{Dining out: Stampede 2011 Eats Hits & Misses}

Howdy y’all!

For all you locals out there, you all know the second week of July welcomes one of the biggest events to our city, the Calgary Stampede. Known for its greasy (and sometimes unusual) fair food, rodeos, chuckwagon races, huge beer tents, dizzying midway rides and rowdy guy and girls boot stomping at various locations around the city decked out in their best western gear.

Me and boy started our “stampedin” on Thursday night after work with his company party at the Whiskey nite club. We mingled under the warm sun with bevies in hand for a few hours before heading over to the grounds for the Budweiser Blank Ticket Event at Nashville North.

Every year they feature a new band that is only revealed the moment they hit the stage. We attended two years ago where the headliner was Sam Roberts (who put on an awesome show).

This year the band was Saving Abel, a rock band out of Mississippi. Although I’ve never heard them before, they were great performers and got the crowd dancing up a storm.

After the concert, I was hit with some major late night hunger pangs, so me and boy headed out to the grounds for our first taste of our Stampede 2011 eats.

As usual, the irresistible smell of mini donuts frying away was calling my name, so I promptly followed my nose to the nearest stall to satisfy my craving (fittingly called “those little donuts”).

Piping hot puffy little golden rounds coated in a sweet cinnamon sugar crust. Nothing says Stampede more to me than these little delights. A bag of 12 comes in at $2.50.

After practically inhaling the bag of bite-sized goodness, we went straight for one of our favourite classic eats – the German Bratwurst ($7). We ordered both of ours with plenty of fried onions of tangy sauerkraut. The boy had his with a generous squirt of German mustard while mine was decorated with ketchup and spicy dijon mustard. 

Juicy, flavourful and utterly satisfying after a day of dancin’ and beers. Not wanting to hang out at the park any longer, I ate mine on the walk home while climbing up a giant staircase up Scotchman’s hill (which by the way is a great place to watch the fireworks).

Day one of Stampede. Done.

On Friday, we continued our Stampede junk food fest with a date night dinner on the grounds.

We started it off with an order deep-fried jalapeno cheese sticks ($8) from the Hot Wisconsin Cheese stall. If you remember from last year, we tried their bite-sized cheddar nuggets which we quite enjoyed.

A crisp batter surrounding a hot oozy molten interior of mozzarella cheese with what seemed like maybe 3 or 4 TINY little squares of jalapenos inside. Me and the boy were a bit disappointed with this one because although these were not bad for a mozza stick, the jalapeno flavour was definitely missing from this one. We were expecting to get something more similar to a jalapeno popper where the pepper is filled with cheese, then coated in batter.

If you plan on getting these, I would definitely recommend the more tasty cheddar nuggets instead.

As we were about to head over to the midway to get in our two rides, the boy convinced me to stop over for one more snack…

Something we haven’t tried before but have heard much hype about..the infamous deep-fried oreos.

Classic oreo cookies enrobed in a crisp and puffy almost “corndog” like exterior topped with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a snowy sprinkling of powdered sugar.

As tasty as these sounded, I have to say these were a bit of a let down. The texture of the cookie was soft and had a soggy texture which was a bit off-putting for me. Not wanting to waste the money I had just spent, I gobbled down two of these (as did they boy) and ditched the last cookie and headed to the midway. Perhaps the deep-fried cheesecake or snickers would have faired better.

We picked up 11 tickets for $10 and rode the Fireball (a thrilling butterflies in your stomach kind of ride).

..and my favourite ride of all time, The Zipper! If it weren’t for the giant line, I could ride this over and over again. My only complaint was that this year the ride was situated right next to a giant exhaust machine that was expelling pluming black smoke into the air. It felt like we were inhaling the icky fumes out of the back of a car the WHOLE time..blech.

Source

After our mini adrenalin rush on the midway, we were seduced with the lovely aromatic smell of corn on the cob roasting away (a whopping $5 each ear).

So incredibly simple, but by far my favourite item of the entire day. Served fresh out of their hot bbq oven and peeled of their protective husk when you order it.

 

Plump little niblets bursting with sweet juices. I like my plain with no butter and a light sprinkling of lemon pepper. I could have easily eaten a few more of these..So.good.

Next, we headed over to Big T’s BBQ for their signature pulled pork parfait ($7) – voted as the number one food pick last year.

 

Shredded melt in your mouth tender pulled pork layered with a scoop of smooth and creamy mashed potato and topped with their sundae sauce (a brown gravy) and more pork.

The pork was deelish, I think one thing that would have made this better is if they used real butter for the mashed potatoes, as it had an artificial taste to it, kind of like the fake butter in microwave popcorn.

After our savoury, we switched it up again for a sweet by heading over to Weadickville for a scoop of Cochrane’s own MacKay’s ice cream

Featuring a variety of western themed flavours including some new ones this year like “Beer for my horns” and “Pancake Breakfast“..num..

After some indecisiveness..in the end I went with the flavour I fell in love with last year, the “mini donut” – vanilla ice cream laced with nutmeg and cinnamon with chunks of mini donuts swirled throughout. The boy went with his “usual” – good ol’ Canadian maple walnut.

After our second round of food, we took a breather and headed to the Big Four building to check out the art exhibits. If you have a chance to go to the grounds, I highly recommend checking this out. There are some AMAZING local artists featured here. Some of our favourites included a gallery of beautiful life-like paintings of horses and incredible native and western inspired bronze statues.

No Stampede visit in complete for the boy without a visit to The Original R&R Bavarian Bratwurst..

Loaded with the usual toppings. We preferred these ones over the brats we had the day before. This stall is located on the opposite side of the Chicken Schnitzel house.

And then came the Greek beef gyro, topped with tangy tzatziki, tomatoes, lettuce, hot peppers and onions.

A fresh strawberry slushie to wash it all down..

To end our epic carnival feast, I stopped over at the those wicked waffles stall for one last treat before calling it a day.

They featured both savoury (waffle dogs and sausages) and sweet (maple ‘n’ bacon waffle stick). But in the end, I went with their chocolate waffle delight ($5). A golden baked waffle draped in a coating of chocolate, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream (which I declined since it was the aerosol cream which I’m not really a fan of).

Unfortunately, like the deep-fried ores, they sounded better than they tasted. I found the waffle to be rather dry and stale inside..which perhaps would have been better with the addition of the whipped cream. I think the warm waffles would have been the better choice.

Drats..oh well, you can’t win em’ all.

Other noteworthy items we wish we could have tried (but our bellies would not allow):

  • Turkey on a stick – a giant BBQ drumstick resembling something out of The Flinstones
  • Pork Chop on stick – served up as the same stall as the above
  • London Broil steak sandwiches – sliced thin and stacked high
  • Pizza on a stick – seems like food on a stick is a common theme here
  • Quebec Poutine – the boy was drawn to try the Shepard’s Pie poutine
  • Turkeytini – could NOT find this place! Anyone get a chance to try this?

After two days of junky eats, my Saturday detox included 2 hours of high intensity cardio classes at the gym, followed by a steep 15km hike/trail run withe boy in Kananaskis country. Tune in to my next post for all the details.

For those of you in town, what are your favourites eats at the Stampede?

Comments
4 Responses to “{Dining out: Stampede 2011 Eats Hits & Misses}”
  1. Leah says:

    I’m full just reading this.

  2. Oh My God…how did you eat all that!?!

  3. David says:

    I’m pretty impressed with all the stuff you guys tried. I had 5 things (Two being drinks) and was stuffed!

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