CNE 2015 & Food Truck Frenzy

Bacon Nation - Slaw Dog Millionaire - Candy Coated Culinista

Bacon Nation – Slaw Dog Millionaire – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s that time of year again; and as fast as the CNE arrives it means summer is almost over; but I get to try some of those crazy CNE foods and enjoy the Food Truck Frenzy once again. This year I found a sneak peak listing of the new and interesting foods available this year and some of the must tries on the list were: Cake Poutine, Chicken & Waffles on a Stick, Poutine Balls, Bacon wrapped Grilled Cheese, Red Velvet Oreos, Garlic Snow Crab Fries with Garlic Aioli, Timbit Poutine, Deep fried Cheesecake and Frosted Flake Battered Chicken on a Stick. I really wanted to taste the Frosted flake Chicken as that is my favourite cereal; but I decided not to this time around.

I went two times again this year the CNE to spread out my food consumption: once to try the CNE foods and then back for the Food Truck Frenzy with my girls. Here is a quick rundown of the foods I tried or got reviews from other tester I went with. I ate so much at the food Truck Frenzy it was criminal and I really don’t know how I managed to pack all that away and not be in a food coma.

Garlic Snow Crab Fries with Garlic Aioli – Jack’s Lobster (Food Building) – $10
Jake’s Lobster in the Food Building was serving up snow crab over fresh cut fries and garnished with garlic aioli and fresh herbs and topped with a lemon wedge. This was one of the food items on the top of my list and it was delicious. The potion size was a little small and I could have eaten two easy; but it was delicious. The ratio of seafood to fries was bang on. I appreciated seeing some crab legs and the fries were perfectly salted. I would eat this again and again and will try to make this at home.

Cake Poutine – Culinary student from Humber College (Direct Energy Building) – $5
The cake fries are made from a rich vanilla bean infused cake and lathered in warm chocolate, caramel or strawberry sauce. Bacon bits, marshmallows, strawberries and maple syrup are just some of the toppings. I had the O’ Canada Cake Poutine which was vanilla cake fries, strawberry sauce and white chocolate chips. This was a must try for me as I had to support these two ladies who created the booth that were from my Alma Mata Humber College. The cake was dense but soft and held up to the sauce. I enjoyed this a lot and it was a creative spin on a Canadian classic. I even took a little home as I was beyond full at the end of the night.

Chicken & Waffles on a Stick $8
It’s like a corndog but with the hog dog replaced with the chicken and the cornbread casing is now a waffle batter. I was told it was overrated and I still really wanted to try it but I couldn’t find the booth.

Bacon wrapped Grilled Cheese – Bacon Nation (Food Building) – $10
Bacon wrapped cheddar & mozzarella sandwich served with special ketchup. A review of this sandwich was it was overpriced and shrunk a lot upon cooking and the bacon wasn’t crispy; which defeats the purpose as how can you eat a sandwich wrapped in bacon and chew through it with chewy bacon. I believe this was an opening problem as when I saw pictures as the days passed the grilled cheese started having a crispier bacon covering.

Red Velvet Oreos –3 for $8
Double stuffed Oreos dipped in red velvet batter and deep fried; dusted with confectioners’ sugar and cream cheese icing. A common review I heard was it was little pricy and wasn’t necessarily worth the price; which makes sense but you are buying this for the novelty of it.

Deep Fried Cheesecake – Pickle Pete’s -$7
A New York style cheesecake wrapped in a tortilla and deep fried and served with cinnamon sugar and chocolate syrup on top. This was recommended to me to give a try as it was surprisingly light; but I am not a cheesecake lover.

Food Truck Frenzy

This year there seemed to be a Beer Event being held within the Food Truck Frenzy and there were beer pairings offered for foods from the trucks. I personally wasn’t a fan of this as I don’t drink beer and then all of the trucks didn’t offer drinks this year. My only option was to go to the Coca Cola stand to buy Coke products. I don’t drink pop or caffeine either so I had to wait until I found my lemonade vendor as I know they are always in the Direct Energy Building. I will say I wasn’t the only one to complain. I heard many complaints and surprisingly men to were at the top of this list to air their feelings.

