Taste of Toronto Fort York

TASTE OF TORONTO 2014

I’m an avid believer that food is an international language so hearing that there is finally a food festival event that would showcase the food from some of the top restaurants in this culturally diverse city is an absolute must-try. From July 24th to the 27th, Toronto hosted a foodie paradise over in Fort York.

mclaren taste of toronto

Beautiful cars were on display at the event as well

As a first of its kind, I felt that the event was a good start but I would have liked to see other types of cuisines present at the event. I was surprised that there wasn’t a representation of Chinese fare at the event, but that’s really by bias to see something like that. Perhaps next year, Susur Lee can have a booth for his restaurant Luckee and serve gourmet dim sum.

Of course, there were many missing cuisines other than Chinese dim sum and it’d be great to see some of the other ethnic restaurants show up to this event.

bosk shangri la hotel coconut tapioca pearls

coconut tapioca pearls from bosk in shangri-la hotel

This post will be quite a long photo album with descriptions on the bottom. I’m taking a much more visual approach so you can eat with your eyes first.

FOOD

First off, we have to talk about the different food offered here at Taste of Toronto. There were officially 17 different restaurants present at the Food Festival and with a limited budget of $50, we were only able to sample a few places.

WESLODGE’S WAGYU BEEF HOT DOG $8

wagyu beef

wagyu beef hot dog with beet mustard and beef cheek marmalade from Weslodge

Weslodge beef cheek marmalade wagyu beef

beef cheek marmalade

Pictured above is the wagyu beef hot dog from Weslodge (link here). Wagyu beef comes from certain types of cattle which are genetically bred for great marbling of unsaturated fats in the meat, producing a really tender and tasty beef. The bun itself was lined with a beautifully sweet beef cheek marmalade and topped with a slightly sweet beet mustard that only added to the yumminess of the hot dog.

OSHIZUSHI: TORCHED SUSHI, JABISTRO $10

oshizushi ja bistro torched sushi

JaBistro’s Oshizushi, mackerel (x2), salmon and shrimp

torched sushi jabistro taste of toronto

JaBistro, torching the sushi

Here we have the lovely torched sushi from JaBistro. Quite a price for 4 pieces of sushi but it was REALLY good. I normally don’t like mackerel sushi as much but when torched, it activates the fat naturally found in the fish creating this creamy texture that is fantastic to bite into. I like how this sushi doesn’t need any additional soy sauce as they have applied the perfect amount to it already.

TAMARIND CEVICHE IN JICAMA TACOS, EL CABALLITO $8

taco jicama cod ceviche tamarind

tamarind ceviche, cod, mango, jicama taco, coriander from El Caballito, Los Colibris

Excellent flavour pairings in this dish from El Caballito. The tartness from the tamarind plays so nicely off the sweetness of the mango. I love how they used jicama root as the taco, leaving the bite very fresh and crisp.

MASSIVE SPANISH SEAFOOD PAELLA, PATRIA $10

paella patria taste of toronto

frying up shrimp for a massive spanish seafood paella

seafood paella patria taste of toronto

letting everything simmer away

seafood paella patria taste of toronto

adding the fresh fish to the seafood paella

seafood paella taste of toronto patria

takes 2 chefs to lift the massive skillet and 4 chefs to tend to the paella to make sure everything turns out perfect

seafood paella patria taste of toronto

finished seafood paella

Now this was a sight to see!

Patria was making one of their signature dishes which is a Spanish Seafood Paella. The public display of the meticulous cooking process and all the fresh ingredients going in there resulted in a very long line-up to get some paella. As the media person running around taking pictures, unfortunately only my camera got to enjoy this beauty. It’s okay, I shall satisfy my hankering of good paella one day when I go to Patria on King St. W.

ROASTED ATLANTIC HALIBUT, BOSK $10

atlantic halibut bosk shangri-la hotel toronto

roasted atlantic halibut

Bosk is the restaurant that belongs to the Shangri-La Hotel and they had the shortest line at the event. Now I’m not sure if that was because people didn’t want to try their dishes or because they were preparing all the dishes ahead of time and had them waiting on their counter. Their halibut was very moist and perfectly cooked. Other than that, I would say this dish was a bit unimaginative compared to some of the other dishes that were present at the event.

FOIE GRAS PARFAIT, BOSK $8

foie gras parfait toronto bosk

foie gras parfait from bosk

Nope. This flavour profile was way off. The foie gras tasted like savoury and cumbersomely rich baby food and completely clashed with the fruit. Visually on point with the colours though.

CRISPY RICE SALAD AND SPICY SHRIMP SALAD, KHAO SAN ROAD $8 & $10

khao san road

crispy rice salad

khao san road taste of toronto

spicy shrimp salad, khao san road

I didn’t try these two dishes but I was disappointed that Khao San Road (read my restaurant review here) didn’t bring out their signature Khao Soi to let people try it.

FRESH OYSTERS WITH APPLE AND JALAPENO, SPLENDIDO $6 (2 pc)

fresh oysters splendido

fresh oysters from Splendido

Can’t have a summer foodie event without fresh oysters. The use of apple and jalapeno are an interesting twist to my usual lemon and tabasco.

TAKOYAKI, GUU IZAKAYA $6 (5pc)

takoyaki guu izakaya taste of toronto

takoyaki from guu

Ha! I always wanted to take a shot like this, so glad I finally got it. I’m titling it “Food. The International Language.”.

