As it happens every year in Toronto towards the end of summer [as advertisers incessantly remind kids about the coming school the same way a cynical douche would remind people that Monday isn’t that far away from Saturday], the CNE opens at the Exhibition grounds.
The summer hasn’t been that hot, which is a mixed bag in terms of how summer goes. At least the nights weren’t spent in a sweaty insomniac attempt at sleep when one is too drowsy to wake up but too hot to possibly rest and spends several hours in a surreal prison of the mind. There wasn’t that much ice cream this summer either.
I went with my family at opening day, an annual tradition for us, mostly since its cheaper that day and because my family are CNE geeks. The gates were somewhat crowded, and one family was rushing around before the food building even opened. Speaking of that…
Chicken & Waffles, sort of put together like a sandwich
My breakfast meal was some kind of southern contraption [meaning American, as in south of Canada], namely Fried Chicken and Waffles. That would be the chicken wrapped in waffle like a madman was let loose in an all day breakfast diner’s kitchen and made a sandwich. It was covered with syrup and hot sauce, just to really mess with things. I had it so early that I was apparently the first customer there.
The meal’s two halves did clash a bit [that was obvious wasn’t it?], but it was surprisingly good. The chicken was generously portioned, tender and juicy, with a fresh crispy breading. The sight of it would make a Texan cry the same way the sight of an M16 assault rifle would. Sorry Texas, it’s just that you’re so unreasonably bullied anyway I might as well jump on the bandwagon, and bring obvious gun law jokes in as well since we’re talking about ‘Murica [no, why is it hypocritical for me to be anti-gun and know the exact different models of guns?]. As for the waffles, they were soft, moist and sweet. All around delicious mix of savoury crunchy chicken and classic buttermilk pancakes.
image courtesy of theboomtx.com
If anyone’s raging about the American crack I made earlier, my cruelty is partially because Burger King bought out Tim Horton’s both to escape American business tax and to annex every single piece of Canadian identity that took years to make. I like Obama being against the whole deal, considering the idea of a US burger chain snatching a donut chain from a fellow country would make political cartoons probably about as scathing as the ones from all the failed wars [Iraq, Iraq again, Vietnam, Korea, Canada need I go on?].
image courtesy of politico.com
Back to CNE, back to CNE, right. The midway was fun, especially the games were one throws balls at a hole in order to make their horse win a race. Inevitably I went home with several stuffed animals. Then there were the rides, those dreaded rides. I hate heights, so therefore I hate rides that go high, which is easily 90% of the rides at any amusement park or fairgrounds. One time a friend told me they were taking someone to Canada’s Wonderland and might take me, but they chose someone else instead. Mostly I felt relieved as opposed to disappointed, about not having to strap myself in to an inescapable seat of screams that rockets fast as a NASA g-force simulator [the one that goes round and round and round and MAKE IT STOP!] on a rail named Leviathan. Because the prospect wasn’t scary enough, let’s name it after a horrific sea beast from Revelations: the part of the Bible were everyone dies [edit: excluding the rest of the book].
So I was strapped what could barely be called a roller coaster on the edge of tears as my Mom and two nine year old kids smiled and threw their arms into the air. Fun fun fun friggin’ fun.
I had more enjoyment in the buildings, both the farm building with its cute farm animals I’ll probably end up eating [the goats reminded me of Indian curry as I thought of how adorable they looked, because I’m sick like that], and the Arts and Crafts building, or as I like to call it a Free Samples. Jams, sweets and more jams are all sampled out so people can taste what they otherwise could/would never afford, and I got to taste a weird piece of meat. Guess what it is, guess….
Human–no just kidding its kangaroo: another cute animal I’ll probably end up eating. The sample giver said that apparently they have a farm in BC. I didn’t eat human, I’m not that nuts…yet anyways. More exotic insects and spiders are on the list first, followed by crocodiles and bull testicles [I’m not kidding, I want to eat all those things].
Not so much a cone as it is a rolled flat bread
Next meal I had was a shepherd’s pie in a cone, which is to say it was a shepherd’s pie in a cone made of flat bread. The dish was really well held together–better than ice creams which are so easy to knock off little kid’s cones–although there was too much potato for my taste. I think that maybe I should’ve gotten a different cone, like the bacon/nutella one, but I didn’t want to have meat/sweet dishes for all four meals. The meat in the cone was ground and tasty in a normal way, the food was good. Clever concept, makes it worth trying the other flavours.
This post is getting long, so suffice to say after the buildings and midway my first dinner was a grilled cheese pulled pork sandwich that came with a free side of two pickles and Ms. Vickles chips. Oddly, the mix of cheese and pork [another animal I saw at the farm building] went perfectly, as pulled pork is a great sandwich filling, as is melted cheese a fantastic topping for the filling. I guess one could say that the cheese wasn’t prominant, but the sandwich was so good that it’s actually a good thing. The same place also sold Mac and Cheese.
After this dinner, I had a deep fried Mars Bar for dessert. It was suprisingly simple and tasty: just a typical Mars bar breaded and fried so that the inside was warm and soft. I liked it, the frying made the chocolate easier to chew and tamer on the mouth, probably because everything got mixed into a melted goo. Less disgusting than deep fried butter [not that I’ve had it, but who would think that sounds like a good idea?].
For my second departing dinner, I ate at a fusion Korean/Mexican place. I ordered their two tacos order, one filled with ground meat, the other with sirloin steak, both had Korean sauces on them. Even though the mix was weird, the ground meat had lots of savoury, sweet and exotic flavour to it, filling the whole taco with its amazing influence, and was easy to eat and chew in its ground form. It was backed by tomatoes and onions to add some different tastes to the taco. The sirloin was even better, the meat was so tender and well marinated in what must be a secret sauce passed down the generations for decades that it was near perfect, and I don’t say perfect just because nothing can be perfect. In short, I loved the fusion tacos, and could very well eat them again next year at the Ex.
from the Fan Art exhibit an the EX
In short, I had a great time at the CNE barring the roller coaster ride of terror, and a ridiculous amount of delicious food. And no its time for work, school cold weather and a decrease in the quality of life index. Cheers.