Fair weather friends: four CNE-worthy treats available right now
By Jon Sufrin and Rachel Bloom
The arrival of CNE means rides and lots of overindulgent food (Image: basic_sounds/Flickr)
August is a glorious month of warm weather, fresh air and, let’s not forget, greasily delicious CNE food. But you don’t have to wait until Aug. 16 to (over-) indulge. These Toronto restaurants are serving up fair-inspired food just because they can.
Yonge and St. Clair burger joint Holy Chuck serves some of the most over-the-top food in uptown Toronto (case in point, the Sixxy Cow, which features six patties, six slices of cheese and three slices of bacon). So it’s no surprise that it also serves up some classic midway fare. Holy Chuck’s funnel cake starts with batter — made from baking powder, baking soda, flour and sugar — that’s put into a squeeze bottle. It’s then shot out into the deep fryer and cooked until golden brown. It comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a house-made pineapple-caramel sauce.
Holy Chuck, 1450 Yonge St., 416-962-4825. $7
You’ll have to go a bit upmarket to taste Marben’s carnival-inspired cotton candy because it’s part of the tasting menu. Chef Rob Bragagnolo uses an industrial cotton candy machine — much like what you’d find at the CNE — to spin out seasonal takes on the stuff. For summer, he’s infusing sugar with a bit of apple juice and watermelon, which gives the cotton candy a slightly pink hue. While making the candy, he adds fresh basil to the mix so that the leaves get embedded inside. Why cotton candy? “People like being little kids again, ” Bragagnolo says.
Marben, 488 Wellington St. W., 416-979-1990. Tasting menu item
Pogo à gogo
Chef Dan Sanders’ interpretation of a corn dog was initially a Summerlicious-only item, but it was a popular choice, and Earth Rosedale is keeping it on the menu for a bit longer. Paprika-inflected chorizo is rolled in a cornmeal batter and then deep-fried, making it a gluten-free (and gluttonous) choice. It comes with an orange-and-fennel salad and a smear of extra-crunchy house mustard. And yes, it’s served on a stick.
Earth Rosedale, 1055 Yonge St., 416-551-9890. $9
Fried and true
One certainty with carnival food is that, if it can be deep-fried, it will be deep-fried. Previous items to hit the deep fryer at the CNE include butter, Mars bars and even cola. At Murray’s Sandwich Emporium on Queen West, the deep-fried Nutella sandwich is right in tune with that sentiment. Owner/sandwich expert Anthony Tsavdaris puts Nutella (or jam) on Ace Bakery bread and covers it in beer batter. He then deep-fries it, sprinkles it with some icing sugar and serves it with a side of whipped peanut butter. And how did Tsavdaris come up with the creation? “It was like one of those late-night, kind of stoned, what-can-I-do-with-a-sandwich kind of deals.”
Murray’s Sandwich Emporium, 671 Queen St. W., 647-345-7644. $9