Once a year, the EX or CNE takes over the Exhibition fair grounds for 2 weeks till Labour Day long weekend. It’s celebrating it’s 134th year and remains as one of the most anticipated events each year for Toronto. With attractions from FlowRider to the SuperDog show, midway thrills to products from all over the World at the convention center, *takes in a deep breath* the Air Show and my fav, who can forget about the food. There’s definitely a little something for everyone.
| The EX|
210 Princes’ Boulevard
Armed with media passes, we foodies united and wanted to check out every single one of the most anticipated and hyped food offerings (I know ambitious eh? =P ) available this year. Last year it was the Krispy Kreme Donut burger which I single-handedly devoured and later wondered, maybe I should have gotten a deep fried onion explosion as a side? lol, don’t judge me.
Joining the adventure, my friend Carmen from Carmenhungry decided to join us and take on the food at the EX. Our main attraction and our first stop had to be the infamous food building. This year’s biggest attractions would be Bacon and Pulled Pork. For bacon, it had to be Bacon Nation. Unfortunately, we never got the chance to try it out. A shame right? We kinda overstuffed ourselves with food from Pull’d, Dutch Fries, Epic Burgers & Waffles and Far East Tacos. However, we have heard back from a few fellow foodies that it was kind of a miss. If you’ve tried it, what were your thoughts? I mean if I had to pick, I would have went for the Bacon Explosion. A good choice?
We were able to try out Jack’d from Pull’d which is a 3 layered Red Velvet Pancake with pulled pork in between each layer and, a Jack Daniels infused maple syrup. I would have to say, the first couple of bites were quite delicious. As time went on, the pancakes soaked up the syrup which made it just a little dried than what I would have liked. I would recommend asking for more syrup on the side or asking for more pulled pork sauce/juices. That way you’ll have better consistency throughout the whole Jack’D experience.
Dutch Frites appeared to support the Food Truck Craze by mimic’ing a food truck of their own. While deciding, the staff there was nice enough to let us try some samples. And boy did the Dutch Frites with Avocado Mayo hit the spot. The Avocado Mayo was something both Carmen and I enjoyed. We contemplated ordering more sauces, but one taste was all we needed, avocado mayo please. A word of advice, the fries are a little thicker than your usual kind so when they’re made fresh (which is a good thing), it can be a little hot. So do enjoy with a little bit of caution. My friend, Josh who also joined in ordered his Chicken and Waffles from Epic Burger & Waffles and tacos from Far East Tacos. I tried the Chicken and Waffles and it wasn’t bad. The chicken was quite juicy and tasted great. The waffles I felt was a little bit weaker, but the chicken definitely helped to close the gap. Josh mentioned the tacos were good, not the greatest but he was glad that he got them. I guess… that’s a thumbs up. =P
Almost immediately after, we decided to visit the food truck frenzy over at Princess Gate Entrance. The food truck craze is at its all time highs and we had to show some love to some of our food truck friends. Our favourites at this year’s EX had to be: Fidel Gastros and Buster’s Sea Cove. There were some new food trucks which we never got a chance to try, but would have loved to give it a go. So here’s an honourable mention to Stuft and Hogtown Smoke House. There were 18 food trucks this past weekend, and we can’t wait to see who would be joining the mix next year. We know a few up and comers who would kill it for 2013. If you weren’t there this past weekend, then unfortunately you’ve missed it this year. But something tells me they’ll be back next year.
Taking a break from the sun and the beating heat, we headed over to the Food Network Celebrity Stage to catch Chuck Hughes in action. Carmen had a hard time containing herself, the overflow of enjoyment was very apparent as she shared many ‘interesting’ facts about Chuck. =P And he lived up to the hype. Chuck was very engaging and even helped his sous chef, Kevin break out of his shy ways. We got a quick opportunity to meet him and had him autograph our copy of his latest book which was on sale. I would recommend checking out the Food Network Celebrity Stage if you get the chance. There are a number of great chefs that will be present and demo’ing some of their favourite recipes. Nothing like learning from the best right? =)
Lastly, Carmen and I headed over to Ribfest which is located in Bandshell Park. There were 4 vendors all ready to serve you some fall off the bone ribs, and what’s ribs without beer right? Well they got that covered as well. We got the Gator BBQ’s Farmboy Special and tried out the beef and pork ribs. Personally, I like the pork ribs better than the beef ribs. There was also a vendor called, Brickyard BBQ which I wanted to try but never got the chance to. If you guys have tried any of the other 3 vendors at Ribfest, we would love to hear your comments. One thing that I really enjoyed was the location of Ribfest. It’s in a great spot where you get the chance to dig in on some great ribs and listen to the bands that play nearby. We got the opportunity to listen in on a great collection of songs played by an orchestra. To me, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Overall, I will always find myself back at the EX each and every year. The food offerings this year was definitely the most diversified ever and gave even the toughest critic sometime to enjoy. Yes, even healthy choices. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next year and would be honored to cover them once again in 2013. For me personally, I remember the EX best as a family outing where we indulge on new foods each year, try our luck at the midway games and left with a few additions to our growing stuff animal collection. This year, I leave knowing the food scene at the EX is constantly growing and listening to their fans. So what were you best finds at the EX? And if you haven’t yet, we would recommend checking out the EX. It’s here for one more week so don’t wait, Let’s go to the EX!
The Damage: Admission can be $16/adult on a regular day, or if you can go for $5 after 5pm (Mon-Thu)