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!
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade by Fresh Roasted Corn (Across from Nashville North)
The first beverage I tried was this version of fresh squeezed lemonade. True to its name, this drink was made from a freshly squeezed lemon with water, ice and sugar, and a lemon slice included for good measure. It was tart but not overly so, and there were some undissolved sugar granules at the bottom of my cup. Refreshing and exactly what I was expecting from something akin to homemade lemonade.
My verdict: Four out of five flapjacks.
Fresh Brewed Iced Tea by Ice Tea Hut (Near Erlton Gate)
I was privileged to be able to visit Boston last summer for a vacation, and they take their teas down there very seriously. I thought I knew iced tea, but that trip showed me just how naive I was.
So I was excited to be given the opportunity to sample some brewed iced tea here at the Stampede. Each iced tea serving from this vendor comes with a lemon slice as well as a tea bag. According to the vendor, the flavour increases the longer you walk around on Park due to the tea bag, and I was certainly able to taste the difference as I nursed it along on my adventures today. Unfortunately, the majority of the drink’s initial base is made with iced tea mix, so it’s not quite a 100% brewed iced tea.
I still liked it though, so four out of five flapjacks from me.
Slushie by CandyTime (In front of the Agrium Wester Event Centre)
This one is mainly for the kids. It comes in two flavours: Red Cherry and Blue Raspberry. It’s the same kind of flavouring that you’ll find in some children’s hard candy as well as in cotton candy. I got the Blue Raspberry for this review, but no matter what flavour you get, you’re guaranteed to have a coloured tongue because of it.
I like to consider myself a bit of a slushie connoisseur (those things got me through college) so I was anxious to try this when I saw it on my list. Unfortunately, my sample was a bit crunchy, as the ice granules were quite large. So instead of being able to sip it leisurely, it was more of a slurp, crunch, chew and swallow. Based on experience though, it could have been the batch, but based on what I had today, I’d give it three flapjacks out of five. That said, I guarantee you that the kids wouldn’t mind. Flavourful and sweet, it will beat the heat.
Pomegranate Passion by Booster Juice (Near the Sling Shot)
Booster Juice is a personal favourite of mine, and is an excellent alternative when looking for healthy drinks on Park. They have a variety of drink options all made with natural ingredients.
I had the Pomegranate Passion (snack size shown), which is made out of pomegranate, strawberries, raspberries and vanilla frozen yogurt.
It was a bit tart, and for a guy like me who has a sweet tooth, it’s hard for me to drink a lot of it at a time. But for those people who love tart and sour, it’ll probably hit the spot. And it’s super healthy for you too.
Verdict: Four out of five flapjacks.
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade by Lemon Heaven (All over Park)
Another lemonade that’s freshly squeezed, Lemon Heaven’s version allows for some variety as you have the option to add various flavour shots to your lemonade. You can stick with the classic original lemon flavour, or you can get cherry, lime or iced tea flavours added to it. There is also a diabetic-friendly option available on request.
Each drink comes with the lemonade, plenty of ice and a lemon slice. It certainly hits the spot and you will feel refreshed after drinking it.
I chose to go with the classic lemonade and it was the perfect combination of water, lemons and sugar. Not too tart and not too sweet, but you could still appreciate all the citrus-y goodness from the lemons. Five out of five flapjacks.
State Fair Lemonade by the Double Bacon Corn Dog booth (Near the Bell Aqua Ranch)
Yet another lemonade variety that you can find on Park, this one is also fresh squeezed and includes a lemon slice along with plenty of ice. Make no mistake though: You visit this booth for the Double Bacon Corn Dog. However, this beverage would make the perfect complement.
Subjectively, there wasn’t much to make this one stand out from all the other lemonades, but it gets the job done. I liked it, so four out of five flapjacks.
Raspberry Iced Tea by Cheyenne Coffee Co. (In front of the BMO Centre)
Iced tea from a coffee company? You bet! And what’s more: This one is 100% brewed. You can taste that heavy tea flavour and texture with every sip.
