{Dining Out: Stampede 2010 Food Review}

It’s that time of year again, the Calgary Stampede has arrived….10 days of rodeos, chuckwagons, cowboys, beer gardens galore, junky food and an overall rowdy good time.

As much as I am an advocate of healthy eating “most” of the time. I cannot resist the urge to indulge in the unique and usually deep-fried goodies at the Stampede grounds. After all, it only happens once a year. That thick scent of corn dogs frying away and sweet sugary cotton candy is the smell I always associate with this time of year.

I had read some reviews in the paper on the “must-try” items this year and made sure to include them in my “eating itinerary“.

On Thursday, my work staff and I made our way to the grounds to watch the rodeo for our staff Stampede party. It was a sweltering hot day, which made those icy cold beers all the more enticing (the price however, was not so enticing, coming in at $7.25 each! Yikes!)

I didn’t have time to eat lunch before we left and it was slim pick-ins at the Grandstand for food choices, it was either burgers or hot dogs, so hot dogs it was.. pocket dawg to be exact. As expected, nothing exciting here. I got the original, a baguette bun filled with ketchup and spicy mustard pre-cut with a hole to fit the dog perfectly.

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The verdict? Not bad, the hot dog was juicy and the bun was soft and fresh, however I did think the bun to meat ratio was a bit overwhelming.

After the rodeo we headed out to Nashville North, a big tent lined with bars, a stage with live bands and a huge dance floor. After some more drinks, socializing and some good ol’ country dancin. We were ready to start our big feast.

First stop Hot Wisconsin Cheese for some deep-fried jalapeno cheddar cheese nuggets and mozzarella fingers.

Gooey melty cheese encased in a crispy breaded exterior. These were fresh out of the fryer hot. The jalapeno ones (pictured below) were tangy and had a kick from the spice, very tasty. The mozzarella fingers (not pictured, ate them before I remembered to take a pic) were kind of bland in flavour, but still delightful. Pull-apart string cheesy goodness.

Next, we went over to Big T’s BBQ for the item voted “Best Food at the Stampede for 2010” – the infamous Pulled pork parfait with a side of deep-fried pickles.

Slow cooked pulled pork layered with pillows of buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. It really does look like a parfait! We were fighting each other with our forks to get in there for each bite..

Last bite.. mmm.. definatley a “Homer Simpson throwing back his head drooling” moment. The meat was very tender and paired wonderfully with the creamy potatoes and rich beefy gravy. This is not for the light of heart.

The fried pickles were served with a creamy and tangy ranch like sauce. Not as good as I had hoped. The breaded casing slid off the pickle once you took your first bite. The pickle were not as crunchy as I had hoped, a bit of a soggy texture. I’ll stick to the fresh pickles on a stick next time.

Still hungry for more, how about hawaiian pizza on a stick.

I had seen these around the grounds, thinking, what the heck are those. It is not a pretty thing, but boy, it was GOOD. The dough was crispy on the outside and doughy and chewy on the inside. Layers of ham are rolled up inside with dots of pineapple and pockets of tomatoe sauce, all surrounded by a generous layer of melted mozzarella cheese. Kind of like a calzone on a stick, but the dough is not as dense.

Can’t leave without getting the boy’s favourite, Authentic German bratwurst with lots of sauerkraut and thick drizzle of spicy mustard.

This was a juicy thick hot dog with a nice smokey flavour. The tanginess of the sauerkraut and spicy mustard were the perfect compliment to the dense meaty sausage. Don’t mess with a good thing.

Next up, we headed over to Weadickville for my most anticipated item, the MacKay’s mini donut ice cream. A creamy vanilla based ice cream dotted with flecks of cinnamon and chunks of cinnamon spiced mini donuts.

Just look at those chunks of mini donut and flecks of cinnamon and nutmeg. This was EVERYTHING I had hoped for. Creamy, rich and thick ice cream and the chunks of donut added a lovely texture contrast. This was a very nostalgic experience, the smells of flavours of the ice cream bring me back to when I was young and watching those mini donuts as they plopped in perfect little rounds transforming from pale beige circles of dough into crispy puffy perfectly browned bites of pure bliss. I think I may have found a new favourite flavour!

Just when I thought we had enough, I grabbed a sausage on a bun for the walk home. The boy did not share much of his bratwurst with me, so I got one all my own, this time with both grainy and spicy mustard.

Hey, get your own bratwurst mister!

Ok.. NOW we’re done.

Other items that were noteworthy that we did not try:

  • Deep fried: Deep fried Twinkies, Deep fried Snickers Bar, Deep fried Jelly Beans, Deep fried Strawberry Shortcake or Deep fried Oreos
  • On-a-stick: Chicken–on-a-Stick, Cheese-on-a-Stick, Brownie-on-a-stick or Belgian Waffle-on-a-stick
  • Others: Chicken Brie Cranberry Meat Pies, Alligator Pizza, Hot Beef Sundae, Taco in a Bag

Phew…I think I’ll be eating big salads and putting in some extra time at the gym for the next week to get back on the health train again 🙂

Thanks Stampede… see you next year 🙂

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  1. […] onto the food… Remember that mini donut ice cream I had at the Stampede grounds from the MacKay’s ice cream stand in July..so do I. So today I […]

  2. […] from the Hot Wisconsin Cheese stall. If you remember from last year, we tried their bite-sized cheddar nuggets which we quite […]



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