Crushing craft beers and feasting on food trucks @ the CNE

Now, you KNOW I love to chow down at the CNE bro–like that one time when I demolished an all-in-one chicken/veal/eggplant parm sammy, and still had room for a chocolate Philly steakclair for dessert. But maybe the best time to go to the Ex is the second last weekend, when they’ve got a food truck frenzy and a craft beer festival, all rolled into one on Princess Street.

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So, I started out by grabbing some deep-fried cheese curds from some Flavourtown royalty at The King of Curds. About the only way you could possibly make poutine better is by deep-frying it, so this is pretty much the best thing ever, bro!!!

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When it comes to the booze, they give you tokens for $2.50 that get you one sippy cup each. Since there were about eight different breweries, I got to try pretty much everything that wasn’t wine or cider. Because why drink wine or cider when you can have a Farmers Daughter Blonde Ale from Whitewater Brewing Co???

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Now, Big Rock is just about my favourite local craft brewery, and they’re funking it up with the Bellyflop, an apricot grisette that tastes like summer in a glass. Dude, calling this beer a flop is like saying Biodome isn’t the best movie of all time, bro!!!

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Now, I’m not sure what a Boshkung is, but it totally tastes delicious. This Happy Camper Irish red ale is basically the Billy Elliot of alcoholic beverages, bro!!!

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Now, I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I own, like, 17 Hawaiian shirts, so you know I’m all over this Hawaiian Style IPA from Spearhead, son!

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So, after pounding four beers, you know what time it is? Taco Time, bro! This Captain Crunch Fish Taco from Food Dudes comes fully loaded with guacamole, pickled red cabbage, smoked sour cream, hot sauce, scallions, tomatoes and a whole lotta cilantro. No actual Captain Crunch though, but how awesome would that be???

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We’re going back to the beer with probably the best name of the day–Useless Crayon White IPA from Market Brewing. Now, the white crayon might be the most useless in the box, but when it comes to brewskis, I could use a few more of these!

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Now, that last beer had the best name, but this one here is the funkiest of the bunch. Can you say Maple Buttertart Ale, bro? Sawdust City’s got the maple and the buttery taste all in a glass–whoa-oh-oh it’s magic!!!

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And finally, we’re ending things on a light, crisp, refreshing note with Muskoka Summerweiss. It’s like the Feel Good Hit of the Summer in Flavourtown, bro!

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But you KNOW that after eight beers, two tacos and a whole buncha cheese curds, we’ve still got room for dessert, bro! So we’re heading into the Food Building for this festival of funk in Flavourtown–the Heartbreak S’More. You’ve got a hot and tender fried chicken breast, topped with toasted marshmallows and graham cracker crumbles, between chocolate-dipped buns, with another marshmallow on top!!!??? Dude, this dish should get an Oscar for Best Fried Chicken in a Supporting Role!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Real-deal poutine from a food truck, bro!

Today might be the last day of food truck weather in Toronto this year. It’s been warm and sunny for the past few, but the temperature’s gonna drop, it’s supposed to rain, and I’m not sure how long I wanna be waiting outside for poutine in the cold (although I have done it before, bro). So it’s high time to hit up a local institution for maybe the last time in 2017, son!

Now, this place doesn’t even have a name, but it’s been setting up shop outside Nathan Phillips Square for the past 20+ years. There are actually two food trucks that usually park side-by-side…you’ll know this one by the big sign for “monster” chili fries. But why have chili fries when you can have poutine, bro???

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Now, I know you’re thinking how could poutine from a food truck possibly be legit? So, let’s break it down. The fries are hot ‘n crispy, the curds are chunkalicious, and the sauce is on point. So many places put beef gravy on poutine, but if this ain’t d’la vraie sauce en canne, then it’s pretty damn close. And it’s only $6.50 for a large–you won’t get that kinda deal at Smoke’s, son! Of course, in this case, you gotta BYOM: Bring Your Own Meat, bro!

I’m high on loving these deep-fried cinnamon apple rings!

So, we’re hanging out at the Holiday Fair in the Square, where they’ve got ice skating, kiddie rides and games, a life-sized cut-out of Ryan Gosling and a funky sock vendor…but you know I’m here for the food trucks, dude! I mean, there’s Poutine Supreme, Bacon Nation, Chimney Stax—and this bro-country gospel hymnal: The Holy Grill.

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Now, you know that sign stopped me in my flip-flop tracks, but I was on my way back from a shopping spree at Walmart and I hadn’t even had lunch yet, so the deep-fried cinnamon apple rings would hafta wait till dessert. And if there’s one thing that can make me wait for deep-fried cinnamon apple rings, it’s poutine. Especially when it’s all dressed up with no place to go except straight down my piehole, bro!

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Man, this butter chicken poutine is packed to the max with so much flavour, you almost forget about the bird. You’ve got shredded chunks of chicken in a rich, creamy butter sauce on top of fries, with both cheese curds AND feta cheese crumbles…and then there’s a crunchy purple cabbage slaw, scallions and crispy onion bits on top! You don’t normally get this much tasty stuff on a little cardboard tray, bro!

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But this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. They take these thinly sliced apples, envelop them in a chewy, crunchy batter, and then put so much cinaminaminamon on ‘em you couldn’t eat it with a spoon! This dish is too legit to quit—and you get five rings for five bucks!? That’s like a highway robbery in Flavourtown, son! I think I could only eat three of these and not be full…

FOOD TRUCK FEEDING FRENZY FRIDAY: Winner, Winner, Chicken Lunch!?

(Originally written May 16, 2014)

Another food-truck with a vaguely political-sounding name…although in this case, I’m pretty sure Localista refers to the fact that they get their ingredients from nearby.

The sum of these parts is this crisp and juicy, two-bite-sized fried chicken, with a coating that’s crisp, but not heavy. The biscuit added a doughy chew, and the bed of veggies are certainly healthier than fries. Yeah, I should probably be eating more of the former and less of the latter.

FOOD TRUCK FEEDING FRENZY FRIDAYS: Can corn be a meal in itself?

(Originally written May 8, 2014)

Today, I ate from a food truck that only served corn. Let’s see, they had corn salad, corn soup, Mexican corn—as seen above, topped with feta cheese and a paprika-heavy spice mix. The kernels were sweet and fresh, while the toppings made things interesting. And though that might not look like a very big bowl, I can attest it contains about a full cob’s worth.

Food Truck Feeding Frenzy Friday: Gringos <3 Tacos

(Originally written May 13, 2014)

What, another taco truck? Well, I guess I can’t complain when they’re dishing out beer-battered fish tacos. The crisp batter was wrapped around a light flaky mahi mahi, with some crunchy coleslaw on top, all seasoned with a spicy mayo. It’s kinda like a Mexican fish-stick… Would it be wrong to serve these with a side of chips?

Food Truck Feeding Frenzy Friday: You can’t get raviolis like this from a can!

(Originally written May 9, 2014)

Now, when I was in high school, I pretty much subsisted on ravioli. I didn’t know how to cook, but I could empty a can of Chef Boyardee’s and put it in the microwave. So if I was left to make my own dinner, I knew what I was having. That said, I never had any raviolis that looked like this:

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The Rome’n Chariot truck proudly proclaims that it was featured on Eat St, and I think I might have seen that episode. Its menu of Italian comfort food mostly consists of breaded sandwiches, but when I saw the toasted ravioli on the menu, my mind was made up. Deep-fried for a crunchy texture with a dusting of parmesan, these spinach-flavoured pillows of goodness were made for dunking in the mild marinara sauce. I could’ve used something with a bit more kick, but I certainly can’t complain about portion size—7 for $10 seems about right.