Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Feast of St Lawrence - Dinner under the Stars

FEAST OF ST LAWRENCE

DINNER UNDER THE STARS



When:    Saturday July 14, 2018
What:     Media Preview for Dinner Under the Stars
Why:      Charity Event for Second Harvest
Who:      Sponsored by Audi Toronto
Where:   Preview at 4 participating restaurants in the St. Lawrence Market Area

On August 10th there will be a great Sit Down Charity Event called the FEAST OF ST LAWRENCE -DINNER UNDER THE STARS that will take place at St. Lawrence Market.  It will feature restaurants in the St. Lawrence Market area and the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Food Rescue Non-Profit organization Second Harvest I really love what Second Harvest does because it tackles the food waste problem while also taking care of food insecurity for so many people in Toronto. Sponsored by Audi Toronto.

On a very humid Saturday afternoon I joined fellow bloggers/influencers for a walking tour and preview of some of the participating restaurants for The Fest of St. Lawrence - Dinner Under the Stars.  Unfortunately I missed the first stop at Pearl Diver because of the subway closures but luckily I have been to Pearl Diver many times so I know they are fantastic. I haven't had a chance to go to the Feast of St. Lawrence but I have heard that it's an amazing event and it's a gorgeous night out at the Market while doing great things for so many people.
                                  

1st Stop: Pearl Diver
Location: 100 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON
Tasting: Oyster 


                                 
2nd Stop: Omni King Edward Hotel
Location: 37 King St E, Toronto, 
Tasting: Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, petit tender - Beef, Chimichurri crema. Vegetarian Alternative: Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, squash blossoms, carrot cider puree.
   
 
                           
3rd Stop: Farmr
Location: 140A The Esplanade, Toronto, ON
Tasting: Pickled Watermelon Salad, local tomatoes cucumber, arugula, finger chilies, tomato vinaigrette, micro basil
This was probably my favourite on the tour only because it was a hot day and this was so refreshing and light and we had it sitting outside on their cozy patio sitting on picnic tables so it really felt like summer.


                                  
Location: 45 Front St E, Toronto
Tasting: Gooderham & Worts Four Grain Canadian Whisky and
Cocktail Toronto -  J.P. Wiser’s Deluxetriple Sec, Lillet Liquor and fresh Lemon.
Herbed fries with dips.

This Lounge is beautiful with some fantastic huge chandeliers and a long bar and cozy seating.  The building has a ton of history and you sort of feel it when you are there.

Now for more details about the actual event including the full menu and ticket information:

DETAILS for the DINNER UNDER THE STARS

The Feast of St. Lawrence begins on August 10th with an exclusive, al fresco fine dining event for charity. Two hundred and fifty guests will be seated at two continuous tables on Front Street (between Scott and Church Street) and served a sumptuous five-course dinner prepared by chefs from some of the top restaurants in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood including Biff's Bistro, Farmr, ARDO, The Hot House Restaurant, The Omni King Edward Hotel, Pearl Diver, The Sultan's Tent and George Brown College. 

Wine pairings from Prince Edward County vineyards and Creemore Springs beer will
be served with the dinner and CC Lounge will present a special Whisky tasting bar. The 18-piece JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band will provide added ambiance in the beautifully illuminated Berczy Park lounge area.
The event begins with a reception featuring hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer starting at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. 

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Second Harvest.

Tickets are $200 and are on sale now!

Purchase tickets:

By Phone: call 416 410 9242
Location: Front Street East (between Scott and Church Street)
Friday August 10, 2018 - 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Official Accounts:
@oldtowntoronto
@auditoronto

Official Hashtags:
#oldtowntoronto
#feastofstlawrence
#dinnerunderthestars


ABOUT:
Second Harvest: Second Harvest is the largest food rescue organization in Canada and a global thought leader on food recovery. With a goal to drastically reduce the amount of food wasted while ensuring people have access to the good, healthy food they need for success, Second Harvest works across the supply chain from farmer to retail to capture surplus food before it ends up in the landfill and negatively impacts our environment.
Since 1985 we have rescued and delivered more than 127 million pounds of food and prevented over 70 million pounds of greenhouse gas equivalents from entering our atmosphere. Currently, we rescue food from over 470 donors and deliver that food to 253 social service agencies in Toronto and food hubs across Ontario, providing enough food for 30,000 meals a day.

