Monday, August 11, 2014

Event - TO Food Fest

The TO Food Fest was the best named food festival this past weekend.  It could also have been called Food Feast because there was so much great food there to chow down on in Scarborough.

What made this event great was the luck of the beautiful co operative weather.  It was a hot day but there was a nice breeze flowing through wafting all the grilled meat smells around the parking lot of the Chinese Cultural Centre.  All of the hot BBQ items were set up outside and all of the non BBQ or cold items were set up by the vendors inside the gym of the Cultural Centre.

What was great about this venue was that there was FREE Parking... something that makes me very happy when I go to these events.  The entry fee was a donation of $2 or a non-perishable item of foods that would be donated to Second Harvest, a charity that does great things.  I brought 2 items to donate and their final tally of food collected was 5 large boxes of food.

I ran into a fellow food blogger TheMary_Tang who said it was a bit busier last year when she went and it was a lot hotter too.  She was pregnant last year and returned with her husband and young daughter this year. Her daughter is a foodie in training now.

There was such a great variety of foods by some really friendly and nice vendors.

Some of the foods you could find there were:

  • Perogies
  • Dutch Frites
  • Bao Buns
  • Malo Malo dessert
  • Pork Belly Burgers
  • Ice Volcano desserts                      
  • Empanadas
  • Rice Balls,
  • Oysters,
  • Macarons
  • Hot Sauce
  • Bacon Creme Brule
  • Meat on sticks
  • Flavoured popcorn
  • Paella
  • Fried Chicken on a stick
  • Smelly Tofu                   
  • Squid on a stick
  • Tater Tots
  • Stuffed wings

and I could go on... food from all kinds of cultures and all kinds of variety.  Even a lot of vegetarian things.  Nobody could walk away hungry from this festival.  The prices went from $1 for a drink to about $12 a dish, but most were in the $5 or $6 dollar range.   Some of the vendors had huge portions that would fill you up pretty quickly.

I was lucky to be able to go early for a media preview so I was able to talk to a lot of the vendors before the general public came in and was there as they were just getting everything set up.

I chatted with the owners of Dutch Frites and was able to sample all of their great sauces that go with their excellent frites.  My mom lived in Belgium so I know great fries and these were as good as my mom's were but she didn't make fancy sauces like curry ketchup, garlic mayo and avocado mayo, she just ate them with Mayonnaise.  When I mentioned to the owner about the fries my mom made he said "you know your stuff".  Yup, I was taught how to make great fries at a young age.   A soggy fry is not a good frites.

One of my other favourite things that I tried was the Vietnamese Coffee from WonderPho.  It was $2 and it was so good that I went back for another one.  Another great drink I tried was a mixed berry iced tea from the Empanada vendor.  The Empanadas were very good but a little salty for me.

I also tried a great ground Pork Belly Burger from Bricks N Morter.  It was served with some nice spicy coleslaw.  Since it was all bacon it was so juicy and delicious.

I was trying to pace myself so that I could try a bunch of things but I got pretty full quickly.  I had to try the Bacon Creme brule since a few people said it tasted great.  It was pretty great with a candied bacon strip stuck on top as a garnish.  I got

Even Mayor Rob Ford dropped by the Festival to take loads of Selfies with all the people at the Festival.  I didn't do a selfie but took this photo to show you Rob and Doug being there.

Someone asked him if he tried any of the food and he said "NO, NO, NO"... I guess it doesn't go with his new diet and exercise program but I bet he would have tried something last year.

I really wanted to try some more food but I only had a little but of money left and a fully belly but I wanted to make sure that I got some  Okonomiyaki pancake to take home for later.  I first tried this at the T&T night market where a very young hard working girl was working away on these great seafood pancakes.  She remembered me from the T&T Market and was so happy that I supported her again.  I love to support young entrepreneurs.  My last job was all about that so I understand how important it is for people to support these vendors when they are first starting out.

I really enjoyed this festival because it had so much diversity, new and interesting dishes and it was so easy to get there and there weren't massive lineups this time around which might not be great for vendors but it was great for the attendees.  It gave people a chance to chat with the vendors and walk around and see what everyone was having.

Because the weather was so great it made it enjoyable to be outside in the great sunshine eating your way around the world through food.
Thank you to the great organizers and all of the vendors for making it a great sunday afternoon event.

Here's a gallery of some of the other foods that were available there.
I plan on going again next year and hopefully trying a lot more food.

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