Reggie’ll Try It: Bang for Your Buck

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Determining what’s good bang-for-your-buck is always difficult, no matter what the discipline. Do you look solely at price, or do you also give consideration to other factors such as quality, amount of product received or ease of use?

One of my favourite places on Park during Stampede time is Weadickville, especially the Weston Bakery. Their $2.50 sausage rolls as well as 2 for $2 cheese sticks and various pepperoni sticks have gotten me through many a Stampede. You can also find $2 waters in Weadickville as well as $2 Frosters from Mac’s. For under $5, you can have yourself a very satisfying lunch. To me, that’s good value.

There’s also value to be had out on the Midway, although with the sheer number of items sold out there, it’s sometimes hard to find the true gems. For today’s #CSFoodie challenge, we were tasked with finding the Best Value on the Midway and were instructed to sample 9-10 items that might fit the bill, many of them previous contenders for various categories this year. The Fried Chicken Poutine from Waffles and Chix ended up walking away with the honours, but what about the rest?

Because good value is subjective, the series of reviews in this edition of Reggie’ll Try It! will be a bit different. Instead of rating the food, I’ll just offer my opinions on why these foods may offer a good bang-for-your-buck and leave it up to you whether or not you agree. Either way, I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments!

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Reggie’ll Try It: Cool Refreshments!

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Right now, the long range forecast for the rest of Stampede 101 reads nothing but warm temperatures and sunny skies (knock on wood!). That means it’ll get hot down on Park, so what better way to beat the heat than with some cool refreshment from the Stampede Midway?

Today’s #CSFoodie challenge was to find the Best Refreshment on Park. Sugar Creek Kettle Corn Co. won it for their Lemonade Shake Up, but what else can be found on the Midway? Here are my thoughts on some of the things we were asked to look at in this edition of Reggie’ll Try It!

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Reggie’ll Try It: Alternative Choices!

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We all know that those who wish to be considered true Stampede Foodies must abandon all fear, shame and hope to fit into last week’s pants if they are to survive the delicious temptations out on the Stampede Midway.

And while it’s true that there are many savoury, succulent and sugar-filled treats out there, did you know that there are also many healthier options as well? Items that are tailored for those who may have food sensitivities or just want to try a lifestyle change with their diets? Things that are not necessarily deep-fried? Shocking, I know.

Today’s #CSFoodie challenge was to find the Best Alternative Choice on the Stampede Midway, and we had to eat our way through a few of the non-traditional (for lack of a better term) options out on the grounds. Wrap Daddy’s ended up taking the official honours for their Gluten Free Chicken Wrap, but what about the other items? Here are my thoughts on some of the things we were asked to sample in this edition of Reggie’ll Try It!

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Reggie’ll Try It: International Flavour Edition!

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For Stampede 101, I’m privileged to be chosen as one of this year’s volunteer Midway Food Judges. As a group, we’re responsible for choosing the “Best” foods out of specific categories from what’s available on the Stampede Midway.

Today, we were tasked with determining “Best International Flavour” for 2013. The Naaco TNT by The Naaco Truck ended up winning the honours this year, but how did the other food fair?

Fellow Stampede blogger Sky’s posted a great recap, but did I agree with the verdict? Disagree? Submitted for your consideration are my thoughts on the matter in this special edition of Reggie’ll Try It! where I put my life on the line so you don’t have to!

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Adventures on the Stampede Midway: A Ride on the Wild Side

I’ll admit, I’m not much of a “ride guy” myself as I have a mild fear of heights (which I can totally trace back to being three years old when my dad was tossing me up and down.  It was fun for the first few tries, except when he missed catching me; luckily, the couch was underneath me to break my fall but I don’t think I’ve been the same ever since), plus I tend to get a mild case of vertigo sometimes when spun around and around.

But, in the interest of the greater good, it is indeed possible for me to overcome my fears to bring you, the loyal Stampede Blog reader, something interesting to read.

With that in mind, this week, a couple of my fellow Stampede Bloggers (Jessica Wilkinson and Sophy Kors) and myself decided to try two of the rides on the Stampede Midway which may be considered staples by some: the Sling Shot and the Skyscraper.  Furthermore, we decided to video record our (mis)adventures, just so you could get a sample of what you’re missing if you’ve never been.

