Sunday, November 23, 2014
Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
I went to the show after a very busy day about town and met up with my Food Partner in crime Mary who has a blog called Mary's Happy Belly. So together we are Starving Happy Belly Foodie... I have a feeling you may see this more often in the future.
We only had a couple of hours to whip through the show. We got there just before 7pm and Mary needed to leave around 9 to catch her train and I was pretty exhausted by then anyway after my long day. I was driving and don't drink beer or wine so I can whip through a show like that pretty quickly most of the time. Although I didn't have to pay to get in I had to pay $20 for parking because I had my car because of my many stops during the day. I recommend taking the TTC if you want to skip that cost and drink more. I then purchased $20 worth of food and drink tickets. Each item is between 1 - 6 tickets on average or about $1-$6. I had a few left in the end because I wasn't sampling the beer or wine. The only drink I had was the margaritas, lime and strawberry.
I did try some of the food though. I was at another cocktail event before this show so I only had room for a few things that I wanted to try.
Mary and I shared an order of Butter Chicken Nachos. Great idea and a great way to scoop up the sauce instead of rice.
I tried goat cheese stuffed marinated sweet peppers that were only 1 ticket and delicious.
I also tried a big hunk of delicious cheese but can't remember what it was called. I think it was a Gouda maybe. We missed the cheese tasting session. Those are always great to try lots of cheese samples.
We tried jams and sauces and I tried a chocolate strawberry preserve and chatted with a woman named Louise who was interested in what we do when Mary mentioned that we were bloggers. The preserves were delicious and Mary really liked the packaging. There are a lot of jams and hot sauce vendors that go to many different shows but Louise was new to the shows and was so enthusiastic.
There were a couple of familiar vendors at the show that both Mary and I knew. The crazy guys from MeNU were there having fun. Mary had enough room to have one of their amazing Taco creations. I never seem to have enough room at these shows but I love their food. Also there was Fancy Franks Hot Dogs. Probably a good idea to have one of their dogs before you start tearing through your drink tickets since it's one of the most substantial things at the show and will soak up all the alcohol so you can enjoy the show longer.
The only other thing I had was an oyster that was on a tray of samples going out to people watching an oyster demo. We just happened to be standing at a table when they just came out and we grabbed the first samples. I can't say it was great because it was just a plain oyster. I really should have broke out the tabasco sauce I picked up at one of the booths and added a dash. I was also drinking a strawberry Margarita at the time so it wasn't the best pairing. Some lemon juice would have been nice too. I am not a huge oyster fan so I need things to kick it up.
I forgot, I did have one other drink.. a non alcoholic caesar that was at the Extreme Bean booth. Now that had a nice warming kick but not too much.
And the only other food I remember trying was a Tuna Pintxos. It was very good and a nice change from some of the usual things you find at these shows.
There were some other cool items that were non food or alcohol that I really liked. One booth called Higher Ground had these really cool wine cork stools. You could even print you logo on them. What my eye was drawn to that I couldn't resist were little led lighted balls that were on a battery operated string. I am a sucker for lighted things so I picked up a set of silver Moroccan style ones for $15. I couldn't resist. I know.. people don't go to these shows to buy stuff... but I am not an alcoholic I am a shopaholic. There were also these creative metal wine bottle holders in festive designs like a snowman and Reindeer. I didn't get one at the show but I happened to see one at the Ashley Warehouse sale and picked one up there.. can't decide if I will keep it for myself or give it as a Christmas gift.. will see on that one..
And besides the food and drinks and shopping there was some photo fun... Mary and I got our Rockstar on and put on crazy hats and got into the Rockstar photo booth and got goofy.
So all in all we had a lot of fun and saw some people we knew and ate and drank, shopped and snapped loads of photos.
What I like about the show is that you can try a lot of different wines and food all in one place. What I didn't like was the cost of the show. If you drive you have to pay for parking, entrance fee and food and drink tickets. It adds up really fast. But I don't think other people feel the same way because the show has been packed all weekend.
Unfortunately because I went on thursday I missed a couple of my favourite Chefs who were there on the weekend. Chef Lynn Crawford who was there to promote the Culinary Challenge and Chef David Rocco who was there to promote his new line of wines. I would have loved to see them both.
It's probably too late by the time you read this post to go... I wanted to write it earlier so you would have time to check it out... but maybe you can remember to visit it next year and bring lot's of cash, a designated driver and your appetite.
Well I wish I could tell you about what wines are great and what beers are the best I can't do that because I only cook with them I don't drink them.. so maybe I will get a guest blogger to write that for you one of these days. You can check out Mary's blog but she didn't drink enough to give you a good review of them either.. But if you can recommend some to me then I will post them. Check out David Rocco's La Dolce Vita wines at the LCBO now .. That I can recommend.