Slaw Dog Millionaire – Bacon Nation – $12
Bacon wrapped hot dog with apple slaw. I never eat hot dogs and when I do they are always chicken hot dogs so this was a great change for me. I loved the saltiness of the hot dog and the crunch of the slaw.

Apple Porkfection – Bacon Nation – $12
Pulled Pork, bacon strips, apple slaw on a bacon bun. This was sweet and salty the perfect combination.

Athens Fries – Pappas Greek “on wheels” – $9

Feta, Tzatziki & gravy. I’m a sucker for a poutine without the cheese curds. I couldn’t finish this and had to share. The tzatziki is the best I’ve ever had as it was thicker, creamier and more complex. I’m not sure what they did to it but it was amazing. I would go back and buy and container if that was possible.

Feta Fries – Pappas Greek “on wheels” – $8
Just like the Athens Fries minus the gravy. I preferred my version better; but this was still amazing and the owners were so polite.

The Lumberjack – Gorilla Cheese – $10
Bacon, granny smith apple, maple syrup, aged cheddar. A sweet and salty combo that was very satisfying and worth every penny.

Shawarma Bombs – Gourmet Guyz – $7
Tabbouleh, rice and chicken wrapped inside a wonton wrapper served with dipping sauce. This was one of the more inventive food options at the food truck frenzy.

Lemon Heaven – Cherry Lemonade – $3.50
A must have for me. This time I had a cherry lemonade a favourite flavour of mine. It’s never too sweet and the perfect refreshing palate cleansing drink.

Like usual I had an excellent food adventure and everything I tasted was delicious. This year I noticed those ingredients that Canadians love being: poutine, gravy, cheese bacon were available at every food truck and I’m not complaining, were in Canada eh!

Bacon Nation - Apple Porkfection - Candy Coated Culinista

Bacon Nation – Apple Porkfection – Candy Coated Culinista

Lemon Heaven - Cherry Lemonade - Candy Coated Culinista

Lemon Heaven – Cherry Lemonade – Candy Coated Culinista

Cake Poutine - O' Canada - Candy Coated Culinista

Cake Poutine – O’ Canada – Candy Coated Culinista

Gourmet Guyz - Sharwarma Bombs - Candy Coated Culinista

Gourmet Guyz – Sharwarma Bombs – Candy Coated Culinista

Pappas Greek - Athens Fries & Feta Fries - Candy Coated Culinista

Pappas Greek – Athens Fries & Feta Fries – Candy Coated Culinista

Pappas Greek - Candy Coated Culinista

Pappas Greek – Candy Coated Culinista

Gorilla Cheese - Lumberjack - Candy Coated Culinista

Gorilla Cheese – Lumberjack – Candy Coated Culinista

Bacon Nation - Candy Coated Culinista

Bacon Nation – Candy Coated Culinista

Food Truck Frenzy - Candy Coated Culinista

Food Truck Frenzy – Candy Coated Culinista

Food Truck Frenzy - Candy Coated Culinista

Food Truck Frenzy – Candy Coated Culinista

The Delicious Food Show

The Delicious Food Show

The Delicious Food Show

When: October 17-19 2014
Place: The CNE Exhibition Place

For the first time I visited The Delicious Food Show this year. I took Friday off work to ensure I arrived pretty close to the opening time, as I just didn’t want to have to deal with an insane amount of people. My goal today was really only one thing to get my copy of Molto Gusto by Mario Batali signed and also buy a copy of his new book America Farm to Table. The Friday Celebrity Chef line up included Tyler Florence, Mario Batali, Mark McEwen and Chuck Hughes (who I have met prior, first in line might I add). Chuck was signing his books along with a quick snapshot so I just hung around and took a few shots of him. I will say I learned a few things about Chuck hanging around: He grew up in Etobicoke for a time in his childhood. I thought he had always lived in Quebec and he also lived very close to Humber College my alma mater. I overheard all this information when two girls from the culinary program at Humber College asked him to say a few words to the culinary class. He grabbed the microphone faced the camera and told the students to stay in school; and that this is the time when they can burn all the food they want and it will be ok, so do it now. He made a quick joke and did a mini mic drop. He shook the girl’s hands and was so helpful, encouraging and personable and this is why I admire this man, so much.

