Monday, July 4, 2016

Tasty touring through Kensington Market


I was invited by the very knowledgeable tour guide Audrey to take her Tasty Tour through Kensington Market this weekend.

I have never thought about taking a food tour before but it was recommended by a friend of mine.  Since I was about 12 or so I have always just wandered around with a camera aimlessly looking for interesting things.

It was a Hot Summer Day and this was a chance to see what my own city looks like through the eyes of people who have never seen it before.  I joined a group of about a dozen people who were from Cleveland, Asia, New York, Connecticut and Richmond Hill even.
Audry our fact filled tour guide curated each location for us to visit with pre arranged food for us to sample.  The food is included in the price of the tour but you could certainly purchase extra things.

We started off on Spadina at a place called Ding Dong Pastries, named after the sound of a bell, not what you were thinking.  The place though not fancy and more typical of Chinatown restaurants but it had a huge selection of fresh out of the oven, made daily in house traditional Chinese Buns.  We sampled vegetarian spring rolls but I picked up a few buns for $4 to take home.

Then we proceeded to the other side of Spadina to Kensington Market.  Audrey gave us a little bit of historical knowledge about the first Synagogue in the area.  

Kensington Market really is a good place to start if you have never been to Toronto because of it's ethnic diversity.  You can find almost any kind of food in Kensington.

We headed over to Moo Frites next,  I had heard good things about them but hadn't had a chance to get them before.  The shop was created by Ambrose after not being able to find Belgian style frites.  My mom was from Belgium so I can tell you that they take their fries seriously and serve them up with mayo and not ketchup. Belgian fries are twice cooked so that they stay crispy outside but soft and fluffy inside.  They certainly delivered on the Belgian standard.  I would know. I ate Belgian style frites most of my life.  

Other stops included the Toronto Popcorn Co. where you could find all kinds of different flavours of popcorn.  I picked up the Confetti multi coloured popcorn because we did this tour on the day of the Pride Parade.  We also had Pride inspired Rainbow cupcakes from Wanda's Pie in the Sky.  I have been there before but never had their cupcakes.  We were all pretty full by then so we had to share them.  What really filled us up besides the frites were the Chicken and Avocado Arepas from El Arepasado.  The Arepa's had a great corn and char flavour and the inside filling creamy and delicious.  They were a big hit.  We ended with a Churro from Pancho's Bakery, their food truck can be found at festivals around the city in the summer.  Our last bite was at the fun Blue Banana, I love this store and always go in to have a look around when I am in Kensington Market.  They have so many unique and interesting things.  Our last sweet bite was a piece of Dark Stubbe chocolate and Mexican style chocolate from local Chocosol.

What I learned from this tour.  Spring rolls are meant to be eaten for good luck.  The difference between frites and fries and the fact that it is a lot more efficient to tour a city with a knowledgeable guide that organizes your stops beforehand.  Less waiting and sometimes special treatment.

I never really considered the fact that if you go to a new city you are probably most likely to hit tourist traps that may or may not be good and may be over priced if you don't have a local around to tell you where they go to.  So if you go to a new city where you don't know anyone and especially if it's a different language, it might be a good idea to start with a food tour so you will waste less time and get the most out of your time without the endless hours of research.

You can join Audrey's Tasty Tours through Kensington Market and she also has a chocolate tour.

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