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CNE - 2014 - Food at the Ex

I'm all set to go take in the Ex this year (Aug 15-Sept 1) even though it means summer is sadly coming to an end.

Their brochure highlights some new midway treats:
- bacon wrapped corn on the cob
- banana dipped in chocolate, rolled in funnel cake batter & deep fried

The Food Building has some new items this year:
- cocoa infused chicken (i.e. chocolate chicken)
- cheeseburger flavoured nachos
- deep fried churros (not sure how this is new unless it is double fried!)
- gourmet popsicles
- banana split maple toast & cheesecake milkshakes.

The Food trucks will also be returning from Aug 22-Aug 24.

If you go, please post your likes and dislikes!

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  1. Any feedback yet?

    A friend said the chocolate chicken was really good. More of a mole than what it sounds.

    Going to go on the last weekend.

    1. Fidel Gastro's pad thai fries were pretty good. The price of $10 was pretty steep but not unexpected for CNE pricing. Didn't try anything else though.

      1. Glad you posted this bluefirefly, we're going next weekend and I'll be sure to post here. I thought I might try the peanut butter sriracha rolls after reading about them in the HuffPost:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/08/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Thanks. Unfortunately, I didn't try anything super crazy that is worth reporting though my cousin ordered one of those colossal deep fried onions. Still looking forward to hearing what others liked and didn't!

        2. Went today and stuck with the classics. The new items this year did not really interest me. I was surprised to see that the line ups were really nonexistent except for Cocoa fried chicken. I did go around and took a look at most of the items and visually all of them were not appealing at all.

          The increase in the amount of food trucks were good to see and might have had something to do with less people being at the Food Building. But wow some of those prices I saw on the food truck menus were outrageous.

          1. I had the Thanksgiving waffle from Fran's and it was really good, they nailed the waffle's stuffing flavour.

            1 Reply
            1. re: childofthestorm

              I didn't like the waffle, I found it disappointing...it tasted like it was made from stove top...

              I went the first saturday, long line up and for $11 I thought it was steep.

              I got two fish tacos from Buster's sea cove yesterday...They were good last year when I had them but yesterday they were unmemorable.

              When I got to the cash, I asked if I could get one fish taco and one ahi tuna...the guy at the front said I could but the order taker (I guess is the owner) said too late sweetheart, I already wrote it down...

              So what I got was very meh...I thought Pancho's bakery 3 Churros for $5 wasn't bad considering the costs for everything else.

            2. Not going to the EX this year but curious to hear about the bacon wrapped corn? Is it as simple as it sounds, corn on the sub with a piece of bacon twisted around it or is it somehow more special than that?

              1 Reply
              1. re: pumpkinspice

                lots of places around town do that and it's never as a good as a fresh piece of ontario corn on its own.

                1. re: prima

                  Yes, I saw that and thought.. are any of them really worth it??

                  1. re: rstuart

                    That milkshake sure looked good!! ; )

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      True.. maybe if you split it with Mr. BC!

                      1. re: rstuart

                        That might just work rstuart!! We're going tomorrow so I'll let you know if I have room for it!!

                          1. re: rstuart

                            Ok, I"m here to report back.

                            FRAN'S: Folks were lining up for Fran's big breakfast and their Thanksgiving Dinner Waffles. Maybe I should have taken a cue but somehow I was so intent on trying their Sriracha Peanut Butter Rolls that poor judgement got the better of me. I believe those rolls set us back $9. I'm guessing there were about 12 in the dish. They were much smaller than I expected, approx 3cm each. This is not a meal. The rolls are deep fried and might be an ok snack w beer but nothing special. The predominant flavour was peanut butter, the sriracha was fairly low key despite Fran's warning to try these "if you dare". Definitely not worth the money and if you're intent on getting these, I'd highly recommend sharing them with at least 4 other people as I suspect you'll conclude that 3 per person is more than enough.