Now cut to Mario Batali and this did not turn out as I had hoped. I didn’t mind waiting 20-30 extra minutes for him, but others in line were complaining and mentioning other chefs didn’t do this. The one bummer was he wouldn’t allow a quick photo and to add insult he barely said a word unless you said something to him, which I did. I just thanked him for coming to the show and seeing us. Short and sweet and he said you’re more than welcome. Fans were also handing our books a helper to speed up this whole signing process, so we were feet away from Mario when he was signing. In comparison you could get close to Chuck and he’d chat with you for a second and even shake your hand of give a hug. I really haven’t had a signature from any U.S.A. chefs except for Cake boss & Georgetown Cupcakes; which are two TV celebrities and Smitten Kitchen a blogger, so I don’t know if this is a thing or just his personality, but lots of us were left feeling cold and turned off. I grabbed my book and went exploring the foods. The only upside to that experience was I was second in line behind Julie a contestant from the premiere season of Masterchef Canada who was knocked out seventh on the show.

The delicious food floor.
I ran into alot of my usual Food truck fare restaurants, but in a booth form today, so I passed on them. Oysters seemed to be popular again as well as gourmet doughnuts and cured meats, cakes, cake pops, tequila in 3 incarnation from one booth. My cocktail of the show consisted of J.P. Wiser’s Deluxe Canadian Whiskey shaken with house-made sour mix topped with a splash of Jacobs Creek Shiraz. I don’t like wine but I love whiskey sours and this made me enjoy wine so much more. Of course I found Macarons from AG Macaron and left with 6 flavours and a sugar cookies from The Teeny Tiny Bakery. I also learned that Maille has over 6 flavours of mustard that can be found in Toronto in various store. I am now on the hunt for the fine herbs mustard and the and some delightful truffle flavored gouda cheese from the dairy farmers of Ontario section.

Exploring the floor I was wandering a little more and saw graphic tees. I looked at the designs and said I know this art; these are Pierre Lamielle’s designs from Top Chef Canada. I continued to look and choose what I was going to get and heard Pierre’s voice but the person didn’t look like him…he cut his trademark beard. I had seen him with a beard through Top Chef Canada and then many many months later on Chopped Canada, so I mentioned you are almost unrecognizable. To that he quipped – “my mother said you’re not my son” to his now absent beard. I choose a very culinary and totally cheeky tee and looked at some tea towels and went on my merry way. Pierre was a delight and just as funny and quirky as he was on TV.

My last stop of the day was the Tyler Florence demo to learn some tips as, I watch him on the Great Food Truck Race. I have learned following William Sonoma on Instagram that the two have a partnership together, so I made it a point to check this demo out. While he was cooking he answered questions and told us about his new book: Inside the Test Kitchen coming out at the end of the month. He even passed a copy of his book around for us to take a peek at, and showed us food pictures off his phone. Today he made an alternative to a Porchetta with a ham leg, buttered turnips and apple mustard. We were even treated to tasting the ham if we were willing to line up and wait. I will be trying this recipe on a smaller scale soon. Tyler showed so much passion and so endearing that I have become more than just a casual fan.

Overall the show wasn’t as big as I expected or that I hoped it to be. I went with the hopes of seeing and getting some tips and trick from some amazing chefs and that was definitely accomplished. I had a great time, even if I found the show rather small. I wouldn’t take a full day off work again for this unless I have a particular chef I want to see or am taking an exclusive chef series with a cooking personality. I left the show with a few more places on my quest and diaries list to try and an amazing peeler for those very hard to peel vegetables…I’m talking to you rutabaga.

Tyler Florence - The Delicious Food Show

Tyler Florence – The Delicious Food Show

Porchetta, Buttered Turnips & Apple Mustards - The Delicious Food Show

Porchetta, Buttered Turnips & Apple Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

Von Doughnuts The Delicious Food Show

Von Doughnuts The Delicious Food Show

Chuck hughes - The Delicious Food Show

Chuck hughes – The Delicious Food Show

Short & Sweet Cupcakes - The Delicious Food Show

Short & Sweet Cupcakes – The Delicious Food Show

Cured Meats  - The Delicious Food Show

Cured Meats – The Delicious Food Show

AG Macarons Maille Mustards  - The Delicious Food Show

AG Macarons Maille Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour  - The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour – The Delicious Food Show

