K-Days, one of Edmonton’s largest festivals of the summer, is here and with it comes 33 new food items on the midway. I joined a panel of judges to determine which items are winners and which are a gamble.
The best 10 days of summer are here. You all know what I mean, the carnival is in town. From July 21 – 30, thrilling rides, rockin’ music, deep fried bites, shopping and free entertainment returns to Edmonton’s Northlands. K-Days has been a long time favourite festival of mine and I make a point to go at least for one evening every year. This year I was invited to be a judge at the New Food Contest alongside Linda Hoang of linda-hoang.com, Phil Wilson of Baconhound, and Scott McCord and Yukon Jack from 100.3 The Bear. Emcee Ryan Maier from The Bear asked us all the right questions and it made for a fun afternoon! Here are some highlights:
Good options to try.
Footlong Not-Cho Dorito Dog (by Next Gen Concessions) Premium all beef footlong covered in cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes, red onion and three cheeses and finished off with cheesy crunch doritos. / My bite didn’t have a lot of Doritos on it but if had more, this would have been a great midway item to share with friends!
DBL Bacon Mac n’ Cheese Dog (by Next Gen Concessions) Extra cheesy hotdog wrapped in bacon and topped with crispy panko. / Needed more cheese, less mac but what the hey, I’m sure you can add whatever you want to it beside the concession stand.
Crispy Mashed Potato Fingers (by Fry Guys) Deep fried buttery mashed potato that can be eaten on the go. / Interestingly enough, wrapped in a wonton wrapper and deep fried. Surprisingly worked out.
Cookies and Cream Mini Donuts (by Tin Lizzy) Fresh-made mini donuts dipped in a sweet honey glaze and coated with Oreo cookie crumbs. / In case you’re not already in a mini donut coma, get this.
Beef & Broccoli Mongolian (by Salt Spring Concessions) Served on chow mien noodles, loaded with beef, broccoli and topped with a delicious tangy Mongolian sauce. / The only noodle option in the New Food Contest. It’s a good change from deep fried food: sweet and filling.
Canadian Bacon Pickle Balls (by Big Pickle) Sizzling, juicy bacon wrapped around bite-sized hot dogs, deep fried and served on a stick. / For those that like pickles, you’ll love this.
Jalapeño Bites (by Davis Concessions) Deep fried hot and spicy jalapeño cheese. / What can I say. It’s spicy cheese, deep fried.
Not my style, but could be yours.
Deep Fried Chicken Feet (by Chicky’s Chicken) Battered and deep fried chicken feet served on a stick. / You’re better off with chicken feet at your favourite dimsum restaurant but this comes on a stick. So it could be your thing.
Hickory Smoked Cordon Bleu Stuffed Burger (by Tin Lizzy) Hickory smoked lean beef patties stuffed with Swiss cheese and honey cured ham paired with a brioche bun. / It’s fully loaded and smells delicious but I’ll pass personally.
The Tropical Bobster (by Poutine King) Juicy steamed lobster garnished with a fresh mango salsa and fresh coriander. / Presentation was A+ but I don’t know if lobster and mango go together.
Coffee Crisp Deep Fried Coffee (by Ogopogo Concessions) Fresh brewed French roast coffee infused into vanilla cake batter and paired with crushed up Coffee Crisp, icing sugar and a smooth espresso glaze. / Good to share, technically more like a Timbit.
My personal favourites.
Chili Lime Popcorn Shrimp Perogies (by International Perogies) Mini perogies topped with crispy panko crusted shrimp, drizzled with sweet chili glaze and sriracha mayo and finished with crisp cucumbers. / I was a fan of this concession stand last year and this year’s feature flavour is delicious! Great to share and a perfect snack.
The Ruben Corndog (by Tin Lizzy) Corn beef wrapped in Swiss cheese dipped in batter, fried to perfection and served with a aioli horseradish. / I’d order this next to a classic corndog any day. The sauce has a great kick to it.
And the winner are…
3RD PLACE: Oreo (Coco Vanilla) Beavertail (by Beavertails Edmonton) Whole wheat pastry brushed with butter and vanilla spread, topped with Oreo crumble and drizzled with chocolate. / Coming in third, there’s a reason why beavertails are king. What’s not to like about fried dough? This Oreo variety is super sweet though. Fair warning.
2ND PLACE: The Big Mozza Cheeze (by Tin Lizzy) Perfectly toasted bread with a signature four-blend cheese and three mozzarella cheese sticks placed into traditional but unconventional sandwich. / Classics will always have a place in my heart and a grilled cheese sandwich is one of those classics. Stuffed with mozzarella cheese sticks, it’s an ooey-gooey mess but it works.
1ST PLACE WINNER: Lā Hānau Kaka (Birthday Cake) Shaved Ice (by Hula Hut) Authentic style Hawaiian Shave Ice, complete with a vanilla soft serve base and delicious birthday cake flavour topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and a candle. / Shaved ice has taken over Edmonton and K-Days is no exception. I would have loved more fruity flavours but the vanilla soft serve base tops this birthday cake off just right on a hot day.
Disclosure: Thanks to K-Days and Northlands for inviting me to the grounds and being a part of the New Food Contest judging panel. I was invited as a guest to have an afternoon of fun with gate admission, ride-all-day tickets, and the opportunity to sample all thirty-three new food items. All opinions are of my own and I was not expected to publish a post.