Words and pix: Stephanie Yuen
PNE is finally here, so are the different shapes and forms of yummy treats. Some of which are fit to indulge into only annually, hence ideal for PNE!
The funny thing is, before entering the fair ground, all food virtual, diets and habits seem to have been left at the gate. Once you see the smokes floating, aromas drifting and line-ups forming in front of those picturesque food trucks, your palate start to wonder too. Everywhere you look, someone is holding or biting onto one, may be two food items. Even babies have a pink cotton candy in hand. Ah – all your senses are telling you – time to eat!
A visit to my favourite savoury store – Henry’s BBQ Chicken is a must. The half chicken is perfect for sharing between the two of us. With an icy cold drink in hand, this is a good food stop to set the mood.
After browsing around and saying hello to the animals, we grab a bag of mini-donuts to snack on while we laugh our heads off at the Super Dog Show. This year, it comes with a new format and a new stage, but the dogs, big and small, remain to be the celebrities of the show. How can you not go see the dog show when you’re in PNE?
The one thing PNE offers which is definitely good for us is the walking required from point A to point B, at least that’s how I feel. All the walking surely helps burn off the food consumed earlier, allowing us room to chow down more. So off to the Rib Fest we go.
The Rib Fest is made up of four or five Rib kitchens, all equipped with a huge grill up front. On the grills are racks and racks of beef and pork ribs, and pans of pulled pork. The ½ rack of juicy and mean-looking jumbo-sized beef ribs for $13 at Smoking Gun is calling us. We throw in two bugs more to get the coleslaw and beans (surprisingly generous portion!) and make it a complete dinner. Not a bad deal at all. We sit close by the beer garden and listen to Abra Cadabra singing Waterloo as we enjoy the finger-licking, face-smashing ribs. We have been enjoying the free concert at the Beer Garden for the last few years, even with the cost of the pint of beer, it still is a lovely way to enjoy a summer night!
Last course – dessert of course! Having sweet tooth is one thing, biting into deep-fried processed food such as Wagon Wheels, Cheese cakes, Oreos and Fennel cakes dripping with Maple syrup and whipped cream is another. Someone even comes up with the foamy idea of deep-frying balls of kool-aids – what a way to lure and confuse the kids! I won’t dispute the possibility that anything deep-fried and sweetened with syrup and cream is somehow enticing to certain people, but sharing with 3 or more will be a sensible thing to do, for me for sure. Hey, but that’s PNE, all these sinful sweets are simply part of the make-up! Maybe the two of us were able to share one DF Oreo few years ago, today we opt for the skewer of chocolate -coated fresh strawberries. But not before we go and get the amusement riders of those high-flying, loud-screaming, crazy-swirling and fast-dropping rides provide us.
Oh, PNE, still the highlight of the west coast summer!