Purchases from The Delicious Food Show

Purchases from The Delicious Food Show

Books Signed by Mario Batali - The Delicious Food Show

Books Signed by Mario Batali – The Delicious Food Show

Maille Mustards  - The Delicious Food Show

Maille Mustards – The Delicious Food Show

Oysters - The Delicious Food Show

Oysters – The Delicious Food Show

Tequila - The Delicious Food Show

Tequila – The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour - The Delicious Food Show

The Toronto Sour – The Delicious Food Show

Food Trucks - The Delicious Food Show

Food Trucks – The Delicious Food Show

CNE Food Truck Frenzy

CNE Princess Gate - Candy Coated Culinista

CNE Princess Gate – Candy Coated Culinista

When: Friday, August 24th 2012 – 11am-10pm, Saturday, August 25th & Sunday August 26th – 10am-10 pm & Friday, August 23rd 2013 – 11 am-10 pm, Saturday, August 24th 213 – 10 am 10 pm & Sunday, August 25th 2013 – 10am-10pm)
Where: Princes’ Boulevard in front of Allstream Centre & Direct Energy Centre

I watch a lot of Eat St. on Food Network and when I say a lot I mean like 1 episode a day. Even if it’s a repeat it’s a fun show that makes me very envious of all the food trucks in the U.S.A. Toronto is slowly grabbing on to this food truck revolution and street meat isn’t only hot dogs but now are some very authentic, classy and inspiring foods. I subscribe to Toronto Food Trucks; so when the better weather comes around and the food trucks roll out and I get updated to where the trucks will be. I have visited some and when summer hits I always try and see if any are in my area.

For three years now I go to the CNE with Mr. C. and two of my friends. I am hoping we can make this a yearly thing and for two years now the Food Truck Frenzy has been on. The frenzy features many food trucks from around the GTA.

The first thing I do is see all the offerings from each food truck and then I line up and get my grub on. There are plenty of trucks at this event. We had a great time tasting foods and food combinations we wouldn’t normally. We all left the CNE grounds full and when I got home I managed to find a little more space for the Greek fries I had left over.

Here’s the rundown of my stops over the last two Food Truck Frenzy’s

Blue Donkey Streatery
This truck is a bright blue with a donkey on it, you can’t miss it and they offer a selection of Greek inspired foods.

When we were ready to leave I needed to make one more stop for a late night snack before the park closed, I grabbed the Feta Fries with Tzatziki for $8. The Greek fries are hand cut and sprinkled with feta. I have had something similar before from The Arkadia House in Scarborough and this too was amazing. To me it’s like cheese fries but a classier.

Beach Boys Food Truck
A rotating menu of summertime food inspired by the 60’s rock band, with a blend of the California
culture they personify.

Bacon Nation
A USA food truck that is driven by “slow food” combined with a Northwest style.

Mr.C . went here and had a burger with bacon, ham & pulled pork. By the time I got to him to take a pic it was almost done. I’m guessing he really enjoyed it. He did laugh at the fact that it was all pig in various forms.

Buster’s Sea Cove
A sea food focused food truck that sells oysters on the half shelf, lobster rolls, fish tacos, crab rolls & Key lime pie. I also saw them at the TO Food Fest 2013.

Crossroads Diner
Healthy seasonal options and some guilty pleasures. Their focus is a modern twist of the diner classics at affordable prices and great quality products.

Food Dudes
They are a full service catering company that uses the highest quality ingredients and the best service while tending to the clients’ needs.

Frankie Fettuccine
Gourmet Pasta dishes is sold by this Food Truck.

Fidel Gastro
This truck serves up sandwiches with a twist.

Let’s Be Frank
A Toronto based food truck that serves Nathan’s Famous all beef dogs.

I ordered the sliders: a pair of mini hot dogs which was the perfect snack. I topped my hot dog with Dijon mustard, ketchup and relish. I usually don’t eat beef hot dogs, but this was great. I would have this again as a full size dog. My friend ordered the Ultimate Dog, a hot dog wrapped in pea meal bacon topped with melted cheese.

Gourmet Gringos
Gourmet Latin food.

Gourmet B1tches
Healthy food options with some flare.

Hank Daddy’s Barbeque
All things BBQ’d. Serving pork, chicken, beef and ribs at fairs, festivals and catered events.

Hogtown Smoke
BBQ smokehouse slow & low with an on board truck smoker.

