Food trucks deliver sweet and savoury treats to the CNE

Food trucks deliver sweet and savoury treats to the CNE

The Canadian National Exhibition is all about food trucks this weekend, as some of the city’s best mobile purveyors or great eats come together in one place from August 22 to 24, just beyond the Princes’ Gates on the Exhibition grounds.

Dozens of food trucks have been dishing from their unique menus since Friday, taking some of the crowds away from the CNE’s food building with sweet and savoury…

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Edward James Olmos discusses conventions, his fans, and upcoming projects

Edward James Olmos discusses conventions, his fans, and upcoming projects

It’s not every day that you get a surprise call from Edward James Olmos, but last week, that’s exactly what happened when the film, television, and stage star called me up to talk about his upcoming appearance at Fan Expo in Toronto, and his long-running career.

Casual, charming, and relaxed when I spoke to him, Olmos talked about what it’s like meeting with his fans at conventions, and some of…

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Zoe Kazan on a romantic Toronto in ‘The F Word’ & ‘What If’

Zoe Kazan on a romantic Toronto in ‘The F Word’ & ‘What If’

Don’t be confused this week if you hear that Zoe Kazan seems to be starring in two romantic comedies that both star Daniel Radcliffe. In Canada, there’s The F Word, and in the United States the film was released as What If, but they’re the exact same film. No matter what name you want to call it though, Kazan is one charming leading-lady.

Directed by Michael Dowse and written by Elan Mastai, The…

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The Canadian National Exhibition hosted a preview event last week for media before the annual festivities kicked off on August 15, and while the dancers, rides, performers, games, concerts, and everything else at Exhibition Place are a lot of fun, it’s hard to beat the Food Building’s lineup.

Saving the best for last, media got a tour of the grounds that included a wide range of what’s happening this year at the CNE. Before the event kicked off there were churros and coffee from I Love Churros, which were delicious, followed by a demonstration of some of the dancers who are on the President’s Choice Financial International Stage. Dancers included the Mexicans Folk Ballet, Ijo Vudu African Dance Company, and Samba Heat.

After that, the hard-to-top Flying Wallendas performed on the highwire in what I can only call fairly intense winds, which didn’t seem to bother them at all.

The Flying Wallendas

The Flying Wallendas

Media then had a tour of the CNE’s new Northern Comfort Saloon, which offers a new country vibe that includes concerts and line-dancing, not to mention a mechanical bull, and it’s all housed under a giant tented space near the casino on the western side of the grounds.

And finally, before checking out the samples from the Food Building, performer Paz showed off a bit of his Hockey Circus Show by entertaining the crowd before he juggled flaming hockey sticks on top of a hockey net. It’s the kind of show you have to see to believe, and on top of being funny, he was a fantastic performer.

Let’s talk about the food though, because as much as the entertainment at The Ex is always excellent, the Food Building offers some of the best entertainment with their wonderful and often weirdly perfect food combinations.

The foodies at Eative are offering nitrogen sorbets this year, which are essentially fruit juices that had been frozen down using blenders and nitrogen. Coco’s Fried Chicken is offering deep-fried chocolate chicken that’s served with a chocolate ketchup that has a fantastic little sweet kick that is delicious–the combination of cocoa and juicy chicken is actually more perfect than most people might realize and the ketchup adds the right flavour to the mix.

Then there’s the Chunky Cheese Cafe which has a tangy, sweet and salty grilled cheese called The Chunky Elvis which mixes together bread, cheddar cheese, bacon, peanut butter and bananas. Elvis’ genius never seemed apparent to me until I tried this grilled cheese–the combination honestly sounded a bit weird to me–but biting into it offered a wonderful mix of flavours that is definitely worth sampling.

Hula Girl Espresso was also on hand to offer samples of their butter coffee and their Crowbar pastries, which are essentially croissants filled with chocolate bar pieces–Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Mars Bar, Kit Kat, or Caramilk. All of the combinations work perfectly, and for a sweet treat, they all pair very well with the sweet but mildly caramely butter coffee.

However, the most interesting restaurant offerings at the CNE would have to be Fran’s Restaurant, which makes their debut at the exhibition with a stellar, but simple, home-cooked, stylish menu. The highlight is their Thanksgiving Waffle, which is a waffle made out of stuffing, topped with cranberry sauce, turkey, and gravy. It’s simple, but delicious, and as Fran’s Restaurant chef Zaki Choudhary said when I spoke to him at the event, it’s a simple recipe that you can make at home, but it tastes especially great as Fran’s has prepared it.

Fran’s is also serving up spicy peanut butter Sriracha bites, and a cheesecake milkshake (they also have an apple pie milkshake). The milkshake goes perfectly with the Thanksgiving Waffle, and it’s about as fantastic as the name suggests–yes, cheesecake in a milkshake goes together perfectly.

Check out the gallery of photos from the media preview, and watch for more coverage of the CNE right up until Labour Day.

Food adventures at the CNE The Canadian National Exhibition hosted a preview event last week for media before the annual festivities kicked off on August 15, and while the dancers, rides, performers, games, concerts, and everything else at Exhibition Place are a lot of fun, it’s hard to beat the Food Building’s lineup.

Celebrity faces of TIFF 2014

Celebrity faces of TIFF 2014

Want to browse through some of the celebrity faces who will be coming to the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival? TIFF has made it easy once again thanks to their Pinterest board, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival Guests.

To make your life easy, we’ve got the whole board below for you to check out, which includes 185 people at the time that I posted this.

The majority of the photos…

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TIFF announces stars and filmmakers coming to Toronto

TIFF announces stars and filmmakers coming to Toronto

Celebrities and filmmakers from across the world will be descending on Toronto for the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in just a few weeks, and this morning TIFF revealed the full list of stars expected on the red carpets, at the films, and around the city at all of the parties.

Among the stars announced were: Rosario Dawson, Robert Downey Jr., Jennifer Aniston, Roger Waters, Alan…

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Photo: Fran’s Big Breakfast at The Ex. French toast, sausage, bacon and topped with an egg.

Photo: The Flying Walendas fighting the wind at the CNE media preview.

Blu-ray new releases - August 5 & 12: ‘Need For Speed’, ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

Blu-ray new releases – August 5 & 12: ‘Need For Speed’, ‘Muppets Most Wanted’


Need For Speed
Starring: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi, Imogen Poots, Ramón Rodríguez, Michael Keaton
Director: Scott Waugh

Rated: 4/10

The “Need For Speed” is something I get. There’s nothing quite like long straightaways on a highway where you can push the pedal down just a bit and feel the pavement fly underneath the tires. For filmmakers–and here I’m especially talking…

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RIP the unforgettable Robin Williams

The news today that Mr. Williams has passed away is nothing short of devastating, and I never really imagined how his death would affect me until now. Robin Williams was always bigger than the roles he inhabited, and his characters were always raw, leaving a mark that I always found myself coming back to as I watched his films again and again.

For starters, I grew up on Mork & Mindy. As a little boy I was obsessed with that strange, child-like, and out-of-place character from another world. And after that, Robin Williams was always in and out of my life as I grew up, in roles that always made me think of the man behind the wild characters. They were emotional standouts who always seemed out of place, but somehow deeply connected at the same time…