You can get it plain or with a shot of raspberry syrup, which is what I did. Like an iced Italian soda, the syrup is pumped into the bottom of the cup and the tea poured over top of it along with plenty of ice. It’s up to you if you want to mix it up or not; I prefer to leave it alone as I like to enjoy the super-sweet flavour of the syrup on first sip.
If you’re a fan of brewed iced tea, this baby’s authentic and you will feel refreshed. Five out of five flapjacks.
Fruit Shakes by Fruit Shakes (In front of the BMO Centre)
Made with hunks of fruit and lots of ice, this is an all natural fruit shake with no artificial flavourings or additions. You can get a Berry Blast (strawberries with blueberry, blackberry and strawberry puree, banana and ice), Mango Mania (mangos and mango puree, banana and ice), Caribbean Coloda (mangos with pineapple and coconut puree, banana and ice) and Extreme Peach (peaches, mangos with peach puree, banana and ice).
I went with the Mango Mania, and you could certainly taste the mangos. The portion was large, and it’ll definitely cool you down. Great value too.
Five out of five flapjacks.
Ice Slush by Slush Zone (In front of the BMO Centre)
Unlike the other slushie drink above, this vendor offers a variety of soda flavoured ice drinks akin to the kind that you’d find at your local convenience store.
Mainly Coca-Cola flavours, this vendor is the only place I’ve ever seen in Calgary with a ice slush tap containing Cherry Coca-Cola. For that alone, it makes this booth worth a visit.
I ended up with a Sprite/Cherry Coca-Cola mix, and I have to say, this vendor managed to hit that perfect balance between carbonation, syrup and ice concentration. No heavy ice granules here. No, each sip was smooth as silk and each hit of this icy concoction would melt and dissolve as soon as it hit my tongue. It’s rare to come across ice slush perfection in this city (only a few places do it right, and if you ever manage to stumble upon such a place, make sure to bookmark it), and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this vendor has managed to nail it.
Five out of five flapjacks, and a bonus piece of sausage for having a water mister at the booth as well. Doubly refreshing, especially on a hot summer day.
Strawberry Lemonade by Rick’s Elephant Ears and Funnel Cakes (In front of the BMO Centre)
There are at least two Elephant Ear booths on Park, but only one of them serves lemonade and that’s Rick’s. The lemonade here is also fresh squeezed, but its claim to fame is the Strawberry flavouring that you can get with it.
Mine was a little heavy on the syrup, so it was sweeter than some of the other lemonades I had to sample today. But me having a sweet tooth, I didn’t mind one bit.
Topped with ice and a lemon slice, it’s the perfect pick-me-up on a hot day. Five out of five flapjacks.
Lemonade Shake Up by Sugar Creek Kettle Corn Co. (Near the Kids Midway)
The last lemonade drink of the day was the Lemonade Shake Up by Sugar Creek Kettle Corn Co. This lemonade is shaken (not stirred) with your choice of flavouring. What’s more is that it’s made with all natural ingredients and real crushed fruit.
I chose the Saskatoon variant (made with Saskatoon berries), and you can taste the difference in quality. Whereas some of the flavourings from other vendors are sweet and admittedly artificial tasting, you could immediately tell that the sweetening and flavouring in this one is based on real fruit. Great value as well.
I absolutely loved it and want to come back to sample the rest of the flavours. An enthusiastic five out of five flapjacks from me.
Root Beer by Big Barrel Root Beer (All over Park)
Last but definitely not least is a staple at Stampede. I’m talking about the Root Beer.
Served at many locations on Park, at $2 for the small size, it’s one of the best values on Park outside of Weadickville. Ice cold and refreshing, it’ll definitely hit the spot.
I love root beer and order it any chance I get, so five out of five flapjacks from me.
And that’s it for this edition of Reggie’ll Try It! There are many other options for cool refreshment on Park, and even the options above come in many different flavours and varieties. Lots of choice out there and preferences and tastes vary among each person, so I’m interested in hearing what your favourites are. Feel free to sound off in the comments!