Mike’s Dog House
Mike’s started as a hot dog stand that grew to a special event catering vehicle

Per Se Mobile
This food truck has taste from all the diverse roots in the GTA.

When I went to this food truck there was one thing on the menu that caught my attention, and also the attention of us all. The Raw Sugar Cane Lemonade; as 3 of us have Caribbean roots we gravitated to this and Mr. C just liked the idea of it. The lemonade is made with Real Panela (whole cane sugar) served in a 16oz cup with a lime and ice for $4. It was one of the best lemonades I’ve had, you could taste the sugar cane and we enjoyed it so much that we all went back for seconds when we had our late night snack.

This year again all four of us enjoyed the raw cane sugar lemonade. It is that good and we looked forward to having it again.

My friends had the Per Se Poutine which is a Demi-Glazed (Gravy) with Brisket, Cheese Blend all served on a bed of Fresh Home Cut Kettle Chips. This looked delicious and I must say even though this is food truck food, they style & plate their food well; even if it’s going into a paper dish.

Pretty Sweet
Mobile cupcakery specializing in noveau flavours and artfully decorated creations.

Stuft Gourmet Sausages
This food truck is street meat at its finest. Toronto has lots of hot dog vendors but none like this. Here the bun just has a hole at the top to stuff your meat and sauce into it. It’s definitely a less messy way to eat a hot dog and a smart idea.

Mr. C. came here and ordered the Creole Turducken, a turkey, duck and chicken seasoned in authentic Creole spices and topped with a mustard sauce for $9. I snagged a bite and it tasted good but the seasoning isn’t my thing however; Mr. C. loved it and would have it again. A year later he still raves about the Creole Turducken.

Sweetness Bakery
Quality baked goods whipped up by accredited pastry chefs and bakers. This truck is named after the owners daughter Chloe “Sweetness” is her nickname. Their boy Foster, at 2 was diagnosed with peanut and tree nut allergies and after that experience they needed to find better food options for when they eat out. The food truck has a line called “Foster favourites” a nut free alternative.

Texas Tornado
Tornado fries are seasoned in five different options – Sour Cream & Onion, Salt and Vinegar, Dill Pickle, Wild Buffalo or just Sea Salt. Also on the menu is Tornado potato, Twister Dog, Poutine & French Fries.

Tiny Tom Donuts
A regular at the CNE is Tiny Toms you must try this even if only once. Mini doughnuts are served fresh right in front of you. You can watch the hopper toss out the doughnuts and select from cinnamon,chocolate, icing sugar or apple-cinnamon at $5 a dozen.

This has too much topping for me but this is a favourite for many, and for once a year why not just do it right?

The Urban Smoke 2012-2013
A southern style both traditional and fusion Gourmet BBQ.

I ordered the Dirty Bob, a Texas Brisket with Swiss cheese, onions and mushrooms $8. I have never had brisket before so I decided today was the day to give it a try. It was like a grilled cheese sandwich to me with meat added. I really enjoyed it but Mr. C. abruptly said after taking a bite “never make brisket for me please”. It’s a fattier meat and he did not like that at all.

Wood Fired Pizza
There was a pizza place there that was serving thin crust pizza in 3 spicy flavours including a vegetarian and of course pepperoni. Mr. C. and the girls loved it. Not too much crust and falvouful toppings.

Yalla Paramount
Middle Eastern Cuisine: Shawarma, Falafels, Grape Leaves & Musakaa can be found here.

Yogurt by weight: You order you yogurt and add any of the toppings you want.

Other food trucks there were: S.W.A.T., Nazca and Pancha.

Per Se Poutine - Per Se Mobile

Per Se Poutine – Per Se Mobile

Yogurty's - Candy Coated Culinista

Yogurty’s – Candy Coated Culinista

Wood Fire Pizza - Candy Coated Culinista

Wood Fire Pizza – Candy Coated Culinista

Sweetness Bakery - Candy Coated Culinista

Sweetness Bakery – Candy Coated Culinista

Per Se Mobile - Candy Coated Culinista

Per Se Mobile – Candy Coated Culinista

Let's Be Frank - Candy Coated Culinista

Let’s Be Frank – Candy Coated Culinista

Fish Taco - CNE Food Truck Frenzy

Fish Taco – CNE Food Truck Frenzy

Ultimate Dog - Let's be Frank

Ultimate Dog – Let’s be Frank

Sliders - Let's Be Frank

Sliders – Let’s Be Frank

Nadia G. – Bitchin’ Kitchen

Nadia G. Bitchin' Kitchen - Candy Coated Culinista

Nadia G. Bitchin’ Kitchen – Candy Coated Culinista

Who: Nadia G – Bitchin’ Kitchen (Airs on Food Network Canada)
Where: CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) Food Network Food Stage
Date: Sunday August 25th 2013 2-3pm & 5-6pm

