My Highlights from Taste of Toronto 2016

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to another of my tasty blog post, some of my posts this summer will be a bit delayed as it is a busy summer for me and with some changes with my other full time job, I been trying to balance work & blogging. I hope that my sweet readers will still continue to come back for more just be a bit patient, thank you all for understanding!

So let’s get to it with the summer weather is officially upon us with the heat & humidity, it finally feels like real summer! One of the things I love about summer is going to food festivals. One of my fave food festivals is Taste of Toronto, which always is my 1st food festival to kick off my summer months. I always enjoy going to my foodie events with none other than my mom, she loves attending these foodie festivals like me so I’m always happy for her to join me on this fun adventure. We have been going to Taste of Toronto every year together so this year was no different. This year the weather was perfect sunny & hot for this amazing tasty festival to go to for a weekend.

Me & my mom with our drinks from Palm Bay

This is my 3rd year going to Taste of Toronto and I had mixed reviews of attending because after checking out the menu online, I was uncertain about the tasty selection and foods this year.

If you are unfamiliar with Taste of Toronto, here is a quick review of it:

  • Dates: June 23 – 26, 2016
  • Location: Garrison Common At Fort York
  • Operates like a restaurant, offering afternoon and evening services. There are a total of six sessions running over the four day festival, with each session lasting between four and five hours
  • Its own currency system, known as “Crowns”. All restaurant dishes and any items that you wish to purchase from the artisan stalls can be bought with your Crown Card
  • Some activities to take part in from live cooking demonstrations, tastings, to hands-on cooking classes, producers market (one of my fave visit were to Ace Bakery booth & Pure Leaf booth), and much more

This year returning Chef Mark McEwan was back along with celebrity Chef, Chuck Hughes and new to Taste of Toronto are, Chef Rob Bragagnolo (Carver) and Jamie Kennedy (farm to table practices).

There were some really delicious dishes this year I tasted and I guess the only thing I was disappointed was the lack of desserts that were offered this year and for me being able to only have diary-free desserts, it was very limited this year though for me.

This year the menu options was slightly changed, they were still offering 4 dishes but the 4th dish was called “the dish”, which was either their signature dish or a speciality dish that the price was quite expensive to me depending on which vendor you went to, it varies in prices. As well this year the layout of the Taste of Toronto area was changed and different from other years. I am unsure if the layout change is good or not, I got a bit confused when I was walking around the area.

My Top 3 Fave Dishes This Year are:

  1. Roast Chicken Sandwich with Charred Lemon Aioli & Grilled Tomato Pesto by Carver (Chef Rob Bragagnolo), simply the best Roast Chicken sandwich I ever had!! It had the perfect flavour and herbs to make this an amazing sandwich! Carver did not disappoint at all! 
  2. Crispy Calamari Po-Boy with Ace Bakery charcoal bun and lemon caper aioli by The Mark McEwan Group, that one seemed to be everyone fave as the lineup for it was long, but totally worth the wait as despite not eating much seafood and not a fan fave of calamari, I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed it with the right amount of crispy and taste to it. Really enjoyed the charcoal bun too. I also had the honor of meeting Chef Mark McEwan that day too.                                                                                                                                                                                         Me & Chef Mark McEwan    
  3. Both Dishes by The Drake – True North Salmon Fried Rice with Salmon Roe, Drake XO Sauce & Pork and Shrimp Dumplings with Szuchuan Chili Jam, I couldn’t choose which one as every year The Drake delivers on their amazing food and this year was no difference, I simply love their light and fresh dishes with the salmon fried rice. Who doesn’t love dumplings, but they made their light and fresh with a bit of punch with the chili jam (I don’t eat much spicy food so it was sure to wake up your tastebuds).                              

My Fave Returning Dish:

  • Station Burger with milk bun, beet chutney and onion ring by my fave The Richmond Station of course! It was a must have when who else makes the best burgers then Richmond Station and they did no disappoint at all, it was freshly made and juicy. Simply delicious!

So that wraps up this year of my visit to Taste of Toronto 2016! I hope that you didn’t get too hungry with some of the delicious foods I enjoyed this year at Taste of Toronto, if you haven’t been to this food festival, I definitely suggest you come next year to enjoy these tasty foods to sample and enjoy. It definitely has something for everyone!

I look forward to next year Taste of Toronto 2017 to be better & for more delicious & new foods to sample and enjoy.

For now, I am off to search for my next foodie festival or new place to try to share with you all. So don’t forget to come back to read all about it, it might be something you want to try?

-Sweet B.

 

 

For more information on Taste of Toronto & the other vendors, please see below:

Taste of Toronto – Official Website -> check here

You can follow them on Facebook @TasteofToronto, Twitter @TasteofToronto, and Instagram @TasteofToronto.

Carver Slow Roasted – Website -> click here

Address: 101 Peter St., Toronto, ON

You can follow them on Twitter @Carverslow & Instagram @Carver.to as well as Chef Rob Bragagnolo (Owner of Carver Slow) on Twitter @RobBragagnolo

The Mark McEwan Group – Website -> click here

You can follow them on Facebook @TheMarkMcEwanGroup & Instagram @TheMarkMcEwanGroup

As well as you can follow Chef Mark McEwan on Twitter @Chef_MarkMcEwan & Instagram @ChefMarkMcEwan.

The Drake – Website – click here

You can follow them on Facebook @TheDrakeHotel, Twitter @TheDrakeHotel & Instagram @TheDrakeHotel.

Richmond Station – Website – click here

You can follow them on Facebook @RichmondStation, Twitter @Richmondstn & Instagram @RichmondStation.

Ace Bakery – Website – click here

You can follow them on Facebook @ACEBakery, Twitter @ACE_Bakery & Instagram @AceBakery.

 

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My Highlights of Taste of Toronto 2015

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the delay on my review on Taste of Toronto, here it is finally, enjoy reading & hope you don’t feel too hungry afterwards. 🙂

It was a perfect first summer July weekend for the 2nd Annual Taste of Toronto back at Fort York Historic Site where over 70 producers of the best food, beverages and premium brands providing an amazing culinary food festival. What better way to start off summer for foodies then here at Taste of Toronto culinary festival where to discover the finest & hottest restaurants along with the rising & top chefs in Toronto.

With my first amazing experience at Taste of Toronto last year, I attended Taste of Toronto again this year for 2 days on the weekend of Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5, 2015. Taste of Toronto lasts for four days from Thursday July 2 – Sunday, July 5, 2015 transforming the walls of Fort York into an outdoor foodie heaven for all foodies to enjoy a summer of eating, drinking, and entertainment as well as a producers market where you can sample and shop from boutique of food and drink market, Cadillac Taste Theatre with live demonstrations, Metro Master Classes, the Tasting Room, American Express Lounge, a Delta Air Lines VIP Lounge and a Music Stage.

Taste of Toronto - 4

Those who have not yet attended Taste of Toronto, the event operates with lunch and dinner sessions lasting over the four days that the festival ran with sessions running from 4-5 hours each giving the attendees time to choose the restaurant dishes that they would like to try, browse the artisans stalls (loved the Pure Leaf booth as this year it has gotten bigger this year, check out my photo below) and enjoy the many different activities such as Cadillac Taste Theatre for live demonstrations, The Tasting Room, Toronto Life Chef’s Table, and attractions that was being offered.

At Taste of Toronto, they decided to create their own dining currency called: Crowns where if you wish to purchase a dish from a restaurant or a drink from the bar that you would need to purchase Crowns. This means, $1 CAD = 1 Crown. When you purchase crowns either online or at the festival, it is in a form of a card called: Crown Card and you can swipe the card at any restaurant vendor you like to buy a dish or a drink from. Each dish was priced between six and 10 crowns.

This year some of last year fave restaurants returning such as: Richmond Station, Barque and Drake Hotel, just to name a few. As well, there are some new faces to the Festival such as R & D (Masterchef Canada winner – Eric Chong), Morimoto and Little Sister who joined the festival this year.

I truly enjoyed this year Taste of Toronto having 2 days at the festival gave me more time to explore and sample the different type of foods as well as giving me a great experience as I attended the Cadillac Taste Theatre as well learning from the amazing and talented chefs. This year I sampled more desserts of course and I have to admit that this year desserts was outstanding & simply delicious and loved the beautiful plating on each one of them. Almost too pretty to eat lol!

There is no surprise that my fave dishes came from of course, Richmond Station, as they always come up with such delicious and tasty dishes from my fave Top Chef Canada Winner – Carl Heinrich. I really love his concept of fresh farm to table food (local food) concept and it definitely shows in his dishes. This year I was lucky enough to meet Carl himself after his demonstration at the Cadillac Taste Theatre, check out the photos below, Carl is such an amazing and sweet guy in person! I’m definitely looking forward to finally going to his restaurant later on this year.

This year at Richmond Station booth, they were shucking live & fresh oysters, I thought that was a great idea to do!! My 2 fave dishes from Richmond Station are: Station Burger with Beet Chutney and OKA Cheese, which was freshly made and simply delicious hard to put into words, you would definitely have to try it yourself. Of course Richmond Station never disappoints me with their simple yet delicious dessert – Funnel Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Stewed Fruit. The sweet sauce on the ice cream definitely made the dessert and I believe it’s the beautiful fresh fruits that did it. I loved Richmond Station dessert so much that I came back to for seconds again on Sunday on my 2nd day there! Check out the collage I did for Richmond Station.

Richmond Station - 1A

Some of my other fave desserts that I enjoyed at Taste of Toronto are:

  •  Rhubarb Strawberry & Pistachio Upside-Down Cake with Mint Ice Cream & Preserved Strawberries from The Harbord Room, THR & Co restaurant. This was probably my 2nd fave after Richmond Station as if you love Upside-Down Cakes this dessert is sure not to disappoint you, it was light and fresh with the strawberries and with the mint ice cream, it was perfect combination! A great summer dessert!

  • Peaches & Cream poached peaches with Darjeeling cream, bourbon syrup brown butter almond crumble from Bosk Loved the poached peaches as it was soft and sweet, another good dessert for the summer time!

My other fave stand-out dishes that are not desserts that I also enjoyed at Taste of Toronto are:

  • Competition Chicken Thigh with Cuban corn from returning fave restaurantBarque, which 2nd year in a row that one of their dishes is my fave as Barque always make delicious dishes that makes you keep coming back for more. The bbq chicken was simply perfect with the right amount of sauce and flavour, loved it and the corn on the cob a great summer food to eat! The corn on the cob was very flavourful and sweet. I loved that they grilled it too!!

  • Lobster Roll – east coast lobster and avocado from The Drake, which I’m not a huge fan of lobster (love shrimps & crabs though) so coming from me, really enjoyed this lobster roll, which was light yet creamy in a good way. If you love lobster and seafood, the lobster roll definitely would been a satisfying choice as it’s perfect for this kind of summer weather.

Lastly, I was lucky enough to attend Celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford’s (Canadian borned) Live Q&A at the Sunday session all thanks to American Express Canada as I was one of the lucky winners from their contest. What a treat it was to hear Chef Lynn Crawford speak and learn from her experience as a chef! It was an honor to meet her afterwards as well and to also receive her cookbook – At Home with Lynn Crawford signed by her with my name on it too. It was a great way to start my Sunday before the Taste of Toronto as it was held before the festival. Check out my photos below when I met Lynn.

Lynn Crawford Cookbook

Also I had the pleasure of meeting Celebrity Chef – Massimo Capra & Galbani and Gabbiano Brand Ambassador and who restaurant that I love going to in Niagara Falls – The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra. I attended his demonstration at the Cadillac Taste Theatre where he made Spring Rolls w/ cheese, which was very interesting to see how that was done.

If you are looking to explore Toronto’s top restaurants and be inspired by world of first class chefs, Taste of Toronto Food Festival is where you will want to be. It is a place for foodies to gather together to sample, explore and enjoy these delicious dishes from some of Toronto’s top restaurants and top world class chefs.

As it is my 2nd time attending this amazing world foodie event, it is a perfect way to start the summer with being outside enjoying delicious foods with family, friends, and other foodies.

So if you missed this amazing foodie event, don’t miss it again and come next summer 2016!

Until next time, I will be searching for my next sweet adventure in this hot summer heat…

-Sweet B.

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For more information on Taste of Toronto or any of the restaurants I have mentioned, check out the links below:

Taste of Toronto Website- Taste of Toronto

Print

Richmond Station:

Address: 1 Richmond St W,  Toronto, ON

Website: richmondstation.ca

Please follow them on Facebook @RichmondStation, Twitter @Richmondstn & Instagram @RichmondStation

You can also follow Carl Heinrich on twitter @ChefHeinrich

The Harbord Room:

Address: 89 Harbord St., Toronto, ON

Website: www.theharbordroom.com

Please follow them on Facebook @theHarbordRoom, Twitter @theharbordroom & Instagram @theHarbordRoom

Bosk Restaurant (at the Shangri-La Hotel):

Address: 188 University Avenue, Toronto, ON (Lobby Level of the Hotel)

Website: www.shangri-la.com/toronto/shangrila/dining/restaurants/bosk/

Barque Smokehouse

Address: 299 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON

Website: barque.ca

Please follow them on Facebook @barquebbq, Twitter @barquebbq & Instagram @barquebbq

The Drake

Website: www.thedrakehotel.ca/dining/

Please follow them on Facebook @theDrakehotelToronto, Twitter @thedrakehotel

Celebrity Chefs:

Chef Lynn Crawford

Website: www.cheflynncrawford.com

You can follow Lynn on Facebook @Officiallycheflynncrawford, Twitter @Chef_Lynn & Instagram @Chef_Lynn

Massimo Capra

Website: www.massimocapra.com

You can follow Chef Capra on Facebook @ChefCapra, Twitter @ChefCapra

If you are in the Niagara Falls area, please check out his amazing restaurant (yes I been to it a few times now & definitely recommend it) called: The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra -> click here for website

My Review on Taste of Toronto: A Foodies Delight

Hi everyone!

So this would be my first review on a foodie event that I attended and as a foodie who love to explore new and different foods, what better way to discover the finest restaurants and rising chefs in Toronto then the first Taste of Toronto Food Festival.

Looking back on the first ever Taste of Toronto Food Festival was held last week on Thursday, July 24, 2014 lasting for four days until Sunday July 27, 2014 transforming the walls of Fort York into an outdoor foodie heaven for all foodies to enjoy a summer of eating featuring 16 of Toronto’s best & hottest restaurants, drinks, a producers market where you can sample and shop from boutique of food and drink market, celebrity chef book signing, live demos at the Electrolux Taste Theatre, cooking workshops with special guest chefs, and tasting classes at the Tasting Room as well as live music.

TasteofToronto Entrance

I was honored and excited to have attended the first Taste of Toronto on the Friday, July 25, 2014 during the evening session. Taste of Toronto operated with lunch and dinner sessions lasting over the four days that the festival ran with sessions running from 4-5 hours each giving the attendees time to choose the restaurant dishes that they would like to try, browse the artisans stalls and enjoy the many different activities and attractions that was being offered.

I enjoyed my first experience at the first Taste of Toronto where the outdoor atmosphere brought a delightful and warm evening where I sampled different restaurant dishes. I believe that they chose a great location to host this outdoor event surrounded by historic landmarks and background scenery of Toronto. Even though the weather predicted rain for the most of the weekend, the event lucked out and we got some beautiful sunny weather for this event. At Taste of Toronto, they decided to create their own dining currency called: Crowns where if you wish to purchase a dish from a restaurant or a drink from the bar that you would need to purchase Crowns. This means, $1 CAD = 1 Crown. When you purchase crowns either online or at the festival, it is in a form of a card called: Crown Card and you can swipe the card at any restaurant vendor you like to buy a dish or a drink from. Each dish was priced between six and 10 crowns.Taste of Toronto Inside Fort YorkTaste of Toronto Menu and Crowns Card

I also got to browse through the food market area to sample and try different and new food and drinks particularly discovering new brand of ice tea called: Pure Leaf Tea, which was very refreshing. I really enjoyed that new ice tea. I also had time to sit and enjoy a live demo at the Electrolux Taste Theatre with chef – Damon Campbell who is the executive chef for Bosk, the signature restaurant of Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto.

Taste of Toronto - Pure Leaf

Overall, a great first experience at Taste of Toronto where I sampled different restaurants dishes and browsed through the food market. There were 2 restaurants that really stood out for me from the rest of the restaurant dishes that I sampled, which are: The McEwan Group and Richmond Station. The McEwan Group, which features the celebrity chef – Mark McEwan definitely served one of my fave dish of the evening. Mark McEwan featured his 3 restaurants in his 3 dishes from his “North 44” restaurant to “Bymark” to his Italian restaurant, “Fabbrica”. I sampled 2 of his 3 dishes and my fave dish was Fabbrica’s Lamb Bolognese Crostini with Minted Ricotta Cheese. I loved it so much that I had it twice, that’s how good it was. Even though it was an appetizer dish, Mark’s concept for this dish was elevated to the next level and the Lamb Bolognese was classic authentic Italian cuisine and that Bolognese was one of the best I ever had. I also had his Bymark’s Lobster Poutine and loved that one too. I love the presentation for this one with part of the shell using it for decoration and the lobster was cooked perfectly. Despite enjoying his delicious foods, the best part was that I was honored and lucky to have been served by Mark McEwan himself and had the pleasure of meeting him as well that evening.

Taste of Toronto - The McEwan Group

Taste of Toronto - The McEwan Group

My 2nd fave restaurant was Richmond Station, which featured the Top Chef Canada Winner 2012 – Carl Heinrich. As a foodie of course I watched Top Chef Canada and Carl was one of my fave on the show and to finally sample his food at Richmond Station was an honor to do so. I sampled all 3 of Richmond Station’s dishes and my fave dish was of course a sweet dessert dish – Station Ice Cream Sundae. How could I resist a sweet dessert dish right?? It sounds simple an Ice Cream Sundae, but Carl brought the dessert to a new level for me ‘cause this dessert was all about the cherry sauce on it! It was a sweet cherry sauce that brought the ice cream all together for me, loved it so much!! I wish I had two lol!! I also loved his Station Burger with milk bun, cheese, and beet chutney. One of the best burgers I had in a long time, the meat itself was very tender and juicy. After sampling Richmond Station, I’m looking forward to finally going to the restaurant itself to enjoy Carl’s full menu at the restaurant where his cooking style is bringing farm to table cooking. Carl is inspired by quality ingredients and driven by classic and modern techniques.

Taste of Toronto - Richmond Station

Taste of Toronto - Richmond Station

If you are looking to explore Toronto’s top restaurants and be inspired by a world of first class chefs, the Taste of Toronto Food Festival is where you will want to be. A place for all foodies to delight in these delicious dishes to sample and explore their tastebuds. What I love about this event is that it is during the summer, what better way to enjoy the warm summer days than being outside enjoying delicious foods with family, friends, and other foodies.

So for those who missed this amazing food event, don’t miss it next summer 2015!

For more information and details, please visit the websites below.

For now, I hope that you enjoyed my first review on my first food event for this summer at the first Taste of Toronto. I’m looking forward to attending my next foodie event, but until then I’m off looking for my next sweet adventure…

Information

Taste of Torontotasteoftoronto.com

Richmond Station

Address: 1 Richmond St W,  Toronto, ON

Website: richmondstation.ca

Please follow them on Facebook @RichmondStation, Twitter @Richmondstn & Instagram @RichmondStation

The McEwan Group

Website: www.mcewangroup.ca

Please follow them on Facebook @TheMcEwanGroup, Twitter @TheMcEwanGroup & Instagram @TheMcEwanGroup

You can also follow celebrity chef: Mark McEwan on Twitter @Chef_MarkMcEwan

McEwan’s

Address: 38 Karl Fraser Road, Toronto, ON M3C 1P8

Website: mcewan.mcewangroup.ca