No Waste. No Hunger.

DINNER UNDER THE STARS MENU
FEAST OF ST. LAWRENCE 2018

HORS d’OEUVRES

Stationary
Oyster Station (Pearl Diver)
Whisky Bar (CC Lounge)
Beer Bar (Creemore Springs Brewery)
PASSED BY THE SERVERS

Biff's Famous Chicken Liver Parfait (Biff's Bistro)
Falafel with Tahini Sauce (The Sultan's Tent)

Stanners Vineyard 2016 Lincoln Lakeshore Riesling / Stanners Vineyard 2016 Prince Edward County Chardonnay / Broken

Stone Winery 2017 Estate Pinot Noir

APPETIZER

Chilled Melon Soup with ginger (The Hot House)
Rosehall Run Ceremony Blanc de Blanc Brut

Tagliata di Spada - Nova Scotia Sword fish with Ardo sour dough, breadcrumb green peas mint pure, pickled cipolline

(ARDO)

Closson Chase 2017 K. J. Watson Pinot Gris

ENTRE METIER

Pickled Watermelon Salad, local tomatoes cucumber, arugula, finger chilies, tomato vinaigrette, micro basil (Farmr)

Karlo Estates Winery 2017 Frontenac Gris Rose

MAIN

Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, petit tender, Chimichurri crema

(Omni King Edward Hotel)

Vegetarian Alternative: Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, squash

blossoms, carrot cider puree (Omni King Edward Hotel)
Keint-he Winery & Vineyards 2013 Queenston Road Pinot Noir

SWEET

Tonka Pavlova with Ontario peaches, wild blueberry and basil cream (George Brown College)
S'mores Tart with smoked chocolate, toasted marshmallow and crushed raspberry (George Brown College)

Broken Stone Winery Exuberance Sparkling Riesling

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tastemaker - what makes a successful food event?


Event:  TASTEMAKER Tour
Date: June 26, 2018
Location:  Evergreen Brickworks - Toronto
Ticket price: $60

WHAT MAKES A GREAT EVENT?

I found myself asking this question after attending the Saturday afternoon session of the Tastemaker Tour.  I was able to attend as media so I don't want to say anything negative towards the organizers because through no fault of the organizers it was a success or failure depending on your perspective.

Because I have a lot of experience with attending and organizing and volunteering at events I have a very big picture view of events.   From the perspective of the organizers this was an extremely successful event because it was SOLD OUT and filled with people for all 3 sessions.  It had some of the best Chefs in the city making some great food and their food was so popular that they ran out of food on the first session from what I heard.  From the Chefs perspective it's great that so many people ate and enjoyed their food.  So looking at the event from their lens it was a huge success.

But looking at it from an attendees perspective there was disappointment if you were in a line that ran out of food.  The main area as shown below where there were 2 separate lines for the 2 main chefs where lines that went from the booth to the very back of the large Brickworks space so I would say at least 100 people long to wait to get food.  Because there were 2 lines you had to wait in line for 2 dishes from one chef and then get back in line for the other line for the other chef.  I was there when it was Rob Gentile from Buca and Grant Van Gammeron from Bar Raval and other restaurants. 
I stood in line for a few minutes and then gave up because with the short 4 hour session I figured I would probably spend most of it in these 2 lineups so I opted for getting food from the other vendors and the Chef cooking demos.  I skipped the lines because I have had many chances to try both chefs food and because I can go to their restaurants anytime I choose to and know that I will see them at other events so it wasn't as important to me to have to try their dishes but they were the big attraction of this show so most people were there to try their food.


Besides the fantastic Chefs that were there serving up their own unique dishes there were a few other great vendors.  I really enjoyed this Smoke Show sauce or condiment I suppose and probably should have tried to buy one because I don't even know where it is sold but it was delicious.

I also really enjoyed the chicken meat pies and paired with a fantastic lime cocktail, that was probably the best thing I tried at the event.






