The Ex! It’s back! And clearly I’m not the only person excited about this, because despite going in the middle of the week after work, the place was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it. Clearly, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for sketchy rides, junky food, and stores selling random knick-knacks.
Of course, I was there for the food, and yes, I tried the ketchup ice cream.
Two dollar spaghetti from Primo Spaghetti
This place has been around forever, though this was my first time actually trying it. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d think a two dollar serving of spaghetti at a carnival would be: the sauce tasted like the cheapest stuff you can buy at the supermarket, and the spaghetti was overcooked mush.
Deep fried perogies from The Perogy Chef
This is another place that’s been around forever; I’ve tried this one before and I knew it would be good, and indeed it was. The perogies are tender, tasty, and slightly crispy on their exterior, and they’re doused in an oily sauce and a bunch of sweet caramelized onions. The sour cream on the side adds a nice creamy zing that rounds things out quite well. It’s a tasty snack.
Flamin’ Hot Chicken Sandwich from Fried Chicken Sandwiches
This place promises a chicken sandwich that’s tossed in chipotle mayo and coated in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Alas, the Cheetos (or Cheeto crumbs, more accurately) are just mounded on top, which isn’t quite as fun from an appearance or a taste perspective. The whole thing is fine — it’s not the best fried chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, and it’s not the worst — but it barely has any Flamin’ Hot taste or texture.
Viet Burrito from Pho 88
This is less of a burrito and more of an overstuffed fresh roll, but it’s still pretty tasty; it’s crammed with noodles, various veggies, chicken, and a whole spring roll, and it’s wrapped in rice paper. It would have been nice if the peanut sauce were in the wrap instead of on the side (it’s a bit dry), but otherwise this was pretty good. It’s basically like a Vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl, but crammed into a handheld package.
Fried cheese curds from the Midway
I wasn’t expecting it, but this might have been the best thing I ate at the Ex this year. The curds are gooey and tasty, and the super satisfying crispy exterior doesn’t overwhelm. It’s basically like a mozzarella stick, but better. There’s not much more to say about this one. It’s fried cheese. It’s great.
Ketchup ice cream from the Midway
Of course I tried the ketchup ice cream. How could I not? They also serve mustard ice cream; I was hoping to get both in a twist, but alas, that wasn’t an option. I suppose I could have ordered one of each, but one of these things costs twelve bucks and I wasn’t about to spend over twenty dollars on novelty ice cream. Anyway, it wasn’t bad! Would I eat it again? Absolutely not, but considering how disgusting this could have been, the fact that it’s actually pretty okay is kind of a miracle. It has an unmistakable but (and this is key) not overwhelming ketchup flavour, which combines surprisingly well with the ice cream. The ketchup flavour is present enough that you know exactly what you’re eating, but subtle enough to let the sweet ice cream be the star of the show. It’s not gross!