For my friends outside Toronto, the CNE (aka The Ex) is an annual event that takes place the last two and a half weeks in August - hence the "bittersweet" part since the start of The Ex signals the end of summer for many Torontonians. There's a midway with carnival games and rides and buildings full of exhibitions and product booths.
And then there's the Food building. In the past, the Food building was a mish-mash of cultural foods, chain staples and a place to find fast eats and snacks - a little repetitive (especially when the same place had four booths in the one building), but it never failed to provide some good eats (typical Toronto tradition - 99 cent spaghetti followed by a dozen Tiny Tom donuts). However, the past couple of years has seen a real focus on re-inventing the Food building, with the introduction of new vendors, lots of new and innovative (if sometimes artery-clogging) food items (like the infamous deep-fried butter that was introduced in 2010) and more involvement from local businesses (there was even a weekend-long Food Truck Frenzy this year!)
For the past two years, Paul and I have been heading to The Ex with his family. The bonus to this is that Paul's brother Mike and his fiancee Alex (the same two that have been helping me try all those Kawartha Dairy ice cream flavours) are generally as excited to try the new foods as we are, which ensures that everyone has a lot of new tastes.
Here are just a couple of the new vendors that we didn't get to try this year:
While Paul, Mike and Alex stood in line at Bacon Nation, I headed over to Dutch Frites (their booth was decorated like a mini food truck - too cute!).