Location: 210 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto
Though I haven’t been in a couple of years, I enjoy going to the Ex. I mean, they have an enormous building dedicated entirely to food, not to mention vendor after vendor selling junky carnival food, so of course I enjoy it.
I didn’t get to try quite as much as I would have liked (this stuff was all extremely heavy), but I sampled a few things.
The Big Chief from Porkies Sandwich Co.
This place specializes in porchetta and pork belly, and serves a sandwich that’s crammed with both of them. The two meats are topped with caramelized onions, arugula, provolone, salsa verde, and chipotle mayo. It’s not bad — the two types of pork are a bit bland and textureless (they’re super tender, but there are zero crispy bits or crackling), but they’re still porky and satisfying. The cheese was unmelted and basically added nothing to the sandwich, but the onions and the sauces are tasty and do a good job of cutting through the extreme richness of the belly and the porchetta. I will say, however, that this might have been the greasiest sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life. Grease was leaking everywhere.
Scorpion Burrito from Burrito Co.
Though Burrito Co. advertises this as “Canada’s hottest burrito,” that’s a dubious claim; the burrito itself is barely spicy at all. It does, however, come with a tiny dropper filled with a legitimately fiery hot sauce. This stuff isn’t kidding around, though I wish they had added it right into the burrito, because having to reapply it every couple of mouthfuls was a bit of a pain. As for the burrito itself, it was fine, I guess? It was decent enough, but nothing about it particularly stands out (other than the comically absurd $19.25 price tag).
Pickle Pizza from Rick’s Pizza
This is the only thing I tried that was outside of the food building. The slice is basically exploding with pickle flavour; it’s topped with pickle slices, and features dill ranch instead of tomato sauce. It’s a novelty food and it tastes like a novelty food, but it’s actually kind of satisfying. The pickles are nice and zingy, and the pizza itself is decent. I don’t know that I’d want to eat this all the time — but isn’t that the whole point of carnival food? If it’s something you’d want to eat on a regular basis, it’s probably not doing its job.