Anyway, Guu was serving up their signature takoyaki at this event. I think this was one of the only things I saw that costed about the same as it would outside of this event.

FOOD VENDORS

Besides the fantastic restaurants on display, there were also some great local vendors showcasing their products and providing samples to get their products out there. Here are some of the booths that I saw at the event.

SUMMER ROLLS, RECIPIECES

recipieces taste of toronto

the making of a summer roll from recipieces

Earlier this month I posted a review of the product trial I did on Recipieces, a company making gourmet home cooking easier by delivering to you the ingredients that you need for a recipe in the exact measurements- you can read my review of it here. They were demonstrating how to make summer rolls (a creative spin on rice paper spring rolls).

OZERY’S PITA BREAK

breakfast pitas ozery's

breakfast pitas

lavash ozery's taste of toronto

lavash

I love these breakfast pitas from Ozery’s Pita Break. Not just from this trial of the product during Taste of Toronto, this used to be a part of my morning routine when I was attending university. The mornings are always such a crucial time for me and I wouldn’t have time to really make anything for breakfast. What I like about these are that you can stick them in your toaster and then grab n’ go.

MACARONS, LE DOLCI BAKERY

la dolci macarons

le dolci macarons

Le Dolci is a bakery that not only offers amazing baked goods, they also offer classes to teach you how to make them yourself. I spotted a class on how to make the perfect Parisian Macaron’s for $85. I personally would love to learn how to make these desserts.

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT MOUSSE, KENWOOD

hazelnut chocolate mousse kenwood

chocolate hazelnut mousse from kenwood

Kenwood Appliances was doing a demo that day to show how their machines can whip up some delicious desserts such as this Chocolate Hazelnut mousse with whipped cream.

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT SPREAD, LAURA SECORD

laura secord taste of toronto

laura secord does spreads

Chocolate hazelnut is the flavour of the weekend. I totally didn’t know that Laura Secord also did spreads. In my opinion, this one is too sweet but the flavour is definitely there.

FLAVOURED GINGER ALE, BRUCE COST

flavoured ginger ale taste of toronto

flavured ginger ale from Bruce Cost

Canada Dry has nothing on these guys from Bruce Cost. This drink has a refreshing ginger flavour that is only enhanced with the other flavours that this drink comes with. It’s also not as carbonated as a typical soda would be so it’s much easier to drink.

MADELEINES FROM MADELEINES.CA

madeleines Taste of Toronto

baked goods from madeleines

madeleines Taste of Toronto

madeleines

rhubarb pie madeleines taste of toronto

locally grown rhubarb in this rhubarb pie

This booth caught my eye with all of their baked desserts on display. Apparently, Madeleines’ rhubarb is grown about 1.5 hours from Toronto and is brought in weekly for the individual pies that they were selling.

NESPRESSO BAR

nespresso taste of toronto

Nespresso Cafe Bar

DRIED FRUIT & VEGETABLES & IRANIAN SESAME OIL, NOBLE QUEEN

noble queen, dried fruit and vegetables

dried vegetables and fruits and noble queen

cold pressed sesame oil

cold pressed sesame oil

The sesame oil was a very interesting find from Noble Queen, it is apparently healthier than olive oil and has its own unique flavour when cold pressed. Can be used in cooking or as a finishing oil.

GUERNSEY GIRL CHEESE, UPPER CANADA CHEESE COMPANY

guernsey girl cheese upper canada cheese company

guernsey girl cheese

This cheese is a close relative to the Scandinavian bread cheese where it has a squeaky bite and can hold up its shape when grilled. They were serving samples of this at the event and they were absolutely delicious. I’m definitely going to find them at a local Loblaws.

BREAKFAST CEREAL, HOLY CRAP

holy crap cereal chia seed hemp seed

holy crap cereal

In case you don’t have time to buy chia seeds and hemp seeds and mix them all up on your own, you can have everything mixed in a bag for you from Holy Crap. They added some chocolate soy milk in here to give it a bit of sweetness. I love the name guys!

PURE LEAF TEA

pure leaf tea

pure leaf tea

I tried their original unsweetened tea and it was very refreshing. Pure Leaf Tea were giving out coupons for a free bottle of any teas that you like.

CELEBRITY SPOTTINGS

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that I saw these two celebrity chefs.

toronto mark mcewan taste of totono

Mark McEwan doing his thang

Mark McEwan was representing McEwan group and serving out some delicious comfort food such as lobster poutine or fried chicken with a cheese biscuit.

Roger Mooking Taste of Toronto

Roger Mooking chatting up some foodies

Roger Mooking was spotted as well doing some book signings and connecting with the foodie community. You know the stereotype that Asian females tend to be “foodies”? It’s true.

fresh tomatoes

fresh tomatoes ready for some blt sandwiches

Well that ends it for the first ever Taste of Toronto event. My brother and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves tasting through the event and getting some inspiration ourselves for our kitchen.

Stay tuned for some upcoming recipes on my blog after this culinary adventure that was the Taste of Toronto.

Until we dine again,

-The Piquey Eater

**If you are a media outlet or restaurant/food vendor who would like to use any of the photos you see here, they are free to use but please make sure to link back to this post or to give me credit**