sauce from the chicken breast. It stood out the most to me. Plus, this burger is EXTREMELY messy. If you don’t like to get your hands dirty, don’t try this burger. This is a two-hand burger. I was the one holding it together for everyone to take bites out of. It wasn’t not pleasant AT ALL.
We also ordered another burger – the Sumo Burger. This was disappointing too. The burger includes the following:
A normal burger bun, two beef patties spiced in a shichimi togarashi seven-spice blend, Sriracha mayo, hoisin sauce, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, wasabi mayo, and crispy chow mein noodles.
Again, it sounds and looks tasty right? WELLLLLL, it would have been if the burger didn’t fall apart. It’s such a shame because the burger has such an exotic blend of flavours. The burger tasted nice, but I couldn’t judge the taste properly because each element fell apart. So we were all pretty much eating the beef patty with just the sauces and the bun. It was good, but not the greatest thing in the world.
The Bad Boy Burger and Sumo Burger together were $25. Pricey indeed and definitely not worth their value.
Last but not least, DESSERT.
Almost every time we go to CNE, my family ends the night with Funnel Cake.
This funnel cake was deep fried a little too much and had not enough of the topping asked. But, it tasted much better than the Bad Boy and Sumo burger (Hehehe).
And that’s EVERYTHING I ate at CNE. While it seemed like a lot of food, it really wasn’t. I was disappointed that the Bad Boy and Sumo burgers weren’t all they were hyped up to be. But hey, at least I tried them! I do wish I had tried the Deep Fried Rice Pudding from Fran’s Restaurant and the Chicken Waffle on a Stick. If they have them again next year, they’re on the top of my list 🙂
My highlights for this year would be the Food Truck Frenzy area and the Coffee and Doughnut Milkshake. The food from the food trucks tasted better than the ones we got in the food building. Plus, they seemed more worth their price. And the milkshake from Fran’s Restaurant was exactly what I expected. I wish I could have it every day!
If you’re planning on heading to CNE for its last week, do make a visit to the Food Truck Frenzy area. It does not disappoint!