Torontonians, you have two weekends left to get yourself to the Ex. The Canadian National Exhibition features scheming carnies, rides of dubious safety, entertainment that ranges from middling to deafening (Air Show anyone?) and a smorgasbord of culinary innovation. Yes, innovation. Ex vendors boldly deep-fry what no one has deep-fried before, and the results are heavenly. Along with gastronomic breakthroughs the CNE features typical carnival fare (for Toronto): neon sno-cones, many varieties of fried dough, fries, burgers, pizzas, shawarma, dim sum, sushi, pho, falafel and more, all under the magnificent roof of the food building.
I crave Tiny Tom's conveyor belt mini donuts year-round, and seek them out at any outdoor Toronto fest, whether Word on the Street or the Weed March. This year marks their 50th anniversary and I got a little festive. My favourites are icing sugar or cinnamon, $5/dozen, or 4 dozen for $15.
It is after all the Canadian National Exhibition and poutine is heavily featured along with other so-called national dishes.
I don't know why I thought this would be a good idea but the take-out dim sum was truly atrocious (Chinatown is cheaper and infinitely better).
I admit I am late to the game on this one. I've been hearing tell of the delights of deep-fried chocolate bars for years, but this was my first taste.And it won't be my last. The crisp batter coating is an excellent balance for the melting chocolate-caramel confection.
It was the same stand's deep-fried butter that's been making headlines. This is not in the Food Building, but rather fairly deep into the midway, near the Canadian Armed Forces display. At first I was a bit reluctant to ask people if they knew where it was fearing judgment, but everyone was happy to point the way, noting that it seemed hugely popular.
Small balls of butter are frozen onto toothpicks, then dipped in the same batter coating as the Mars bars.
When ready, the butter has melted inside the donut-like coating and biting in frees the butter from this doughy cage. I don't think I could eat more than four as they are quite rich, but it really is delicious.
Good, unpretentious, possibly fatal treats await you at the Ex! Let's go!