First up is the Sling Shot, which made its Stampede debut a very long time ago.  It’s sometimes considered a reverse bungee ride as it shoots you up in the sky while being strapped to a seating apparatus held down by cords on two sides.  The elasticity is provided by compression springs at either end of the apparatus.  I had never been on this ride before, so I, along with Jessica, decided to try it out while Sophy took control of the camera:

Unfortunately (or fortunately for us?), the audio on the ride’s camera wasn’t recording at full strength at the time so you can’t hear what we were saying, but as you can see, it’s fun, yet a little short (but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re in it).  They ask you to remove everything loose on you (so it doesn’t fall off), but I had forgotten to remove my name tag so the entire time, I was squeezing the seat harness tightly, hoping it wouldn’t fall off.  Luckily it didn’t, but I guess I’ll know better for next time.

Next up is the Skyscraper, which also made its Stampede debut years ago.  It bills itself as a 70 m.p.h. thrill ride, mainly by spinning you around at heights that allow you to see the entirety of Stampede Park.

Because this is a spinning ride, I decided to forgo it just to be safe and volunteered to film it instead, while Sophy and Jessica stepped up to ride it:

As you can see, the girls had a lot of fun, and it definitely will wake you up if you’re feeling a little groggy.

With the Calgary Stampede wrapping up today, there isn’t much time left for us to sample more Midway rides this year, but if you have a chance to come down yourself, why not give these two a try?  The Sling Shot and Skyscraper are marquee rides and thus don’t apply to the Midway ride ticket program.  Instead, they’re $40 a person, and you can purchase a video of your ride afterwards for a nominal fee.

As for next year, I definitely want to try these rides at night, and based on the video and the reactions of the girls, maybe even try that Skyscraper myself!

Reggie’ll Try It: New 2011 Midway Foods!

A new year brings new foods to the Stampede Midway, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which ones you should try first.

Thus, it’s time for yet another installment of Reggie’ll Try It! where I put my life on the line so you don’t have to!

Today, I’ll look at three of the new items you can find this year and offer you my thoughts.

First up is the Kubie Kornballs, which won the “Best New Food 2011″ award.

At first glance, it looks like a normal corn fritter, but nothing could be further from the truth.  According to its description, it bills itself as “Bite-sized bits of sausagy, cheesy, garlicky goodness with a little jalapeno heat!” and it doesn’t disappoint.

I’ll be honest:  I’ve had corn fritters in my day and have always thought them bland so I wasn’t expecting much from these, and couldn’t figure out why the food critics would choose these as Best New Food, rather than something like the much-hyped Glazed Doughnut Burger.

But now I’ve seen the light: for me, the sausage (which is made in-house in Edmonton), really adds the missing ingredient to all corn fritters, which is meat (I usually eat mine with fried chicken), but it’s the jalepeno peppers that bring it home.  I’m not normally a pepper fan as I can’t handle the spice (which is why you probably won’t see me attempt the Ghost of the Big Four Burger challenge at Mavericks, maybe), but the peppers in this dish weren’t overpowering and make it unique.

4.5 flapjacks out of 5.

Next up is the Glazed Doughnut Burger, much hyped about and which gained its inspiration from American fairs in the South which typically makes them out of Krispy Kreme donuts.

It’s a sizeable beef burger sandwiched between two maple glazed doughnuts, the glaze of the variety that you can find at any Tim Hortons restaurant.  Bacon and cheese are optional, but because bacon and cheddar make everything better, those ingredients not being there wasn’t an option for me.

This thing has a lot of heft to it and will fill you up.  My first impression was that it tasted like a glorified McGriddle, but much, much better.  The maple glaze complimented the bacon really well, and the doughy texture of the doughnut accentuated the texture of the beef patty such that it didn’t detract from the entire experience.  In other words, it didn’t feel like you were eating doughnuts with meat.  It felt like you were eating a burger.

