*Earlier this week I was invited by the Red River Ex to come out and try some of the food that is on offer at this years edition. While the food was provided gratis by the vendors, no obligation was put on my to write a positive review. The opinions that follow are mine alone.
It’s been a few years since I have been to the Red River Ex. So, on Friday, I decided to try and dodge the inevitable opening night rain drops and check things out. All I can say is that the Ex has changed quite a lot since I last went. Many things have changed since the last time I was here, but nothing has changed more since then than the food.
I started my evening on the bus, taking the Red River Ex express out to the site. Unlike the fans for the Bomber game last week, Winnipeg Transit seems to have got the Ex express working well. I was able to get from downtown to the Ex in about half an hour. After picking up my tickets and food coupons. I entered the site and was immediately confronted by the building in the photo above. This is sort of late night shopping channel come to life with a dose of local arts and community groups thrown in.
After a quick tour of the building I went out to the midway itself to see what food booths were available. I didn’t grow up in Winnipeg, so my first examples of exhibitions were on a much smaller scale, and my food memories consist of fries, cotton candy, corn dogs, and mini donuts. Not so, at the Red River Ex. These are all there, but there are so many other choices here, one doesn’t no where to start.
I eventually decided to start at The Poutine King, one of the vendors located in the covered thoroughfare in the middle of the midway. This is a local food truck, that so far has only been working fair and festivals in Winnipeg. I went with the poutine with wieners, one of the several selections of offer. This made for a real good poutine. Rich, dark gravy. Heaps of cheese curds and well-done fries. I told the owner if he ever does hit the streets, to hit Broadway (where I work). Then I went and got a soft serve ice cream cone. I went with the chocolate, vanilla twist, and managed to get through while only spilling a little bit on my shirt.
After finishing this, the rain hit, and so I ducked into the Shopper’s market to watch a cooking and jam making demo by Getty Stewart. The demo included Saskatoon Berry biscuits and Strawberry Jam, both of which we got to sample at the end of the demo.
Having dodged the rain I headed back out to the midway where I went on to try the Rib Ends from Danny’s Whole Hog. This consisted of rib ends, fries, and coleslaw. The pork was tender and the fries crisp, although I tried the horse radish b-b-q sauce on the fries, and found it lacking in kick. Having done main course I went off to add dessert, again.
I decided to try the deep fried pie. This truck which is doing the ex circuit, but operates out of Chilliwack B.C. serve a selection of pies that are deep-fried and then are served either plain or with ice cream. This one was a bit of a mixed bag. I liked the pastry, but the filling was very thin, and at points non-existent(it’s a big pie). Perhaps I just got one that had little filling.
Finally,. I needed something to drink so I finished my evening off with lemonade from one of the stands. This wasn’t quite as good as the gold standard lemonade from Stella’s, but still made for a refreshing finish to the day.
What’s amazing about my evening is that I only made a small dent into the various foods available. Other food places I missed were. Little Bones Wingery, Healthy Eats, and Fro-Yo-Licious Yogourt to name just three. Not only are there lots of places to eat, the prices are in keeping with the food trucks I visit regularly, and the portions are generous.
If your someone who’s going to make multiple visits to the Red River Ex, you can make them assured that you will never have to worried about being bored with the food choices. There are plenty of good choices to go around, I’ve only scratched the surface. Just be careful how much you eat or you may end up like Mr. Creosote of Monty Python fame, (not for the squeamish).