                            FAR EAST TACOS: Were these guys at the Ex last year? This was my favourite meal of the day. I opted for the Spicy Pork Rice Bowl to kick off my day and unfortunately nothing I consumed after this compared. I was impressed with the portion size. The rice was perfectly steamed. The pork was well seasoned and the egg on top was carefully prepared and cooked perfectly. I was impressed with how much the staff at the booth seemed to care that the dish was sent out just right. (The egg didn't pass the test of someone there on the first attempt and they were quick to apologize for the delay while a fresh egg was prepared.)

                            ALI's WEST INDIAN ROTI: The goat roti with hot sauce was a hit but the chicken roti was a bit dry and they forgot the hot sauce.

                            Year after year we return to the wine bar in the Direct Energy Centre. Why oh why can't CNE management improve on this concept? This year they'd added a few couches and ottomans to the venue but the Ontario wines we tried were not the best and the food offerings this year seemed more meagre than ever. The band is always the highlight of the experience but with so many great wineries in Ontario and so much wonderful local produce available at this time of year I just don't get why this concept can't be executed in a far better way.

                            I did take a bb jpg of the sriracha rolls and will post when I have more energy!!

                  2. re: prima

                    Just reading about this ''food" makes me gag.

                    1. re: BlackMambaSommelier

                      Could've been worse: you could've choked down last year's cronut burger.

                  3. Had the thanksgiving waffle, it delivered what it promises I guess. The waffle was dry, turkey quite bland, also the whole thing was a lukewarm almost.

                    Had Popsicles from Miami ice, they had a lot of ice crystals.

                    Deep fried gnocchi, gnocchi was chewy and not very crispy on the outside. Weren't fresh either.

                    The best thing I ate was "totchos" which was just tater tots dressed up like nachos. Pretty hard to be bad though.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: AngelSanctuary

                      We were there on the last night of The Ex and the Tatchos were the winner for us as well. The deep fried mac and cheese from the same booth was pretty good.

                      Tried to the to chocolate fried chicken, waited in line for about ten minutes and they had pretty much run out of everything so we bailed.

                      Pizza cone was expensive and fairly average.

                      My SO really enjoyed enjoyed the Pear Popsicle dipped in chocolate at Miami Ice.

                    2. Today we tried the Thanksgiving waffle, chocolate fried chicken and smore bao. The waffle was our favourite of the three - mainly because it was so much fun. Our waffle was not dry, and the turkey was tender. But we love Thanksgiving dinner, so bread and turkey soaked in gravy and cranberries is likely to be a hit :). (Oh - I did think it a little strange that there was grated carrot in the waffle. Grated carrots in turkey stuffing??)

                      The fried chicken was very very oily :( , the coating was pleasant but not remarkably chocolatey or flavourful. The chocolate ketchup was fun - it had a nice thick, almost chocolate mousse-like texture, and was tangy and slightly more chocolatey than the chicken. The meat itself (both dark and white) was very nice and moist. Overall - OK but not something we'd go back for.

                      The smore bao from Far East Tacos was a great idea (IMO) but it was mainly the bao (not as fresh and moist as Banh Mi Boys), marshmallow fluff, marshmallows and some kind of "sweet milk cream" I think they said.. all sweet. The graham crackers were discernible but the chocolate really was not - too bad! A strong dark chocolate flavour in a bao would probably have won me over no matter what the rest of it was like...

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Klafouti

                        The smore bao was the one thing that really appealed to me!

                        1. re: rstuart

                          :) I think it could have worked! Maybe Lucky Red has/had a better version...

                          1. re: Klafouti

                            Clearly, I'll have to check it Lucky Red out!

                            1. re: rstuart

                              Too late!
                              We will be closed (until further notice) starting today and will reopen after some changes (as a full-service restaurant). pic.twitter.com/WCZOt1AkT3

                              1. re: estufarian

                                Will people still be able to easily order take out?

                                1. re: estufarian

                                  Oh no. We only went once and thought it was great. Loved the s'mores bao!

                                  1. re: estufarian

                                    Oh no! Hope that the smores bao is still there when it reopens..

                                    1. re: estufarian

                                      I assume it's because BMB a few blocks away was the exact same concept with slightly different food? Maybe they were cannibalizing each other's sales or something?