I liked this burger and will probably return for more. However, since the maple glaze seemed to be no different than you can find at a local doughnut joint, I was finding myself desiring to try different types of doughnut glazes like chocolate or vanilla sprinkles.  I will admit, I’m inspired to try this out at home substituting different doughnuts for the bread pieces in the burger.

A solid 4 flapjacks out of 5.

Finally, what better way to end the day than with some dessert?

Last on the menu is the Moowich, which, according to the description, is “chocolate chip cookie, vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip cookie.”

This dish is exactly what you’d expect.  However, the chocolate chip cookies are baked fresh, and the sandwiches seem to be made in house.

Even though all I received was a sample size, it’s really good for what it is as the chocolate chip cookies are of high quality, but other than that, there’s nothing surprising or unique about this one.  It is what it is.  Personally, I would have loved to see different ice cream flavours, or maybe even different flavours of cookies available to be added to the mix, just to jazz things up a little.

Nonetheless, a great dessert, and a solid 3 out of 5 flapjacks from me.

So those are just three of the new food items you can find on this year’s Midway.  There are another 15 or so, plus many returning favourites from previous years.  What midway foods are you most interested in trying out this year?  Leave a comment below; I’d love to know!

Reggie’ll Try It: Alligator and Cricket Pizzas

It's Pizza Time!

Making a return this year is Reggie’ll Try It! where I put my life on the line so you don’t have to.

When I found out from fellow Stampede Blogger James Radke that real alligator and cricket pizzas were being served on the midway this year, I was intrigued.

And disgusted.

But mostly intrigued. So I put it out to a vote on Twitter asking the #yyc twitterverse to tell me which one to review for you, the loyal Stampede Blog reader.

Obviously, there were many sadists out there that said “Both!” but even after tallying up the results, it was a dead heat; an equal number of votes came in for both sides.

Mildly disheartened, for the purposes of being fair and with a sincere desire to follow through on the commitments I make, I decided to review both and even tried to live-tweet my experiences with it on Twitter (just search for #bugfeast on Twitter).

Of course, as misery loves company, there was no way I was going to do this on my own. So I recruited a couple of friends to help me out. One was my buddy Lonnie Taylor, whom I needed to help take a couple of pictures (and to take over if I somehow keeled over), and the other was Mike Morrison (of Mike’s Bloggity Blog fame), whom I fully intended to make eat any unused portions I had left (although he didn’t know that at the time).

So, how did we fare?

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Reggie’ll Try It: Tornado Potato

The Tornado Potato

By:  Reginald Tiangha

In another installment of Reggie’ll Try It!, I’ll be laying my life on the line once again for you, the Stampede blog reader, so you don’t have to (I know; I’m so considerate!).  Today, I’ll be reviewing the Tornado Potato, one of the many new food items being offered this Stampede.

Available on the midway, the Tornado Potato is essentially a spiral cut potato-on-a-stick that is deep fried.  A very simple dish.  You can then top it off with salt, ketchup, or whatever toppings and condiments that you usually put on french fries.  Of course, I’m of the sort of person that believes that sauces and such hide the natural flavour of foods, and as a professional midway connoisseur, I chose to enjoy my Tornado Potato the same way I enjoy getting my news:  plain and unfiltered.

Because it appeared that the potato was thinly sliced before deep frying, I was expecting a texture similar to a potato chip, one that was both crisp and crunchy.  However, it turned out to be more like a pan-fried potato and the texture was very similar to that of a french fry:  somewhat crisp on the outside but soft and fleshy on the inside.  As such, my initial expectations may have tainted my enjoyment of the food. Continue reading

Reggie’ll Try It: Deep-Fried Jelly Beans

Food vendors on the midway

By: Reginald Tiangha

You may have heard about it leading up to Stampede.  You may be wondering how it could possibly work.  You might even be curious on what the taste experience will be like.  However, you (and/or your friends) may not be willing to fork over some $$ just to find out, and even if you were, you may be hesitant on using yourself as a guinea pig.

So, how can you possibly find out what all the hype is about without trying to swindle a sample or a taste from a stranger or the food vendors?  Well don’t worry, because Reggie’ll Try It!

Today’s food item:  The deep-fried jelly bean. Continue reading