Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Deep-Fried Adventure at the CNE

I haven't been to the Canadian National Exhibit ("CNE") since, I have no idea when actually, possibly more than 5 to 8 years ago? Something ridiculous like that. I haven't been because I really hate crowds (I turn into a really grumpy person in a "packed sardines" environment) and I'm not that into rides or carnival games. The difference this year though, as most of you may know, is all the hype surrounding the wide assortment of weird / gross Deep-Fried ("DF") foods available at the CNE, along with that 1,550 calorie Krispy Kreme Donut Burger. Last year's DF butter alone was not enticing enough to get me off my fat ass, however, with this year's impressive DF line up, I was up early last Sunday and arrived at the CNE Food Building by 10:15 am.

I know it is not ideal to be eating DF stuff for breakfast but in all honesty it is not ideal to eat any of this DF stuff at any time of day anyway, so what the heck! Might as well go early to avoid line ups.

First stop: Mac & Cheesery. I was their first customer.

I was contemplating between getting DF mac-and-cheese curds or DF mac-and-cheese. Even though I wanted both I didn't feel like forking out close to $15 ($6.85 each) for DF cheese. I ended up choosing the DF mac-and-cheese. 

There were four big DF mac-and-cheese balls per order and they were all fresh and piping hot; the batter was really crispy too. Although there was a sufficient amount of cheese, the mac-and-cheese still tasted a bit bland (but ketchup easily fixed that). I will say now that this DF mac-and-cheese is one of my top DF pick at CNE this year. Also note that out of all the DF things I tried at CNE, this DF mac-n-cheese was the only thing that had a crispy / crunchy DF shell.

Next stop: Epic Burgers & Waffles.

I had to try The Krispy Kreme Donut Burger ($8) as it was getting so much hype. I had no intention of getting the Behemoth (two grilled cheese sandwiches with a 6oz patty, cheese, lettuce and tomato) at CNE as I'm sure the Burger's Priest version of it (called "The Vatican") will be a lot better.

Anyway, we added bacon ($1 extra for bacon / egg) to ours as my boyfriend didn't want the egg. When we were ordering, we noticed that the burgers were already cooked and laid out in rows so all they had to do was assemble the burger for us. Not a good sign =( After unwrapping the burger, we took a closer look - I seriously did not know what happened to the donuts. Why were they were so flat and deflated? The burger was wrapped up in the foil for not more than 5 seconds (which was the walk from EPIC Burgers to where we sat down) so the top donut shouldn't be that flat. I was disappointed already as the burger had zero visual appeal now.

I know my iPhone4 did not fully capture the true colours of the burger with the fluorescent lights up top but believe me, the burger itself had a light brown, almost grey colour to it O_o As for the taste of the burger, I did not like the sweet + savoury combo; the extremely sweet donut and the savoury from everything else was just messing up my tastebuds. The whole thing didn't blend well at all for me.  I think it would help though if the patty didn't taste so nasty too. It was room temperature, stiff, flavourless, with almost a rubbery texture. Both my boyfriend and I thought the burger was gross. (Note: see updated comment about the Krispy Kreme Donut Burger at the end of my post.)

Next stop: Deep Fried.

It was time for some DF sweet stuff and I knew I wanted to get the DF pop tart ($5) but I was also tempted to order something else as well. I couldnt' decide so my boyfriend chose the DF Twix ($5).

The DF Twix was drizzled with chocolate sauce and icing sugar. It was really nothing special as the chocolate was all melted inside; it could have been any kind of chocolate bar for all I know. I had a DF Mars bar before at a Maple Syrup Festival last year and it wasn't as melted as this one. This DF Twix was very average but it did look very cute and poofy.

The DF pop tart was so heavy that the stick almost broke when I was holding it (by the way that's supposed to be strawberry sauce on it haha). It was so heavy because the batter was really thick. You can probably tell from the picture that it was just a melted mess inside with an outer layer of thick batter. The exterior was not crispy at all for both the DF pop tart and DF Twix - it was just a thick shell of batter that encased the melted mess inside.

After having enough DF food in the Food Building, we went outside for a break and also some fresh air. This is the vendor where you can get a platter of DF butter, DF twinkie, DF Mars bar, DF brownie, DF cherry-aid and two drinks for $30. I did not get anything from here.

After what I considered a long enough break, I was ready again for some DF stuff. This time, a DF OREO cookie.

This DF OREO cookie ($2) looked kinda funny but taste wise, it was not bad; a soften OREO cookie encased in batter. It was kinda dry compared to the other DF stuff I had earlier as the OREO cookie didn't melt.

Because the DF OREO was a bit dry, I was thirsty and was craving ice cream. Nothing fancy, nothing DF - just plain cold ice cream.

Ok well maybe not just ice cream as I got an ice cream waffle ($3.50). Really liked this because it was plain and simple, nothing complicated...just a good ol' thick block of vanilla ice cream in between two hot pieces of waffle.

