Monday, September 26, 2016

Food trends taking over Toronto


After going to a whole lot of food festivals over the past year or so I have been noticing a few food trends that start at some of the festivals and then take over the city and copy cat syndrome takes over and they just suck up everything else.  Here is a list of the food trends I have been noticing lately.

1.  Sushi Burritos

It's basically giant sushi rolls. From food trucks Sushitto and Shushiburri that are everywhere to new bricks and morter like Rolltation on Dundas St. W at University.  and even added to Sushi restaurants now like one on Dundas St. E.
I have seen them at Food Festivals and they are spreading around town.

2.  Poke

It's Poke everywhere these days.  It's raw tuna or salmon served on rice with different toppings. I first saw it pop up at Front Street Foods Market and then it was at Union Summer.
There are already a bunch of places that have sprung up and I know more coming, here are some of them.
1.  Big Tuna Poke Bar on Bloor west of Bathurst (my fav so far)
2.  Cali Love on King St. W. east of Spadina,  really good too.
3.  Poke Guys on Elizabeth Street,  not my fav.
4.  Pokito on Queen at Spadina.  I haven't been there yet but it's a collaboration with the Me.n.u. guys.
5.  North Poke in Kensington Market.  I was supposed to go to a media dinner but it got cancelled.
6.  Poke Wrap is opening soon on Yonge Street north of Dundas.
7.  Fish'd by Edo who were the ones at the Front Street Market are opening downtown soon. Good.
Some of these places make the Sushi Burrito's too.

3.  Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake

I went to Unionville last night and there was a huge line up on Main Street and when I went to see what it was for it was for a new Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake shop.  I first tried this at the Union Station Market because the lineups for the one on Bay street were crazy.  A new spot with slightly different cheesecakes opened on Dundas St. W. near University and now to Chinatown North in Unionville?  We saw a lot of Asian teens wondering around trying to catch pokemons or whatever they do.  I don't get it.  I know there is Japanese Cheesecake in other places around town but this is where everyone goes.

4.  Filipino Food
My first Filipino food experience goes way back when my mom would take me to Caravan cultural festival in Toronto many years ago.  We would always go to the Phillipines pavillion.  I would get the  spring rolls usually because when you are a kid that's the go to easy food.  I was also invited to go have Kamayan at Casa Manila on York Mills and Don Mills.  Kamayan is a whole lot of pork and rice and other things layed out on a table covered with Banana leaves and you just go to town on it.
I have also seen Casa Manila at a couple of festivals around town.
I was also invited to Lamesa on Queen Street West.  It's a more upscale Filipino restaurant that tries to elevate Filipino food.  They have since opened a new restaurant called Lasa on St. Clair Ave. W.
There is also Tito Ron's in Kensington Market.  The owner saw me at the Filipino festival at Nathan Philips Square and said he hadn't seen me around for a long time.  He does a lot of festivals.

5.  Crazy Ice Cream

From Soft Serve coated with crazy toppings at Sweet Jesus on John Street and also at Yonge and Eglinton.  Huge lineups but to me very over rated because the soft serve is very bland and flavourless, it's all about the selfies with this one because it looks instagram worthy.  I went with 2 other bloggers and they both agreed it wasn't worth the hype.  sorry guys but you should work on the ice cream part.
Also popping up are Thai Ice cream rolls.  Arctic Bites on Baldwin has the long lineups where you spot trend seekers.  There is also QQ Thai Ice Cream on Midland in Scarborough.  And there is Frosty Roll in Kensington Market. The rolls are cream and flavourings mixed on an anti griddle or in other words a frozen plate.  They are chopped with plaster scrapers and spread and then pushed into rolls and tucked in a bowl.  Once again I saw this at a food festival in Markham and then again at the Front Street Foods Market.  Fugo on Dundas West serves both soft serve and regular ice cream in Asian flavours and crazy ones too.  I got Bangkok Brownie pictured above and there is also a cookie monster one that is blue. And I need to mention Halo Halo, a Filipino dessert that has all kinds of crazy things in it including purple potatoes and beans.  Yes it's a dessert.
A new thing I tried at the Sweetery festival was a shaved ice dessert with condensed milk and different flavourings.  What makes it interesting is that it is light and melts in your mouth quickly but the flavourings are very interesting.  I don't know where an actual store is but it's coming I am sure.
And another one to mention is Matcha everything desserts.  There is a new place called Matcha Tea opening up in Kensington Market soon but they were also at the Sweetery Festival this summer,

TRENDS I would love to see coming:

  • OLD SCHOOL FOOD - Casseroles, Not fried potatoes, Roast Chicken, 
  • FRESH FOOD - Grab and go food that's fresh available everywhere like carrot sticks and cucumber sticks, Fruit in single serve to go, like grapes, peaches, pineapple etc.
  • HEALTHY MEALS FOR ONE - I would love to see take out dinners for one person that are healthy and fresh, not frozen or overly processed.
One of the trends at the CNE this year was the weirder the better,  crickets on hot dogs, sprinkles grilled cheese, meat eclair.  Can we stop sacrificing good food for weird food please.

Let's go back to normal food like our parents or grandparents used to make.  I am craving chicken cutlets, potato salad and casseroles and am kind of over all the Asian take out...  so makers please make it happen..  I'm Starving don't you know.

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