The sleepy polar bear was, for the most part, excited for the wacky (but not too wacky) food items, while I was most keen on the Sky Ride.
Admittedly, I was rather anxious: my digestive system had not been faring well, and I was less than excited to stimulate any unpleasant repercussions in the presence of hot, sweaty masses and lineups for dingy public bathrooms. A proper lunch was proposed in the west side of the GTA prior to departing.
The restaurant appeared to be led by an operational manager, passionate to deliver quality food inspired by a Vietnamese upbringing, and a commercial manager with entrepreneurial drive and honed business tactics. My budding inquiries would be answered by the former, who not only elaborated on the slightly spicy properties of the satay-slathered Yum's Special (No. 13) but also reassured that all banh mis were served without spice, and heat was only added where requested (thank goodness!!).
I pointed in favour of the Vietnamese Classic Banh Mi (No. 12), while the sleepy polar bear opted for the Beef Stew Banh Mi (No. 03). At the time of order placement, it was declared that all banh mi ingredients were prepared in-house, from the baguettes to the cold cuts, and that nearly all sandwich varieties included pâté, an element that is often included in exceptionally stingy amounts.
The Vietnamese Classic consisted of cold cuts (with ridiculously tough edges), an abundance of pâté, cilantro, thinly sliced cucumber, and julienned carrots. Personally, I could have used more pickling and more cucumbers. The cilantro was not as fresh as Nguyet Minh either. That said, the baguette was uniformly browned and not crackly/crumbly (read: could be consumed with dignity) like the longstanding establishments within Mississauga Chinese Centre. Its edges were on the dry side, albeit crunchy. Despite plentiful, the pâté was not very flavourful.
The meal was surprisingly economic given the efforts invested into furnishing the interior. Moreover, it filled the void for banh mi on the west side of the city.
Alas, the lid was so sticky that the tissues merely stuck. What a sight to behold.
I attempted to detach the tissues from the lid and press them in again, only to have the wad unroll and land on the floor. Frustrated and disgusted, I proceeded to remove my sanitizer bottle from its small Ziploc for use as a makeshift glove. Shielding my hand with the Ziploc, I picked up the tissues one last time, pushed open the lid with my foot, and angrily shoved the wad - and Ziploc - into the garbage. Phew. Only a few pairs of eyes had witnessed the struggle.
"Are you lining up for this?" I asked, pointing to the stall.
"Yeah." One of them responded with shifty eyes and a dose of avoidance.
"Okay." we acknowledged their sudden intent and proceeded to line up beside them.
"They look confused." called out one of the girls with overdone lash extensions.
"Yeah, so are we." I retorted, loud enough for the cowards before us to hear.
"You don't have to lie." the other girl piped up.
"We're not lying!" This time, the sleepy polar bear responded.
Suppressing the fury within, I turned my back on them and didn't budge. The possibility of allowing them to order first crossed my mind briefly, if there were so particular, though that would also be grounds for those behind them to demand the same treatment. We stood our ground, and they did not pursue the issue further. Really, it was just corn dogs and lemonade - how trivial could line ups be?
Within the corndog was a small portion of stringy cheese; it was declared to be mozzarella, though its bland profile nearly implied otherwise.
Served on the typical corn dog skewer, the ten-dollar carnival treat was particularly difficult to consume without the layers separating from one another, and off the skewer entirely. The two-dollar increment wasn't too extravagant.
"I don't think I can eat another pickle for a while." announced the eater.
During this time, different members of the party took turns in the queue. One disappeared momentarily for water bottle refills before finding us at our new position. The sleepy polar bear and I dashed towards to Enercare Centre in search of indoor plumbing, struggling to weave our way through sloth-like packs and frustratingly aggressive stroller-handlers. The shins suffered several jabs before we finally made our way to the life-sized garden gnome exhibit at the entrance.
As I rapidly assembled my camera setup, cautionary announcements blared overhead:
- "The Sky Ride only goes in one direction!"
- "Do not bounce or jump on the ride!"
- "Do not stick your body out from the ride!"
"The Sky Ride doesn't stop!"
Much like a ski lift, one would require to ready themselves for the ride, or risk being subject to falls and hits on the head.
Although the jam was too sweet for standalone consumption, it paired well with both the fries and the brisket. The peanut butter was an innovative addition, with its creaminess growing more satiating with each successive bite. It was a pleasant, unexpected addition, but could likely be incorporated in moderation for the optimal flavour profile. The waffle fries, though scanty in portion, were easily better than than likes of McDonald's attempt.
The speedwalking continued until the AMD exhibit.
Much to our dismay, the train was already packed from Union. Following the release of concertgoers, late Blue Jays celebrators, and late Fan Expo crowds, we stood for the entirety of the ride back, enduring the crippling sensations in the back and lower limbs until finally finding seating in the car once again.