Monday, August 24, 2015

PinxtosTO -A day of Tapas

PINTXOS TO - A Celebration of Tapas

Who:          Spotlight City Events presented by Estrella Damm 
What::        PintxosTO
Where:       Royal Bank Plaza - Front Street
When:        August 23, 2015
Why:          A taste of Pintxos Tapas and Estrella Damm Beer & other beverages
Hashtag:    #PintxosTO
Price:         $10 admission food $3-7 each tapas

It was a sunny sunday afternoon when I headed down to the beautifully set up Royal Bank Plaza terrace to try a whole bunch of small Tapas bites.   I was invited by the folks at Branding & Buzzing to attend this event organized by them and Spotlight City who know a thing or two about attending and hosting events in Toronto.  The event was the end of a weeks event called Tapas Journey that saw 20 local restaurants host a special menu of 3 Tapas and 1 Estrella Damm beer for $20.  Some of the hottest restaurant/bars in the city participated.  This PintxosTO event hosted a few of the same restaurants but I think they changed up some of their dishes a bit.  

The terrace was set up with this lovely umbrella covered seating area and then surrounded by individual restaurant vendors on the upper terrace and the level below.  This is the kind of set up I would design if I was organizing an event like this.  The vendors were spread out with plenty of room for people to get their dishes and then there were plenty of seats to sit back and enjoy the Tapas with a beer or drink of choice.  I had some refreshing lemonade from Marben and there was also Dillon's Distills and other drinks available.  It was a most comfortable way to enjoy this one day pop up.  Music playing at the perfect level and matching the theme of the event.  They even added beautiful flowers on the tables and spread around the vendors booths.  Street festivals can't do that.

Participating restaurant vendors were:
  • Barsa Taberna
  • Carmen
  • Cava
  • East Thirty Six
  • Mamakas
  • Marben
  • Patria
  • Salt Wine Bar
  • Splendido

Out of town vendors 
  • Donostia (NYC)
  • Simply Fosh (Spain)

Beverages by:
  • Estrella Damm
  • Dillon's Small Batch Distillers
  • Zaplain Sagardoa Cider
  • Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli

While the cost of each Tapas ranged from $3-7 most were about $5.  
You would have to have a big appetite and be a pretty adventurous eater to be able to sample all of the Tapas.  There was a huge variety of cured meats, seafood, pickled items, and other assorted dishes.
Things you don't see very often that were served up included Razor clams, Snails,  Barnacles, white gazpacho, fresh anchovies, blood sausage (morcia), some of these from one very creative vendor.

Cava had a huge stand up bar booth with many different Tapas dishes spread out around the bar.  I tried the grilled chicken on a skewer and the grilled shrimp.  I would have preferred it if it was freshly grilled though.
But talk about fresh,   Mamakas had lamb on a spit roasting away and they served souvlaki in a pita.
Other things I tried included a Greek honey ball from a friend of a friend who was trying them for the first time.  They were a bit more cake like than they normally are.  
I think my favourite thing was from Carmen restaurant I had the  bacon wrapped dates with an almond inside and pork loin on bread topped with manchego cheese.  
I tried the ribs from Marben but I enjoyed their lemonade a lot more.
I wanted to eat a few more things but I was full from the 5 things I had and had to go to another food event right afterward but I wish I could have tried a few more things.  Most of the dishes were really beautifully presented and some small portions and a few things that were a bit more filling.

This event is what happens when all good things come together in a good way.

Experienced event host, high end restaurants, beautiful weather, great food and a great location.
It's very rare that they all happen at the same time.  The event organizers were very lucky to have a perfect weather day for an outdoor event.

*Disclaimer:  I was invited to attend the event but purchased all of the food and drink with my own money and all of the opinions in this post are my own.

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