Even before going into the Food Building earlier in the morning, I was already eyeing all the Tiny Tom Donut stands but I wanted to wait until I was done having the essential DF stuff. A dozen for $5 and you can choose either chocolate, apple 'n cinnamon, icing sugar, or cinnamon powder for your dozen.

I like watching these mini donuts being fried in the hot oil, turning from a pale yellow to a lovely golden brown, then travelling down that mini conveyer belt. Everything is so mini, so delicate, so cute, and totally harmless... harmless I bought two dozen! One dozen with apple 'n cinnamon the other dozen with icing sugar. The mini donuts were great as they were hot, fluffy and soft. As for the powder it is really a personal preference...I initially thought I would like the apple n cinnamon better but the cinnamon turned out a bit too strong for my taste and I actually ended up liking the icing sugar more (I dusted off as much excess sugar as I could before popping them in my mouth).

After stuffing my face with, I'm pretty sure, more than a dozen Tiny Tom Mini Donuts, I desperately needed a drink to quench my thirst. I was looking for a drink that I will NEVER EVER pay for anywhere else and something ridiculously over priced (to go with the day's theme lol) and TADA! I got a medium slushy for $5! It was watermelon flavour and oh my, was it ever refreshing.. just so ridiculously good after all that DF stuff. I wish they had a wider straw like the ones for bubble tea though. I had this slushy inside the Direct Energy Centre when the freak rain suddenly started.

We went home after the slushy =) 

But wait. 

My CNE  DF adventure is not over yet. WHY? Because I went back the NEXT DAY! 

No I'm not crazy but please understand that after coming home from the CNE , I realized that I forgot to try the DF PB&J! I was so mad at myself for forgetting because after looking at blogTO's "How to get fat at the CNE" a week ago, the DF P&BJ was one of my DF must-try list (it was odd though because I didn't even see DF PB&J sold anywhere on Sunday). Anyway, please also note that I did not pay again for this second visit because of the awesome free pass during lunch hour at the CNE  for people working at Liberty Village (which would be moi) so me and my two friends, Chris and George, went for a stroll at CNE on Monday.

Instead of wasting time trying to find the DF PB&J stand, we asked a CNE  employee where it was. Turns out there is only one place in the entire CNE  that sells DF PB& at the second level bar at the Midway Stage. Wow can they get more hidden than that? 

Thirsty Cactus is where the DF PB&J is at people!

The Thirsty Cactus offers four DF things and they are posted up on the sign and also displayed on a table in order from left to right. I liked that because it gives people an idea what to expect.  George got the Hot Dog Tortilla Supreme; it came with a package of cheese. He said the hot dog was a bit dry.

Aside from the the DF mac-and-cheese, the DF PB&J is probably my other favourite DF thing at CNE . It looked great (poofy and round) and came with three sticks per order. The batter was nice and soft which actually went really well with the PB&J inside. What's even BETTER is that each order came with one red strawberry, two raspberries, and a blackberry!  I know it's weird that they provide fruit on the side considering people who order DF stuff probably are not health conscious but still, they totally did not have to and that's what made it so great! Besides, none of the other DF vendors gave anything extra.

Chris wanted to try the DF Cola and after a loooong search in the Food Building, we finally found it - the vendor is called POP SHOP or DEEP FRIED POP SHOP.

When the DF cola was done and the guy took it out of the oil, Chris and I both thought it looked like DF squid / calamari. You can get whipped cream and a cherry on top but we opted out of both and only had a drizzle of cola.

In a cup, the DF cola resembled some sort of cultivating alien life form. All I can say it had zero or even negative visual appeal =P In terms of taste, it was like eating sugary DF batter with a  cinnamon / nutmeg taste; it was very sweet, like a really sweet funnel cake. I cannot imagine eating that whole cup of this by myself. While I would not recommend anyone to try this for its taste (but go ahead if you want to try it for the sake of trying it) it was certainly not as bad as I thought it would be.

Update on the Krispy Kreme donut burger: I walked by EPIC Burger on Monday and it was so busy! They were grilling rows and rows of burgers on the spot and the Krispy Kreme donuts they had out all looked really fresh and poofy. I guess my boyfriend and I got shortchanged going so early in the morning =( 

So this ends my DF adventure at the CNE . I know I've only touched the surface in terms of all the DF stuff available at the CNE as well as various foods on a stick but I tried all the DF stuff that I wanted to try. I know I can go back to CNE  for free at lunch everyday from now on until it closes and try a different DF thing everyday but I won't. I promise I won't. Because that's just nasty and disgusting (although some of you may think I'm nasty and disgusting already).

I will end this post off with something not DF related. This is a Venus Fly Trap that I got from the CNE  on Sunday. It's awesome and I love it - it's now on my desk at work. Too bad there are no flies in the office because I want to see it in action =(

Thanks for reading! ^_^