Savouring the CNE's 1,500-calorie doughnut cheeseburger
Matthew Coutts, ctvtoronto.ca
Published Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:25AM EDT
I considered the idea fodder for Internet video foolishness, the creation of sophomoric humourists still able to punish their bodies with excess calories without feeling any ill effects.
But when I came face-to-face with "the beast" on Wednesday, I ate first and asked questions later. I tasted the glazed sugar and bacon concoction. I went through the looking glass.
The Krispy Kreme doughnut cheeseburger is the latest in a series of gastronomically shocking fare for which the CNE has become notorious: From pizza-on-a-stick to bacon-wrapped confections to deep-fried anything.
No, really. Anything.
During a walk-through of CNE Park on Wednesday, I was welcomed into a tent filled with such treats – a preview of some of the oddities available in the CNE food pavilion.
There were worm-like strands of deep-fried cola, bars of deep-fried peanut butter and jam, as well as balls of deep-fried butter.
And sitting amongst them, wearing its top Krispy Kreme doughnut as a crown, was the hamburger.
The doughnut cheeseburger made the rounds at the Calgary Stampede earlier this year. And now Epic Burgers and Waffles, its aptly named creators, have slated it for its Toronto debut at the CNE.
Two glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts flanked a lean burger patty topped with American cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce and bacon. Fried eggs are also available as a topping, if all that is not quite enough.
I felt like I needed to call my mother and apologize.
This creation consists of 1,500 calories, and can top the scales with as many as 2,000 calories if you add bacon and egg as toppings. KFC's Double Down chicken sandwich has just over 500 calories, and that was enough to make a nutritionist's head explode.
Christian Reilly, a young spokesman for the gut-busting lunch, said he, too, was at first skeptical of the burger's potential, but really enjoyed the combination of savoury and sweet flavours.
"It is one of those things that you have to sink your teeth into. Once you try it you will be a believer," said Reilly.
"It is just under 2,000 calories, including the fried egg and bacon. Just get here early and take a long walk around the fair ground and you will be OK."
Something about Reilly reminded me of a young Lyle Lanley, the slick-talking salesman who convinced Springfield to buy an unnecessary monorail on "The Simpsons." But he was right. I couldn't come all this way and not eat one.
I took a burger, snuck off to a quiet area to sit and unwrapped the foil to reveal a glistening hamburger inside. The doughnut bun was covered in icing sugar and strands of bacon stuck out of the edges.
It was a confusing meal, to say the least. I hated how much I enjoyed the burger. And I hated even more how much I didn't hate the doughnut.
But there is a reason why hamburgers and doughnuts haven't received the fusion treatment until recently. Food mashups are an inexact science.
The savoury and sweet flavours didn't mesh together as well as Lanley had promised. Some bites were a perfect mix of sweet and salty, others were too sweet by far and I was left wishing I had had the burger on its own.
I found myself eating half the burger, picking around the doughnuts to get a clean shot at the meat inside.
The CNE is a place where visitors go to put their inhibitions aside, ride terrifying rides and play foolish games for the sake of winning silly teddy bears. They taste eclectic foods and avoid counting the calories.
And maybe, had I eaten the Krispy Kreme doughnut cheeseburger under the lights of the Midway, I would have enjoyed it more, and maybe even laughed off the rock left in my stomach.
But for now, I will stick to ordering a regular cheeseburger, with a doughnut on the side.
The Krispy Kreme doughnut cheeseburger costs $8 plus an extra $2 to add bacon and a fried egg. They will be available to exhibition-goers as of Aug. 19.
The CNE runs until Labour Day weekend.