“Let’s go to the Ex”… and not ride the rides but enjoy the Food Truck Frenzy, Pavillion, Butter Sculptures, Farm and everything else but. For 3 years now I go and do everything except the rides. Now I’m not a big fan of rides so I’m more than happy to just wander around and check out the sand sculptures and the physics defying rock stacker. This year I did all that again and made a second trip back to see Nadia G. on the Food Network Sound Stage yesterday. I was so happy when I saw she was going to be there. Bitchin’ Kitchen is a combination of comedy and cooking show rolled up into one. I even own a few items from her online store. A cupcake pillow and a pizza pillow I gave to an Italian friend because she loves pizza that much. I have so much fun watching the show that I have to remember to take note of the recipes, as I am trying to learn something.

I came an hour early and I was glad I did. The seats filled up fast and by the time her demonstration started there was standing room only along the sides. Today Nadia was rocking a Mrs. Cleaver 50’s look: a striped baby blue and white button up dress with nude high heels. I was hoping to see some of those amazing killer heels and form fitting mini dresses she wears; but I have seen her dressed like this on occasion and with her tattoos and bling peaking through she made this and edgy molly housemaid look, and still very Nadia G. As she cooked she told anecdotes about a friend and how she has Foot and Mouth disease – meaning she always manages to put her foot in her mouth all the time. She made fun of a Canadian Rock Band that has been the butt of jokes many a time. The funniest quip was during the Q & A period, a student off to College asked what staples a student should have on hand. Nadia said pasta and beans like lentils, as they are cheap and last for a long time. She then said “Cooking is a life skill. It’s like wiping your butt. You have no excuse to say I don’t know how to do it.” The audience laughed and it is so true. No one says you need to be a gourmet chef.

For the demonstration Nadia prepared a Back of the Kitchen Penne, Balsamic Strawberries and a Grapefruit Mojito.

Back of the Kitchen Penne
The leftovers in your fridge made into a meal. Ingredients included: penne, olive oil, parsley, basil, cilantro, Genoa salami, red or white onion, garlic and tomatoes, (crushed by hand into a sauce with chunks).

Balsamic Strawberries
This is a simple and easy dessert which is one of her fav’s. She advised us to make sure we get good balsamic which will cost 10-15$ for a meager portion. If you are getting a lot for that price its garbage, and remember a little goes a long way. This recipe consisted of: strawberries, balsamic and maple syrup. It can be served with ice cream or on a puff pastry.

Grapefruit Mojito
4 main things go into Mojito’s – citrus, liquor, herbs & sugar. So why not mess around a little with those components. This is a mojito with a twist comprised of: grapefruit juice, cilanto, vodka, sugar and chili’s. You can rim the glass in chili’s if so desired.

There was a quick Q & A period and then to my surprise a meet & greet. I bolted to the line and wished I had brought my cookbook with me; however there was a photo, tee-shirts and both cookbooks on sale. I bought the first cookbook as I don’t own it and got it signed. I mentioned to her my favorite recipes and that her Meatloaf with Awesome Sauce has made Mr. C. a meatloaf lover, and that the Greek chicken salad sandwich is great for lunches. She said my name was very pretty as she signed the book and then we took a quick candid shot, I shook her hand and was on my way.

All in all a great day. I got to see one of my fav Canadian Chefs in person and I have a few more recipes to add to my repertoire, not to mention all the laughs I had. I left with a big smile on my face. Thanks Nadia.

Nadia filmed a new one-off series where she and the Bitchin’ Kitchen Crew travelled around the U.S. called “Bite Me”. For now it will be only air in the U.S., but hopefully we will be able to see it here in Canada in the future.

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