I don't always love festivals like Taste of Toronto simply because I don't like huge crowds and long lines but I do like good food, so I wasn't going to miss this one. In it's second year, this festival takes over Fort York for four days and turns into a food lover's paradise, with local chefs, breweries, wineries and other sellers of delicious things offering up their best for Toronto to try. Each chef serves three dishes at his/her pop up restaurant and you wander from place to place, spending crowns (basically 1 crown=1dollar and it's loaded onto a refillable card) and catching food demos and wine tasting sessions.
As luck would have it, I was leaving for Montreal on Friday night so the only time I could go was for the Friday afternoon session and I am so glad that this is the one I picked. It wasn't crowded, there were barely any lines at all and I could really see everything and if I had been with friends, we could have really tried everything that the festival had to offer. Sadly, I was on my own and so I knew I would only be able to eat a couple of things so first I wandered the entire thing before deciding on what I would go back to eat.
My two favourite things I tasted were the Tostada de Pulpo and the Ceviche from Los Colibris. I ordered the ceviche ($8) but because I had agonized over which to order, they kindly put a little sample sized bite together for me to try and it was amazing. I was alone so I knew I couldn't eat everything I wanted to and I was trying to keep it to $20 because with the $19-$30 entrance fee, depending on the day, I thought that most people would want to try to keep it around that price, otherwise I would have just ordered both right way.
I also couldn't resist the East Coast Fish Fry with Crispy Clams and Haddock form The Drake at a reasonable $6. It was crispy and perfectly cooked and the tartar sauce was great. I heard lots of moaning and groaning over their lobster roll as well but at this point I was full and only had a few crowns left and wanted to find a glass of wine somewhere.
I lucked out with a great glass of Spanish red at the Garnacha booth and then I was left with only 2 crowns and thought my day was done. I stopped by the crown booth to ask if I could cash it in and they sent me to the Magnum booth for a $2 ice cream. Those things are usually three times that price or more so that was a wonderful surprise sweet treat just before leaving.
If you missed it this year, don't make that mistake again next year.
|the chocolate mavens of Magnum|
|chopped salad from Rasa|
|these guys look like they are going to melt in those getups|
|Alvin Leung and Eric Chong of R&D tale the stage to do a cooking demo|
|Crispy Black Vinegar Chicken from Bosk|
|Tomato Ricotta Tartine from Bosk|
Shack had to work in Montreal so we all hopped in the car at 11pm and drove all night to get there. Okay, we had to actually go to Boucherville because that is where he was working, so after checking in to the Boucherville WelcomeInn at 4:30am and sleeping for a couple of hours, he went to work and The Kid and I were kidnapped by a good friend and her son and we spent the day shopping for food, cooking, catching up and drinking far too much rose for own good. We left their house that evening with full bellies, warm hearts and my newest favourite thing, my Magical Montreal Pants. My friend is a fashion designer for Lisette L , maker of St Oprah's favourite pants and she got a pair for me. I swear to god, for the first time in years, I put on a pair of pants that fit everywhere. If you are young, thin and can find pants that fit in every store you shop in, bully for you but my body and pants are no longer on speaking terms. If they fit in the ass, they are too loose in the waist. If they fit in the thighs, they make it look like I am wearing a codpiece in the crotchal area, if you know what I mean. These babies fit my thighs, my butt, my waist (they have a tummy panel that holds your business in check too) and I wore them for the next two days.
Since Shack was working much of the time, I spent Monday from about 9am til about 6pm touring the city by Bixie Bike. I walked down to the port, grabbed a bike, paid my $5 for 24 hours and set off for Atwater Market. I hopped on and off the bikes, grabbed a day pass for the metro and between transit and the bikes, I covered the entire city. I had never actually been on one of these bikes but they are the only way I will get around town when in Montreal from now on. I don't use them here because I have a lovely bike of my own. Best $5 you will ever spend.
This weekend wasn't as much about eating as usual but we did hae two great meals, both in places that we visit whenever we are there. On Saturday, knowing we could never get in without a reservation, we went to Au Pied Cochon ten minutes before they opened and grabbed a couple of seats at the bar. As always, we thought we were ordering conservatively but got way too much food. The portions there are massive. Shack finally had his french onion soup (they are always out when we go) and I had a tuna conserve salad and we shared a rabbit meatloaf with APC mashed potatoes. We also stopped in The Dominion Tavern later Sunday evening because we love the Dominion House and it's opened on Sunday, unlike 99% of the decent restaurants there and had a great meal and THE world's best Pimms Cups. I will write more about the trip and the food later.
Back in Toronto mid week and I spent the rest of it catching up on stuff, cooking and cleaning my house. Exciting stuff. You know.
I finally got to make a couple of recipes using my Yonanas machine so be on the lookout for those recipes coming to a blog near you.
Oh, I have a cooking class coming up on Thursday July 16th at the Musgrave Loblaws at 7:30pm and it will be all about cooking with seeds.
Check here for more info
Pin of the week: someone come make this for me
Instagram of the week: My favourite new feed that I have discovered - a nice change from all the bright white food photography
Facebook Share of the week: