Taste of Toronto
Taste of Toronto
250 Fort York Boulevard
Toronto, ON M5V 3K9
The Taste of Toronto festival is an annual event that features some of the top chefs across all of Toronto. Held at the Garrison Commons again at Fort York, the event has various 5-hour sessions across the weekend. This actually helps avoid bottleneck and really makes the event more manageable and better for all.
Now onto the food...
I took a walk around with my friend and after scoping out the menus and sneaking looks at other people's food, we went on a hunt of our own. First stop was Barque Smokehouse. I had been to Barque before for a private event and the place was awesome. Food was good and the chef David Neinstein was a wonderful host (also got to see David at the Chef's session for a live cooking show). Tried the '89 Championship Peking Ribs, which were tossed in a hoisin bbq sauce. The back ribs were tasty and though they didn't fall off the bone (I don't want it to), the meat was still tender throughout.
Next up, we stopped by Carver and grabbed their Porchetta Sandwich (though their Porchetta pizza looked incredible too). The porchetta is served on focaccia slices with red pepper pesto. The sandwich was rather small but tasted good. I wish there was more porchetta meat. It was a bit fattier than I preferred with not as much crunch. The red pepper pesto was spicy and I loved it.
I saw so many people carrying around the Calamari Po Boy (noticeable by the black charcoal bun) that I knew I wanted to try one. By the time I reached McEwan's stand, they had already run out of Charcoal buns, so they gave me a regular slider bun. The sandwich was still good though. Not sure why they call this a Po Boy. It's a fucking slider. Regardless, I loved the calamari. It was tender, sweet, and the batter crisp. I was scared that it wouldn't hold up well, but I was wrong. Great taste throughout.
I also tried their PEI Mussel and Pork Belly chowder. It was OK. Lots of mussels which is nice. But where the fuck was the pork belly? Chowder was good. Strong seafood flavor.
My last two tastings were fried chicken platters. No surprise there. Glad I could end it with fried chicken.
The first, from The County General, was their County Fried Chicken that comes with Gochjang and Hoisin Espresso BBQ and sesame avocado chutney and pickled onions. The fried chicken wasn't crisp at all. The taste was fine, but I didn't really get to the sauce cause of the chutney.
The last, from Little Sister, was Indonesian fried chicken and dutch frites. The chicken was battered heavily but tasted good. I actually got the last plate of the day so people walked by staring at my plate. Poor saps. The fried chicken had a nice kick and great curry flavor. The frites were pretty gross though. They were oily, soft, and were topped with some light curry.
Overall, this is definitely an event that you should come out to, especially if you are a big fan of the Toronto food scene and want to sample what some of the top restaurants are putting out in this city. However, as with most festivals, the samples from the rest are made for mass production and sold at a premium. Prices are a bit high for sample sizes, but that's what you get when they all pile into one area like this. Convenience.
Notes about Taste of Toronto:
- The venue was great. It was wide open and big. Not crowded at all. And the lineups aren't bad minus a few spots. - Parking is crap. I TTC'd my ass over here because I didn't want to deal with the area. There are no real Green P's within comfortable walking distance and the area is primarily private residences. - The Crown card is a nice idea but a hassle to get refunds back so buy what you need and know that you can always refill it later. Most entrees are $6, $8, $10, or above. - There are VIP lounges and an American Express lounge where people can go to get some much sought after shade and free water. - There are so many samples. It makes me feel like Im in Costco on a Sunday without any of the screaming kids and giant carts bumping into my shins. - Bring your sunscreen folks. The sun ain't no joke. If you're pasty white too, double up.
Good food and a good time. Much better run than many of the other shit food festivals that Toronto runs.
Location:A | Parking: D
Ambience: B+ | Staff/Service: B+ | Price: C+ | Food: A-