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.
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!
Burrito Grande by Foods of Mexico (In front of the Stampede Corral)
It’s a burrito. Stampede 101 style. Loaded with beef and cheese, it’s everything you could ever want from this Mexican classic. You can choose to top it off with lettuce, tomato, onions and hot jalapeños. It’s filling enough on its own (it is grande size), but I wouldn’t recommend eating a whole one if you have seven other items to eat through like I did.
A solid three out of five flapjacks from me.
Malaysian Peanut Chicken Noodle Box by SaltSpring Noodle Bar (Across from the BMO Centre)
Soft, chewy and warm, this rice noodle box is perfect for a cold day on Park. Cooked in water and not oil, this dish features their tasty satay sauce with peanuts and coconut milk, which complements each other nicely. It comes in small and large sizes, although for me, the small was filling enough.
My verdict: Four out of five flapjacks.
Chicken Schnitzel by Chicken Schnitzel (Near the Coca-Cola Stage)
A classic at the Stampede, the Chicken Schnitzel booth has been there for as long as I can remember (and as a born-and-raised Calgarian, that’s a long time!). I’ve never tried it myself though, so I was super excited it was on my list of things to eat.
Boneless chicken thinned with a hammer, coated with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs, fried all together and sandwiched inside a freshly baked kaiser bun with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise, this is like a traditional chicken burger on steroids.
Very filling and great value for the price. A solid four out of five flapjacks.
Chicken Souvlaki on Pita by Greek Food (In front of the Stampede Corral)
Warm, moist and tender chicken pieces make this dish, with a cool dollop of tzatziki sauce on top for good measure. Served in a pita with lettuce, tomato and onions. For those with sensitive palettes, this dish is perfect, as the chicken isn’t overpowering at all.
TIP: Like most typical wraps, this one can get messy with drippings so napkins are highly recommended.
Four out of five flapjacks.
Flautas by Los Compadres (Behind the Bell Aqua Ranch)
Pulled pork wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried and served on a bed of lettuce and cheese. Biting into one is like a thirsty person in the dessert who happens upon a bright red, juicy cherry tomato and decides to devour it whole. The explosion of juices is flavourful and exquisite, balanced well with the crispy texture of the tortilla. If I could eat nothing but this dish all day, I’d have no complaints.
Five out of five flapjacks for this one.
Lamb Donair by Skewers Authentic Wraps (In front of the Stampede Corral)
Chunks of seasoned lamb with onions, lettuce and tomato served on a pita. I love donairs, although this one was missing the sweet sauce for some reason. I did find the lamb a bit overpowering though in terms of seasoning, but it will satisfy if you’re looking for something to fill the gap in between the Rodeo and the Evening Show.
This one rates a three out of five flapjacks from me, but I reserve final judgement upon trying it again another day.
Sesame Chicken Noodle Box by Wok This Way (By the Erlton Gate)
By the time I got to this one on the list, I was feeling stuffed and had to recruit a friend to help me finish it.
This was a weird one. We both agreed that while the noodles balanced the flavourful chunks of breaded and fried sesame chicken well, there wasn’t anything spectacular about this dish that jumped out at us, and we quickly moved onto the remaining dishes. But as we both went back to work and I was compiling my final thoughts on today’s experiences, we both polished this one off without noticing, even though it was already cold (and I had already polished off five full dishes already on my own).
What does that mean? I’m still not sure. But the fact that we finished off this one so late in the day despite a full day’s worth of eating on my end earns it a solid four out of five flapjacks from me. Like a ninja, this one sneaks up on you!
Naaco TNT by The Naaco Truck (Behind the Bell Aqua Ranch)
Cool, crisp, crunchy, sweet and spicy. Served in a faux-newspaper cone that invokes fond memories from my youth, this is a colourful cornucopia that excites the tastebuds and delights the palette.
Made with crispy noodles, puffed rice, tomatoes, cucumbers and a variety of other vegetables, sauces, spices and herbs, this is the perfect dish for a hot summer day.
TIP: This one can also dribble a bit at the bottom of the cone with drippings, so make sure to have some napkins handy.
A solid, well deserved five out of five flapjacks from me.
And there you have it! In this case, I did agree with the Naaco TNT walking away with this year’s honour of being chosen “Best International Flavour,” but for me, it was a tie between it and Los Compadres’ Flautas for the top prize, and I would have been happy with either of them winning today.
Congrats to all the competitors this year and tune in tomorrow as we’ll be looking at “Best Alternative Food Option!”