Grant Van Gammeran - Bar Raval, Bar Isabel etc.
Elia Herrera - Los Colibris and Host Pay Chen at the Chef Demo stage

  


The meatballs made by Chef Herrera were very good and the other chef with her, I am not familiar with who she is so forgive me that I don't know here name but she made some asparagus crostini that were very fresh and light.
Some of the samples were pretty tiny but it was nice to see Brookside giving out little boxes of their chocolate. 

So I don't want to say it was a bad event because it had all the elements of a good event but I think was a victim of it's own success with too many people attending and lessening the experience of it by having to spend the whole time standing in lineups instead of enjoying the food.

This event was organized by a group that have done other events and there was great promotion for the event so that increased the attendance but I thought the $60 fee was steep considering it was really hard to try all the food. 

Food events in Toronto are like no other.  We have a city full of food experience loving people who flock to these types of events where they can try all kinds of things in one place.  Many events have failed because of the over abundance of attendees so I know this is a difficult thing to navigate in this city.

My advice for this event in the future is to re-configure the set up of the event so that the lines don't bleed into each other and maybe spread it out a bit more and have more space to actually sit down and eat the food so that people aren't just standing on cement floor the whole time.  Us old folks get tire pretty quickly so this would make it more enjoyable to spend time enjoying the food with friends.

Personally I left still hungry because I gave up on the Chef lineups but hopefully the people that got their food enjoyed it. 

My other blogger friend opted not to write a post because her experience wasn't enjoyable but I decided to take a look at it in a different way and look at it from the perspective of a blogger who attends many events so I have seen the good ones and the bad ones,  I wouldn't say this one was bad but it had some issues and if you look at the event from the perspective of an attendee who isn't able to go all over the city to try all these different foods then it's great.  From the perspective of the organizers and chefs it's fantastic because there were so many people.

I decided to write this post to get you to think about the Big Picture when you attend an event and try and put yourself in the shoes of the people that organize them and the people that work them and people attending them to make an objective decision about whether the event is a success.  In my opinion all parties must walk away from the event having the feeling of a great memory being created and having had a great time.   That's True Success.




Italian Day at the Castle


Event:  Castello Italia - Italian National Day
Date:  Sunday June 3, 2018
Location:  Casa Loma in Toronto

It's taken a while to get to this post but I wanted to tell you about the FREE event I attended at Casa Loma in June.  Presented by the Consulate General of Italy this event is open to everyone to celebrate National Italian Heritage Month.  Although I am not Italian I grew up with a lot of Italian influence in the homes of my neighbours so I feel like an honorary Italian and most people think I am Italian so I know that I would feel right at home in Italy and this event was like a mini trip to an event in Italy.

When you arrive at Casa Loma there are Premium Italian made cars on display in front of the castle and then you enter and then you walk through a constant path of food vendors.  All your favourite Italian foods are there.  There is a whole room as seen below just dedicated to cheese and cured meats mostly.  Some of the dishes available were Arancini, orrichette pasta, goat cheese gelato, Ndjuia spread, Nutella pizza, regular pizza, risotto and of course there is great coffee in a couple of different places and there are a couple of bars too.  

It was a gorgeous day for this event so it was jam packed so there were long lineups for some of the food so we pretty much went from line to line but there was so much to try and I know I probably missed trying a few amazing things but I think I tried a whole lot of good stuff.

My only thing about this event was the getting there.  Casa Loma really should have a dedicated bus from one of the subway stations to get there and I can't understand why they don't.  Maybe I should have gone downtown and jumped on a tour bus to get there.  There was a shuttle but it only dropped you off at a parking lot at George Brown college so they assume you drove there.  It's great that they had a shuttle for that but it's a jaunt for ttc commuters and they should really have a bus since it's a tourist attraction.   

Anyway it was a pretty fun event and people were all dressed up pretty fancy.  There was music and all kinds of things going on so it was an event in constant motion.

This wasn't a media event for me.  My friend had an extra ticket so I joined her but if you are quick you can try and a limited amount of tickets when they become available.